Wigan Beer Week

The inaugural Wigan Beer Week took place between 19th and 29th September 2019, to co-incide with Cask Marque’s National Cask Ale Week.

Wigan Beer Week was organised by a small, enthusiastic group of our branch members with the assistance of local publicans and businesses. It was deemed to be a great success with a host of events and activities throughout the town and surrounding areas. See below for some of the happenings that took place:

BREWERY OPEN DAYS : Events held at Wigan Brewhouse, Hophurst Brewery and Prospect Brewery. Mayflower Brewery had a pop-up bar in the Royal Oak in Wigan, a former home of the brewery.

NEW BEERS & COLLABORATIONS : Hophurst Brewery collaborated with two local pubs (Kore in Hindley and John Bull Chophouse) in producing new beers specially for Wigan Beer Week. Wigan Brewhouse have collaborated with a group of local home brewers to create a new beer which was launched at their open evening. Prospect Brewery produced a new beer for Wigan Beer Week.

BEER FESTIVALS : The Twisted Vine Alehouse in Ashton-in-Makefield hosted a Beer, Cider and Music Festival. Wigan Central hosted a festival of German beers (Not-toberfest). The Swan and Railway hosted a Celebration of Heritage Beers. The Tap ‘n’ Barrel hosted a 3-day beer festival. The Raven Hotel hosted a ‘Beer and Pie Festival’. Little Fifteen hosted a ‘Food and Beer Festival’.

BEER FROM THE WOOD : Prospect Brewery obtained a cask of the multi-award winning ‘Blueberry and Vanilla Oatmeal Stout’ by Tarn Hows Brewery in a wooden barrel. Served in their brewery bar throughout Wigan Beer Week. This proved to be extremely popular.

TAP TAKEOVERS : Weird Beard brewery at Wigan Central. Wily Fox and Rivington breweries at Sherrington’s. Hawkshead brewery at Tap ‘n’ Barrel. Tiny Rebel brewery at the Twisted Vine Alehouse. Irwell Works brewery at Fifteens of Swinley.

MEET THE BREWER : Irwell Works brewery at Fifteens of Swinley. Wily Fox and Rivington breweries at Sherrington’s. Hophurst Brewery at the brewery open day, John Bull Chop House and Kore. Wigan Brewhouse at the brewery open house. Martland Mill Brewery at the Tap ‘n’ Barrel. Mayflower Brewery at the Royal Oak.

FOOD FEST ON THE SQUARE : In conjunction with the town’s Foodfest, a temporary bar was set-up by Northern Beer Temple – Wigan’s leading outlet for bottled and canned craft beers. A choice of keg and draught beers also featured.

CAMRA MEMBERSHIP STAND : In conjunction with the town’s Foodfest, our branch had a membership stand at which copies of newly-launched CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2020 were on public sale.

BEER AND THE ARTS : Prospect Brewery turned into an art gallery displaying the works of three celebrated local artists – Pete Rowbottom, Simon Misra and Chris Halliwell. Pete won the esteemed title of Landscape Photographer of the Year in 2018.

BEER AND YOGA : Wigan Central held their first ever beer and yoga night. It turned out so popular that it became a regular occurrence after Wigan Beer Week.

BEER BUS : On the first Saturday, a ‘beer bus’ connected the events in the town centre with the open day at Hophurst Brewery in Hindley, calling at pubs en-route. On the second Saturday, a ‘beer bus’ connected the events in Wigan town centre to pubs in the outlying areas of Crooke, Shevington Moor and Standish.

Less than a week after re-opening , the new owner and licensees of the Swan and Railway gave a tour and an insight into the pubs rich heritage. Also, there was a selection of vintage and champion beers – historical beers with a story to be told.

FOODIE FRIDAY : Haigh Hall Woodland Park provided a wide variety of street food, live music and, of course, quality craft ales from the on-site Two Left Feet Tap.

NORTHERN SOUL NIGHT : No celebration of Wigan is complete without a reference to Northern Soul. Dean McDonald, a celebrated Northern Soul DJ and mine host at the Crooke Hall Inn, performed a set at the Old Courts.

LIVE MUSIC : There was a plethora of live music in many pubs throughout Wigan Beer Week.

QUIZ NIGHTS : A specially devised ‘Wigan Quiz’ took place in Wigan Central and the Royal Oak.

SCAVENGER HUNT : Just for fun, solving of cryptic clues in pubs on the ‘Wigan Ale Trail’.

As you can see, we crammed a lot into the 11 days of Wigan Beer Week. Even though we say so ourselves – not bad for our first effort. But we know we can improve and make it bigger and better.

Sadly, due to the Covid-19 virus, any plans we had for a Wigan Beer Week 2020 are currently on hold.