Sunday, 04 October 2015 09:10

Indy Man advent calendar - day three

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Indy Man Beer Con preview 3

Now in its fourth year, Indy Man Beer Con has established itself as one of the most significant events in the beer calendar, showcasing the best of Britain's modern independent brewing scene. Beer Battered is counting down to this year's event by providing a new blog every day in the week leading up to it. The Indy Man Advent Calendar will provide a series of different perspectives on the festival, from an organiser, a punter, a volunteer, a Mancunian brewery, an overseas brewery, a veteran Indy Man brewery and a newcomer. Previous days: one (Claudia Asch)two (Mark Welsby, Runaway Brewery).

Today's blog asks Chris Dixon, a regular volunteer and co-organiser of Birmingham Beer Bash, for his thoughts on the festival.

 

Why do you think Indy Man Beer Con has become so popular, so quickly?

Indy Man is clearly the leader in the 'craft beer' revolution of beer festivals. They've chucked out a lot of crap CAMRA event pathos and replaced it with vibrancy, effervescence and downright fabulous ideas.

 

You volunteer at a lot of different festivals but what makes Indy Man Beer Con different from others?

From a volunteer perspective, there's much more of an element of camaraderie over the whole group than at most other festivals. The interaction between volunteers, brewers and Indy Man staff is pretty much perfect.

 

What have been your highlights from previous years?

My highlight is always 'who's the new kid on the block that's going to get the Turkish Baths?' Last year's Beavertown party is going to be hard to top. This year my money's on New Zealand Beer Collective, by the way.

 

What are you most looking forward to this year?

I'll be honest, I haven't really looked at the brewery and beer list yet because I'm working most of the event - as normal! I guess I'd say the revamped cask spots, if pressed. There is the promise of super rare beers just in cask, which is really appealing because cask is still my first love.

 

What's your best tip for someone attending for the first time?

Have a look around. Soak in the atmosphere then go and find out which brewers are serving you. It really is the biggest highlight for the casual observer. Ignore the beer list and go and talk to these guys instead. They'll find your perfect beer, I promise. My first year I managed to blag a spot serving with Kjetl from Nøgne Ø and he was awesome!

 

Given you're a regular festival volunteer, what motivates you to do it?

Two main reasons. Firstly, you learn a heck of a lot. Even those old-fashioned guys at CAMRA have taught me shedloads of things. My job is nothing to do with beer so it's a completely different experience. Lifting stuff, fixing broken equipment or lashing together fixes for the unexpected - I've learnt this in spades.

Secondly, you meet so many absolutely amazing people. From brewers to landlords, from bloggers to people that genuinely just love beer. And then it takes over your life. As a single guy, with few overheads and a decent job, it's pretty much the perfect pastime.

 

What is the one thing you would ask of punters that would make volunteers' lives that much easier?

Just to remember that we are just that. Volunteers. We don't know everything but give us a chance and we'll sort you out.

Read 4151 times Last modified on Sunday, 04 October 2015 20:09

3 comments

  • Comment Link John Clarke Sunday, 04 October 2015 12:06 posted by John Clarke

    "..carp CAMRA event pathos" Pathos? What?

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  • Comment Link John Clarke Sunday, 04 October 2015 12:07 posted by John Clarke

    or "crap" even.

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  • Comment Link Connor Sunday, 04 October 2015 19:47 posted by Connor

    John, you're best asking Chris for his reasoning there. I'm not sure I agree entirely as there are both good and bad events organised by CAMRA groups.

    There was definitely an element of a particular festival format becoming stale and I saw this in several of the local festivals I used to go to (where beer selection was uninspired and largely constant every year, food poor and little thought given to the event space). But this definitely doesn't apply to all CAMRA-affiliated fests, Stockport and Chorlton being good examples.

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