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Ventile Q&A | Thirsty Games

We caught up with Thirsty Games 2019 winner, Ventile Brew Co, to see how life is treating them after last year’s IMBC victory. I mean, there’s not really been much going on has there. Doi. Entries for The Thirsty Games 2020 are still open. If you’re eligible, you should most certainly apply HERE. The Thirsty Games is IMBC’s competition to find the best new small breweries in the UK. Let’s speak to Dave from Ventile to find out his experience of last year…

Hello Dave. Congratulations on winning The Thirsty Games 2019! How was your experience pouring at the festival?

Thanks very much. It’s the classic cliche I’m afraid but it really was a dream come true to be pouring at IMBC. I’ve been a punter at the festival for 6-7 years so it was great to experience the other side of the festival so to speak. To be stood in a room pouring my beers with the likes of Creature Comforts, Burning Sky and Garage was mind blowing and something that’ll stay with me forever. It was also great to take part in the competition alongside Cellar Boys and Vault City who I had a great time with over the weekend.

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

Really good. It was great to have fellow brewers coming up afterwards congratulating me and the response from the general public post festival was great.
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Was there a particular beer that you brought to IMBC 19 that you feel helped bring the trophy home?

It’s hard to say really. My mindset was always, this may be the only chance I get to showcase my beers at this level so why not put out a full spread. I was really happy with Stairway To The Best Party, which was a coconut, cacao & coffee imperial stout. It was insane getting people coming up to the Thirsty Games stand who’d marked it as a beer to try at the festival asking when it was pouring.

You won The Thirsty Games 2019 under the ÖL Brewery moniker – very much a one man brewing operation. You’ve now set up your own brewery with Ventile Brew Co. Can you tell us a little bit about this new direction?

Winning the competition definitely was the confidence boost I needed to push on to set up for myself. I feel brewing at ÖL awarded me the time to find my identity so to speak and to really hone my craft but apart from at the festival, my beers never left the bar where the kit was setup. So Ventile was the natural next step for me. Bigger kit, bigger space and hopefully a wider audience for the beer itself.

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

My new setup is a 3bbl kit with three fermenters in a 1500sq ft space located in an old cotton mill, South Manchester.
The long term plan is to have a taproom onsite with a permanent food offering that’ll compliment the taproom experience so to speak, obviously when safe to do so.

Like many brewers, you come from a culinary background. How does your kitchen experience influence your approach to Ventile?

I always saw kitchens as a place to experiment after working in a high end restaurant when I first started in the hospitality sector and I think that stuck with me. I also think when working with food you’re always looking to find balance within a dish using different ingredients, and I think that’s very much the same when developing a recipe for a beer, so there’s definitely a similar mindset that’s transferable between food and beer.

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Ventile are the first Manchester brewery to win The Thirsty Games. As places open back up into new normality, what are your food and drink tips for visitors to the city?

Good question.

Coffee: Siop Shop, Pollen Bakery
Food : Tokyo Ramen, Bundobust, Nell’s, Arndale Food Market, Listo Burrito, Mughli
Bevs: PSBH, Station Hop, The Magnet, Beermoth, Nordie, Heaton Hops.

Which new breweries are catching your attention in 2020?

Not sure how new all of these are but these are newish to me.
New Barns, Glasshouse, Boxcar, Dig Brew co, Overtone, Wilderness.

Lastly, it’s an exciting – and I’m sure a scary – time to be starting a new business in the Covid-19 landscape. The thirst of the nation doesn’t appear to have diminished over the past months. How can thirsty punters pick up Ventile beers? And what should drinkers look forward to from Ventile in the coming months?

To start with we’ll be just selling kegs via direct wholesale so hopefully you’ll start to see our beers at bars in and and around Manchester soon enough. We want to get beer into cans as soon as we can so then you’ll be able to order off our website (ventilebrew.co) for delivery nationwide. We’ll also be offering free delivery within certain postcodes close to the brewery via our electric cargo bike.

Beer-wise Ventile will have a strong core range of four of five beers that’ll be around most of the time and then to experiment around that with a mixed fermentation and barrel ageing program.

 

The Thirsty Games 2019

THE THIRSTY GAMES 2019

The Thirsty Games is IMBC’s competition to find the best small and upcoming breweries operating in the UK today.

From nationwide submissions we will pick the best three entrants to make up the Thirsty Games contenders at IMBC 19 (3rd – 6th October 2019, Victoria Baths). Each chosen brewery will pour their beers at every session of IMBC 19. You, the beerholder, will then vote on your favourite brewery across the length of the festival alongside our guest panel and the brewery with the most favour will be crowned the winner of The Thirsty Games 2019.

This is the fourth year of The Thirsty Games. Previous Thirsty Games winners are Liquid Light (2018), Burning Soul (2017), and Fivecloud Brew Co (2016).

CRITERIA

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.

TO ENTER

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.

The beer you send should feature at least one beer that you would pour at IMBC 19.

IF THE ABOVE APPLIES THEN FILL IN THIS FORM HERE, PLEASE. SORRY TO SHOUT BUT HERE IS WHERE YOU FILL IN THE FORM. CLICK CLICK. 

DEADLINES

All samples must reach Port Street Beer House, 39-41 Port St, Manchester M1 2EQ by 12th August 2018.

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

WHAT YOU WIN

The victorious brewery of The Thirsty Games 2018 will win…

A featured brewery pitch at IMBC 20 pouring their beers at each and every session rubbing shoulders with some of the best breweries in the world.

Plus more prizes to be announced.

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

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!

 

The Thirsty Games

THE THIRSTY GAMES
Indy Man Beer Con 2016

The Thirsty Games is a new initiative at Indy Man Beer Con (6-9th October 2016) to showcase the best up and coming UK brewers working out of a small facility (Sub 2bbl capacity), or who are operating on a cuckoo brewery basis. The idea being to feature the top brewers of the future at IMBC and give them a leg up into the industry.

To enter please fill in the form below. Should your entry be successful we will be in touch and you will be asked to submit samples of your beers. Initial beer submissions must be received by Friday 15th July 2016. From the beers submitted, the IMBC team will pick their favourites and purchase 1-3 kegs from each qualifying brewer to pour on The Thirsty Games bar at the festival. The chosen ones will be announced on Monday 1st August 2016.

Throughout IMBC 16 attendees will be encouraged to sample The Thirsty Games beers and vote for their favourite via social media. Public vote along with IMBC judges will determine the winner of The Thirsty Games 2016.

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

Good luck!

#thirstygames2016

thirstygameswwwfull