Pouring at a beer festival can be pretty intense. Faced with an onslaught of thirsty drinkers armed with a barrage of questions, your brewery stand becomes the eye of a storm. People and their personal debris fly by and blur together as the sessions go on, while sample after sample sends you into a kind of dream state.
This year's Independent Manchester Beer Convention was a sellout, which meant the storm was in full effect all weekend. On Friday night, I stepped out around 9pm to get a bite, but found the way blocked by a line of people eager to try Buxton's soft serve beers. A short detour led me toward the festival entrance, a route I hoped would be clear. And it was, save for a muscle-bound, tattooed Sonic the Hedgehog. He was just sitting there, as you do, repeatedly hammering out his own theme song on a keyboard.
His 16-bit form clashed against the faded grandeur of Manchester’s Victoria Baths, while the tinny sound of his tune bounced off antique tiles and stained glass. I paused and looked around, an audience of one. He didn’t know I was there, and, honestly, I wasn’t convinced he was there, either. Let this be a record for posterity.