The gates to JW Lees’ Manchester brewery
Two of the north’s most celebrated beer cities have formed an alliance for the official beer of this year’s Manchester Beer Week.
It will appear on draught at venues across Greater Manchester during the festival — which runs from June 29 to July 8 — with bottles also available exclusively from the Co-op, headline sponsor of Manchester Beer Week, as part of its commitment to celebrating and showcasing local food and drink.
The beer will aim to reflect the combination of JW Lees’ rich heritage and Northern Monk’s bold, cutting-edge approach. Billed as a Summer Pale Ale, it will be made with a generous amount of New World hops and fermented using JW Lees’ 4,904th generation yeast, coming in at 5.2% ABV.
Manchester Beer Week has teamed up with the Co-op for the second year running, with the official beer stocked in more than 50 of the community retailer’s stores across the region.
Beer week organiser, Connor Murphy, said: “Some people might question why a brewery from Leeds is helping to brew the official beer of Manchester Beer Week, but we saw this as a great opportunity to foster collaboration between two great beer cities, as well as the old and new worlds.
“This year we are looking to highlight the great things happening throughout the UK’s independent brewing industry — particularly through initiatives such as the Manchester Beer Week City Clash — and Northern Monk are currently one of the shining lights in the North. We were excited to see what happened when we paired them up with Manchester’s oldest family-owned brewery.”
Simon Dryell, head of local sourcing at the Co-op, said: “We are delighted to partner with Manchester Beer Week. Locally brewed ale is an exciting category, where we can see continued sustainable growth as craft ale followers look for something that tastes different, while retaining the passion, history and tradition that goes into brewing quality ales.
“As a community retailer, the Co-op is committed to investing in its local communities, providing what our members and customers want, when and where they need it, and exploring new ways to showcase, celebrate and support great quality locally produced food and drink.”
JW Lees previously brewed the official beer for Manchester Beer Week in 2016, an equally eye-catching collaboration with prominent Mancunian craft brewery Cloudwater.
Meanwhile, Northern Monk is one of the best-respected breweries in the UK’s booming craft beer scene and is set for rapid expansion after smashing the £500,000 target it set during a recent crowdfunding campaign. The Leeds brewery eventually raised an impressive £1,500,000.
Michael Lees-Jones, head brewer at JW Lees, said: “Manchester Beer Week is unique. It’s an event that makes really interesting beer things happen for all kinds of breweries. We’ve developed a great recipe with Northern Monk that’ll show off what we’re both about. It’s something that drinkers will definitely enjoy.
“In a few weeks we’re launching a microbrewery to showcase the art, skill and fun of brewing. Collaborating with breweries like Northern Monk, Marble and Beer Nouveau gives you a flavour of what it’s all about.”