I got a little bit ahead of myself at the end of last month’s article when I promised to bring you three of my favourite beers from the Steel City Beer & Cider Festival; printing deadlines mean that as I write this the festival is still a couple of days away and we are all waiting with bated breath for the delights that this year is sure to have in store.
So for this month you’ll have to make do with my usual selection of three excellent cask ales from around the handpumps of Sheffield. The shorter nights have started to come in and already we’re starting to see darker and stronger beers appearing in pubs, so for the first time in a while there’s a stout among the choices below. Without further ado, here are my top three:
What: Mentha (5.0%) – Neepsend (Sheffield)
Where: Beer Engine
Mint and chocolate is a classic flavour combination and while putting the two together in beer form is not entirely novel, this was an excellent example of the craft. This mint-laden milk stout was described as a Mint Aero in a glass, but I would say it was closer to an After Eight, the slight bitterness coming through reminding me more of dark chocolate. A lovely deep brown colour with an ephemeral tan head, this was incredibly smooth to drink and a second pint was almost too tempting. Great stuff.
What: Planet Rock Honeydew Melon (4.5%) – Thornbridge (Ashford in the Water)
Where: Stag’s Head
It’s almost unheard of that I choose beers from the same brewery two months in a row, but after trying this one it would have been hard not to. Like the Melba from last month, this beer had a touch of a certain well-known wood staining product about it – exactly what it said on the tin. I can imagine that this one would split opinions, but for me the refreshing character of the melon was well balanced with the light hoppiness, making for an immensely drinkable pint.
What: Border Town (4.2%) – Bad Seed (Malton)
Bad Seed Brewery are usually a good bet for an above-average beer and this was no exception. This unfined rye pale ale was slightly hazy on pouring but settled to a pleasant golden colour after a few seconds. On drinking, the subtle peppery spiciness of the rye was complimented well by tropical fruit and citrus flavours from the Cascade hops. Rye beers will never be for everybody, but this one would definitely be a good introduction for those who haven’t tried the style yet.
Next time out we will definitely be featuring some of the top beers from the Steel City festival, and I’ve enlisted the help of Poppy, whose GBBF-themed Casks of the Month from a couple of months ago proved very popular! Who knows, there might even be more than three beers…