On Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd February, Cloudwater Brew Co. hosted their second Friends & Family & Beer Festival. Coinciding with the Manchester-based brewery's fifth birthday, the two-day event was initially hosted in 2019 as a celebration of the independent values, collaborative spirit and community that defines the craft beer industry and, for the two days it existed, it embodied that convivial spirit.

This year we were delighted to be invited to the festival as a brewer of a different sort and the Workshop Coffee team showcased three coffees from our seasonal range throughout. Filling the hopper of our espresso grinder was our floral Ethiopian, Hunkute, and this was supported by two incredibly popular filter coffees options – our first ever Peruvian offering, Yolanda Cabrera, and Mahembe from Rwanda, which has firmly established itself as a staple in our range.

Our coffees fuelled a day of talks on the Friday, which spanned an impressive breadth of subjects, from the objectives of modern IPAs and the future of bioengineered brewing yeast, through to an insightful and inspiring panel discussion on the practicalities of independence and a keynote speech on building an inclusive and equitable work place from PhD Beer Scholar Dr. J. Jackson-Beckham.

As a damp and windy Manchester afternoon gave way to the evening, the doors to the main event space opened and the lights lowered in anticipation of what was one of the most impressive range of breweries and beers we’ve witnessed under one (rather beautiful, wrought-iron) roof. 72 brewers poured more than 500 beers of varying styles and strengths and amongst that impressive number were a host of one-off beers brewed especially for the festival or simply not available in the country at any other point of the year. The full list can be viewed here and has to be seen to be believed (and even then, it might take a few reads).

An enormous thank you once again to Cloudwater Brew Co. for the invitation and to everyone that took the time to join us for coffee and a conversation. The medicinal benefit of a caffeinated kick was no doubt beneficial as the number of beers mounted, but we were thrilled to see our coffee being tasted, savoured and enjoyed with the same excitement and sense of exploration as the beers in the room.  

We’re already looking forward to next year.