GRUB Manchester at Fairfield Social Club, Archway 6, Temperance Street, Manchester, M12 6HR – Visit Now
Review by Stephen Wilson
The legendary street food festival GRUB Manchester’s permanent home is under Archway 6 on Temperance Street (just behind Piccadilly train station), where it has set up a full-time events space and live music venue called Fairfield Social Club.
Every Friday and Saturday sees the GRUB Food Fair, serving up an incredible variety of freshly-prepared food and drink from local independent businesses and grassroots traders. Already a fan, we attend the very first The Beer Up Here festival held over this August Bank Holiday weekend.
Twenty years ago anyone wishing to try a good pint had to search high and low in Manchester. Such was the dominance of the major brewers that anything other than generic mass-produced lager was confined to the few pubs which flew the flag for cask conditioned beers. Similarly, beer festivals were the preserve of the socks and sandals brigade where asking for anything other than a traditional ale would give you short-shrift. Fast forward to the present day and the scene is very different.
The UK brewing scene is in a period of explosive expansion
Without a hint of hyperbole, the UK brewing scene is in a period of explosive expansion and Manchester is no exception, with some of the country’s most highly-regarded brewers adopting this city as their home.
Nowadays we’re spoilt for choice when it comes quality beer, and a celebration of Northern Breweries is the idea behind The Beer Up Here festival organised by GRUB at Fairfield Social Club. All of the beers come from breweries located in the North (as well as North Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and even the Isle of Man).
GRUB director and organiser James Bailey says “Sourcing local produce is at the heart of what we do, so beer that is produced locally means that you don’t have to go far for a great pint”. Another core feature of the festival is the focus on session beers as opposed to monster triple or quadruple IPAs or barrel aged imperial stouts with ABVs north of 10%.
90% of the beers were 5% or under which meant they could be drank all day in full pint measures. Traditional Manchester brewers such as Holts rubbed shoulders with newcomers like Geipel – with over 200 different beers on show over the three days of the festival, The Beer Up Here is going to be a quality fixture on the Manchester beer scene.