One thing about the people of Manchester, we love a good pub. We also love a bit of history, so really, the older the pub or brewery, the better. One such place is The Joseph Holt brewery, which is based in Manchester, and it’ll be holding the Woodthorpe Beer Festival from November 24 – 26 – so called because it is taking place at the Woodthorpe pub in Prestwich.
It’s been part of British culture since the Middle Ages, and now lovers of cask ale will have the chance to come together for a ground breaking event in celebration of this historic drink. A bright, clear, full flavoured beer, cask ale is an unfiltered, unpasteurised ‘live’ product containing yeast and served from the cask container where it’s gently matured by secondary fermentation. Only when the beer is judged to be ready by the master brewer is it delivered to the pub.
Joining forces with other brewers of this artisanal product, the 173 year old family business, which owns 127 pubs across the North West, will be offering visitors to the Woodthorpe Beer Festival the chance to try over 20 different cask ales over the course of the weekend.
In the process Joseph Holt, which has been in the same family for six generations, also hopes to attract new generations of drinkers to this once staple of pubs across the country.
Andrew Kershaw, an area manager with Joseph Holt and the sixth generation of the family to work for the brewery, said: “Joseph Holt was built on cask ale, and when it comes to cask ale, the UK is a world leader in its production.
“At Joseph Holt we are passionate about cask ale and have continued to brew it even when other pubs and brewers took it off the bar because of the attention to detail involved in crafting the product. That’s why we thought it was so important to stage a joyful event to celebrate our rich history of real ale.”
He continued: “At Joseph Holt, our history is so integral to what we do. As brewers we balance introducing new varieties of product with our traditional and well loved ales. Cask beer holds such a place of affection in the hearts of so many beer drinkers. But it’s also becoming increasingly popular with new and younger drinkers. We hope, whether you`re a newcomer to cask ale or have always enjoyed it, you’ll come to the festival to celebrate this unique part of our history.”
Over the weekend of the festival, there will be the opportunity to sample a large range of ales. Products on offer will include bitter, IPA, Two Hoots and mild from Joseph Holt as well as cask ale from other brewers from around the North West and further afield. Brewers will be giving talks about traditional beer and in keeping with the festival vibes, food on offer will include delicious pies and Bratwurst sausages, alongside an international keg bar. Music will be provided by local bands and there will also be some traditional pub games including ‘tossing the barrel’.
Joseph Holt deliberately chose the Woodthorpe as a venue for event, which will take place in a large marquee in the pub’s grounds. The Woodthorpe is the former family home of Sir Edward Holt who lived there in the late 1800s and who was the son of Joseph Holt’s eponymous founder.
Money raised from the beer festival at The Woodthorpe will go towards a charity appeal launched by the brewery to mark the 175th anniversary of Joseph Holt in 2024. The aim is to raise £500,000 for The Christie Hospital and Holt Radium Institute which has had a long association with Joseph Holt.
The Joseph Holt Brewery Cask Ale Festival takes place on Friday 24 – Sunday 26 November at The Woodthorpe, Bury Old Rd, Prestwich, Manchester M25 0EG.