Winter Beer Fest


We had this circled in our calendar for some time. Hosted in Runaway Brewery in the Green Quarter, the Winter Beer Fest was a three day beer and food spectacular organised by Grub and Blackjack Brewery. There was an immense beer list spread over cask and keg, which had sadly shrunk by the time we arrived at the Sunday session. We were in the company of a more cosmopolitan crowd than our last beer festival, a good mix of cool media types in bobble hats, and beerios. For once we did not feel like the biggest babies in the room as there were actual infants in attendance. Directly to the right of the beer was some delicious looking grub, which unfortunately wasn’t on the cards for poor students who prefer a liquid dinner.

Tunes were in abundance; there was a DJ, who Charlie fell in love with upon arrival, and two bands who neatly accompanied the sociable atmosphere. Without sounding too sycophantic, we loved this beer festival. It was a chilled and low pressure environment to relax and sample some of the best beers in Manchester. Most importantly, we achieved a SpecialBrews first by bagging ourselves a seat and table! Madness. Can’t forget to give a big shout out to those filling the halves on the night, they were an absolute delight – handing out salient beer advice and even picking at random for some trusting punters. With their help, here are the beers we drank.

Quantum Brewing Company – Berliner Weisse ?%

This beer tasted like a sprightly, zingy, classic Berlinerweisse – for the most part. However, it is jet black with a burnt chocolate aroma, and a subtle roasted character that comes through in the end. Bit of an enigma really, but something we enjoyed drinking.

The Runaway Brewery – Smoked Porter 6%

Unlike the previous beer, there are no surprises here. It’s a well put together, incredibly smoky porter with a long bitter hang. Had a bit of the familiar fart smell we have become accustomed to.

The Five Points Brewing Company – IPA 7.1%

I was searching for a no bells and whistles IPA amongst all the sours, saisons and demisaisons. This brew from that London fit the bill. The beer has strong tropical fruit punch to the nose, with warming spicy undertones and lasting bitterness. Not bad.

Weird Beard Brew Co/Hanging Bat Brew Co – Rye Smile 9.3%

This is described as a rye wine, as it seriously packs a punch at nine percent. The flavours come in waves with this beer. It starts with dark fruit and caramel, then the tell-tale rich and alcoholic barleywine character, some bitterness and a long astringent rye finish. Gooooooooooooood.

Bristol Beer Factory – Ultimate Stout 7.5%

Wouldn’t call it ‘the ultimate stout’, but more like a classic stout on steroids. Very enjoyable, sweet and malty brew.