Wylam Q&A | IMBC 18

We recently caught up with Dave Stone of Wylam ahead of their steering the good ship Room 3 at IMBC 18 as official room sponsor. Wylam have been all guns blazing for quite the while and big players on the IMBC scene for years now. This year will see them toting more beers than ever at the festival and you will find Wylam pouring beers at ALL sessions in the pool in Room 3. Here’s what Dave has to say about it…

Ahoy Dave. We are excited to welcome Wylam to IMBC 18 as the sponsors of Room 3 AKA the party room. Can you let us in on any plans for the space?

Well we like to party… everybody does ;) So we are looking to make sure that the party room is well served with new brews and classics a bit like a liquid 6music I suppose.

Wylam are no strangers to beer festivals – either attending or putting on your own great spread in the shape of Craft Beer Calling. What makes a good beer festival?
A beer festival is made by the people who buy tickets and attend the festival. Without them it’s just a room full of foisty beer nerds comparing yeast strains. The reason we dived in to take over the pool this year is that we love the crowd at IMBC and we wanted to be able to pour as many great beers as possible for them.

The Palace of Arts! What a place! Can you tell us a little about the history of the building, how you came to inhabit it and what you guys offer there to visitors? 
The Palace was built in 1928 as part of the Great Exhibition of the North which was a World Trade fair designed to stimulate trade during the depression. It lay barren for many years prior to us taking it over and transforming it. We often wonder what the folk who attended the original exhibition would think if they saw how the building has been repurposed. It’s an incredible Grade II listed building in a beautiful park in the City Centre and we are honoured to be custodians of this amazing space.

By The River! We’ve heard rave reports but have yet to dip our beak. What’s going on over there? Sounds wild! 
By The River Brew Co is a project that has been developed by two of our Directors. It’s a separate entity to Wylam. It is indeed wild with a 15 barrel brewhouse, tap room, open flame restaurant, custom build bike shop which serves coffee and brunch plus an amazing street food market that opens at weekends. The idea is to brew beers mainly for site so we can ensure they are served fresh and in their best condition. You can find out more HERE.

Wylam have been producing some fantastic beers recently and have been at the forefront of the UK’s quality pale output. What beers are you particularly proud of from the past 12 months? 
To be honest there isn’t one particular beer or beers we would say we are prouder of than others. It took us a little time to dial the new kit however once we did we were super proud of all our output.

Collaborations – you have been very busy lately. Your Northern Powerhouse series went down a storm – are there plans for this to become a regular thing? What are some of the biggest positives of collaborating with peers?
The Northern Powerhouse series was a really exciting project to lead out on. It was such a pleasure to bring some of the finest brewers in the region to our home and collaborate with them in this celebration of all thing ‘northern’. Whether it will happen again is still to be decided. The biggest positives from collabs are knowledge sharing, breaking bread together and of course going on the lash after the brew.

Can you tease us with any special beers you’ve got up your sleeve for IMBC 18? 
We would love to… but we haven’t designed some of them yet :) There will be a good mix of exclusives, classics and collabs. along with some stuff we keep locked away in Ben our Head Brewers dungeon. If he asks you to go down there by the way just say no ;)

What’s next for Wylam?
What’s next is what is past and present. Continue to make beers the best we can and to get them out to inquisitive pallets. It’s the best time in history for beer… so let’s party.
Lastly, any advice to visitors to the festival on where to head in Manchester before/after their session? 

To be honest when we attend IMBC we tend to stay within the festival but there is an abundance of great beer bars in the city so free your mind and your ass will follow.

Cheers Dave!

Follow Wylam online wherever you can. They have a website! They have a twitter! They have an instagram! Go visit Wylam in Newcastle and come drink their beer in October in Victoria Baths!

IMBC 18 / 4th-7th October 2018. Victoria Baths, Manchester
Tickets for Thursday 4th, Friday 5th day session, and Sunday 7th October are available HERE

Magic Rock Q&A | IMBC 18

We are none more excited to welcome back Magic Rock to IMBC as the glass sponsor of this year’s festival alongside Beer Merchants. Find Magic Rock pouring at EVERY session of IMBC 18. We spoke to Marisa and Duncan from Magic Rock to see what’s happening…

Hello Marisa and Duncan! We are excited to have Magic Rock as the glass sponsors at IMBC 18 this year alongside Beer Merchants. Your designer Rich Norgate has collaborated on the glass artwork with the person behind our IMBC branding, Steve Hockett. Your glassware is always on point – how important is the right vessel?

Marisa: Well, thank you very much, our designer Rich Norgate does a great job. We are always really happy when we get good feedback from the beer community. Great glassware always improves the drinking experience

Duncan: The right vessel is important for the correct ‘mouth movement’, I’ve always believed beer tastes different with different mouth shapes, I’m all about the stout pout at the current moment.

Magic Rock are back at IMBC for all sessions this year after occupying our bar Common for the IMBC Fringe last year. What can punters expect from the return of Magic Rock at Victoria Baths this time around? Any exciting plans you can talk about?

Marisa: All I’ll say is that we missed it so much that you won’t be disappointed for what we have instore this year.

Duncan: Its been a bit like Glastonbury, we let the cattle have a rest last year, so the pastures are now greener and we have fuller bellies ready to be milked.

Magic Rock’s setup at IMBC 2014!

Sesh Fest! What a premise. A great time was had by all. Do you have plans to repeat the festival and what else is going on down at the Tap these days?

Marisa: We definitely plan on SeshFest making an appearance in 2019.

Ah, there is always something going down at the Tap. Particularly over the next few months, a lot of exciting things are happening; the Rainbow Project Launch in our taproom, gigs by local musicians and tap takeovers. Verdant just took over our taps and it was a great night! We also just had our annual Food and Drink Festival and it was a great time.

Duncan: we are planning to double the Sesh on one day now, so splitting it into two session, so we might re-brand as Double Sesh Fest? Maybe?

Given that you are lords of the Sesh Fest, do you have any advice to attendees on how to approach their chosen session at IMBC?

Marisa: Everyone has a different definition of what a ‘session’ is and how they approach it, so giving advice can be a little challenging. To us, a good session means something a little bit more than just drinking beer, it has a sense of community tied to it.

There was one comment I overheard at SeshFest that really stood out… “What makes a good session is the people around you.” As tasty as beer can be, nothing competes being in good company when out on the sesh.

Duncan: Shandy or Radlers, in pints.

Marisa in the house

Speaking of sessions, low ABV pales are all the rage these days and we are enjoying riding that wave! Your recent Micromachine collaboration with Northern Monk was a smash hit. Have you found that drinkers are turning to flavourful low ABV beers in favour of their higher strength DIPA brethren?

Marisa: Yeah, I think drinkers are turning to low ABV, flavourful beers although I still love a 8.5% DDH NEIPA.

Duncan: Yep I can’t drink any above 5% these days, gives me a ‘hops flush’.

We know you guys are no strangers to Manchester – any tips for festival goers over IMBC weekend?

Marisa: Get to Idle Hands before or during the sesh for a coffee and get to Siop Shop for the most wonderful breakfast sandwich you will have ever eaten. Oh wait, and Siop Shop does vegan donuts?! It’s a must. (Ed: backing this 100% and you might always find said duo at IMBC 18…)

Duncan: Oasis Café, Fab Café, This and That, Corn Exchange (bootleg tape basement) and the Arndale. (Ed: Follow This & That on Facebook and thank me later) 

Cheers! Any parting words?

Marisa: See you at Indyman 2018.

Duncan: Live well and work safe.

Duncan entering the house

Follow Magic Rock everywhere on the internet and drink them dry at IMBC 18.

IMBC 18 / 4th-7th October 2018. Victoria Baths, Manchester
Tickets for Thursday 4th, Friday 5th day session, and Sunday 7th October are available HERE




…And that was IMBC 17. We’ve just about brushed the IMBC cobwebs out of our hair. Each year it takes a little time to adjust to life outside of Victoria Baths. This year is no exception. We’re about back to operating at full battery so figured it was a good time to recap with a few thank yous to the people that made IMBC 17 what it was.

First up, we’d like to thank THE BEER. It’s the thing that brings us all together and some outstanding beer was brought to Victoria Baths this year. We hope that you enjoyed the offering across the long weekend – there were so many highlights, and we are believe the beer list was the strongest to date.

And what would beer be without THE BREWERS? The breweries that joined us at IMBC 17 elevated proceedings above and beyond. One of the most important things about IMBC, for us, is having the brewers on hand to chat beer – thanks to everyone from the breweries that came to Indy Man from far and near.

But what would beer be without THE DRINKERS? A massive thank you to EVERYBODY that came along to Victoria Baths. It’d just be a series of empty swimming pools full of beers without you…it would be eerie. We hope you enjoyed your time at the festival. Please do let us know if you have any feedback – we are always looking to improve, each year we hopefully get wiser as how to make things better, and it would be great to hear if you have any suggestions. You can email us with feedback HERE.

Photograph by Jody Hartley

VOLUNTEERS! You are my lifeblood. Thank you to everybody that volunteered at IMBC 17. Your hard work is very much appreciated by the festival organisers, the breweries, and festival goers. We hope it was an enjoyable experience and that you got the most out of it.

STEVE HOCKETT! AKA Wonder Room Studio! Thank you for doing such a great job on designing what we looked like this year – we loved the poster, we loved the merchandise. Hope you’ll have us again next year. In the meantime, everyone get Steve to do them stuff! He draws good! Whilst we’re on a visual tip, thank you Pascal Nichols for designing the Thirsty Games trophy this year!

Photograph by Jody Hartley

PATRICK CAVANAGH! Do you hear me! Massive thanks to Patrick for designing the app for IMBC single handed. It is our very first app and Patrick went above and beyond to make sure it was geared towards the wants and needs of IMBC goers – so we hope you enjoyed it. Patrick was a pleasure to work with and made our job, of updating beer lists, a lot easier (and more fun!) than it has been in the past.

COLLABORATORS! Thank you all the breweries that we collaborated with on beers for IMBC 17 ~ Fourpure, Dry & Bitter, Six Degrees North, Brew By Numbers, Track, and Partizan. Some tasty drops were yielded.

FRINGE PLAYERS! Thank you to all the bars across Manchester that put on great events during IMBC. If you’d like to get involved with the IMBC fringe next year just drop us a message!

Photograph by Jody Hartley

IMBC 17 was kindly supported by our SPONSORS. This year the room sponsors really made their spaces their own and they were a pleasure to work with – seriously, I didn’t have to tell them to tidy their rooms once. Eternal thanks! A quick word on each…

FOURPURERoom 1 – You literally brought a box of tricks to IMBC in the shape of your custom built bar! Now you’re done with it, can I put it in my garden with a never-ending tap of Juicebox attached? A thousand thank yous for bringing so much colour to the first pool.

Photograph by Jody Hartley

CLOUDWATERRoom 2 – For their second year as sponsor of the middle baths at IMBC (there’s a pool under the floor, believe) Cloudwater did a great job. Outside of the beer, Cloudwater’s grime megamix soundtrack was a highlight on Saturday evening. Thank you for bringing your friends Forest & Main to the festival too – so much fond feedback on their beer across the board!

SIRENRoom 3 – our collective tongues were a-wagging when we first clapped eyes on Siren’s insane beer list for IMBC 17. They pulled out ALL the stops to make party room (Room 3) their very own for the duration – never a dull moment. Awesome show, great job!

Photograph by Jody Hartley

BUXTONGreen Room – Wowee zowee. We could never have anticipated in the early years of IMBC that the Green Room would one day become an ice cream parlour. And not just any ice cream parlour…a BEER ice cream parlour. Buxton blew us away this year, and YOU by all accounts. Flawless victory.

LERVIGTurkish Baths – When I first stepped inside Lervig’s Turkish Baths I actually gasped. They transformed the space with their artwork and then continued the sensory assault with an immaculate beer list. It was a delight to house Lervig for their first year as IMBC sponsor – consistently one of the most exciting breweries out there.

Photograph by Jody Hartley

BEAVERTOWNPineapple Room – Team Beaver assumed their ultimate form once more this IMBC with a sprawling beer list full of rarities and new favourites. As always they made their chosen space their very own with Beavertown artwork galore, and disco feels-a-many. Beavertown proved their reach when they opened the floodgates to accepting pineapples in exchange for mystery B-town gifts…you might say they received a few.

NORTHERN MONK – Food Village –  custodians of our outdoor arena, Northern Monk, ruled with an iron fist (bump) at IMBC 17.  It was Patrons Project overload in their tent as they wheeled out hit after hit from the Northern Monk stable. This Leeds lot are no stranger at hosting a party (HELLO Dark City, we are excited) so it was great to have them in the mix as room sponsor again this year.

WILD BEERFood Village – lastly, but not leastly, those cheese wheel wielding wild beer enthusiasts, WILD BEER, transformed their food village tent into a chesterfield-rich enclave of sophistication. A civilised escape from the madding crowds…until you realised that when the lights went down, this crowd got pretty madding too. Thank you Wild Beer for bringing the party, and the oh so many loved beers to IMBC 17.

I could go on.

So I will.

Thank you to those SPONSORS that supported IMBC 17 across the festival. Namely…

Photograph by Jody Hartley

BEER MERCHANTS – IMBC Glass Sponsors – you did a tip-top job of carrying beer throughout IMBC 17…both in glass form, and in your Beer Merchants on site bottle shop. Much appreciated!

SIMPLY HOPS – Official Brewer Mother and T-Shirt Supporter – thank you for looking after the talent (brewers) with your top secret brewers lounge, and for making us look snazzy with our IMBC t-shirts.

KEGSTAR – Official Keg Partner – I have a dream that one day all breweries will use Kegstar’s eco-friendly and super efficient service, and you know what, a good many are doing it. Thank you Kegstar for the support.

LALLEMAND – Thirsty Games supporter – Yeast unit Lallemand continued to support The Thirsty Games, our competition to find the best up and coming breweries, at IMBC 17 for the second year. We are really pleased to work with Lallemand and to experience their passion for great beer firsthand!

Photograph by Jody Hartley

BEER ADVENTURES – Beer Mat supporter – It was a pleasure to work with Beer Adventures as they launched their beer city guide app, we wish them the best of luck in the future – and hope you use the Beer Adventures app to guide you on your beer-y way.

TELCOM – App and Wifi Supporter – the connection was strong with this one at IMBC 17. They boosted the signal at Victoria Baths so much that I thought my phone was plugged directly into the main vein. You can help me check my twitter anytime, Telcom!

Photograph by Jody Hartley

And a rip-roaring thanks goes to…

VICTORIA BATHS. It’s such a joy holding an event in such a brilliant building that is run by excellent people. Thank you once more for accommodating IMBC in such a facilitating fashion, big love Martin and co. You do a fine, fine job.

Photograph by Jody Hartley

Lastly, THANK YOU to all the food vendors (Blawd, Karkli, Holy Crab, Pollen, In Truffle We Trust, Honest Crust, Nasi Lemak, Al Pastor Paul, Patty Smith’s, Dim Sum Su, Chaat Cart, Great North Pie), non-beer pourers (Idle Hands, Square Root, Hogan’s Cider, Three Rivers Gin, water), DJs (Pica~Sounds, SMS, Swing Ting, Dance Lady Dance, Jeff O’Toole, Aficionado), musical acts (Wizard King, Elle Mary and the Bad Men, Secret Admirer, Wedding, Super Mario), speakers and tasting-leaders (too many to list but you know who you are!), and entertainers. IMBC is always so much more than a beer festival to us, and you all helped to complete the party. Big thank yous to everyone that worked with us on IMBC and helped us to deliver the festival this year. Special thanks to Will from Cave Direct who is a great forklift truck driver, FACT.

To anyone we forgot to thank, we’re sorry! This thing got a bit long…and no wonder. Lot of thankings to dish out, eternally grateful to all!

See you next year!

Photograph by Jody Hartley

IMBC 17 Fringe

Thursday 28th September – Sunday 1st October 2017

At IMBC time each year we like to lay on a few outer Victoria Baths experiences to get you in the beery mood. This year we are exciting to announce that we have the following events happening at our bars. As ever we wanna throw the net wider and get some great beer happenings going on city-wide that you can enjoy before and after IMBC – if you’re a pub / bottle shop / other and you want us to include your event in our programming, get in touch!

Meanwhile, here’s what we’ve got going on so far…

Rarities, classics and new classics wall to wall across cask and keg from master brewers and blenders, Burning Sky.

Huddersfield honchos Magic Rock bring a bag of tricks to Common for back to back Magic cask and keg. Expect tastings, new releases, rare batches, artwork, food specials and the unexpected.

Weird Beard bring the immaculate haul to The Pilcrow for a four day showcase of all things Weird. Newbies, golden oldies, pop-up tastings, specials galore.

Bakewell’s always excellent Thornbridge make tracks to The Beagle in Chorlton for the long weekend to provide the ultimate offering of essential cask and keg. All the stone cold classics will be there alongside rarities, Thornbridge food specials, pop-ups and much more.

Artwork by David Bailey

Got your ticket to the big dog yet? IMBC 17 wants YOU (to attend). Thursday 28th September and Sunday 1st October are the only dates that remain. Pick up your tickets HERE!

IMBC 17 Tickets

Tickets for IMBC 17 (Thursday 28th September – Sunday 1st October 2017 at Victoria Baths) will go on sale on Wednesday 24th May 2017 from 9pm on this very website. I know, I could hardly believe it either.

See you here!

IMBC 16 The Thirsty Games breweries

A few months back we made a call out to nano/cuckoo brewers (operating professionally on a sub 2bbl capacity) to submit their beers for a new initiative at IMBC 16, The Thirsty Games. The idea being to feature smaller breweries and represent their beers at IMBC alongside the modern greats in the brewing world. A good thing for the brewers and hopefully a good thing for you, the IMBC goer, in terms of sampling fresh beer from fresh breweries.

Of the entrants, of which there were many (and of a very good standard), we whittled down the breweries to a top three. The following three breweries will make up the first Thirsty Games at IMBC 16. We are asking the chosen Thirsty Games breweries to bring what they think are their best beers to IMBC.

At the festival you are encouraged to sample the Thirsty Games range and vote, via twitter or traditional ballot box, for your favourite brewery from The Thirsty Games bar. We’ll also be getting a little input from brewers at IMBC. The chosen one will be announced winner of The Thirsty Games 2016.

Here are your Thirsty Games breweries, find them pouring every session at IMBC on The Thirsty Games bar…

Brewing out of Mare Street in the basement of The Old Cock, London.

Leeds based micro brewery specialising in the production of big, bold and hard hitting bottled and kegged beers that make you think about what you drink.

A small 1BBL cuckoo brewery based in Leek, Staffordshire but brewing out of Torrside Brewing. Fivecloud focus on brewing seasonal, forward thinking beers in keg and cask.

fivecloudwwwSee you at The Thirsty Games bar!


Aficionado at IMBC 16 / Sunday

We ain’t just beer at IMBC. Each year we look to provide some immaculate pairings to your immaculate tilting. This year we are delighted to welcome back Aficionado to steer the good ship Sunday 9th October with a delectable showcase. Here’s what they have lined up for you at IMBC 16. Hone in on the links to have a listen to what’s forthcoming…

Aficionado Recording’s Moonboots and Boardman once again host the legendary Sunday Session at IMBC this year and they follow up their previously memorable sessions with another specially curated line up.

James Holroyd requires no introduction for his long and distinguished career as a DJ, holding down a residency at Back to Basics for over 25 years and being the go to guy for support services for the esteemed Chemical Brothers.
He’s also been carefully honing his own production skills releasing a bevy of beautiful singles under his Begin moniker.
Popping his live cherry with a much loved Begin live performance at the Love International Sunrise Sessions in Tisno Croatia earlier this year we’ve managed to coerce him into a further performance exclusively for IMBC in support of his forthcoming album.     
Melbourne production wiz and friend of Nado Len Leise touches down in Manchester for his inaugural visit to the city, those familiar with his Landscape language single for Aficionado Recordings and his LP Lingua Franca for International Feel will enjoy a rare opportunity to get lost in his tribal ambience, joining him will be Disko Bizarro DJ partner Salvador. The pair are briefly in the EU to launch their new label-not-label General Purpose with fresh records due out on the imprint from each of them in the coming months.

Tickets for the Sunday 9th October 2016 (1pm-7pm) session are available HERE

Volunteers Wanted!

Two weeks to go until IMBC commences & we are still on the lookout for volunteers at this year’s festival. If you, or anyone you know, is interested then please get in touch. Check out what you get as a volunteer at IMBC in the attention grabbing poster below.

Email us on [email protected]