Greater Manchester Real Ale Festival (part of Greater Manchester Food and Drink Festival), Spinningfields

No, I don’t know where Spinningfields is either. Well, I do now, but it wasn’t easy. It’s a new district, as far as I can tell – basically half of the city out of Blade Runner seems to have sprouted up in the angle between Bridge St and Deansgate. Very odd and rather disorientating. The festival, when I eventually found it, served some good beer in good condition (I particularly liked the Allgates porter and the Hornbeam IPA), and was staffed by CAMRA volunteers who didn’t try to get money off me there and then (mainly because it wasn’t actually a CAMRA event). What worked particularly well was the ticketing and payment system: everything was £1 a half, payment was by £1 tokens and admission was £5 including four tokens. The commitment to drinking four halves was neither hard to keep straight in my head nor hard to fulfil.

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