Calling Home Brewers

2020 Competition Launched

Stockport & South Manchester Branch is again launching a competition for local home brewers to find up to five beers for Bar Nouveau at next year's Stockport Beer & Cider Festival.

Bar Nouveau Judging in progress was introduced in 2015 and features brand new beers launched at the festival. It's proved to be a very successful feature and we will be running it again next year (the festival dates are 28 to 30 May). There will be 10 beers, all served on a separate bar and stored in a temperature-controlled cellar to ensure optimum condition.

For the past four years we have involved local home brewers and have been delighted by the response. As before, the festival will purchase two or three firkins of each winning beer and the rest will be sold on to the market by the brewers concerned. If you are a home brewer this is a great chance to join in a brew day at a local brewery and also see one of your beers out there on sale to the public. In addition all category winners receive a certificate marking their achievement.

The brewers who have kindly agreed to host the winners are:

Many thanks to these brewers for supporting the competition.

Now - the beers

The five categories are quite broadly drawn so that you can use your imagination. Here's what we are looking for:

Mild & Brown Ale - This is a chance to take old beer styles and run with them. This category will also be the home of American Brown Ale and other variants on the style (including additions of fruit, spices etc). Maximum ABV 5.5%.

Bitter, Pale Ale & Session IPA - Session ales, pale ales (American or otherwise), classic bitters - all fall into this category. Note: The maximum strength has been reduced from last year's 5.5% to avoid any major overlap with the next category). Maximum ABV 5.0%

Strong Pale Ale, ESB & IPA - While we're not style fanatics you should aim for a minimum ABV of 5%. Apart from that it's up to you - brown, red, black or white IPAs are all welcome. Please note ESB now falls into this category. Maximum ABV 6.5%

Stout & Porter - Again this is broadly drawn - added flavours and ingredients optional. NB - this year's host brewery (Torrside) is a vegan brewery so - no lactose please! Other flavour additions are welcome, as usual. Maximum ABV 6%

Speciality - This is where you can really go to town. Saisons, bocks, rauch biers - all are welcome. Maximum ABV 7.0%

A few things to bear in mind:

First - Some of the bottles being judged Although the beers will be judged from bottle they will have to work as cask beers.

Second - In previous years we have asked people to think about the hops and while that's not really an issue now, please do consider commerciality. We will be buying some of each brew for the festival but the host brewers will have to sell the rest into the trade so the beers will have to be commercially viable for them.

Third - Please also note that we will be looking to ensure the entries observe the ABV limits for each category - a tiny amount of drift is OK but not huge overshoots.

Finally - The time lapse between the earliest potential brewing of the beer and its need to be on sale at the Stockport Beer & Cider Festival is 7 weeks, so inclusion of a maturation period of 6 months is not possible.

How to enter

Just email your name, contact details and which categories you want to enter to:

The cut-off date for entering is 15 January 2020 (but we won't need final details of actual beers until early February).

The beer needs to be ready for judging in mid March 2019 (dates to be anounced) and this will take place at the Hope Inn, Wellington Road North, Stockport. Final arrangements for delivering your beer will be communicated to you nearer the time.

Here are the winners of the 2019 competition with their beers on the bar at Stockport Beer Festival:

Andy Pugh Alex Pembroke Jonah Stancombe Jonah Stancombe Peter Allan

The Mild Category was won by Andy Pugh won with his Mild Mannered Victorian which was brewed at Stockport Brewing.

Bitter Category winner Alex Pembroke won with his Barley Corn which was then brewed at Blackjack.

Serial winner Jonah Stancombe won the IPA category with his Helios IPA which was brewed at Track.

This beer went on to win Bronze in our Beer of the Festival in Stockport Beer & Cider Festival's competition.

A second win for Jonah Stancombe in the Stout/Porter category with Jonah's Stout which was brewed at Marble.

This beer went on to win Gold in our Beer of the Festival in Stockport Beer & Cider Festival's competition.

Finally, the Speciality Category winner was Peter Allan with a Dandelion and Burdock Dunkelweisee called Dandelion & BurDUNK, which was brewed at Torrside.

This beer went on to win Silver in the Beer of the Festival in Stockport Beer & Cider Festival's contest