Meet Beer Merchants / IMBC 17

I’m sure you need no introduction but allow us to introduce you to BEER MERCHANTS, our glass sponsor for IMBC 17. Beer Merchants will also be bossing a bottle shop at Victoria Baths for all your takeout needs. They’re always busy blighters, check out who they are and what they do below…

Hello Beer Merchants! Who am I speaking to?

Jonny Garrett, marketing manager at Cave Direct and Beer Merchants. And the Craft Beer Channel, for my sins.
Beer Merchants are our glass sponsor for IMBC 17. You’ll be in everybody’s hands in Victoria Baths. Can you tell us a little about Beer Merchants?

We’re one of the oldest online beer shops in the UK, specialising in beautiful British and Belgian beers, but with delicious stuff from all over the world too. Usually we’ve got over 1,000 beers (and the odd gin!) live at any time and we try to have the widest, most eccentric list on the internet. And thankfully being an importer too means we get the best prices too.
You’ll be operating a bottle shop at IMBC 17 for all our takeaway needs. What can punters expect?

An absolute whale fest. Cantillon, 3 Fonteinen and some incredible Belgians you’ve never heard of but have to try; loads of carefully selected bombers from the US plus the absolute best the UK has to offer next to beers from all the brilliant breweries at IMBC. On top of the rare bits we’ll also have everything you need to keep the party going at home (road beers!) and lots of amazing merch from breweries too.

Are you looking forward to locking horns with Lervig at IMBC this year?

If by locking horns you mean pouring ourselves all the 3 Bean and Tasty Juice then hell yeah. We import their beers so we’ve worked really closely with them to create an experiential space that will be unlike any sponsored room has been at IMBC before – but that will pale in comparison to the beers they have on. We’ve always thought Lervig were world class and that’s why we partnered with them 3 years ago, but what they have put out in the last 12 months has been nothing short of show-stopping. It’s going to be a great event for them.

You lot are doing a couple of talks / tastings at IMBC 17. Lip smackingly titled “So much more than sour”. Can you give us a spoiler as to what that might entail?

I’m going to try to end this awful term “sour beer” as a catch all for a whole bunch of styles. Like the term “lager”, it just doesn’t do justice to all the amazing sub-styles within the category – geuze, kriek, wild, berlinerweiss, oud bruin, gose – that are as distinct from each other as IPA and stout. It’s not all my own personal mission though – we’re gonna be trying some seriously rare and exciting beers while I get ruddy in the face and tell you all about them and the adventures we’ve had with the Craft Beer Channel and Beer Merchants discovering them.

What have Beer Merchants got in the pipeline? I know there’s exciting plans underfoot with Unit 101. Amazing that you guys are doing the Zwanze Day this year!

There is so much in the pipeline with Beer Merchants I don’t know where to start. We’re launching an aged beer section soon, with lots of stuff we’ve been cellaring for years, our beer club has relaunched to be better than ever, and we’re doing events up and down the country to get rare beers into the hands of people that don’t usually get a chance to try them. Meanwhile our pub pop-up Unit 101 in Manchester has been great since it opened and its an honour to host such an iconic event in Zwanze Day. People should keep their eyes and ears open as we have a HUGE bit of news about a new venue coming soon.

Where should visitors to the city hit during the festival? (Asides Victoria Baths, obviously)

Oh my well we’ll be holing ourselves up in Café Beermoth or Port Street every chance we get but we’re also big fans of Cane & Grain and Cottonopolis – maybe some vegan food at V Rev to balance the bad out. Then obviously we’ll be at our Unit 101 afterparty on Friday for some crafty beer pong. This time around we might not do it with Lervig Sippin’ into Darkness. No one wins when you do that.

Lastly, where is best to keep up with what Beer Merchants are up to?

Follow us on twitter @beermerchants as that’s where we get involved in fights and pedantry. Oh and news, sometimes we do news. It’s also worth following @cavedirect our trade arm, because most things go through there first so you can get the skinny on the rare stuff before it hits the site.

Thanks Beer Merchants! We all look forward to drinking from your cup at IMBC 17.



Not got your ticket for IMBC 17 yet? No challenge! Thursday and Sunday tickets remain. Pick up your ticket for the opening Thursday 28th September or closing Sunday 1st October sessions HERE

Meet Fourpure / IMBC 17

MEET FOURPURE
IMBC 17

We’re sure you’ve already met many many times but allow us to introduce you to Fourpure as Adrian Lugg shines a light on what Fourpure are up to and what to expect from them at Victoria Baths for IMBC 17. Last week we travelled to Fourpure to brew a collaboration beer that will be available nationwide mid to late August 2017. Look out for Bath Bomb in the very near future.

Fourpure are the sponsors of Room 1 at IMBC 17. You’ll find Fourpure at every session of IMBC 17. We asked Adrian a few questions…

You’ve just brewed an IMBC collaboration beer at Fourpure – thank you kindly – can you tell us a little about Bath Bomb?

It’s a tropical pale ale, it’s going to taste amazing. We hope. No pressure.

Sneaky peek of the Bath Bomb can artwork by Steve Hockett

Tell us a bit about your recent Juicebox 500 tour

It was a super good time. Logistically it was a lot of hard work but it definitely paid off. We hit 11 cities in 11 days and met some brilliant people from all over the country. There’s something about the craft beer crowd, both those that own and work in venues and the humble beer drinker who just wants to turn up and have a chat. There was such a good vibe at every new city we went to and it was a great opportunity for our team to get out and about and meet some really cool people.

Fourpure are the guardians, as it were, of Room 1 at Victoria Baths for IMBC 17. What can we expect from Fourpure?

Sophie (much-loved Fourpure events manager) has been pulling together some really fun ideas, there’s going to be lots of lights, some interactive stuff and we’re talking to a local arts school so it should be a pretty good show.

James IMBC touches things at Fourpure

Deucebox was one of the hits at last year’s IMBC. Will you be unearthing more gems at this year’s festival?

We hope so. We’ve got some absolute belters coming through now and more in time for the festival. We’re looking to have a decent size bar with a few taps so you’ll see a range, there’ll be some Fourpure favourites like Juicebox, Deucebox and Shape Shifter, I believe we’ll also be pouring Bath Bomb so that’s exciting. Truth be told we started planning our Indy Man beer list towards the end of last year so we’re also bringing a range of small batch and one-offs that we’re hoping go down well.

Who are you looking forward to sharing the stage with at IMBC 17?

Dave Grohl? Is he going to be there? It’s not that we’re huge Foo Fighter fans but apparently he’s a nice guy. It’s probably not fair to single out any one brewery as everyone brings their A Game to IMBC, it’s such a great event with a unique vibe and good people. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves around this event, there’s just so many great breweries with exciting beers.

What are your tips for the ultimate IMBC experience?

Visit as many breweries and try as many beers as you possibly can. Drink lots of water. Stay hydrated. Don’t take any preconceptions in with you, your new favourite beer might be something you’d never think to try, your new favourite brewery might not have previously been on your radar. Don’t take it too seriously, it’s beer, have fun.

Photographs by Fourpure

How do you feel about the current London brewing scene?

It’s really hard to keep up with what’s happening in London right now, the momentum just keeps building and it’s incredible to see the support across the city for (relatively) well-established breweries and new comers alike. The focus on craft in London is really exciting, it’s the beers we like to drink and there’s plenty of opportunities to share ideas and collaborate.

What’s next for Fourpure? What should we look out for?

We’re pretty close to installing our new brew house, there’s an abundance of new tanks and new toys in production and some stuff is en-route as we write this. The increased capacity is going to free up a lot of time to focus on innovation, and our entire team, brewing and beyond are chomping at the bit to get some fun recipes in tank. We’re also pretty close to getting some of our barrel aged projects in keg, there’s always something new and different happening at Fourpure but sometimes we like stop and appreciate an old favourite. We’re going to be brewing Beartooth again in Autumn, it’s a seasonal American Brown that we’ve brewed before and it’s one of our favourite beers for any occasion.

Thanks Fourpure, I like you

Tickets for IMBC 17 / Thursday 28th September – Sunday 1st October 2017 are available HERE

Posted on 2nd August 2017

Thirsty Games 2017 Finalists

THE THIRSTY GAMES 2017 FINALISTS

This week we announced the finalists for our Thirsty Games 2017 competition. The Thirsty Games is an IMBC initiative to find the best new small breweries operating in the UK today. From the nationwide entrants, we, along with Thirsty Games sponsor Lallemand, tasted the submissions and chose the strongest three breweries.

Last year, 2016, was the first year of The Thirsty Games. Fiveclouds took home the crown after a close run battle with Wilde Child and Maregade on the inaugural Thirsty Games bar. Read about Fiveclouds journey since HERE and seek out their beer.

At IMBC 17, you will be invited to taste the beers from The Thirsty Games 2017 finalists and encouraged to vote for your favourite brewery. You, along with a panel of brewers at the festival, will decide the winner of The Thirsty Games 2017.

You will find our three Thirsty Games finalists on The Thirsty Games bar at every session of IMBC 17, pouring a selection of their beers throughout the festival.

The winner of The Thirsty Games 2017 will be gifted the prize of being the first brewery on the team sheet for Indy Man Beer Con 2018, invited to have their own bar across all sessions. Thirsty Games supporters Lallemand have also queued up a couple of big prizes that we will unveil shortly.

Without further ado, here are the three Thirsty Games 2017 brewery finalists…

LITTLE EARTH PROJECT


Little Earth Project is a small and adventurous micro brewery in Sudbury, Suffolk. Specialising in Historical, Farmhouse and Sour beers. Very British Sour Beer. IPA, Stock Ale, Porter and Farmhouse ales all fermented with local wild yeast and bacteria. We look forward to welcoming Little Earth Project to IMBC for the very first time.

Twitter
Instagram
Website


AFFINITY BREW CO
Affinity Brew Co: a South Walian and a Bristolian, marooned in a shipping container in North London, with nothing but a 2.5bbl Brew kit and an idea: To brew the beers they want to drink.

Both have been in the industry for many years as brewers, publicans and many other roles in between.

Head brewer Steve’s love of Belgian styles has resulted in Affinity’s signature beer being ‘Breeze’, a 3.8% Lime Zest and Coriander Seed Saison. And rather than brewing a double IPA, why not have a crack at a raspberry, coconut and cacao stout based on a famous Australian cake?

Steve and Ben’s unwillingness to stick to a core range mean that things are unlikely to stagnate at Affinity HQ; welcome along for the ride!


Twitter
Instagram
Website

BURNING SOUL



Burning Soul of Birmingham complete the Thirsty Games 2017 line-up. Here’s what Burning Soul have to say…

“The two of us set up Burning Soul Brewery on a mission to brew the best beer we can, because it’s what we love doing. Making uncompromised beers with the best ingredients available to us, to serve to the awesome beer community. The name Burning Soul isn’t just about beer, it’s about chasing down whatever it is that makes you tick, for us it’s brewing beer and we hope our passion for brewing great beer shines through in every drop we make.
We love all beer styles so for us it’s worth experimenting to find new exciting beers that work. We don’t shy away making progressive styles and love switching it up, using exciting ingredients in order to create memorable beer we hope you don’t forget.”

Twitter
Instagram
Website




#IMBC17TG

Indy Man Beer Con 2017
Thursday 28th September – Sunday 1st October 2017
Victoria Baths, Manchester

Tickets for the Thursday and Sunday sessions available HERE. All other sessions have sold out.

The Thirsty Games 2017

THE THIRSTY GAMES 2017

We are seeking the best new progressive UK breweries to enter our 2017 competition, The Thirsty Games.

In 2016 we launched the inaugural Thirsty Games. Fiveclouds (Macclesfield) took home the trophy following a public vote on the best Thirsty Games brewery pouring at the festival from three finalists. Wilde Child (Leeds) and Maregade (London) completed the 2016 line-up.

Following an open call we, the IMBC jury, will decide upon the best three breweries from the 2017 submissions. The three chosen breweries will then be invited to pour a selection of their beers at IMBC 17 across all sessions (28th September – 1st October 2017). At IMBC 17, attendees will be invited to sample the Thirsty Games bar and vote on their favourite brewery via ballot and on social media. We shall also anoint selected brewers in attendance at the festival to have their say on The Thirsty Games talent.

The Thirsty Games acts as a showcase for the best up and coming forward-thinking UK breweries working out of a small facility, or who are operating on a cuckoo brewery basis.

The criteria for entering The Thirsty Games is as follows…

• Brewers must be operating on a 5BBL or less capacity
• Breweries must have been in operation for no longer than 18 months
• UK based

If the above applies then please fill in the entry form below. Should your entry be successful we will be in touch and you will be asked to submit samples of your beers. Samples should be a good indication of what you would hope to present at IMBC, we are looking for your best examples.

Initial beer submissions must be received by Friday 30th June 2017. From the beers submitted, the IMBC team will pick their favourite breweries and purchase 1-3 kegs from each qualifying brewery to pour on The Thirsty Games 2017 bar. The finalists of The Thirsty Games 2017 will be announced on Monday 24th July 2017.

If you would like to submit additional information or branding, please contact matt@indymanbeercon.co.uk

The victors of The Thirsty Games 2017 will be the first brewery to be invited to showcase their beers across all sessions at IMBC 18.

The Thirsty Games is kindly supported by Lallemand.

Good luck!

#ThirstyGames17

Fiveclouds had this to say on their winning turn on The Thirsty Games bar at IMBC 16,

“To be pouring at IMBC in our first year of trading was a massive deal to us, slightly surreal after going for the past few years as drinkers and we were totally surprised at the amount of interest and feedback from other brewers and the public alike. It opened a huge amount of doors for us as a brewery and gave us some much needed confidence. When we tweeted the results of the competition our tweet had got over 6000 interactions that night. We had about 30 bars from around the country asking for beer over twitter, etc. It was pretty crazy!”

Read a full Q&A with Fiveclouds HERE.



Catching up with Fiveclouds

At IMBC 16 we debuted a new bar called The Thirsty Games. The bar showcased three small breweries: Maregade, Wilde Child, and Fiveclouds. The three were chosen by an IMBC panel following an open call seeking out the best UK small breweries. Beers from the three were poured throughout the festival and you, the public, voted on your favourite Thirsty Games brewery via ballot. Fiveclouds came out on top after four days of intensive tasting and took home the very first Thirsty Games trophy.

Fiveclouds Shibui and Al-Ki pouring at Fiveclouds Tap

Team IMBC took a trip to Fiveclouds Tap in Macclesfield to catch up with our Thirsty Games 2016 winners, Fiveclouds. We spoke to Tom and Josh in the excellent surrounds of Fiveclouds Tap’s cellar…

Who is Fiveclouds? Tell us a little about your brewing setup

Fiveclouds is a small gypsy brewery based in Macclesfield, Cheshire. We focus on brewing seasonal, progressive and modern beer.  We started as a small 1BBL brewery brewing out of Torrside. We used their pilot kit for 10 months before moving up to their full size kit as demand increased. We’re massively grateful to those guys for helping us get our beer out! We started brewing at Wincle to allow us to brew 2 10BBL batches a month – the slight difference in kits suits us as we can experiment more with process and most of all learn from both of them!

The Thirsty Games trophy, created by current Cloudwater artist Mariel Osborn, taking pride above the Thirsty Games Tap bar

 

The Thirsty Games bar at IMBC 16

How was your experience of being at IMBC 16?

Absolutely awesome yet pretty overwhelming! We had such an amazing time pouring next to some of our favourite breweries and friends alike. To be pouring at IMBC in our first year of trading was a massive deal to us, slightly surreal after going for the past few years as drinkers and we were totally surprised at the amount of interest and feedback from other brewers and the public alike. It opened a huge amount of doors for us as a brewery and gave us some much needed confidence.

When we tweeted the results of the competition our tweet had got over 6000 interactions that night. We had about 30 bars from around the country asking for beer over twitter, etc. It was pretty crazy!

Down in the Fiveclouds Tap cellar

How has your life changed since winning the inaugural Thirsty Games?

Since IMBC ’16 we’ve started to brew monthly at two separate breweries – Torrside Brewery and Wincle Brewery – producing around 20BBL of beer a month. That’s around 5 or 6 times more beer per month than we were brewing, however it was much needed as we got to a point where we were selling out before I’d got a chance to post availability out.

Ground floor of the Fiveclouds Tap, Macclesfield

What’s next for Fiveclouds?

We’re spending this year on building up the brewery, focusing on creating continually evolving beers that we want to brew while focusing on quality, consistency and experimentation in our practices and techniques. We’re currently working on getting a take-home product out on the market that we’re happy with, and getting this to the end customer directly in the best possible condition – this is hugely important to us as a small brewery as allows people to experience our product how it’s intended while making it sustainable for us to brew the beers we like by selling direct.

As winner of The Thirsty Games you won the privilege of being the first brewery on the team sheet for IMBC 17. What can people expect? 

We’ve got a rough idea of what we’d like to bring to IMBC ’17 and we’re lining up a few special collabs for it! Either way, expect some fresh and juicy hop forward pales/IPAs along with a possible return of last years Double Sunset and a few more specials we have planned!
Where can we find your beer?

Our beers our slowly getting around the north west. Port Street, Common, The Beagle, Brink, Heaton Hops have all taken beer recently. Our cans will soon be available on Eebria to buy, as well as around some bottles shops.

THANKS FIVECLOUDS! SEE YOU AT IMBC 17!


Should you find yourselves Macclesfield-way, we implore you to make a visit to the Fiveclouds Tap & Bottle. It’s a great setup with a really nice underground bunker of a cellar. There’s 4 kegs and a cask line, a fine bottle selection, and it’s open 7 days a week. Taste Fiveclouds wherever you can, they’re coming out with some great beer at the moment and we can’t wait to see what they do at IMBC 17.

THE THIRSTY GAMES will be returning to IMBC 17 with a host of new breweries. Look out for details on that and how to enter very shortly indeed!

Follow Fiveclouds online at…
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook
and check them out at,
www.fivecloudbrew.co

Cider at IMBC 16

As always we like to flex our cider arm at IMBC. For IMBC 16 we’ve got a big apple line-up as ever. Cider drinkers take heed, here are the cider makers you’ll find at every session at IMBC.

HOGAN’S CIDER

honascider
Inviting curious folk to taste proper cider. Fresh pressed traditional and experimental ciders from Alcester. Hogan’s have been barrel ageing, hopping, keeving and all sorts in recent times, turning out some fine off-kilter ciders on keg and cask. Excited to learn what they’re bringing to IMBC 16. Watch this space.

THE REAL CIDER COMPANY / PULP CRAFT CIDER

pulpcider

The Real Cider Company, they of excellent cider curation, return to IMBC with a strong arm of cider brands as ever. This time however they are boasting their very own Pulp Craft Cider imprint. New out of the gates this year with an emphasis on fresh and real ciders, Pulp cite that it is true craft cider because their ciders are made from crushed whole apples with real fruit added. There is no apple concentrate involved nor are they using fruit flavours. As a result you can really taste the difference. It is as they say ‘all pulp and no fiction!’.

THISTLY CROSS

thistlycrosswww
Born out of a passion for making cider in the best possible way, combined with belief in the quality of Scottish produce, and asking ‘why not?’, came Thistly Cross Cider, Scotland’s award winning farmhouse ciders. Established as a collaboration between farmer, Ian Rennie, and artist-turned-cidermaker, Peter Stuart, in 2008, Thistly Cross has gained a reputation for making ciders that people rave about. We are pleased as cider punch to welcome them back to IMBC.

MOSS CIDER

THE MOSS CIDER PROJECT, MANCHESTER. FOUNDER DAN HASLER, 32, AND DIRECTOR JOE WEEKS, 40 , AT THE OLD SHIPPING CONTAINER IN MOSS SIDE WHERE THEY PRESS THE APPLES. PHOTO BY CLARE KENDALL.

The most excellently named Moss Cider, of Moss Side, Manchester, return to IMBC with all the cider and apple juice you’ll ever need. Moss Cider run an excellent community project where you give them apples and they turn said apples into cider. Like a West Country Jesus. Basically for free too! Highly endorsed, check them out at IMBC 16.

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…

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

maregadewww
WILDE CHILD BREWING CO
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.

wildechildwww
FIVECLOUD BREW CO
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