Winter Beer Festival 2015

A very belated review of the Winter Beer Festival that took place The Runaway Brewery between January 30 to 1st of February 2015.

This event and I’m bound to get this wrong, was brought together, curated if you will, along with Runaway Brewery, by Shebeen UK, Grub MCR and BlackJack Brewery (and their associated off-shoots).


Tickets were £4, bought in advance, the glass was a £2 returnable deposit, but sexy as it was it was always going to be retained.

Payment for beers was via tokens (above right) and there was also a handy guide (above left and below) to let you know what food/beers/music was available and also, if you hadn’t made it to the other sessions, what you had missed.

Lets have another picture of that glass shall we…


I could wax lyrical about the beers on offer, there were a great many, on keg and on cask – though with the weather being a bit bitter and the venue held in a brewery it was just slightly to chilly for the cask to be on tip-top form, but that is a minor quibble because there was a lot of choice which I yet again forgot to mark up as I didn’t have a pen.

But I was fortunate enough to get to sample Runaway’s second only cask (their 1st appearing at the Salford Beer Festival).  That time it was the American Brown, this time it was the Smoked Porter (6.0%)…


Note to reader: If you see that t-shirt behind the pump, thank anyone wearing one – especially if they have a beard – for the very good range of beers they make.

Sat at a table the bearded wearer of said t-shirt knelt beside me and rather over-flatteringly said (paraphrase) “I know you appreciate beers more than most in here, the Smoked Porter has just gone on cask, so let me know how it is…”

I have previously reviewed Runaway’s beers before, but I’ll take cask whenever I can, as noted above, this was colder than how I had my bottles (but not as cold as when had on keg, obviously) but all the flavours and aromas still come through.

Also new to me was the Marzen Lager (5.4%), keg and obviously very well suited to the chill and a welcome addition to their line-up.


To be honest I was really here for the food (blasphemy) and rather peeved I couldn’t make it to other sessions (beer took priority at the other times) but as I went on the Saturday I was treated to the following vendors…

Before I start go to Bacon on the Beech as they have done a very good review of this festival, with far better food photos.

Beef Brisket by Andy’s Low ‘N’ Slow was jolly good beer accompaniment, melty meat in a smoky sauce, crunchy veg – imagine every food that Guy Fieri eats on his Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives show.

The Ginger Tart brought along some lovely home-made brownies.  Wonderfully gooey and sweet, the raspberry (?) ones just trumping the bacon ones.

The steamed buns from Fu_Schnikens were absolutely immense – surprised me but they are indeed perfect beer food, light yet filling* with plenty of flavours and textures, Ox Cheeks beating out the other meat (I forget) and the veggie option.

My favourite of all the very wonderful foods on offer though was the Chorizo Stew from Comida – warming, hearty, filling*, possibly even healthy.

All that remained was to be taunted with pictures of food from mates that went on other sessions, yes it still burns.

If this has peaked your interest and you want something like this to happen monthly then there is this…

A good little festival, even if it was freezing.


*Filling – it’s all relative when drinking and you happen to be a man slowly becoming comfortable with his expanding waistline.



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