Live Beer Blogging: NWAF

Today I'm at National Winter Ales Fest in Manchester and I'm planning on live blogging what I get up to...
I expect I'll soon get too caught up in beer to remember to update this, or failing that my phone battery will die. I'll probably update it when I get home again with any paper-based notes/ pics I take.
12:05 fair sized queue out in the drizzle but its beer time soon.

12:30 After finally getting Blogger to work on Android (had to revert to old interface as can't scroll on the new one) I can report that we secured seats right in front of the German beer bar. To start? A fresh fruh kolsch for her and an astringent and roasted Thwaites tavern porter for me. Off in search of some Hawkshead New Zealand Pale Ale now.

A sizeable crowd
12.55 buggerit, its all sold out. As is magic rock rapture so its a high wire for me. Pretty similar to the bottle on Tuesday but a bit more hop freshness in taste. Very enjoyable. A taste of Liverpool Organic Kitty Wilkinson Chocolate and Vanilla stout, like bristol beer factory chocolate and milk stouts combined.

13.20 FABPOW alert! Okells saison and...a banana! Fruity dry hay and slight spiciness complement richness of banana. Also tried Red Willow Wreckless. Starts off nice enough but a hint of butterscotch ruins it for me (Edit: seems it was a tired cask as tried fresh at "The Bar" in Chorlton it was a lovely drop). Other half is now on Josef Grief Weiss, very pale and cloudy with lemon and cloves. Lots of familiar faces behind the bars and spotted @tandleman on way in.

14:20 Turned to the dark side as recommended by Phil (@filrd) with Liverpool IRS. It's full of flavour but drinks nothing like its abv; Aecht Schlenkerla Eiche next. Smokey but so well balanced - like sweetcured maple smoked Bacon. A quick tsster of an 8% German IPA (not gunna pay £3 a third) proved a damp squib in comparison. 
We're now onto some Offbeat offerings. Way Out Wheat is full of aromatic white pepper and the IPA is as good as any I've tried. Time for a breather methinks
Offbeat Way out Wheat and Out of Step IPA
My takeaway selection
15:30 half an hour off, a purchase of a fuzzy logic book (mainly for cashback) and some bottled beers for takeaway then its back to the draught stuff. A Kirby Lonsdale jubilee stout for me and Red Willow Heartless for her. It's a lovely chocolate stout, dark chocolate, roast barley and a slight sourness work well together. Paired with 70% cocoa chili chocolate its even better. Time for some Shaws beers now if there're any left!

16:20 Reaching the end of the afternoon now and its a Red Willow Smokeless for the lady and Shaws quantum stout tor me. Both are delicious but the Red Willow just edges it. Shame the Stella IPA ran out, I love those peachy antipodean hops. 
Just bumped into Paul, husband of the brewster from Offbeat. There's a new tasty sounding beer coming up. 
Gunna have a final third each then head off to the Marble Arch I reckon. Im a sucker for puns so its Wessex Russian Stoat for me and continuing on the German theme its hacker-pschorr oktoberfest for the other half. (No more updates, need to preserve some battery to find where were booked to eat tonight! Will round it off next tues eve when I get home!)

19:30 at Zinc bar and Grill now. Just been via Marble Arch. Shared 9 cheese plate and 2011 special saison. CABPOM ALERT! Cocktail time now, Singapore Sling and Espresso Martini. They arrived after our food turned up; so we had them taken off the bill...bargain!

21:00 Arrived back at hotel and collapsed on bed.

Edit: Although it may make amusing reading I decided to tidy up the spelling on the post and add some pics. To sum up I really enjoyed the day, even though I only spent five hours in the festival I managed to get through a fair few beers. Best UK cask beer for me was the Out of Step IPA and best German beer had to be the Aect Schlenkerla Eiche (thanks Simon johnson for tweeting about it). I've since drunk all the bottled beers purchased on the day, but not going to blog about them as I didn't really make notes!

All that remains is to thank all of those who put their hard work into organising and staffing the weekend. I know how much effort it is to work at a beer festival and remain cheerful three days in and everyone did a sterling job.


  1. Steve Lamond on location

    1. hope you enjoyed the updates, will get this into better shape tomorrow+add some pics