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The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) will be holding their SIBA (North) National Beer Competition judging panels in Manchester for the first time ever. SIBA Council has reached an agreement with CAMRA to run their major tasting event in the Palace Hotel, Oxford Road, Manchester from 28th 30th October. Following the judging on Thursday 28th, the event will then open to the public at 4pm to 10.30pm as a SIBA Beer Festival in association with CAMRA.

Some 300 cask beers from the 128 SIBA North members will cover a wide range of styles and after judging will be available for purchase. There will also be a quantity of bottled beers available to buy following the bottled beer competition. Competition winners will be announced during the early public session. The event, in the (very) Grand Room at the Palace Hotel will be open 12 noon to 10. 30pm Friday and Saturday. A major departure from normal CAMRA festivals is that all beers will be served from hand pumps 48 beers available at any one time with, yes - wait for it a sparkler and a clean pint to line glass for every fill!

This promises to be a very exciting and different event. A lot of the details are still being worked out, but yours truly will be (God help me) responsible for the training of the volunteers in pouring a pint through a sparkler. All the beer will be cooled to cellar temperature and the handpumps and cooling will be set up by SIBA Technical Services, so it should all be spot on.

Hopefully we are in for a fantastic do, with magnificent cask ales from the North, served in proper Northern style through a tight sparkler and conditioned and cooled to perfection. Be there or be square! It is one not to miss.