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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

My review of the 2013 CAMRA Greater Manchester Cider and Perry Festival. I was on Offical Cider tasting panel !

A couple of weeks ago I attended the 2013 CAMRA Greater Manchester Cider and Perry Festival.
This was the 3rd Cider and Perry festival but the first time I've been to it. The only reason we knew about this dedicated festival was because of a flyer on the wall at Stockport Beer and Cider Festival a few weeks before this.

The Palace Hotel, Manchester :

Palace Hotel Manchester

This festival took place at the Palace Hotel in the Copper Face Jacks Bar on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd June 2013.

The Palace Hotel is a stunning Victorian Gothic building with an impressive 217-foot-tall clock tower.
Grade II* listed red brick and terracotta building, designed for the Refuge Assurance Company.
Look at this amazing Terracotta  design around the entrance:
The entrance to the Manchester Cider Festival at the Palace Hotel

It was built 1891–1895. The inside has Burmantofts faience and glazed brick as you can see here on the entrance down to the Festival bar. Amazing stuff.

The interior of this hotel was amazing, covered in stunning Terracotta and Glazed tiles like this.
Once down in the Copper Face Jacks bar you could hire your 1/2 pint festival glass.

The bar was well stocked with Ciders and Perries and served by friendly staff. Here is a photograph (taken with iPhone) of the bar on the second day of the festival.
There were over 60 different real ciders and perries to try from all over the UK. As is usual at festivals you could have either a 1/3 or a 1/2 pint. There was no option to have a pint for obvious reasons.
The bar on day 2 of the festival.
You were able to buy a carry out of your favorite cider. I bought a litre of Burnards Montys Double, I actually wanted to take away some Burnards Okey Dokey cider but that was no on by the time I left on Saturday mid afternoon.

The festival glass :

Offical Cider tasting panel - Such a chore :)
I was chosen to be on the official CAMRA judges panel for testing Cider which was a great honor.
I have never done this before. There were six of us on the panel, we had a cordoned off area in the pub.
The table had 42 small glasses, 6 x 1 litre containers containing mystery ciders which were simply marked as "Sample 204" etc.
You were told how to mark a cider on its Aroma, Initial taste, Aftertaste and personal enjoyment. You had to cleanse the pallet between ciders with some water and a cracker. Once you had tasted all 6 ciders you were encouraged to go back and taste them again and change scores if you wanted to.

Me judging some Ciders for CAMRA.

The only negative point I would say about this festival is the lack of food. Its the only festival I've been to that did not offer any food which was rather annoying as it meant you had to leave and go searching down Oxford Street for something to eat. I dare say this would have lost some revenue as people don't return after because they have lost the cloakroom ticket.
An ideal food to have offered here would have been the classic Cornish Pasty, what could have been a better marriage than that ! or at least some chips.

I really enjoyed this dedicated Cider festival a lot and would highly recommend it to any fan of real ciders.

As I was stopping in Stockport I had to catch a number 11 bus to Stockport Bus Station then the 192 to Manchester then a 15 minute walk from Piccadilly Gardens to the Palace Hotel.

For information on the Manchester Cider Festival see their website :

Hope you enjoyed this review.


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