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.
Five Towns x 2 (3 x Beer of the Event Winner!)
Five Towns x Rivington
Surprise! (All I will say here is, It’s not from the North of England!)
Torrside x Runaway
Big Fish Brew Co
Brew By Numbers
Chain House Brew Co
Dead End Brew Machine
Elusive (1 x Beer of the Event Winner!)
Korupted Brew Co
Left Handed Giant
Lost & Grounded
Macc Brew Co
Six Degrees North
Sixth Day Brewing
Tom's Tap & Brewhouse
Watts & Co
Bexar County x Offbeat
Thirst Class x Tickety Brew
Elusive x North Riding
Brewsmith x Rammy Craft
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.
Back soon. Be kind to one another,