As you might have heard this could well be my last Casks of the Month column, for a while at least. I’ve had great fun over the last couple of years visiting all of Sheffield’s great pubs and sampling all the delicious beers on offer. Anyone who knows me knows that despite being a CAMRA member I’m not one of those people who thinks cask ale is good and everything else is rubbish; I’m a fan of good beer in general, whatever it’s served from. However, writing this column has really encouraged me to try more cask beer and learn to really appreciate the amount of skill and care that goes into brewing, storing and serving a consistently excellent product.
I’m writing this just as Sheffield Beer Week is drawing to a close. It’s been another fantastic year and credit must go to everyone involved, not least the pubs, bars and bottle shops that come together to celebrate beer in its myriad forms. To mark the occasion, I’ve chosen some of my favourite beers from various events I’ve visited over the week – I’ve managed to whittle them down to three but there could have been many more. Here’s looking forward to next year!
What: Mango Magic (6.0%) – Little Critters and Kelham Island (both Sheffield)
Where: Old Queens Head
When Kelham Island Brewery sent me their brewery news through for last month’s Beer Matters, there was news of a then-unnamed mango IPA in collaboration with another Sheffield brewery, Little Critters, which immediately piqued my interest. I think the combination of mango and beer really works, with the sweetness of the fruit balancing out the bitterness of the hops. There was so much mango that it almost looked like a milkshake, but it was the body and smoothness that made this very drinkable.
What: Sligo (5.4%) – Welbeck Abbey (Worksop)
Where: Red Deer
Tuesday evening of Sheffield Beer Week took us to the Red Deer for our Pub of the Month presentation. The weather outside was abysmal, but fortunately there was a great selection of real ales to lift the spirits. This was the pick of the bunch for me, a deliciously smooth oatmeal stout. Deep black in colour with a small but creamy off-white head, on tasting this had the ideal blend of roasted malt and hints of caramel sweetness. The perfect warmer for a cold evening!
What: Vision Quest (7.0%) – Turning Point (Kirkbymoorside)
I’d actually gone to Shakespeares for the Battle of the Beers event (well done again, Sean!) but it was this rather strong pale ale that won the night for me. North Yorkshire-based Turning Point are fast becoming one of my favourite breweries and this was another fine example of their craft. Crammed full of Mosaic hops, this was fresh and juicy with all the characteristic tropical fruit aromas and citrussy flavours. Definitely one to look out for again.