It seems like a long time since I last wrote this column; Beer Matters‘ hiatus for Christmas has given me twice as long as usual to find the finest cask ales on offer around the pubs of Sheffield. As always, there was a fantastic variety on offer and it was especially difficult to narrow it down to just three, but here they are:
What: Manifesto (6.0%) – Revolutions (Castleford)
Where: Rutland Arms
I have tried a few beers from this Castleford-based brewery in the past but this was their first offering that truly impressed me. A lovely, smooth stout with a deep black colour; creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel and a lasting tan-coloured head. Coffee dominated the aroma but was balanced out in drinking by the complex dark malt flavours and a final flourish of hoppy bitterness. Very moreish.
What: Breakfast IPA Mk5 – Buck’s Fizz (5.1%) – Neepsend (Sheffield)/HopJacker (Dronfield)
The fifth offering in Neepsend Brewery’s Breakfast IPA series, this Buck’s Fizz IPA (brewed in collaboration with Dronfield’s HopJacker) was one of the delights on offer at Shakespeares’ Autumn Beer Festival. Made with champagne yeast, lots of Amarillo hops and plenty of Valencian oranges in the mash, this zesty and refreshing pale poured a pale straw colour, slightly hazy, and the aroma was packed with citrus notes. The taste was exactly as promised, a hit of oranges and slight champagne dryness making for a surprisingly enjoyable drink.
What: #32 Create Those Moments (4.2%) – Sonnet 43 (Coxhoe, County Durham)
Where: Stew & Oyster
This was my first visit to this new Kelham Island bar, and feeling very much in the Christmas spirit I couldn’t resist this unique spiced pear and brandy porter. The beer poured a nice brown colour, perhaps slightly paler than expected, with a foamy white head. The unmistakable smells of Christmas spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg dominated the aroma, but on tasting these were well balanced with hints of malt, fruit and brandy. It even gave me the courage to try my first oyster (highly recommended)!
Look out next month for three more of the most interesting beers on the pumps of Sheffield’s pubs.