On Yer Bike

In case you hadn’t heard, there is a small (not really) beer festival going on in Manchester at the moment. It’s either the first or the eighth, depending on who you ask. What’s not in dispute is that there are 300 craft (yes, they are calling them that) beers (that’s cask-conditioned, CAMRA approved real ale to me and you) and some 75 ciders and perries to choose from. It’s at the National Cycle Centre or the Velodrome as the ordinary folk call it. You can check all the details here.
                                                                             The Good
The venue: I like it. It’s light and airy and easy to get to. The central bar area makes it easy to get round all the beers and socialise. And the view of the cycling is awesome.
The beers: Plenty of choice and a good selection of ciders and perries.
                                                                              The Bad
The venue: The toilets are a Himalayan trek away. This combined with poor signage and communication led to several complaints about lack of disabled access. The lack of central seating didn’t help, either. The organisers have been working to address these issues, but it’s left a bitter taste for some.

The beers: Plenty of choice, but let’s be honest, plenty of fillers. And only CAMRA dogma would insist on putting gravity friendly strong ales on handpump at the expense of other beers.
                                                                           So should you go?
Of course, you’ll enjoy it. And you might even see me.

Top 3 newbies so far: Hand Drawn Monkey Smaller IPA, Weird Beard Decadence Stout, Ilkley Forbidden Fruit.


Cooking Lager said…
I do love a beardy piss up, they are usually a good crack. Pity I'm busy this year. There's always next year.
Curmudgeon said…
Beer festival. Inaccessible toilets. What could go wrong?
Steve Bolton said…
The toilet situation was a joke. You had to hold it in as long as possible and then dash or rather mountain climb for it. The number of people compalaining about it was incredible. the last place was a lot better.
Simon said…
Yes the disabled access left a lot to desire. Apparently there was assistance available and a lift but no way of knowing about it. I wouldn't go again.
Steph said…
We really enjoyed it. I think it's a lot better then the previous venue in terms of getting there and is lovely and bright inside. Yes the toilets aren't handy but none of our party complained. However, I did overhear a lot of grumbles but there is bound to be teething problems at any first event like this.
granata said…
A very enjoyable morning yesterday, despite the glaring problems with the venue already mentioned (toilets, seating) and general beer festival issue (too many beers lacking any condition).
There's space to have portaloos (and smoking area) on the lower level under the tunnel. This will surely have to be considered if the Velodrome is used again.
Lack of condition wasn't an issue will all beers though. Some were full of it, and could/should have been sparkled.
Thanks to the volunteers though, a great festival!
Andrew said…
Does anyone know how much the GMEX would cost for a festival, I suspect that it may be a bit too big?
Tyson said…
G-Mex, or Manchester Central as it is now, is way out of CAMRA's league to afford. One of the attractions of the Velodrome is that not only is it a better venue for setup than the Sherridan Suite, it's actually cheaper.
Barry said…
It was a bit of a mixed bag, I’d say. Easy to get to, yes, and a great looking venue. Not ideal in some other ways though. Apart from the toilets which can’t be helped, the lack of seating is an issue and the food is too far away as well. Why not move the book stall etc from the middle and put food stalls there? Also who ordered the beer? Plenty of choice at first look but far too many beers from the same brewery and far too many from the likes of Blakemere over far better breweries. I also agree the wrong beers were being put on hand pull. However with a little more planning next time I'm sure it can be all sorted

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