I’m afraid I won’t be going to the Independent Manchester Beer Convention. Or rather, I didn’t go (it was this weekend). Having missed
the first one last yearthe first two (h/t Tyson in comments – time flies eh?), I wrote off this year’s IMBC when ‘sold out’ messages started appearing, several months in advance of the event itself. However, not all the advance tickets got used – as is bound to happen when tickets go on sale with a lot of time to spare – and a few were being touted around on Twitter as late as Friday.
So I did have the choice whether or not to go, and in the end I chose not.
REASONS FOR GOING TO IMBC 2014
- Lots of interesting beers from cutting-edge brewers.
- The food sounded pretty good too.
- And it was in Victoria Baths, which would be unusual if nothing else.
- So, really, whatever the beer was like, it would have been an interesting experience and made a good blog post (as long as I hadn’t got too drunk to remember anything).
- (Even if I didn’t much enjoy it, it would have been an interesting experience.)
REASONS FOR NOT GOING TO IMBC 2014
- It was £13 to get in. For that (according to the Website) you got a glass, a programme and er. Making it approximately £10 dearer than most CAMRA beer festivals.
- If last year was anything to go by, the beer would have been fairly pricey, too.
- Not to mention the food.
- More to the point, about 3/4 of the beer (at least, for the session I checked) was keg.
- I didn’t want to go and then spend the evening roaming the halls disconsolately looking for cask beers that (a) were on (b) looked interesting and (c) I hadn’t had.
- Nor did I want to spend it trying keg beers and hoping I wouldn’t be disappointed. Because I do keep trying them and I do keep being disappointed – not every time, but definitely most times.
- And I certainly didn’t want to be the old bloke leaning accusingly on the Magic Rock bar and saying “Got any real ale, young man? No? Aye, well, think on.”
- In terms of interesting experiences, the last three possibilities wouldn’t have been very interesting – and “man who doesn’t like craft keg tries craft keg, doesn’t like it” doesn’t make a very good blog post.
- I know, I’ve written it.
- More than once.
- Most importantly, and setting aside any consideration of beard length –
- (May I point out at this point that I’ve recently gone clean-shaven myself, and am confident this will be the next trend. At least, I hope it is. I cannot be doing with those Iain-from-Bake Off full beards that the real hipsters seem to be sporting these days.
- I saw a little short bearded guy unlocking his bike from the railing of a bar down the road the other week – 5′ 4″ at most, long shorts, full beard. Not many things make me stare, but I could not stop staring at that guy. I think my subconscious must have taken him for a gnome.)
- Anyway, the point is that there’s a selection effect here. An event like IMBC, with lots of fanfare about its general awesomeness and cutting-edge-icity, will attract a lot of people who like the idea of going to an awesome cutting-edge event. (And I’m willing to bet that a lot of them will have full beards, but that’s not important right now.)
- And an event with what I imagine to be expensive beer and food, and what I know to be expensive admission tickets, will attract people who don’t mind paying a lot for their beer festival experience.
- Also, and most obviously, an event where 3/4 of the beer is keg will attract people who (at the very least) don’t mind that.
- In short, if I had gone I strongly suspect I would have been surrounded by well-heeled trend-following keg-drinkers.
- I’ve got nothing against well-heeled trend-following keg-drinkers, but they are not my people.
- (I mean, the guy with the ponytail and the Hobgoblin shirt drinking a pint of Old Tom from his own pewter tankard isn’t exactly my soul-mate, but I’d much, much rather be surrounded by people like that. Really much rather.)
- Also, the festival glass is a third of a pint. And serving bitter in thirds is just wrong.
So that’s five reasons in favour, twenty reasons against. The result was a foregone conclusion. To me the IMBC is – still – something to say ta-ta to.
(H/t John Hegley.)