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Chorlton Beer Festival

In early July we were blessed with about a week of fine weather here in Manchester. Luckily, the annual Chorlton Beer Festival fell within this slim period. What seemed like the entire population of Chorlton descended onto St Clement’s Church to drink a staggering amount of fermented beverages. The combined thirst of M21 managed to consume all of the cider twice and all of the beer once before the last session ended.

For us, it felt sort of like completing a set: another month, another South Manchester beer festival. Please don’t take that as a complaint – there’s absolutely nothing we love more than lolling about on a bit of grass with a pint of interesting ale, chatting shit about hops and pretending to know exactly what tropical fruit is present in our drink.

And what a venue to do this at! St Clements Church had enough outdoor space for everyone to have their own little suntrap – plus a thronging tarmacked area outside the beer tent, occupied by a vivacious brass band. There were two bars, and the division of beer was simple enough that even the really stout-addled brain could understand it. Bar in Tent – Manchester beer, bar in Church – not Manchester beer – simple.

People drinking beer, mostly

There was a lot of beer crammed into these two bars – we warmed up with a big sensible pint of Lagonda IPA to quench the initial thirst, then moved onto less familiar territory. Below are our thoughts on some beers of note – although we have definitely missed out some interesting brews and some things that ran out before we got a chance to taste them (looking at you, rapture).

Turing (4.4%) – Beer Nouveau, Prestwich – Heres an interesting little pale ale from the only picobrewery that we know of. Juicy fruitiness balances nicely with savoury undertones from the hops and leaves a really pleasant finish. Nice stuff.

Green Quarter IPA (5.5%) - Marble, Runaway, Blackjack, Joseph Holt’s This is an IPA: strong tropical aroma and good clarity. Taste is light and resinous with some soft fruit, the beer finishes spicy and bitter. To be honest when we read who made this (some of our favourite breweries) we imagined something amazing and earth shattering. It wasn’t, but that’s probably unsurprising as the beer doesn’t make any great claims.

Schafkopf (5%) – Blackjack Brewery, Manchester Here is a ginger and lemongrass witbier which looks a lot more like a pint of orange juice. It smells saisony (if that’s a word) and a little like coriander. There are some big obvious wheat flavours hanging around with some less obvious ginger and grapefruit in the background plus some sourness. Mouthfeel is very sticky with a long bitter end.This won an award at the festival, which makes sense as it tastes much much better than it looks.

Our friend Stanley is enjoying a pint of Schafkopf in these photos

M Imperial Red IPA (10%) - Outstanding Beers, Bury This beer divided opinion. The brew assaults your face with rich malty alcoholic aromas when you raise the glass to drink. If you were being kind you might say its got some very nice barley wine flavours: bananas, rich toffee apple, brown sugar and a deeply syrupy mouth-feel. If you were being less kind you might argue that this is a very unpleasant, unbalanced beer with hints of marmite. You are encouraged to track it down and decide for yourselves.

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