Let The Music Play - And Other News

Hello again!

Here at #ISBF5 we’ve been beavering away in the background, trying to get you treats, both beery and non-beery in nature. This probably won’t stop until Wednesday 28th November. That has always been the nature of this event. Kind of a Salfordian take on “lastminute.com”. Personally, I (Jim) like to think that this amateurism adds to the charm of this event. But remember, I know nothing, Other than a lot of good people. Who do good things. And help.

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Those who know me, know that – as improbable as it may seem – I love music MUCH more than beer. It’s true. From my first live band in October xxxx (The Damned), to my second in April xxxx (Joy Division) and onwards, music has been the thing. It can take you places that few other things can. It certainly does for me. Life would be so much poorer without great music.

We started (in 2014) with a single band. A group of young men who called themselves “Duke and the Darlings” on the Saturday night session. They played a lovely set. Then the session started to calm down as people drifted away from St Sebastian’s towards home. The band sat in what was then the only room. They sat around the table and just jammed. For the fun of it. It was a truly precious moment. And something I’ll never forget.

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Duke and the Darlings played each of the first four years. Became part of the DNA of this event. Unfortunately, they won’t be with us this year. But Alex Reed, frontman, vocalist and local music promoter offered to make some calls and bring some fabulous live music. Music that would fit this glorious venue that is Hemsley House.

In my humble opinion, he’s done just that.

On the Friday evening session, we have a ”musician” (a word that doesn’t quite do him justice) called Zacc Rogers. If you’ve seen Zacc play, I think you’ll understand.

I quote “Zacc Rogers performs using the latest looping technology to create a sound scape which includes beat boxing, harmonica and guitar.  All this is done live in front of the audience (no prerecording).”

Kind of in a nutshell. And I’m really excited. Friday evening session (which is almost sold out!) is in for a rare treat – with Zacc playing two sets.

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Saturday evening will see another artist/musician we haven’t hosted at St Sebastian’s. Elly Grice. An artist blessed with a fabulous voice. Alex’s word is enough for me. But I had a listen anyway. Oh yes. Listen / see for yourself here.

Saturday evening also sees the return of George Fell. At the risk of sounding like a fan boy, I’ll stop there. But those two evening sessions are going to be something special – and the vast majority of the beers will still be available on that Saturday evening session (no James, Lee, Steve, THAT’S NOT a challenge!)

When you also add on Mike & Jo and their “Rebellious Jukebox” (where you get the chance to affect the playlists!). They are both dear friends with exquisite taste. And the tunes will move……Like I said, I love music. And I’m genuinely excited by what’s coming up. With BIG thanks to Alex, Mike & Jo.

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Going back to the beer....

 We have some additions to that rather lovely brewery list...

On keg, we’d like to say HELLO to Double Barrelled of Reading! I’ve heard some really good stuff from people I respect (and some of the beer that I’ve seen makes me DROOL) about this team and word is that they may not have even had a draught beer in Manchester yet? I keep repeating the phrase “genuinely excited”! But I don’t say things lightly. Can’t wait.

Returning again this year (except this time, on keg) are Cwrw Ial. With a Pilsner. Doug has been brewing in the remotest of remote locations (OK. Llanarmon-yn-Ial isn’t THAT remote. But it IS a drive!) and I’ve always been massively attracted to the community focus of this enterprise. The fact that Doug makes excellent beer is a bonus.

With an increased amount of beer on the #EvilKegFilth bar, I’m ultra keen to get more depth within styles. We’ve been far to heavy - in more ways than….. - in certain styles in the past. And I want to simultaneously broaden and deepen the range of styles and locations represented. With greater representation from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. And more sours, saisons, pilsners/lagers. Yes, the largest range will be of the “pale n ‘oppy” type. But I want something for everyone. From low abv Table Beers, to rich Imperial Stouts. And everything in between.

We’ve also got another new brewing venture coming to play. Distant Hills. There’s a certain level of mist around this. But I’m really looking forward to my first taste of their output. We might even get involved. Picturesque scenery may feature. And hops. Oh yes.

Being a rather rubbish multi-tasker, I’m trying to arrange collabs as I type. And travel details. There are some special things coming to Hemsley House. Musically, beerily, feel. It’s all about the feel.

And raising money for good causes. Always.

Come and join us. Saturday afternoon may be sold out. And Friday evening may not be far behind, but all other sessions have availability (with Thursday evening and Friday lunch deliberately limited). And remember, almost ALL the beers will be available come Saturday evening.

Click this link. Grab some tickets. And - by the simple method of drinking exceptional beer - help a good cause. You won’t regret it.

Event Charity - And Other News

Hello again.

It’s all gone a little hectic this last few days, especially after the ticket launch on Sunday. I truly didn’t expect the levels of demand and was somewhat taken aback. I also wish to apologise for the lack of information about what is included with (what appeared – at first glance – to be) the “inflated” ticket price. Hopefully that is now resolved.

Again, for the record, the ticket price includes glass, programme and £10 worth of tokens.

This post was to introduce the charity that is to receive ALL the PROFITS from #ISBF5.

Start in Salford.

The inspiration for this was Gerry. Anyone who knows us – the extended family – knows that we know tragedy first hand. Almost exactly 2 years ago my son took his own life.

An event like that changes you, it can do little else. It changes the way you think. It changes the way you live. It changes your priorities in life. And we wanted to make a difference to someone – anyone – with this event. Gerry suggested SiS. So I had a look at their website. And was convinced within minutes that THIS was the right cause to support. The right fit for us.

Mental Health may be a “buzzy” cause. But as someone who has fought with depression, I’ve been luckier than many. I’ve been “helped”. WE want others to be helped too. And YOU – by the simple expedient of enjoying yourselves, with some lovely beer, in a simply gorgeous venue, can do that. YOU can help.

I’ll let START describe themselves….

'START promotes positive mental health through creative arts-based activities and training opportunities to vulnerable people in Salford. The organisation provides an innovative range of creative arts and horticulture programmes that are directed at improving and enhancing the quality of life, health, wellbeing and social integration of the target groups within the local community, in particular, older people, young people and people who are, or at risk of experiencing mental health difficulties or social exclusion. 

The organisation supports almost 1000 people a year. Individuals of all ages are encouraged to develop learning through an artistic ability in a creative and supportive environment. Start has a variety of projects which run both from our Centre and within the local community.'

They are local. They are – in times like these – essential. And we are proud to help.

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In other news.

We are thrilled (and not slightly shocked) to say that Saturday afternoon session has now SOLD OUT. And Friday evening is soon to follow.

If you want to come, please don’t wait. Grab your tickets here. We’d hate for you to miss this.

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Next. Another collab announcement (as of today) I can say that the mighty Neptune Brewery of Maghull have arranged to collab with Sean Ayling of Tom’s Tap & Brewhouse! Sean left Pig & Porter this year and purchased the brewery and taproom of Offbeat in Crewe. And Les & the team at Neptune have made some of the best beers I’ve had in the last couple of years.

I can’t wait.

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AND…….YAY! WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A GIN BAR!

Berries, Beans & Beer is – quite simply – one of the unmissable drinks events of the year. Michelle Shipman (formerly of Offbeat Brewery – Now a bit of a drinks maven and Event Planner at MichelleShipman.org) has kindly offered to sponsor a gin bar and has donated the bulk of the gins!

We tried to DO gin last year. And I got so wrapped up in the flow of #ISBF4 that I completely forgot the 5 bottles I had bought and were sat in the office! By the time we realised, it was a valiant effort, but…..

Not this year though. The gin will be Northern. Local. Because localism matters. And we have some simply exceptional gins here.

Thank you Michelle. Thank you Berries, Beans & Beer. And MichelleShipman.org

That’s all for now.

Be kind to one another.

Jim

Time To Reveal

 Hello.  Prior to 2014, Salford hadn’t had a beer festival in decades. For the next four years, from incredibly humble beginnings, in an incredibly humble location, we put one on. I had been told that it couldn’t be done. That the venue was “a bit difficult to get to” (a comment which still makes me seethe). But we did it. Something that myself and Gerry are incredibly proud of.  The reason for that first event was the basis for the first four. To keep open that incredibly humble location. St Sebastian’s Community Centre. Gerry asked me would I do it. I said “Yes”. And it was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever said. I knew nothing. Still don’t. But what happened next simply stunned me. The sheer VOLUME of goodwill from people i'd never met. Offers flooded in to help with design, beer, logistics, volunteering.... All of these people I now count as friends. Good friends. Real friends.  Friends I would – in all likelihood never have otherwise met.  Other than raising almost £30k for good causes, THAT'S the thing that makes me feel MOST warm inside, the number of friendships that started at St Sebastian’s. That old saying made truth. “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet”.  The ethos of this event has never changed either. It is really quite simple. For people to drink great beer. In comfort. In pleasant surroundings. That has never changed. And never will.  And here’s something else that hasn’t changed and – whilst I organise this event – never will, is that this event, The Independent Salford Beer Festival, will ALWAYS be not for profit. It will always donate the profits to a good cause or charity. A number of people have asked me about this very subject. (Almost as if leaving St Sebastians altered this) This was an event set up to raise money to help others. It can’t be anything else. It WON'T be anything else.   

Hello.

Prior to 2014, Salford hadn’t had a beer festival in decades. For the next four years, from incredibly humble beginnings, in an incredibly humble location, we put one on. I had been told that it couldn’t be done. That the venue was “a bit difficult to get to” (a comment which still makes me seethe). But we did it. Something that myself and Gerry are incredibly proud of.

The reason for that first event was the basis for the first four. To keep open that incredibly humble location. St Sebastian’s Community Centre. Gerry asked me would I do it. I said “Yes”. And it was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever said. I knew nothing. Still don’t. But what happened next simply stunned me. The sheer VOLUME of goodwill from people i'd never met. Offers flooded in to help with design, beer, logistics, volunteering.... All of these people I now count as friends. Good friends. Real friends.

Friends I would – in all likelihood never have otherwise met.

Other than raising almost £30k for good causes, THAT'S the thing that makes me feel MOST warm inside, the number of friendships that started at St Sebastian’s. That old saying made truth. “A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet”.

The ethos of this event has never changed either. It is really quite simple. For people to drink great beer. In comfort. In pleasant surroundings. That has never changed. And never will.

And here’s something else that hasn’t changed and – whilst I organise this event – never will, is that this event, The Independent Salford Beer Festival, will ALWAYS be not for profit. It will always donate the profits to a good cause or charity. A number of people have asked me about this very subject. (Almost as if leaving St Sebastians altered this) This was an event set up to raise money to help others. It can’t be anything else. It WON'T be anything else.

 

 Yes. We’ve moved. To the simply beautiful   Hemsley House  .  I can write paragraphs about what I think of the building. You’ll not truly understand until you walk through that front door.  And anyway, apparently, “a picture paints a thousand words.... “  I’ve fallen in love with the place. And – IF all goes well this year – this could well become our new “home”. So yes, I’m thinking ahead. Beyond 1st December 2018. (Breaking news etc.....)

Yes. We’ve moved. To the simply beautiful Hemsley House.

I can write paragraphs about what I think of the building. You’ll not truly understand until you walk through that front door.

And anyway, apparently, “a picture paints a thousand words.... “

I’ve fallen in love with the place. And – IF all goes well this year – this could well become our new “home”. So yes, I’m thinking ahead. Beyond 1st December 2018. (Breaking news etc.....)

 As always, each year, this event takes place only by the skin of its teeth. I’m a glass half empty type. Whatever can go wrong, etc. And this could all go to ratshit at anytime. It wouldn’t be ISBF otherwise.  But let’s be positive eh?  So. In just under 3 months, we open the front doors at Hemsley House at 6pm. What can you expect? Well. Some things the same, some things changed. The venue obviously. That’s a stunningly attractive given. But last year there was a moment where I thought “This is it. This is always what I wanted this event to be".  I can identify that moment. It was seeing Sean Ayling with his camera phone, videoing   George Fell   playing guitar. That man can play. So, I’m absolutely thrilled to say George will be performing again on the Saturday evening. I was shaking when I was told that. Honestly shaking.  We’ll also have live music on the Friday evening too, but I’m awaiting confirmation on that artist.    Mike   will be back with his “Rebellious Jukebox”. I could have stayed in the keg room all event last year and just wallowed in sound. I love music more than beer. And Mike has had better taste than me for the *coughs* (insert number) of years I’ve known him. Why change a winning formula eh?   I can also say now, that we have a Charity that will receive ALL the profits from #ISBF5. We're proud to announce that that Charity is  Start in Salford . ( More to follow in a future webpost ) They do brilliant work. And - importantly - they're local. And that matters to us.   I’ve lined up up presentations from two new breweries (one for the Friday evening, one for Saturday lunch). Breweries that the vast majority of you won’t know. One of which hasn’t put grain to water yet. But they want to come talk to you. Tell you about themselves and their plans. One from Lancashire, one from Yorkshire. Balance isn’t a dirty word here.  We’ve also got some beer coming.  The day I poured away (in year 2) a phenomenal amount of stunning beer, I knew. This event needed new beer. New beer to Manchester. We did precisely that in year 3. And we almost sold every drop. Someone I respect told me I couldn’t do that again. So I did. (I'm a contrarian) In year 4. And the vast increase in the amount of keg was matched by a thirst for it. You have to listen. You have to analyse the raw data. And understand.  So I did.   I’ve tried. Hell have I tried. I didn’t think that I could outdo year 4. So...... Below is a list of the breweries you can expect at Hemsley House on 29th November.  I hope you like it.  I’ve stated – rather rashly – that there should be at least 5 breweries you won’t have tried on draught before. I’d like to think there’ll be more. Have a look below.   Cask  :    Abbeydale   Bad Seed   Beatnikz Republic   Beer Nouveau   Black Jack   Blue Bee   Brass Castle   Brew York   Brewsmith   Cheshire Brewhouse   Five Towns  x 2 (3 x Beer of the Event Winner!)  Five Towns  x  Rivington   Neptune   North Riding   Pictish   Pomona Island   Rammy Craft   Redwillow   Revolutions   SALT Brewing   Squawk  Surprise!   (All I will say here is, It’s not from the North of England!)    Thirst Class  Tigertops  Torrside  x  Runaway   Turning Point   Vocation   Wigan Brewhouse   Wilde Child   Wishbone     #EvilKegFi lth :    Almasty      Beer Ink      Bexar County      Big Fish Brew Co     Black Iris     Black Lodge     Bone Machine     Brew By Numbers     Buxton        Chain House Brew Co     Cloudwater     Dead End Brew Machine     Elusive  (1 x Beer of the Event Winner!)    Eyes Brewing     Fierce     Five Points     Hawkshead     Kernel    Korupted Brew Co    Left Handed Giant     Little Earth     Loka Polly     Lost & Grounded     Macc Brew Co     Magic Rock     Mallinsons     Marble     Mills Brewing     Mourne     Northern Alchemy     Northern Monk     Odyssey     Pilot     Rivington     Runaway     Shindigger       Six Degrees North      Sixth Day Brewing     Thornbridge     Tom's Tap & Brewhouse     Torrside     Track     Twisted Barrel     Verdant     Vibrant Forest     Wander Beyond     Watts & Co     Weird Beard     Wild Weather     Wilderness     Wylam     Bexar County  x  Offbeat     Thirst Class  x  Tickety Brew     Elusive  x  North Riding     Brewsmith  x     Rammy Craft     More TBC.   A bit of a change, eh? That's 37 breweries that weren't with us last year. With more to come.  The list isn’t complete yet. I was hoping it would be, but there'll be more. Breweries may drop out (I truly hope not), breweries/collabs may be added. And you’ll know additions when I do. Other than that "Surprise" cask, from hereon in, no more secrets.  We are immensely flattered that ALL of these fabulous breweries have seen fit to supply a beer. A BEER NEW TO MANCHESTER. That's not an easy thing to commit to for many of these breweries. So we are truly humbled that they have agreed to do this for us. We thank all of them  I’ve met a number of people who seem to think that – following how good last year was (and the change of venue) – that the tickets won’t last long at all. What I DO know, is that tickets ARE limited. And that we have people from Aberdeen to Brighton, Belfast to Suffolk telling me that they're coming along. Many of whom have never been before. They've heard from others. About this little beer celebration in an unheralded city in the shadow of a beer magnet of a big brother.  But this is a city on the up. Regenerating. Building. And over 5 years, WE'VE built something WE'RE rather proud of. A labour of love.  So. All that’s left for me to say is “Fancy coming to play”?  Tickets are available NOW. Via this   link  . There are also - by "popular demand" - a VERY limited number of "Weekend tickets" available. For all 5 sessions.    Before I go, ENORMOUS thanks to the following. Without whom we'd be up a certain creek without that famous paddle.       Andy H     eggs  - Design genius and best kind of egg. Without whom.....    Rob Hamilton &   Team Black Jack   - without whom......this event wouldn't be so "easy".    Malcolm Bastow of   Five Towns Brewery  . My Yorkshire rock. 3 times winner of Beer of this Festival. And a true "love".      Team Drumbeat   - For generously sponsoring our webby stuff.    Dave & Jen at   The Northern Type Beer Shop & Tap Room  - For generously sponsoring our lovely glassware    Phil & Rachel at   Otters Tears  Beer Co  - For generously agreeing to sponsor our programme    Paul & Cheryl at   Pictish Brewing   - Generously sponsoring the prettiest of beer event wallpaper    And all of the (former) PPE - they know - Without whom I'd have lost my marbles.   Drink Responsibly.  Back soon. Be kind to one another,  Jim x      

As always, each year, this event takes place only by the skin of its teeth. I’m a glass half empty type. Whatever can go wrong, etc. And this could all go to ratshit at anytime. It wouldn’t be ISBF otherwise.

But let’s be positive eh?

So. In just under 3 months, we open the front doors at Hemsley House at 6pm. What can you expect? Well. Some things the same, some things changed. The venue obviously. That’s a stunningly attractive given. But last year there was a moment where I thought “This is it. This is always what I wanted this event to be".

I can identify that moment. It was seeing Sean Ayling with his camera phone, videoing George Fell playing guitar. That man can play. So, I’m absolutely thrilled to say George will be performing again on the Saturday evening. I was shaking when I was told that. Honestly shaking.

We’ll also have live music on the Friday evening too, but I’m awaiting confirmation on that artist.

Mike will be back with his “Rebellious Jukebox”. I could have stayed in the keg room all event last year and just wallowed in sound. I love music more than beer. And Mike has had better taste than me for the *coughs* (insert number) of years I’ve known him. Why change a winning formula eh?

I can also say now, that we have a Charity that will receive ALL the profits from #ISBF5. We're proud to announce that that Charity is Start in Salford. (More to follow in a future webpost) They do brilliant work. And - importantly - they're local. And that matters to us.

I’ve lined up up presentations from two new breweries (one for the Friday evening, one for Saturday lunch). Breweries that the vast majority of you won’t know. One of which hasn’t put grain to water yet. But they want to come talk to you. Tell you about themselves and their plans. One from Lancashire, one from Yorkshire. Balance isn’t a dirty word here.

We’ve also got some beer coming.

The day I poured away (in year 2) a phenomenal amount of stunning beer, I knew. This event needed new beer. New beer to Manchester. We did precisely that in year 3. And we almost sold every drop. Someone I respect told me I couldn’t do that again. So I did. (I'm a contrarian) In year 4. And the vast increase in the amount of keg was matched by a thirst for it. You have to listen. You have to analyse the raw data. And understand.

So I did. 

I’ve tried. Hell have I tried. I didn’t think that I could outdo year 4. So...... Below is a list of the breweries you can expect at Hemsley House on 29th November.

I hope you like it.

I’ve stated – rather rashly – that there should be at least 5 breweries you won’t have tried on draught before. I’d like to think there’ll be more. Have a look below.

Cask :

Abbeydale
Bad Seed
Beatnikz Republic
Beer Nouveau
Black Jack
Blue Bee
Brass Castle
Brew York
Brewsmith
Cheshire Brewhouse
Five Towns x 2 (3 x Beer of the Event Winner!)
Five Towns x Rivington
Neptune
North Riding
Pictish
Pomona Island
Rammy Craft
Redwillow
Revolutions
SALT Brewing
Squawk
Surprise!
(All I will say here is, It’s not from the North of England!)
Thirst Class
Tigertops
Torrside x Runaway
Turning Point
Vocation
Wigan Brewhouse
Wilde Child
Wishbone

#EvilKegFilth :

Almasty
Beer Ink 
Bexar County 
Big Fish Brew Co
Black Iris
Black Lodge
Bone Machine
Brew By Numbers
Buxton

Chain House Brew Co
Cloudwater
Dead End Brew Machine
Elusive (1 x Beer of the Event Winner!)
Eyes Brewing
Fierce
Five Points
Hawkshead
Kernel
Korupted Brew Co
Left Handed Giant
Little Earth
Loka Polly
Lost & Grounded
Macc Brew Co
Magic Rock
Mallinsons
Marble
Mills Brewing
Mourne
Northern Alchemy
Northern Monk
Odyssey
Pilot
Rivington
Runaway
Shindigger

Six Degrees North
Sixth Day Brewing
Thornbridge
Tom's Tap & Brewhouse
Torrside
Track
Twisted Barrel
Verdant
Vibrant Forest
Wander Beyond
Watts & Co
Weird Beard
Wild Weather
Wilderness
Wylam
Bexar County x Offbeat
Thirst Class x Tickety Brew
Elusive x North Riding
Brewsmith x
Rammy Craft

More TBC.

A bit of a change, eh? That's 37 breweries that weren't with us last year. With more to come.

The list isn’t complete yet. I was hoping it would be, but there'll be more. Breweries may drop out (I truly hope not), breweries/collabs may be added. And you’ll know additions when I do. Other than that "Surprise" cask, from hereon in, no more secrets.

We are immensely flattered that ALL of these fabulous breweries have seen fit to supply a beer. A BEER NEW TO MANCHESTER. That's not an easy thing to commit to for many of these breweries. So we are truly humbled that they have agreed to do this for us. We thank all of them

I’ve met a number of people who seem to think that – following how good last year was (and the change of venue) – that the tickets won’t last long at all. What I DO know, is that tickets ARE limited. And that we have people from Aberdeen to Brighton, Belfast to Suffolk telling me that they're coming along. Many of whom have never been before. They've heard from others. About this little beer celebration in an unheralded city in the shadow of a beer magnet of a big brother.

But this is a city on the up. Regenerating. Building. And over 5 years, WE'VE built something WE'RE rather proud of. A labour of love.

So. All that’s left for me to say is “Fancy coming to play”?

Tickets are available NOW. Via this link. There are also - by "popular demand" - a VERY limited number of "Weekend tickets" available. For all 5 sessions. 

Before I go, ENORMOUS thanks to the following. Without whom we'd be up a certain creek without that famous paddle.

Andy Heggs- Design genius and best kind of egg. Without whom.....

Rob Hamilton & Team Black Jack - without whom......this event wouldn't be so "easy".

Malcolm Bastow of Five Towns Brewery. My Yorkshire rock. 3 times winner of Beer of this Festival. And a true "love".

Team Drumbeat - For generously sponsoring our webby stuff.

Dave & Jen at The Northern Type Beer Shop & Tap Room- For generously sponsoring our lovely glassware

Phil & Rachel at Otters Tears Beer Co - For generously agreeing to sponsor our programme

Paul & Cheryl at Pictish Brewing - Generously sponsoring the prettiest of beer event wallpaper

And all of the (former) PPE - they know - Without whom I'd have lost my marbles.

Drink Responsibly.

Back soon. Be kind to one another,

Jim x

 

 

Moving On Up

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Keeping secrets is very, very hard. Especially when those secrets are beer related. But I can keep secrets AND tease. I'm quite good at that (or so I'm told - by those wanting to know what I'm up to). But it's all good. I promise. And as anybody who has been here before knows, I keep my promises.

Leaving St Sebastian's is (I now realise) a game changer. Because, at St Sebastian's, a lot of the essential (yet unseen) stuff was done for me by Gerry Stone, the heart, the soul, the reason why this event exists. The Jiminy Cricket to my Pinocchio. H&S Assessments, Insurance, all the "boring" stuff. ALL dealt with. By Gerry. But we're no longer at St Sebastian's, so all of that boring "hidden" stuff takes time. But we're getting there.

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But like I said, that's the boring stuff. You don't want to know about that! What you want to know is BEER. And what you can see and all the things that directly impact on YOU. And rightly so.

So. Here we go with some information leakage. This year, in an effort to handle as little cash as possible (don't fret, you could still use cash at the venue if you like!) we've decided to do a little bundling of stuff, which means that the upfront cost of the ticket will increase. so, the ticket price for each session will be the same. £19.80 per ticket. We will also - for the first time - be able to take card payments for tokens/T-Shirts etc. Again, in an effort to minimise cash handling. For that £19.80, you get your entry, your glass (refundable should you wish), your programme & your first £10 of beer tokens.

It is a change. And I hope it doesn't put some off. We've kept it simple for four years, but we've kind of been forced to change things as we no longer control/possess the venue and have therefore lost certain facilities that we had.

That's one important bit done. The next? Beer

I've been quite overcome (and a little emotional) about the responses from the breweries that I've approached. ALL those that have responded have been positive, which kind of surprised me. There are a multitude of changes on the beer front, there had to be. Especially when it came to cask. 

Cask conditioned beer is where my heart lies. Northern cask conditioned beer. With a single notable exception this year (no, I'm NOT revealing that!), the cask line up will remain Northern in focus. However, we disposed (poured away) of 25% of the cask line up last year, whereas the keg virtually sold out. Which leads to the obvious conclusion.

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That being? Less cask, more #EvilKegFilth. I mean, I COULD run a beer festival just for ME. THAT would be cask. And dark. But who wants that? Judging by the amount of dark cask that gets poured away, not that many of you.

Last year, there were 40 cask lines and 34 keg. This year (subject to a potential slight variation) there will be 34 cask lines and approximately 55 keg. From 74 to almost 90 lines. We've certainly grown from 36 in Year 1!

Some breweries have dropped off the list, many more have joined it. That is no judgement on the beer. But decisions have to be made. And they are mine to make. Aim those brickbats in my direction.

My aim with this is to raise money for a worthwhile charity, this ISN'T for profit. I, Jim, make ZERO out of this. ALL profits have always gone to a good cause.

On the subject of the Charity, I think that we have decided one, but I'll leave that until 2nd September to announce. I've got meetings on that yet. But, it IS local. And a bloody good cause. I loved the fact that we helped St Sebastian's to keep on keeping on. But we have moved on.

I'm really unsure as to ancillary events. If something interesting springs to mind, I'll have a think. But this event has - for me - always been about the people. Relaxation. Comfort. And bloody fabulous beer.

I'm not saying we'll get everything right. We never do. I'm never totally happy. But it won't be for the want of trying. This could - of course - all go to rats**t at any moment. This event has teetered each and every year. Running smoothly is anathema. But I (Jim) am truly excited at the possibilities for this event. If not this year, then in future iterations. I'd LOVE Hemsley House to be our home - you'll get why when you come - as would the management of Hemsley House themselves.

What I promise is this. Almost 90 beers that you will not have drunk in the Manchester area. Many brewed exclusively for - or with - us. I stand by the statement that there should be at least 5 breweries that you won't have tried on draught. And - as I have said (and proven) on a number of occasions - I keep my promises.

This gets posted at 8pm. Exactly 4 weeks to the minute that tickets go on sale. I say this sincerely. And without any attempt at hype. If you want to come to Hemsley House between 29th November to 1st December, don't hold off. I'd hate you to miss out.

And remember, this stuff is meant to be fun

Be kind to one another.

Jim x

 

Fancy Some Fun?

 
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Hello. And welcome back!

Things are starting to move on a little bit with #ISBF5 and it's almost time to share plans with you!

But not quite. I wouldn't be the tease I am if I did that now, would I?

The last month or so have been spent variously in plotting and panic modes.

Plotting? Well. Beer, obviously. Contacting breweries who are new to us and dipping our toes in the water with collaboration ideas - one was put to me this very afternoon!

Panic? Because a little over two weeks ago I thought I was going to be writing a post scrapping the whole thing! Fortunately - at this moment - that's behind us and we look forward through beer goggles, trying to make this beer celebration as good as it can be.

We've also started strutting around beery events around the UK wearing the prettiest beer event t-shirt known to humankind. OK, to me at any rate.

So. What's the point of this interminable waffle?

Well.

Like last year, we'd like to have some fun with a few of you. A little launch bash as it were.

The plan is this. On Sunday 2nd September, from approximately 6pm, we “take over” the Sex Dungeon (aka The Brink) for a few hours. For some beery shenanigans. Which will (almost certainly) feature the following…

  • A one-off collaboration beer, brewed especially for the occasion!

  • Absolute first chance to buy tickets for #ISBF5!!

  • Chance to buy a special one-off - only available at the launch - T-shirt (it is a bit special….)!!!

  • Chance to hear me waffle about the breweries coming to Hemsley House!!!!

So. Whaddya say? Fancy it? A few hours in the Dungeon? Having a giggle? Getting the first intelligence about what's going to happen at #ISBF5?

If you do, tickets are seriously limited - after all, The Brink IS a Micro Pub - and are FREE!

Click on the link here.

See you on 2nd September!

Jim x

N.B. These tickets are severely limited. So, if you grab some, then find you can't come, please let me know via Twitter DM and I'll re-circulate.