IMBC 2016

Picture: Jody Hartley


The Independent Manchester Beer Convention (IMBC) has announced the three finalists in its Thirsty Games competition to find the best new small breweries in the UK.

The finalists are: Little Earth Project, of Sudbury, in Suffolk; Affinity Brew Co, of North London; and Burning Soul, of Birmingham.

The IMBC team — supported by sponsor Lallemand — tasted the submissions and chose the strongest three breweries. The winner will be determined by convention visitors and a panel of brewers.

The winner will get the privilege of being the first brewery on the team sheet for Indy Man Beer Con 2018, and invited to have their own bar across all sessions. Lallemand is also providing a couple of big prizes that will be unveiled shortly.

The finalists

Little Earth Project specialises in historical, farmhouse and sour beers. Very British sour beer. IPA, Stock Ale, Porter and Farmhouse ales are all fermented with local wild yeast and bacteria.

Affinity Brew Co is a partnership between a South Walian and a Bristolian, in a shipping container in North London, with 2.5-barrel brew kit, brewing the beers they want to drink. Both have been in the industry for many years as brewers, publicans and in many other roles in between.

Head brewer Steve’s love of Belgian styles has resulted in Affinity’s signature beer being Breeze, a 3.8% ABV lime zest and coriander seed saison. And rather than brewing a double IPA, why not have a crack at a raspberry, coconut and cacao stout based on a famous Australian cake? Steve and Ben’s unwillingness to stick to a core range mean that things are unlikely to stagnate at Affinity HQ.

Burning Soul makes “uncompromised beers with the best ingredients available to us, to serve to the awesome beer community. The name Burning Soul isn’t just about beer, it’s about chasing down whatever it is that makes you tick. For us, it’s brewing beer,, and we hope our passion for brewing great beer shines through in every drop we make.

“We love all beer styles, so for us it’s worth experimenting to find new exciting beers that work. We don’t shy away from making progressive styles and love switching it up, using exciting ingredients in order to create memorable beer we hope you don’t forget.”