Since getting into beer and beer related podcasts I have heard one word uttered with reverence. This word seemed to bring about happiness and joy to those that mentioned it and it seemed to hold a power similar to other magic phrases like ‘abracadabra!’ That word was Indyman. Sarah and I felt like we needed to know more and set about investigating. We discovered that The Independent Manchester Beer Convention (Indyman) was probably the most respected and well thought of event in the yearly craft beer calendar and as we began to research it, we found out exactly why and decided that this year, we just had to be a part of it.
Sadly, when we’d made the decision we wanted to go (a week after tickets had gone on sale), the tickets for the sessions we wanted to go to had already sold out, and had done so within minutes of going on sale. At this point we sent out a number of pleas via Twitter and thankfully got two tickets for the day session on Saturday 10th October. Then, the waiting began with excitement growing as the weeks went by.
As the excitement grew, it seemed a collective excitement among social media also grew. For Sarah and I, Indyman wasn’t just about the beer – amazing as it was – it was also about the social aspect, the opportunity to meet new people and put faces to those who we’d only previously got to know through social media.
So, enough about how we got to be at Indyman, and more about Indyman itself! It started with us being out of the house far too early for a Saturday morning, followed by a number of platform changes and train delays, but a few hours later we found ourselves in the queue, with tickets and home made chocolate fudge stout cookies in hand. We immediately made friends. As we waited, we started flicking through the beer list, trying to decide which of the many beers to try first. The queue eventually began to move down and we finally got in, picked up our glass and map of the venue (and a rather cool little pencil), then went in search of beer! Sarah had been wanting to try ‘Cross-Pollination’, which was a Heather Honey IPA and a collaboration produced by Magic Rock and Arizona Wilderness, so we headed over to the Magic Rock stand. After really enjoying the bottle of Cigarro Roja Mágica from this years Rainbow Project, I decided to try a third of it on keg. With beers in hand, we then decided to find our friends who were also there for the day session. After a rather helpful text from our friend which read ‘we’ve got a table in the pool’ we then went in search of them through various different pools and areas of the venue. It was at this point, we were able to take in the sheer beauty of the venue and began to understand why people raved so much about Indyman and Victoria Baths. The venue really does make this event and no pictures can do it justice.
We settled down in the deep end of pool three (the ladies pool), and started working our way through multiple beers, using our picnic table as a base. Highlights of the day for us included Cross-Pollination by Magic Rock and Arizona Wilderness, Sorachi Ace by Alpha State, Jakehead IPA by Wylam, Imperial Stout Ardbeg and Sour White Peach Sherry both by Cloudwater.
One of the things that disappointed us slightly about Indyman was the fact that the beer list on the Indyman website, wasn’t as up-to-date as it could have been. This wasn’t a major issue, and given the sheer volume of beers that were available to try, was perfectly understandable, however did mean we depended more on recommendations from fellow beer lovers, who we got to meet and talk with throughout the day.
Throughout the session we got to meet Steve from the Beer O’Clock Show (you can catch my dulcet tones on this weeks show), Janice and Wayne (the Irish Beer Snobs) who we’d been talking with via social media for some time beforehand, as well as catching up with other friends we’d got to know through our love of beer over the past couple of years.
All in all, we had a fantastic day and our first Indyman experience was brilliant. For us the venue and the people, quite simply made our experience and we will definitely be returning to Manchester next year to do Indyman, the Piccadilly Beer Mile and to explore all the other beery wonders Manchester has to offer!
See you next year Machester!