Monday, 7 January 2013

National Winter Ales Festival 2013

This year's National Winter Ales Festival will be once again taking place at the Sheridan Suite, Oldham Road, Manchester, M40 8RR, from Wednesday 23 to Saturday 26 January 2013. This is the last one to be held in Manchester because CAMRA, faced with an extremely successful festival, has decided to fix what isn't broken and move it to Derby next year. My own view is that they wouldn't move the GBBF outside London, so why shouldn't CAMRA's second national festival have a fixed home? Still, it's not up to me.
With a selection of over 300 beers, real ales in a bottle, ciders, perries and foreign beers from around the world, everyone should be able to find something they like: here is a link to the beer listWhile there will, naturally, be a lot of winter ales on, beers of all types will be available, including golden beers for lovers of that style. The festival also hosts the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition, the UK's premier winter ale competition. ‘Alfie’s Revenge’ by Driftwood Brewery of St Agnes, Cornwall, was last year's winner.

They'll be serving English and Indian food all day until 9.00 p.m., so there's no need to take a pile of butties. Full details of the festival are on their website, including entrance charges and concessions. CAMRA members get in free on Wednesday and Thursday, and £1 off the full price on Friday & Saturday. The venue is just over a mile from Piccadilly Station; click here for full directions. 
I'm not sure when I'm going yet; with any luck I'll see you there.


  1. Is there a tutorial for those of us confused by beer that is not ice cold, fizzy and delicious?

  2. Yes! I believe my friend Tandleman is running tasting sessions, so get yourself enrolled.

  3. I still don't understand why CAMRA moved the NWAF from opposite Victoria Station to an industrial estate in North Manchester when SIBA have held beer festivals at a number of venues in the city centre.

    I can think of about a dozen people I know who went to every NWAF when it was in the city centre and none since the move to North Manchester. Also, as the directions say, it's 1.1 miles up Oldham Road from the the Crown and Kettle, itself about a mile from Piccadilly Station.

  4. The old venue was well situated, but it wasn't very good and provoked some complaints. The festival was on two levels and you weren't allowed to carry a glass from one level of the festival to the other while there were office workers in the rest of the building, which was every day of the festival exept Saturday.

    People who complain about venues should realise that finding somewhere suitable is very difficult, especially for a festival this size (300 beers). I've been to all the NWAF venues and this one is the best, but I agree its location isn't as good.

    The 2012 SIBA festival was significantly smaller at 250 beers. There is also the question of the cost of the venue; I'm sure SIBA has more money to spend on its festival than CAMRA has.

  5. I plan to be there on the Wednesday afternoon session, let me know if you will be there too so we can meet up for a beer!

  6. Thursday evening and Friday day/eve for me. If you see someone in a Tranmere Rovers related tee shirt say hello, it will probably be me.

  7. If you see someone with my pintpot logo on the front and @baron_orm on the back then that will be me! ;)

  8. Basically we were kicked out of the New Century Hall (along with several other booked events) as it was supposedly to be redeveloped. Hah!

    Every other possible City Centre venue was looked at and they were either too small or prohibitvely expensive.

    We are on the move nest year. The Derby-based NWAF will be in February so we will be staging a Greater Manchester Winter Ales Festival - at a new venue, too. We are moving to the Velodrome at Sport City (which will have a tram stop very close by)

    1. although you will have to dodge high-speed cyclists when crossing the track with your pint :-)


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