indy man beer con

Enter The Thirsty Games 2020


The Thirsty Games is IMBC’s competition to find the best small and upcoming breweries operating in the UK today. This year will be the fifth year of The Thirsty Games.

From nationwide submissions we will pick the best three entrants to present as The Thirsty Games 2020 finalists. A public vote, alongside an industry panel, will decide the winner of The Thirsty Games 2020.

In previous years, The Thirsty Games bar has been a focal point of the physical festival at Victoria Baths. This year, with IMBC 2020 not happening in its usual guise due to COVID-19, public voting will assume a new normal form. In the next months we will look to provide you with options to sample The Thirsty Games finalists. Stay tuned for updates.

The winner of The Thirsty Games 2020 will receive prizes from Thirsty Games supporters Lallemand, Yakima Chief Hops, and Simpsons Malt. Basically all the ingredients you need to make great beer, from three of the greatest suppliers around. The winner will also become a featured brewery at IMBC 2021. A prize fund and further incentives will also be bestowed upon the crowned brewery.

Previous Thirsty Games winners are ÖL Brewery (now Ventile Brew Co, 2019), Liquid Light (2018), Burning Soul (2017), and Fivecloud Brew Co (2016). Thirsty Games alumni includes Donzoko, Yonder, Little Earth Project, Affinity Brew Co, Wilde Child,  Maregade,  Cellar Boys, and Vault City.


Use this FORM if the below criteria applies. 


The entrants should be 10bbl single brew length or under in size, or a brewery operating on a cuckoo basis in the UK.

The entrants should have been producing beer for less than 24 months.

The entrants should have their beer on general sale and be duty paid.


We want to sample your A-game beers. Send us your most interesting and creative samples.

Send a minimum of two cans / bottles per beer entered. Please send no more than three different beers.



All samples must reach Port Street Beer House, 39-41 Port Street, Manchester M1 2EQ by 1st September 2020.

The chosen three Thirsty Games finalists will be announced shortly afterwards.

Thank you and good luck!


Liquid Light | Thirsty Games 2018 Winners Q&A

As we near IMBC 19 and the reveal of The Thirsty Games 2019 brewery line up, we catch up with Liquid Light ~ the winners of The Thirsty Games 2018…

Congratulations on winning The Thirsty Games 2018! How was your experience pouring at the festival? 

Thank you! We had the most amazing time at the festival! We’ve been attending the festival for years now as punters so it was a real honour to be pouring our own beer!

How was the response – both from the public and industry – to you winning the competition?

Immense! The day after it was announced we had won, our stock was decimated! It definitely helped our exposure nationwide too, getting a win from such a highly regarded event as IMBC. From the general public, it was also great to get direct feedback from people trying and enjoying our beers at the festival. From an industry perspective, we met so many incredible people brewing outstanding beers over the weekend. We’re now lucky enough to call many of them friends and have taken part in some awesome collaborations over the past year.

Was there a particular beer that you brought to IMBC 18 that you feel brought the trophy home?

IMBC was one of the first showcases of our Blueberry Gose ‘Cosmik Debris’ which we are really proud of and sold very quickly over the course of the weekend! It has now become Grace’s favourite of all the beers we brew!

You recently collaborated with fellow Thirsty Games alumni Donzoko and Yonder – can you tell us about that beer and it was like sharing the Thirsty Games bar with those two in 2018? 

Meeting Reece from Donzoko and Stuart and Jasper from Yonder was great. At the festival, before the result was announced we all agreed that we should meet up for a collaboration brew. Doing a brew with them was a real melting pot of ideas as we all brew such different beer and all have our own specialities. In the end, we settled on a continental red ale using foraged gooseberries and pineapple weed, and fermented with a mix of saison and wine yeast. We’ve just released a small amount of the brew as a clean, unsoured version and will be putting the rest of the brew in red wine barrels! We can’t wait for you to try it!

OH…was there anything else interesting that happened at IMBC 18 that wasn’t strictly beer related? 

WE GOT ENGAGED! Even before we started brewing, IMBC was a trip we made together, so it seemed like the perfect setting to pop the question on the balcony overlooking Room 1.

What is your current brewing setup and what are your plans for the future?

We are still cuckoo brewing 10bbl batches at the moment but hope to have our own place and tap room in the not too distant future!

Tell us about your oil projections and how they compliment your beer

Our name and all of our artwork is based on the psychedelic liquid light projections which started appearing in the 1960s. We’ve always had a deep love of the music and artwork of the 60s and 70s so it was just the natural direction our branding went in. We use a unique blend of oils and dyes mixed with water, projected through vintage equipment. Photos of these projections then become the base for each design.

Where can we find Liquid Light beers?

Far and wide! Since IMBC we’ve exported, however closer to home we have great customers in most major cities. In our hometown, we even have some permanent lines installed in a few pubs!

How is the Nottingham beer scene? Where should visitors to the city head?

We love Nottingham and are so proud to call it our home! It also helps we have so many amazing breweries making delicious beers and everyone is so friendly. Our recommendations for anyone visiting the city centre would be the Canalhouse, Barley Twist, Junkyard & Brew Cavern to name just a few!

Thanks for taking the time, we look forward to seeing you at every session of IMBC 19!

Burning Sky Q&A | IMBC 18

This year at IMBC, Burning Sky sponsor Room 2 – the central space at Victoria Baths. This Burning Sky’s first year as room sponsor and this means you’ll find Burning Sky at the helm of Room 2 with a host of their beers pouring at each and every session. We spoke to head brewer Mark Tranter about their plans for IMBC 18 and Burning Sky goodness in general…
Hello Mark! We are very excited to have Burning Sky as the sponsor of Room 2 at IMBC 18. What are you looking forward to bringing to the space? And can you can give us any teasers on any special beers that you will be bringing? 
Obviously we are super excited to be sponsoring IMBC this year – it ties in nicely with our 5th Birthday celebrations. We will be bringing a snazzy bar with a nice café vibe for people to be able to relax in and around. We will be pouring some special beers, including our first coolship release, vertical tastings of Anniversaire, the only keg ever of a single barrel Blackberry aged Provision and the debut of a couple of brand new beers. Amongst other things…
You’re coming up to your 5th birthday (only 13 more years before you can drink your beer!) – congratulations. Time flies but also Burning Sky have put out so many great beers in that duration, it’s hard to think of a time that Burning Sky weren’t on the UK scene. You’ve got a birthday shindig at the Prince Albert in Brighton – what’s happening? 
I guess we started brewing just as the UK beer scene was really stepping up a notch – so in some ways it does seem like we’ve been around that bit longer than we have. For our Birthday, we are organising a small party/ beer festival at our favourite pub in Brighton, The Prince Albert. It’s a thank you to them and to everyone who has supported us over the years – so it’s a free event. Here there will be some extra bars in the pub, serving beer from some of the best UK brewers, friends and people that inspire us, the full details can be found here.

As you move into the second half of your first decade, what are your hopes and dreams for the future of Burning Sky?  
That’s a tough question! Time moves so fast – and nowhere faster than in this ‘craft’ beer world. I guess I just want us to continue down this path that we have started forging, being true to our ethos, whilst continuing to improve our beers through constant learning. Obviously, as we get older, our barrel library expands, which in turn allows us to release more things.
As you are so renowned for your saisons, blends and wilder ales, I think sometimes people forget that Burning Sky also produce some outstanding IPAs and pale ales. Do you ever feel that or are your pales (cask, keg, bottles) actually right up there in terms of actual real-life demand?
That’s kind of you to say! Obviously we are so proud that people like our saisons etc – we certainly do! I think that people who know about our pales and IPAs, love them for the same reason that we do they are full flavoured in terms of being hop forward but also balanced and really drinkable. We love pales that leave you wanting another, rather than them being a chore to get through. Are they up there? Well we never have any stock, so I guess they are!
Are there any particular styles you are focusing on expressing in the future? What’s left for Burning Sky! Tell us about your coolship…
We will continue in our way – I feel like there is so much variation and nuances in the beers we do, so it will be more exploration of these with our ‘house style’. With the coolship, we are releasing our first beer from this on the 5th anniversary of our first ever brew, 29th September. There will be a small National launch on that day with the beer pouring in Manchester for the first time at IMBC (bottles will be available at the Beer Merchants shop there too).
So now we are happy with the results we are seeing, we can step it up a gear in terms of production. This will be made easier insofar as we will be taking on another building next year, to house all our barrels. Big enough for us to really grow into.

Burning Sky resides in Firle – midway between Brighton and Eastbourne – how is the brewing scene down there? Any peers blazing a trail that we should watch out for? 
Historically, there hasn’t been much action in terms of modern style breweries but that is changing slowly with the likes of Gun Brewery (who have been going a couple of years now), some others are starting up, like ‘Good Things Brewing’, ‘Lost Pier’, ‘Lost and Found’ etc. Then obviously we have Harveys, who we all love and are finding new favour with modern beer aficionados.
What makes a good beer festival? 
Good people – obviously! Good beer – obviously! Organisation – I think it’s easy for people from the outside looking in to underestimate how much goes into these things. A nice venue always adds to the attraction – gone are the days of a municipal hall!
Any favourite memories from IMBC 17 / Burning Sky’s fringe takeover at Port Street Beer House? Unfortunately we couldn’t duck out of Victoria Baths to check that out but heard it was top notch! 
We were really pleased with the beers we managed to rustle up for that! I think my favourite moment was getting the Barrel aged, bretted IPA that we brewed with Harveys on the bar – it tasted amazing and was a perfect marriage of old and new!

Thanks Mark!

IMBC 18 
4th – 7th October 2018
Tickets for Thursday and Sunday sessions remain. Buy yours HERE.

Beer Merchants Q&A | IMBC 18

Beer Merchants are back at IMBC once more this year – as joint sponsors of our Food Village tent with Lervig, and as glass sponsor alongside Magic Rock. We spoke to Luke at Beer Merchants about what you can expect from their extensive treasure trove at IMBC 18…

Beer Merchants are taking over one of our Food Village tents alongside your good friends Lervig. Can you tell us a little about what you’ll be bringing to the space?
We will be bringing an all-star line-up of bottles, cans & merch to takeaway. From the best of the UK, fresh American imports, new releases from Europe and of course, a good Belgian selection. Expect fresh IPAs, lots of lambic and a healthy dose of imperial stouts for good measure. Since we’re sharing the space with Lervig we’ll have a bit of focus on their specials too but keep an eye out for their Crowler filler to take home whatever tasty draught beer they have on.

Unit 101 in Manchester and the Beer Merchants Tap in London are fast becoming must-attend venues for fans of great beer. What can visitors expect at either location when they step inside Beer Merchants’ inner sanctum? 

Much the same as our online experience, we pride ourselves on bringing the very best beer from all over the world, in a welcoming and relaxed environment. A 300 strong beer list could be kind of daunting, but we have a great team on hand to make sure people find the perfect beer for them and enjoy their visit. We have moved our trade warehouse from Northwestern Street in Manchester so 101 will unfortunately be closing soon but plans are afoot to replace it with a much better space.

With Beer Merchants at IMBC the takeout options for attendees are always incendiary – what do you have up your sleeves this year? Any rarities you can talk about? Lower strength beers might also be a good shout – what low ABV numbers are you excited about at the moment?
IMBC is very fortunate as it kicks off just after our 2nd Cantillon shipment of the year comes in, so there will always be a great selection of lambic in attendance. We also work closely with loads of what we consider the best breweries around the world, so expect fresh Lervig, Garage, Collective Arts & more on the import side. A little closer to home we will also have all the latest releases from Magic Rock, Northern Monk, Cloudwater, Lost & Grounded etc so something for every palate.
Session beers are a hugely important part of the drinking culture in the UK and something we always keep in good stocks. We are all really enjoying House Party from our friends Lervig at the moment – a 4% juicy pale ale hopped with Citra & Bru-1. This has also been the summer of Keller Pils at Beer Merchants HQ. Lost & Grounded have been smashing it through the heatwave and a sub 5% unfiltered lager is the perfect choice.

You guys are aways involved in great events with the quality of the breweries you support. Do Beer Merchants have any forthcoming events around IMBC that drinkers can look forward to?

We will be running IMBC related tap takeovers during the festival at Unit 101 and the week after will be the Unit 101 closing party. Keep an eye out for that one as we want it to go out with a bang!

What makes a good beer festival for you guys? You’re no stranger to starring on some outstanding festivals. 

For us, a good festival is a combination of many things: A great venue, an awesome beer list, good friends & a great vibe (all things IMBC have in droves). Victoria Baths always has such a great atmosphere through the weekend with a real buzz from both the customers and the brewers alike about a particular beer or brewery. Its always fun to have such an open & inclusive environment at a festival.

Beer Merchants are the IMBC 18 glass sponsors alongside Magic Rock. You’ll essentially be in the hands of everybody inside Victoria Baths…what beer should they start on? 
Thats a tricky question as there are so many incredible breweries to choose from, but our friends Magic Rock are always going to be a good starting point. Burning Sky will undoubtedly bring a host of impeccable Saisons not to be missed and who can finish a night off without an Imperial Stout from Lervig (certainly not us)? 


Any favourite memories from IMBC 17? 
IMBC 17 was great fun but one of the standouts was The Thirsty Games. Its great to see smaller breweries get a showcase like this. Everything we had from Burning Soul was great, Affinity are good friends on the London scene & bonus points for showcasing Little Earth Project. Not only are they a seriously exciting brewery, but they are from my (Luke’s) hometown!

Cheers Luke! Follow Beer Merchants on instagram and twitter to keep up with their developments.

4th – 7th October 2018 | Victoria Baths, Manchester
Tickets available for Thursday and Sunday sessions 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



IMBC 18 Volunteers

Hark! Opportunities to volunteer at IMBC 18 are now open!

In exchange for your valuable time as a volunteer, you will be given…
1 x ticket to a session
15 x beer tokens
1 x free meal
1 x IMBC T-shirt
1 x good time!

Full details below – please read before applying as a volunteer!

Finally, PLEASE FILL IN THIS FORM BY CLICKING HERE to register your interest in volunteering at IMBC 18.

Photograph by Jody Hartley


Deadline for volunteer applications: Monday 10th September, 12pm

Volunteer Briefings – You need to attend one of these sessions: Sunday 23rd September at 12pm or Monday 24th September at 6.30pm, both taking place at Port Street Beer House, Northern Quarter.

Day session and evening session volunteers required on:

Thursday 4th October  – Sunday 7th October 2018

Volunteers join us for at least x1 session on 1 of these days.

You will be able to indicate which sessions / times you are available on your Application Form. Please note, that there are a limited number of volunteer positions available at each session. We fill these on a first come, first served basis.


Session Volunteers

All of our volunteers during the event join us as Session Volunteers, taking on various positions during each session. This includes pouring beer, welcoming attendees, providing information front of house, selling tokens and clearing the space.

If you have good beer knowledge and bar experience, please flag this up for the beer pouring position.

All volunteers need to be friendly, well-motivated and be able to remain calm in a fast paced, busy environment.

Set Up/Take Down

In addition to volunteering at the festival itself, we have x3 set up days (Tuesday 2nd – Thursday 4th October) and x1 take down day (Monday 8th October) which we require volunteers to assist at. The roles are incredibly varied on these days and we will need help with everything from setting up bars, putting beer in the right places, setting up furniture, and arranging glasses and tokens.  

We do not accept volunteers who will join us for only set-up and take-down, we ask that you also volunteer at the festival itself.


All IMBC volunteers are highly valued as part of the festival team and will receive a great experience and support.

We ask that all volunteer sign a simple Volunteer Agreement prior to the festival, which details what you can expect from us, and what we would like from you. This will be provided in the Briefing Session.

For now, a few things you need to know:

All volunteers must be 18 years or over on their first day of volunteering.

All volunteers must be available for at least 1 x briefing on Sunday 23rd or Monday 24th  September and for 1 x session at the event itself. Please let us know of any additional availability on your application form.

We trust our volunteers to fulfil their commitment. We ask that once all volunteers are committed to their role that they see it through. We rely on you! You’re important!

Drinking whilst on shift is not permitted (beyond tasting of the beers you are pouring, naturally). Any volunteer found to be drinking on shift will be asked to leave the event. You are more than welcome to drink as much as you like (responsibly) during your free session / when attending the event at other times.

Free sessions are allocated on a first come first served basis also and are limited at each session.


If you would like to apply to volunteer please complete the online Volunteer Application Form HERE.

The submission deadline is ​12pm on Monday 10th September ​​however we advise that you apply as early as you possibly can as places are limited.

Applications will be reviewed and places filled on a rolling basis before the deadline. We receive a high volume of applications, so please bob your application in quick sharp!

For any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us on [email protected]  

We welcome applications from all ages, abilities and sections of the community.


…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

Meet Burning Soul / Thirsty Games 2017 Winners

Ahoy! The second annual Thirsty Games competition was a smash this year. Thirsty Games finalists Affinity, Burning Soul, and Little Earth Project poured beers side by side on The Thirsty Games bar throughout IMBC 17. Burning Soul lifted the Thirsty Games trophy (made by Manchester artist Pascal Nichols) on Sunday evening after winning the public vote. We caught up with Burning Soul to congratulate them on their victory and to see what they’re up to now.

As part of The Thirsty Games prize, Burning Soul are the first name on the brewery team sheet for IMBC 18. You’ll find them in Victoria Baths at IMBC 18 at every session. Thirsty Games sponsors Lallemand have also gifted Burning Soul £500 prize money as well as kindly supporting The Thirsty Games and new breweries throughout 2017.Let’s see what Burning Soul are saying…

Firstly, congratulations on winning The Thirsty Games! How was your experience at IMBC 17?

Cheers man, yeah we had an absolute blast. Everyone has always told us how awesome Indy Man is, we always planned to go but always tried getting tickets too late. To go for the first time taking our beer along was epic and it did not disappoint! From the general vibe, to everyone is there to have a great time, the setting is such a great building, to the ridiculously high standard of beer made us feel very honoured to be pouring there.

Photograph by Jody Hartley

You lifted the Thirsty Games trophy at 5pm on Sunday – was there an immediate reaction once news spread?
It was a great moment with people at Indy Man who we’d met over the weekend and the social media went a bit crazy with people congratulating us, we were buzzing.

You guys brought three of your beers along – can you talk us through them? Was there a standout beer that punters reacted especially favourably towards?

So we brought along…

Belgian IPA which is a personal favourite of ours. It’s brewed with Summit, Chinook and Citra then fermented cool with a Belgian yeast. It just works really well with the citrus hops giving it a real depth of flavour.

Citra Amarillo Sour which is a new one we have been trying lately from our pilot kit and it finished fermenting just in time and was tasting great so we brought it along to see what people thought. It’s clean smooth sour with a hit of citrus from the dry hop. Really happy with how it went down at the fest and we have just started brewing up a batch on our full kit yesterday excited to see how it comes out.
And last but not least a lightly Barrel Aged Coconut Porter, this was the most stand out beer people were really enjoying, including Logan Plant who came over to check out the Thirsty Games. This is the first beer we have put in a barrel but it’s definitely not the last. Its only been in the barrel for 1 month. We were originally going to bring our normal version but after having a taste we knew we had to sneak a little out early just for Indy man and were glad we did. It’s a dark rich chocolatey porter enhanced with toasted coconut then the Jack Daniels Barrel added lush smooth vanilla notes.
How did you find feedback in general? Did it seem like there was a lot of interaction from festival goers with the Thirsty Games bar?

Yeah the interaction was great, lots of people would come up intrigued so we would tell them what its all about get them to taste all the beers and buy their favourite.

Photograph by Jody Hartley

You were up against stiff competition in the shape of Affinity and Little Earth Project – did you enjoy pouring alongside those two? The standard was excellent this year
These guys are the reason we had such a great time. We couldn’t have asked to spend 4 days with a more lovelier bunch of people and their beers were great. Even though we were technically in competition it never felt like it. We were just a group of people, who love beer, hanging out at Indy man, having a great time. All of us singing along to queen at the end of Friday is one great memory in particular.

What were you beer highlights from IMBC 17?
It has to be getting to meet Logan and getting to talk beer with him. He was telling us about when he started out and how he went about things. He was really digging the coconut porter and was generally interested asking about the process for getting the coconut flavour into the beer. We got his vote which made our day.

What kind of kit are you working with at your brewery?
We have a 4bbl brew house that’s completely self built (after a lot of auction hunting, some quick lessons in metal work and ordering a lot of piece’s of stainless steel off the internet).
When we got the keys to our premises it was particularly terrifying as we suddenly had overheads and nothing but a pile of parts and tanks (that was a long way from being able to brew beer) After 3 months hard work it actually worked which was the biggest sigh of relief. We have since had some upgrades in the form of 2 new shiny conditioning tanks. We also often have our 100l pilot kit running, testing out new recipes that we put on in our taproom to see what our customers make of them.

If anyone is on a Burning Soul pilgrimage, where should visitors to Birmingham head?
Our brewery tap is located by the Jewellery Quarter area of Birmingham City Centre, we’re based at 51 Mott St B19 3HE. You can actually get a tram from New Street Station to St. Paul’s for £1 which is 3 mins round the corner from us. We’re open Fridays 4-8 and Saturdays 1-8. We have 8 rotating taps plus take out bottles.

We sell our beer to many local pubs and bars including the Wolf, 1000 Trades, Wellington, Post Office Vaults, Clink, Cotteridge Wines, Wildcat Tap, Cherry Reds.

What’s next for Burning Soul?

We just want to keep perfecting our beers. Now that we’re starting to really understand our kit and how to get the best out of it, we can start scaling up a lot more of our small batch recipes and getting them outside of our taproom. We’re all about experimenting, that’s what makes brewing exciting so we hope to have a lot of new beers out in the next year.

Where can people pick your beers up?

At the moment mostly in bars in and around Birmingham. We have just started selling on Eebria trade so we should start getting kegs further afield . We have done some bottle runs  which can be found in local bottle shops such as Cotteridge Wines, Connellys Wines and Clink (although limited stock at the moment). We were chatting to the canning guys We Can at Indy Man so this is an option we’d definitely like to explore so watch this space!

Thanks Burning Soul!

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Thirsty Games 2017 winners BURNING SOUL!