I’ve lived in Didsbury for 30 something years and for the last six years we’ve celebrated that fact by going to the annual Didsbury Beer Festival. This year is the 6th and seemingly biggest of the festivals so far.
We ambled along on opening night, which just happened to be Halloween. Festival patrons (sounds posh that doesn’t it) were encouraged to dress up in their spookiest costumes for Halloween. Although most of the visitors (or patrons as I now somehow feel obliged to call them) were dressed reasonably normally, there was a decent group of zombies, witches, superheroes and spooks necking some of the 100+ ales available. There were ciders and perries too, as well as a couple of lagers for the ale intolerant.
Much as I would’ve loved to have sampled every drink available in the enormous marquee, I felt I owed it to my liver to moderate my intake for once. Ably assisting me was husband Hodge, fine ales aficionado and emergency carrier of the handbag. Together we sampled a mere 8 of the vast array of foamy drinkies on offer.
Here’s what we tried… (full list is available on the website)…
- Bollington Brewing Company – White Nancy
- Brightside Brewing Company – Manchester Skyline
- Chantry Brewery – Didsbury Festival Ale
- Dunham Massey – Chocolate Cherry Mild
- Fool Hardy Ales – Risky Blond
- Fyne Ales – Hurricane Jack
- Outstanding – Halloween
- RedWillow Brewery – Wreckless
I had two stand out favourites. The first being Halloween from the Outstanding Brewery. A cheeky little number, containing ginger, cinnamon and treacle. I only tried it because of its terrifyingly topical name, but my goodness, I’ve never, ever tried a drink that tasted like Parkin before. I need to get my sticky cake loving, beery mitts on some bottles of this beautiful beverage of gorgeousness.
My other favourite (so good we got a second one) was the Chocolate Cherry Mild from Dunham Massey. I love cherries so thought I’d give this a go, I wasn’t really expecting very much at all, thought it’d be some novelty awfulness but my giddy aunt, it was amazing. Even husband Hodge couldn’t get enough of it. Those two brews are definitely going on my Christmas list.
Lucky husband Hodge is off enjoying each remaining night of the festival. So no doubt he’ll work his way through most of the list. If what we tried was any indication, I’d say the beers were of a high standard and thoughtfully chosen for inclusion in the festival. There’s a huge range of ale styles available and something to suit all tastes.
There is food, entertainment and drink aplenty available throughout the festival, so get yourself down there. Sample some beers, vanquish any remaining vampires and have a great, social, community night out.
Didsbury Beer Festival runs 31st October – 2nd November at St. Catherine’s Social Club, School Lane, Didsbury, Manchester. Visit their website for more information.