As promised, this month I am bringing you three of my favourite cask ales from the recent Steel City Beer & Cider festival. I’m sure anybody who managed to make it down to Kelham Island will agree that it was a fantastic event, and the beer choice available was first-class, as ever. Here are my top three:
Black Jesus (6.5%) – Great Heck (Goole)
This black IPA, a style not too common in cask, was a great example of the genre. A mahogany-coloured beer with a thin white head, the aroma was unmistakably filled with masses of hops and roasted coffee. On drinking, the citrusy hops were perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the malt and the deep, roasted coffee flavour.
Double Century IPA (7.2%) – Neepsend (Sheffield)
Beers of this strength can often be a little overwhelming, but this double IPA celebrating Neepsend’s 200th gyle was surprisingly easy to drink. Brewed with no fewer than six hop varieties, the beer poured an amber colour with very little head. Despite the powerful scent of hops dominating the aroma, the taste was more balanced, with a hint of sweetness to prevent the hops from being too bitter. A very good beer.
Dark Masquerade (3.6%) – Half Moon (Ellerton, near York)
In my opinion, milds are an often underrated beer style. This was a fine example of a dark mild, and proved that a beer doesn’t need to be packed full of hops and alcohol to be enjoyable. A dark ruby colour with a delicate sweet aroma, with some smokiness in the background. On drinking, flavours of dark chocolate and liquorice dominated the palate.
Next month, I’ll be back to writing about my favourite cask ales found in pubs and bars around Sheffield. As always, you are invited to write in with your beers of the month too.