This year is the 41st beer festival Sheffield & District Campaign for Real Ale has run under the Steel City banner although only the second year at Kelham Island Industrial Musuem – the change of venue last year proved a very popular move. This year will be a very similar event to last year, not wanting to spoil what everyone loved, but there will be some tweaks to improve it based on feedback from both staff and customers.
If you don’t know where the museum is, you need to be on Alma Street in the Kelham Island District about where the Fat Cat pub , Kelham Island Brewery, Craft & Dough pizza restaurant and Urban Quarter burger restaurant is located. This is a short walk from bus stops on Nursery Street (Harlequin pub – buses 47/48/53/87), bus stops on Gibralter Street (Shakespeare’s pub – buses 57/79/79A/81/82/84/85) and the tram stop at Shalesmoor (Blue/Yellow routes). There is a long driveway from here to the museum between the river and the apartment blocks.
When you arrive at the admission gate you need to pay your admission fee, obtaining your wrist band (if you are a CAMRA member claiming discount entry please have your membership card ready to show) and also pay the glass deposit. We will have a choice of pint or half pint glasses (both will also have a third pint line if you want to drink in smaller taster size measures). The glasses are branded with this years festival logo along with the sponsors logo. You can return the glass when you leave the festival to get your deposit back or keep the glass as a souvenir of your visit!
Once in you need to buy beer tokens to spend at the bars. There are a number of stalls selling them around the festival. Our bar staff as a result do not handle cash which speeds up service and improves security for us. The merchandise, games and food stalls all take cash however.
We will have around 150 different real ales available to try this year. Once again the main beer list has been put together by our branch Chairman Andy Cullen featuring a showcase of beers brewed in or near Sheffield along with some interesting, new and rare beers from further afield and of course some old favourites. Andy is being assisted in sourcing some of the beers by our friends at Blue Bee, Dave from Steel City Brewing and Tom at the Beer Engine. Tom will be organising a pallet load of beers from London breweries which will be split between the pub and the festival.
Meanwhile our Cider bar managers Sarah & Hazel have been busy sourcing a selection of cider and perry – expect a range of around 20-30 to choose from, brought from across the UK although we will still as ever have the locally produced Woodthorpe Hall cider too.
There are a number of different areas in the festival:
Access via the door on the right when you arrive on site then over the footbridge, here you will find a long beer bar and the main cider bar, the traders serving cold food and the live music stage. Expect a great atmosphere when there is a band on!
The Upper Hall is also home to the merchandise stand and Tombola.
An atmospheric outdoor area, this links all the other areas and is also home to the street food stalls serving hot food.
You will also find the smoking area and toilet facilities alongside the courtyard.
Fronting on to the corner of the Victorian Courtyard, this is a recreation of a traditional local pub with seating and bar where our staff will assume the role of the pub landlord and serve from a variety of beers on handpump. This area of the festival will always offer a comfortable, quiet and relaxing atmosphere. The Millowners Arms is also home to displays of items from local brewery history.
A large beer bar and a cider bar is in the marquee along with plenty of seating. The marquee is also home to the traditional pub games and the CAMRA membership stand.
This is a new area added to the festival this year, home to the steam powered River Don Beam Engine, one of the working exhibits the museum is famed for. We are hoping this will be fired up for a demonstration on Friday afternoon, the rest of the time this room will provide additional indoor space for drinkers, which I’m sure will be much appreciated if we aren’t as lucky with the weather as last year!