Indy Man Beer Con 2023

Anne-Marie Pattenden, Food & Drink Writer

Independent Manchester Beer Convention 2023 at Victoria Baths, Manchester 5 — 8 October 2023 Tickets from £14.50 — Book now

Indy Man Beer Con has been bringing together scores of independent breweries and crowds of craft beer lovers in Manchester since 2012. This year’s four-day beer fest will run from Thursday 5 to Sunday 7 October in its usual much-loved venue, Victoria Baths. We caught a sneak-preview at the pre-launch party at Port Street Beer House.

First, we try a couple of beers on draught from Port Street’s comprehensive selection. A delicate pink Hedgerow Sour from Queer Brewing hits all the good sour notes, and SALT brewery’s Jute IPA is incredibly refreshing – the perfect thirst quencher for those upcoming thirsty sunny days.

Bringing together scores of independent breweries and crowds of craft beer lovers since 2012

Johnny Hayes from IMBC gives an overview. Indy Man Beer Con is short for Independent Manchester Beer Convention and is true to its name – no big breweries there. It features many of those excluded from CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) venues due to their carbonation and has always aimed to attract a more inclusive demographic than pre-existing festivals of the old CAMRA mould. There’s amusement over The Guardian calling it a festival ‘held in the crumbling splendour’ of Victoria Baths, (chosen as the festival’s iconic venue after attending a friend’s wedding there).

Although set up to celebrate UK beers, IMBC was rather US-focused pre-pandemic. Now the explosion of local breweries means they can make a sustainable return to the UK, working with Net Zero to help breweries reduce their carbon footprint and trying to keep the cost of entry affordable. Keeping the cost of living crisis in mind, tickets and token bundles are frozen at last year’s prices.

Tickets and token bundles are frozen at last year’s prices

After the talk, we try a few samples from some of the breweries already booked to appear this year. In attendance are Pomona Island Beer Co, Queer Brewing and Zapato. Just as there will be at the festival, there are some fantastic options ranging from pale ales to DIPAs, sours to imperial porters, and everything in between. Our favourite is Pomona Island Beer Co’s collaboration with Kong’s Fried Chicken, Beauty Killed the Beast: a peach iced tea sour with yuzu. IMBC will keep booking more breweries until the last moment but hope to have the full lineup ready by July.

There’s also a little preview of the food on offer in the food village – on this occasion, Great North Pie Co line our stomachs with a delicious suet pudding, beefy with a strong hit of Worcestershire sauce, peas and a rich gravy. Vegan guests were delighted by a wonderful mac and cheeze which has a flavour of turmeric and other curry spices running through it. A crispy fried onion topping brings it alive.

Single session tickets range from £14-19 each (or £75 for the entire festival), include a commemorative beer glass, and are available along with token bundles online now via the link below. Be quick: they’re selling out fast.

Independent Manchester Beer Convention 2023 at Victoria Baths, Manchester 5 — 8 October 2023 Tickets from £14.50 Book now

What's on at Victoria Baths

Grinning child on pool side
Until
Manchester
Welcome Wednesdays at Victoria Baths

Welcome Wednesdays – Tour & Explore Victoria Baths

11am – 3pm every Wednesday from April – September
Guided Building Tours – Free General Entry – Tea Room

Visit an iconic Manchester landmark for free and take an optional paid guided tour of the partly-restored swimming pools, Turkish Baths, and Superintendent’s Flat.

free entry

Where to go near Indy Man Beer Con 2023

Manchester
Gallery
Chuck Gallery

Chuck Gallery is the first private art space in North West England dedicated to the promotion of contemporary African art in Manchester and beyond. Our focus is the provision of a varied collection of high quality, original and exceptional artwork

Manchester
Museum
Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House has been lovingly restored; you can now sit at her desk, see where Charlotte Brontë hid behind the curtains, and have tea in the downstairs café. The Pankhurst Centre is also nearby.

Manchester
Library
Gaskell Society

These regular talks in both Manchester and Knutsford unpack the meaning and significance of Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing.

Manchester
Music venue
O2 Apollo

Originally built as a cinema in 1938, The Apollo is a majestic, Grade II listed Art Deco-style music venue.

The Giving Tree
Manchester
Restaurant
The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree is a cafe and community hub based in Rusholme, a short walk from the city centre.

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MyLahore

Modern cafe and restaurant on Manchester’s Curry Mile. encouraging

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Museum
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The Pankhurst Centre houses a small museum and heritage centre that remains as a legacy to the Pankhurst family and the Suffragette movement born in this city.

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Shopping Centre
Longsight Market

Sick of overpriced “vintage” markets? Try Longsight’s bustling neighbourhood market which, every Tuesday, lays on a thriving flea market that’s a miniature (albeit slightly less glamorous) version of the famous Les Puces in Paris.

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