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Drinkers challenged to cross the North-South Divide

Chorlton Beer & Cider Festival sets up battle with London’s best brews on one side and Manchester and the North West on the other.

Drinkers attending the 12th Chorlton Beer & Cider Festival will be able to check out whether Manchester has taken the lead in the “craft beer revolution” with the bars at the festival split across the North-South Divide. The festival which takes place at St Clement’s Church from 7th to 9th July has filled one of its two beer halls with a selection of the best beers from London and the South East while the other exclusively features beers from Manchester, Cumbria and Cheshire.

The challenge brings a new angle to the festival which is organised jointly by volunteers from St Clement’s and the Trafford & Hulme branch of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) to raise funds to support St Clements’ work as a centre open to all of the Chorlton community. Over 4000 visitors are expected to pack the Church grounds on Edge Lane in the South Manchester suburb, drinking their way through 13,000 pints of beer, cider and perry.

Festival beer manager John O’Donnell said “While much of the London based press would have you believe that the so called “craft beer” movement has it’s centre in London and the south of England, from the early 1990s Manchester was leading the way with brewers like Brendan Dobbin pioneering big hoppy beers which led to breweries such as Marble Beers and Pictish setting up long before London caught on”.

He went on to say “With June’s Manchester Beer Week focussing on how great a city Manchester is for beer drinkers, we thought it would be fun to let drinkers try the best from both areas and decide for themselves. We’ve got beers from 20 different breweries from London & the South East ranging from the historic Fullers to big names on the craft beer bars such as Weird Beard and Siren. On the Northern side of the divide we have established breweries such as Outstanding Beers from Bury, Manchester’s Blackjack and Cumbria’s Hawkshead but also some of the newest with Rochdale start up Serious Brewing and the very aptly named Manchester Brewing Co”.

The festival has even commissioned a special beer which brings together the two sides. The festival ale named “North South Collide” is a collaboration between Brightside Brewery from Radcliffe and XT Brewing from Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire.  XT’s co-owner and brewer Russ Taylor travelled to Bury to brew the golden session ale with Brightside’s Neil Friedrich with the brew day appropriately falling during Manchester Beer Week.

Brightside’s sales director Carley Friedrich said “We’ve never done a collaboration brew with anyone but we’ve been swapping beers with XT for years and get on great with them. We are a big supporter of Chorlton Beer & Cider Festival so when the festival approached us with the idea, we thought it was a perfect match and we were only too happy to get on board”.

The festival opens at 6pm on Thursday 7th July, continuing on Friday evening and all day Saturday. More information is available from


Champion Speciality Beer Competition 2014

The Chorlton Beer & Cider Festival is pleased to have again been selected to host the North West round of CAMRA’s Champion Speciality Beer Of Britain competition.
A panel of judges will blind taste eight of the finest speciality beers from across the North west as nominated by thousands of local CAMRA members. Speciality beers include beers flavoured with fruit, spices, honey, chocolate etc as well as unusual styles including wheat beers, lambics and saisons.
Dunham Massey Chocolate Cherry MildTwo years ago, Dunham Massey Chocolate Cherry Mild took the Gold award at the 8th Chorlton Beer & Cider Festival. Success in the regional round at Chorlton took it to the national round judging at the Great British Beer Festival at London Olympia where the beer took the title of Champion Speciality Beer Of Britain.
Last year’s winner Offbeat brewery’s Way Out Wheat also went on to further awards, coming away with Bronze in the Champion Beer Of The North West when judged at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival.
The competition will be judged on Friday 4th July, with the winners expected to be announced around 6pm.