Saturday, October 5, 2019 was a blast. As we staggered out into a blurry Hathersage Road, clutching our souvenir glasses, to let the evening session brigade into Victoria Baths it was ‘see you again next year’ time all round. Little did we know then that the next Indy Man Beer Con would not be for another three years. The scheduled 2020 event never happened as the pandemic put up the shutters on boozy socialising (unless you were in Downing Street).
Now it’s back, the indoor Glastonbury of craft beer on our Manchester doorstep. The dates were announced in March (September 29-October 2) and this week on Thursday, April 14 the tickets go on sale, priced between £14.50 and £19, via this link. I recommend you don’t hang around. There’ll be a huge thirst for this four day event.
Early Bird tickets will be available, with both Port Street Beer House in the Northern Quarter, and The Beagle in Chorlton running pre-sale events on Wednesday April, 15 between 6pm and 9pm. To celebrate, the two venues will each be giving free treats out to those in attendance: Port Street will have slices of Nell’s NYC 22” pizza, while The Beagle will be cracking open mystery sharing bottles from past IMBC’s for some free tasters.
Since its inception in 2012 Independent Manchester Beer Convention (Indy Man Beer Con/IMBC) has proved a world class showcase for the most forward thinking breweries from the UK and beyond. Everything about it (apart from the amount consumed) is different from the traditional beer festival. Not least the venue – the Grade II listed, architectural gem Victoria Baths.
Inclusivity and diversity are part of its appeal. And great street food. This year’s focus on sustainability and environmental awareness of the impact of the brewing industry sees special, cross-Atlantic collaborative brewing and innovative approaches to recycling spent products.
It’s a big step up from that first pioneering IMBC, created by Jonny Heyes, founder of Common & Co (Common, The Beagle, Nell’s Pizza, Summer Beer Thing). Just two rooms were used, hosting only 20 breweries. Nowadays more than 60 breweries will occupy every nook and cranny . From the main ‘stages’ in the old swimming pools to tasting areas and snug bars in the Turkish Baths, the breweries will pour a selection of their beers to thousands of beer lovers and converts alike.
Tickets are available for the following sessions: evenings 17:30-22:30, Thursday/Friday/Saturday; daytimes 11:00-16:00, Friday/ Saturday; and on Sunday 13.00-18.00.
Thanks to Jody Hartley for two of the images.