There are three things you must do when visiting Manchester Beer & Cider Festival

  1. Fill your CAMRA plastic bag full of branch magazines
  2. Find a table where people will chat to you even though you look like an axe murderer (thanks Cheshire folk)
  3. DON’T get paralytic.

Regular readers will know I failed fairly spectacularly on Point 3 in both 2016 and 2017.

This year I was without the protective arm of both Mrs RM and VegasNick, perhaps a blessing given the sharpness of Mrs RM’s tongue and Nick’s sword.  This is Nick prioritising “Cream Ale” over Track Sonoma.  Weird.

Tiny tin

For railway fans, here’s Heaton Chapel station, start of my exciting Friday (26/1).

Heaton Chapel – home of legends

Manchester’s Fest is now so famous it gets shown on Google Maps.

Heaton to MBCF
All key central Manc points shown

With an hour ’till opening and the inevitable Mancunian blue skies, I did an aimless walk round the blocks from Oxford St, bumping into something gorgeous.

of the Peak

The Pev wasn’t open, but The Paramount was, and I decided that after last year I’d better have breakfast before beer.  Eggs Benedict and coffee, of course.

The Paramount has become the unofficial waiting room for MBCF, large groups of CAMRA folk from Leigh and Leicester meeting up at 11am to use those controversial Spoons vouchers and complain about the guest beer range.

Spoons – in every GBG till now
And Doom Bar, of course

In the queue at Manchester Central I admired the Midland Hotel,

Stayed here once, folks

and harangued a nice man from Cheshire about the Macclesfield pub scene, which is apparently so good they should have all of NW London’s quota of GBG entries.  Actually, I said that.

Inside, I headed straight for the star attraction, the launch of Pipers Crisps new Jalapeno & Dill flavour (RMCSS* 3.5).  It’s great that folk from Brigg are allowed out of the county for a week every year.

The joy of Pipers

Apart from not falling over this year, my only clear plan was to say “Hello” to Matthew Lawrenson and find someone to chat about a subject other than beer.

Eventually, I met a group of lads from north Cheshire (Wirral and Runcorn) who are happy to agree that not signing Sanchez was the best thing City have done all season. Even the lone United fan (poor lad) looked unconvinced by his acquisition.

I drank some excellent beer, in thirds, in a chunky pint glass.  Only the photos remind me what I actually had. I’ve annotated the shots to explain why I chose the beers.

Thirst Class  High Five – they’re from Stockport and smiled
Fixed Wheel Oz Pale – recommended by the volunteer
Brass Castle Disruptor – brief foray into evil keg as no Sunshine
Tiny Rebel – Peaches & Cream.  I just joined a queue like you do
Lees Stout – someone went “Mmmm” as I walked past

That Lees Stout was my own Beer of the Fest, for what it’s worth. I wonder if it’ll make it onto the bar in Tandle Hill ?

With my sensible hat on, I managed to resist the lure of this 12% temptation.

So bored of the “last Cloudwater cask”

In conclusion;

  • The beer was all served at ideal temperatures and well conditioned – NBSS 4+
  • Plenty of seating, plenty of space
  • I could actually read the labels telling me what the beers were
  • Plenty of ale from breweries I’d heard of
  • Friendly helpful volunteers throughout the Festival
  • Loads of beer for £3 a pint.  I was there 3 hours and spent less that £7.

3rd time lucky for me. Another winner for Central Manchester.  Well done to all.

The clock struck 3, I said hello/goodbye to Matthew, and set off for the pub. You’d never have seen Mark E Smith at a beer festival, even one this good.


*Retired Martin Crisp Scoring System






















  1. “And Doom Bar, of course”

    I see, unlike yourself Martin, they spelled Blond Witch correctly. 😉

    “*Retired Martin Crisp Scoring System”

    That was easily guessable. 🙂

    “Tiny Rebel – Peaches & Cream. I just joined a queue like you do”

    I did a double take when I read the Brewsmith poster in that photo at the top right. At first glance I thought it said “Fine ales brewed in a Rams Bottom!” (LOL)


    Liked by 1 person

  2. The 2/3rd of a pint (craftmaster 2 by Rastal) glasses were so much better than the straight pint glasses, which, contrary to your belief, do nothing to aid tasting the beer beyond rapidly dissipating any aroma. Clearly you purposely avoided coming and talking to us solely because you knew you would lose this argument.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. *Retired Martin Crisp Scoring System”

    But do we have a superior *Mrs RM Crisp Scoring System” or is the *Retired Martin Crisp Scoring System” a joint venture between the two of you ?

    Liked by 1 person

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