Brightside Brewery Academy IPA Launch


We were invited to our beloved Students Union earlier this month for the launch of Brightside Breweries Academy IPA, a beer brewed specifically for sale in the bar and academy music venues. Now, we drink in the Union (if mostly at the end of very difficult exams) and we like what Brightside brewery have produced in the past (notably Odin, Manchester Skyline) so this seemed like the kind of thing we would be into.

We arrived at 5:30, to what for the most part seemed like the SU on a Wednesday, groups of students milling about, drinking cheap beer, shooting pool. We spotted the Mancunion team huddled in a corner, discussing the business of serious journalism. Apart from the banners, the major deviation from the norm was a group of enthusiastic and informed staff handing out tasters of the brew. The patrons that night seemed very interested in the tasters, maybe less so in the specifics of the beer they were drinking.

We expertly tracked down the Brightside bunch as the slightly older group of people drinking half pints. They were also wearing clothes with the brewery name on which may have been a bit of clue. We asked Carley and head Brewer Neil a few questions about the beer.

So tell us about the beer...

Its Four hops – Comet, Columbus, Cascade and Citra, all American. We chose an IPA because we wanted to sell something fruity and easy drinking here, and we know the style would be popular. It’s on cask on the bar and keg in the gig venues.

Who organised the event?

That was pretty much entirely the union. They had a team come down to the brewery to make a promotional film and posters, all very talented people.

Neil, what are your thoughts?

Its better on keg, which was unexpected. I’m pleasantly surprised by the beer which is always nice.

Is there a possibility of future cooperation with the union?

Well never say never, obviously. We had to nag these guys a bit to get the collaboration to go ahead, and that’s because the SU is important to us. When we sell our beer to places we want to make sure they appreciate and take care of the beer, and that we can form a real relationship. We could sell a lot of one off barrels to pubs but we are after more than that

The beer itself is a soft, somewhat subdued IPA. In all honestly we do prefer American style IPA’s closer to the six percent mark. That being said, It’s got some decent top notes and a satisfying bitterness. You can get four of them for a tenner (always good news) and it was our favourite of the beers on that night We’d like to try it on keg the next time we are at a show in the union.

We also spoke to the bar manager that night, who told us of their plans to put four new cask ale taps on to meet demand for good beer. Exciting times for the union ahead.