Vegan Beer Festival – Manchester

The Vegan Beer Festival took place on the 17th/18thSeptember, and we were in attendance! As lovers of all things alcohol, and with the location of the festival just a few minutes from our apartment, we couldn’t resist trying something new. Rami is a seasoned ale-lover, and Mady is a lager-sipping vegetarian looking to cut-down on animal products. Here is what we thought:

Location

The location of the festival was former cotton-spinning Islington Mill in Salford. It was cosy, but not restrictive. Friendly and inviting. The courtyard was by far the best area to sit and have a drink.

Cost

We had to think twice about the £7 entry fee, but it was only £4 if you bought in advance which would have been well worth it. On arrival, we were given wristbands, and information book and a free pint-sized cup for all our beer needs. The price for the beers averaged at a modest £3.50 a pint, with most drinks available as thirds or halves for between £1.20 and £2.50. We were also given a free box of “vegan eggs” if we signed up to the FollowYourHeart newsletter.

All the beers!


Booze


Black Fox Porter: Made by Red Fox, 4.8%. 

Paradise Pale Ale (Left), Black Fox Porter (Right)

Now, this is the one of the first porters that Mady has felt safe to drink. Dark in colour, with a light tan foam. It was surprisingly hoppy for such a dark porter, with the traditional chocolate notes with only the slightest hint of coffee. Overall, this is quite a light porter in both texture and flavour and was an easy-drinking porter. 

Paradise Pale Ale. Made by Red Church, 3.7%.
One of the most flavourful beers of the festival – and Mady’s favourite – and definitely suited for a hot summer day in the park with a BBQ.  It was more akin to a lager than an ale, very light with slight carbonation.  Flavour-wise there were some slight hints of hops but it was overwhelmingly floral. 

Attack of the Ryeclops. Made by Weird Beard, 5.5%. 
The first rye beer we’ve had, so we had no idea what to expect and nothing to compare it to! At first, we were both put off by the smell – honestly, it was not pleasant.  However, it was nice to taste.  One of the strongest palates of the festival. The beer retained a little spice of the rye, a bit peppery with a slight chilli flake tinge, that combined with the traditional hoppy notes very well. It was slightly reminiscent of a rye whiskey notes. Surprisingly good.

Gorgon Alive Amber Ale. Made by Clarkshaws, 4%. 
The plainest beer of the festival – but that doesn’t mean it was bad! Admittedly, it just means we don’t have a lot to say. It was easy to drink pleasantly floral and refreshing. 

Railyway Porter (Left), BLY (Right)

Railway Porter. Made by 5 points, 4%. 
In comparison to Black Fox, this is the style of Porter that Rami is used to – and coincidentally it was his favourite. It was much thicker and much heavier than the Black Fox – too heavy for Mady’s taste – and stronger in flavour.  Strong notes of coffee and chocolate dominate the palate. This is definitely the sipping pint. 


Bohemian Like You Oatmeal Ale. Made by Wild Weather, 2.9%. 
Another style of beer that neither of us have tried, and yet again we didn’t know what to expect! It was only slightly heavy, but immensely filling. It was very fruity and, unsurprisingly, oaty! It was a pleasant change of pace, and something we’d definitely explore again. Though, admittedly, it left a strange aftertaste. 

Fat Gay Vegan Lime and Pink Salt). Made by Dominion, 4.5%. 
For us this was just awful. It was an interesting experiment and maybe with more lime and a lot less salt it might have worked for us. We were heavily dehydrated afterwards, and it made difficult to drink more beer! Not for us. 

Overall

We didn’t try everything, but vegan beer does not really taste any different from regular beer, albeit slightly lighter in texture. It was a good experience and it was very nice to meet such passionate brewers who have put such work into ensuring that everyone can enjoy good beer.  We didn’t eat but the food looked and sounded amazing. We’re yet to try the vegan eggs but they have a six month expiration date so we have plenty of time! We also learnt that Red Bull is suitable for vegans! Next time the festival is in town, go check it out.

All the free stuff! 

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