Knutsford Beer Festival has revealed some of the craft breweries that are being featured at its three-day event – including Cloudwater.
Manchester’s Cloudwater is widely regarded as one of the top modern beer producers and was voted second best brewery in the world in the Rate Beer Awards 2018.
Other craft breweries providing beer for the festival, between April 11 and 13, include Leeds’ Northern Monk, Buxton Brewery and Scotland’s Tempest as part of a push to modernise the event.
Mobberley Brewhouse will again be running the keg bar to showcase these modern beer styles and will be unveiling its new Spring IPA while Altrincham’s Stubborn Mule will also be showcasing its keg ale and hosting a masterclass during the Saturday afternoon session.
It is also hoped that Newcastle’s Wylam and Manchester’s Wander Beyond will be able to provide the event with craft beer.
Knutsford Beer Festival introduced keg beer at the 2018 event in a bid to move with the times and address the changing tastes of beer drinkers.
But this year there will be at least 10 kegs lines for craft beer lovers as opposed to four last year. This means that the team will be able to pour a much bigger range at any one time.
Real ale fans will still be very well catered for with around 20 cask beers.
Rick Dean, beer specialist for the committee, said: “I think it’s important that we showcase not just cask beer. Keg beer is something that is coming to the forefront of modern brewing.
“More and more people are starting to appreciate that keg beer is no longer associated with the ‘bad beer’ of 1970s and 80s and isn’t just for lager.
“It gives you an opportunity to drink beer as close to how it is when we package it. From the fermenting vessel, where the beer is produced, we direct fill the key kegs.
“It’s the same as we do with cask but the difference is keg beer is locked in an airtight container. When a cask has been tapped, the beer comes into contact with oxygen hence why you have three days to get through a cask beer.
“But because keg beer is sealed in, the quality lasts way beyond that. The beer is served using something called a Lindr machine which has its own cooling block so it keeps the beer at the optimum temperature without requiring a cellar.”
Rick said part of the battle with craft ale’s acceptance is people’s perception of hazy beer.
He added: “In the 1970s hazy beer was a sign of poor cellarmanship. It’s not anymore. A lot of the beers are hazy due to the style and composition and the grist that is added for the body and mouthfeel such as flaked oats and wheat.”
The festival at The Courthouse is not just modernising what is in the glass either – the tankards are out in favour of Belgian-style tulip glass.
Rick said: “It’s a good all-rounder that is suited to pretty much any style of beer. As a drinker, it allows you to appreciate the aroma of the beer which makes up a lot of tasting experience.
“Also with it having its stem to hold it prevents the beer from warming in your hand which can lead to getting false flavour profiles.”
Meanwhile, Greg Sawyer from Tatton Brewery has been busy creating a handmade cooling system for the festival’s cask beers that can suffer from being in warm room for three days. Cold water will be pumped through copper probes to constantly cool the beers and prevent them from becoming flat – without the water and beer ever mixing.
Greg, who is bringing at least 4 Tatton beers to the event, added: “We made this system at the request of the beer festival to ensure their beers are represented in the best possible light as the worst thing you can do to a beer is get it warm.
“Certainly in a warm, ambient temperature, leaving the beer in casks for several days leads to poor quality.
“What we want is for someone who drinks a beer on the Saturday afternoon to find it as good as someone who drinks it on Thursday at the start.”
Knutsford Beer Festival has chosen the town’s Royal May Day Festival and the local children’s charity CAFT as their nominated charities this year. In the last five years, the Festival has raised more than £16,000 for various local charities.
For tickets, visit knutsfordbeerfestival.org.uk