18th January 2017

30th Anniversary brew of legendary cask ale will be poured exclusively at Manchester Beer & Cider Festival 19 th – 21 st January.

JW Lees Vintage Harvest Ale will make a very rare UK appearance in cask at The Manchester Beer and Cider Festival.

Brewed only once a year with new season’s malt and hops, the vast majority of the beer, once described by the late great Michael Jackson as a ‘British Classic’, is exported overseas.  Its sunny-colour and rich smooth malty flavour have been compared to ‘Christmas Pudding in a glass’ and beer enthusiasts all over the world lay down vintages to see how the beer develops as it ages.

Michael Lees-Jones, Head Brewer at JW Lees, said: “We are thrilled to be releasing the 30th Anniversary edition of Vintage Harvest Ale at our home festival. Manchester Beer and Cider Festival is a great celebration of beers and we’re proud to be bringing a rare tasting to the event. 2016 Vintage Harvest Ale is part of a range of our beers available at the festival, which includes Manchester Star, Manchester Pale Ale and JW Lees Bitter.”

Fully fermented to 11.5% ABV, JW Lees Vintage Harvest Ale was first created in 1986 following a late-night dinner conversation at a Brewers Guild event in Blackpool between by Giles Dennis, then JW Lees Head Brewer, and Richard Lees-Jones, JW Lees Chairman.  They set out to brew a beer that was the zenith of British brewing at a time when imported beers were first being feted by the trade and beer writers. 30 years on Michael Lees-Jones, sixth generation family Head Brewer at JW Lees, has pronounced the 2016 vintage as one of the best, with each beer taking its character from the season rather like a vintage wine.  Brewed using traditional techniques the fermentation is completely natural, with the wort boiled for a prolonged period in order to concentrate the flavour.

Over the past 30 years, the beer has grown in popularity and in some bars around the world it has gained legendary status, it is listed as one of the ‘30 beers to try before you die,’ by www.ratebeer.com

Demand for Vintage Harvest Ale at the festival is expected to be high and so it will be served in 1/3 rd pint measures at timed sessions only.  JW Lees will also be showing their full range of cask beers at the festival which runs 19-21 January at Manchester Central.