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Guild members on the stump at Manchester

Drinkers heading for the North’s biggest beer and cider celebration are also heading for a problem. The choice of beers – real ales & modern keg may overwhelm them.

The festival, now in its sixth year, has revealed the full list of beers and ciders which will feature at Manchester Central in just over a week’s time – a massive choice of 745 different drinks for drinkers participating in the national Tryanuary campaign to sample. With ciders, perrys, fruit wines, mead and even a gin bar, there’s sure to be a drink for every taste.

Beers from a whopping total of 218 different breweries will be featured at the festival which runs from Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th January at Manchester Central’ This massive selection of beers will be spread over 20 bars including the new Beers From the Wood Bar and an expanded Irish Bar.

Building on last year’s sell-out tasting sessions, Manchester Beer and Cider Festival will give drinkers the chance to hear from three of the country’s leading beer experts. They will be running tutored tastings, suitably accompanied by generous samples of some of the 600+ ales on offer.

Kirsty Walker, Roger Protz and John Clarke will be talking about some of their favourite beer styles, showcasing the breadth of taste and history of real ale in the UK and further afield. All three have gathered reputations as entertaining writers and presenters. Their combined expertise will be available to selected audiences on two of the three days the festival opens to the public. Their subjects will range from the story of Belgian beers, the tradition of serving ales from wooden barrels, the mystique of lambic beers from mainland Europe and how beer can best be matched with biscuits.

Kirsty Walker is a North West-based beer writer, blogging as ladysinksthebooze. It is her first appearance at the Manchester Central venue. Kirsty has readily taken the challenge laid down by festival organisers to pair biscuits with some of the tremendous selection of beers from the UK and beyond.

She said: “Obviously the big question is – to dunk or not to dunk? I am confident that following this talk, cheese and wine evenings will be a thing of the past, and Beer and Biscuit evenings will reign supreme.”

Guild member Roger Protz is probably Britain’s best known beer writer. He edited more than 20 editions of the annual CAMRA Good Beer Guide before retiring after the 2018 edition. He is an experienced broadcaster and author with prolific output both here and in the USA. He will be talking about the history and practice of serving beer from wooden casks.

John Clarke is well-known in Greater Manchester beer circles, contributing newspaper columns as well as editing the popular “Opening Times” magazine. Currently chair of the Stockport and South Manchester branch of CAMRA, John has an easy-going, witty and expert presenting style. He’ll be sharing his passion for some of the stronger beers available at the festival including Belgian and spontaneously fermented lambic styles.

Deputy Organiser and Guild member Peter Alexander said: “We are delighted three nationally-recognised experts will be dispensing wisdom and wit as well as drinks. Each speaker is selecting five beers for the enjoyment of their audiences.”

Guild members are entitled as Press to enter the Trade and Press Session- to be held on Wednesday 23rd January between 3pm and 9pm – free of charge. Just let Peter know you will attend on organiser.deputy@mancbeerfest before the event and your name will be on the door.

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