While much of the UK’s beer revolution has been driven from the cities of England, in recent years our Celtic cousins from Ireland, Wales & Scotland have shown that they have caught up fast and Chorlton Festival is setting out to showcase some of the best.
In 2015, Newport’s Tiny Rebel took the Champion Beer Of Britain title for Wales with the Cwtch red ale, narrowly pipping Scotland’s Kelburn Brewery who took Silver for their Jaguar golden ale. Both beers will feature on Chorlton’s Celtic Invasion bar which will feature the best of Scottish and Welsh cask conditioned beers plus a couple of rare cask conditioned imports from Northern Ireland’s blossoming craft beer movement.
Over the past two years, Scotland has seen a similar explosion in microbreweries to that seen in England. The grand-daddy of them all is Alva’s Harviestoun who incredibly first brewed in a converted cowshed 30 years ago. The brewery steadily grew in popularity and quality, going on to win Champion Beer Of Britain in 2003. The festival will feature their cask conditioned lager Schiehallion which has three times been named Champion Speciality Beer Of Britain. Fellow veterans Fyne Ales will also be featured while Scotland’s new wave of craft brewers will be well represented to with beers from Fallen, Tempest & Loch Lomond Breweries.
One of the pioneers of modern brewing in Wales was Tom Newman whose Celt Experience helped educate drinkers in Wales that beer didn’t have to be brown & malty. While Celt ceased brewing a couple of years back, Tom is back making beery waves with his new Lines farmhouse brewery. Chorlton Festival are pleased to have secured a couple of rare casks from his brewery – the intriguingly named Acid Oats On Citra along with their new DIPA Blend.
Another South Wales brewery you can sample at the festival before they become a national name is Tenby Brewery who in just two years have outgrown their original plant and have just moved into new premises where they will brew on Tiny Rebel’s former plant. North Wales isn’t forgotten either with Purple Moose’s Snowdonia on the bar alongside Wrexham’s Big Hand & community brewery Cwrw Ial.
A drop of the not so black stuff
Until recently, Ireland’s craft beer movement had struggled to break out of the stranglehold that a certain mass produce black beer has on the Irish market, but that is changing. There is a fledgling craft brewing boom taking place in both North & Southern Ireland and even cask conditioned beer being produced. The festival will have two casks from Farmageddon, a new brewery in Comber, 10 miles south east of Belfast, which proudly pronounces “It may be cloudy – harden up, it’s craft beer”.
All these beers and more can be found on the Celtic Bar located in the Youth Centre.