Sometimes referred to as the winter version of the famous Great British Beer Festival, the National Winter Ales Festival in Manchester is an event that focuses on bringing the best of seasonal brews to the people. It is put together by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) with the purpose of celebrating a long-standing tradition of winter ales, ciders, perries and more.
This event lasts for four days, from Wednesday to Saturday, and takes place in January of each year. It has been going on for more than 10 years, 2013 celebrating the 12th event in its history. Since its beginnings, the National Winter Ales Festival has grown to where it now brings in more than 10,000 people over the course of the celebration.
More than 300 varieties of both local and foreign brews will be on tap at the festival. In addition to the drink, there is plenty of food to enjoy, primarily English and Indian cuisine. There are also many varieties of entertainment to keep attendees busy, from pub games to live music to fancy dress parties. For those that feel like bringing home a souvenir, there is a crafts market selling a wide variety of beer-related items.
The National Winter Ales Festival is also considered a family event, despite the focus on alcohol. A special family area is available for those who want to bring the kids and don’t feel like having them sit quietly by while pounding back pint after pint.
This event presents the perfect opportunity to experience this winter brewing tradition and try dozens of beers that one might never have a chance to partake of otherwise. What’s more, it’s a festival still in the making and the organizers work harder and harder each year to surpass the one before it, taking input from visitors and making changes to improve the overall experience.
This year, National Winter Ales Festival is running from January 23rd to the 26th, so if you want to get in on the festivities, better start planning that vacation now and make sure it includes a stop in Manchester.