The Independent Salford Beer Festival 24th-25th October 2014

Having managed to be on our bikes by midday we imagined we would be drinking by 12:30. However, a few wrong turnings and some clumsy cycling meant it was closer to 2 o’clock by the time we arrived at the Independent Salford Beer Festival. Run by local beer guru Jim of ‘BeersManchester’ the two day event took place in the unassuming venue of Saint Sebastian’s community centre, Charlestown, Salford. Despite the large turnout forcing us to perch by a radiator we were made extremely welcome by the assorted beer lovers, brewers and sellers. The friendly atmosphere was topped off by knowing that all the proceeds went towards keeping the community centre going. Here are our picks from the 35+ cask ales of the festival, showcasing exciting beers being brewed in and around Manchester.

Hoppy Lager 5.1% abv – Shindigger Brewing Co., Manchester

Shindigger brewing company are a Manchester success story. They started off brewing their beers in the basement of their student flats and selling it at house parties. Now a much larger operation, they put out a range of hop forward beers from their Deansgate headquarters – a far cry from their humble beginnings.

The breweries fourth commercial beer is hoppy lager. A low carbonated cask lager, it has the refreshing, spiky mouth-feel of a lager with a floral, bitter kick from the hops. A beer we could easily drink all night without getting bored of the taste.

Hazelnut Mild 4.2% abv– Brass Castle Brewery, Malton

Hailing from Malton, North Yorkshire, this beer comes slightly further afield than most on offer at the beer festival. Although our focus was on local beers, this one caught our eye and made us change our mind. Hazelnut mild was one of the most enjoyable beers available at the festival. Out initial thoughts were a dessert in a glass. Rich and creamy, this beer reminds us of roasted nuts and mild coffee. Whilst not as full bodied as some of the stouts on offer, it remained malty and moreish until the end.

Coffee &Star Anise Porter 5.1% abv – Ticketybrew, Stockport

A bit closer to home is Ticketybrew a Husband and Wife run brewery from Stockport who aren’t all about hops. Their Star Anise porter was on offer and was something very different. More full bodied than the other beers, it was warming and contained many interesting flavours. The predominant taste was coffee which was followed by a light star anise aftertaste. The aniseed flavours are not overbearing, making a surprisingly good compliment to the other flavours.

Beer of the day: Psychedelic (APA Matured over Citrus Fruits) 5% abv – Bridgestone’s brewing

This may be down to the fact that we had just cycled to the festival and were thirsty to the say the least upon arrival. But we found the Psychedelic to be the most refreshing and enjoyable beer of the day. Far from being your standard APA the citrus fruits made the beer stand out and gave the beer a sweet and enjoyable finish.