By way of a review of my trip to the recent Indy Man Beer Con…
Pro: Extensive selection of interesting and often limited edition beers.
Con: Hard to find a session strength beer + if you discover something heavenly there’s a good chance it might never be available again.
Pro: Historic venue, many interesting design features, a joy to behold.
Con: Food stalls being outside (this year) so having to run the gauntlet of smokers if you wanted to get a bite to eat.
Pro: It’s in Manchester – a vibrant and interesting city.
Con: It’s in Manchester – a five hour train journey from Paignton.
Pro: You’ll run into lots of beery friends and brewers.
Con: You’ll end up staying out later than you intended.
Pro: The tokens are like pocket money or fruit machine winnings – and that’s sort of charming.
Con: If you don’t want to buy £10 worth the men on the token stall snarl at you somewhat.
Pro: Discovering breweries and trying new beers.
(My beer of the festival was Almasty Brewing Co’s Black IPA (6.1%) which gave me a lovely hit of leafy-grapefruity-blackcurranty hops breaking like a wave on my tongue and left rich, dark chocolatey coffee flavour behind, like two beers in one glass; runner up Northern Monk Brew Co’s Pear & Hawthorn Wit – juicy, fresh pears with a restrained balancing cereal aftertaste – disappointed to hear this was its final outing (see first con above).
Con: Printed beer lists weren’t available this year, everything was listed online only.
Pro: Multiple sessions featuring different beers daily.
Con: Missing out on beers you’d like to try if you’re only able to go to one session.
The above is meant to be a bit tongue in cheek by the way. I enjoyed my trip to Indy Man Beer Con – on the Thursday night – but found it much noisier and hectic than my Sunday visit a couple of years ago and I preferred the Sunday vibe. I still wish I could have stayed longer and gone back over the weekend though! And despite the lack of session beers and other traditional British styles I’d still say IMBC is one of the most important events on the beer scene at the moment.