Manchester RAG Beerfest 2010

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Early on - ale bar still visible

Last week saw the 26th return of the UMIST Manchester RAG beer festival which meant a trip back to Club Underground.  I’ve been every year since 2004 and ran the 2006 festival so I have quite an attachment to it.  The festival currently sees around 70 ales, 12 ciders, a crazy range of home-flavoured vodkas (including the legendary vegan friendly smoky bacon!) and making a welcome return for the first time since 2006, some foreign lagers.

Cider bar

Getting busier with the cider bar

Being a student run beer festival it has quite a different attitude and atmosphere compared to the CAMRA run festivals.  Firstly there is music – not always a good thing when the DJ is taking requests!  There’s generally more hustle bustle and noise.  But it doesn’t detract from the fact that this is a great gathering for students to try traditional English ale served by gravity from the cask, even if they may call a cask a keg and not yet really appreciate the product they are sampling.

Southern drinking hits Manchester

Weedy half pint pots lead to Southern Drinking

This year due to increased glass prices (so I’m told, anyway) weedy half pint glasses were used.  Bit of a shame… in my opinion as they are measure to brim rather than to line leading to easy spillage. Beer-wise, as I attended on the last night some beer was good and some beer less than good.  A few of the local breweries (Marble, Holts, Robinsons) were represented alongside the larger well known brands (Wychwood, Brew Dog, Black Sheep). Price per half? – variable between £1.20 and £1.70 (Robinson’s Old Tom!) – so very reasonable.

Most importantly, not long into Friday night and it did get really busy – so we should have some ale drinkers for tomorrow!

Busy

Full

The Manchester RAG beer festival runs usually in November in the week after reading week.  See their website for details!

Advance warning: Along the trent

Sadly I’m not sure I’ll get to pop into ‘Along the Trent’ at the Waltham Forest Corporation, Sports and social club. But this celebration of ales and ciders from along the river Trent looks quite interesting.

November 11 – 14, 2010, with 25+ real ales on offer and only a few minutes walk from Walthamstow Central tube.

Free admission for CAMRA members – for more details download the poster: Along the Trent