Indie Beer Feast

On Friday 8 February, myself and some friends attended the second annual Indie Beer Feast beer festival at the Abbeydale Picture House. Now in its second year and expanded from one day to two, Indie Beer Feast focuses on the very best independent craft beer from both the UK and further afield. This year it also boasted some fantastic food stalls and live entertainment on both days.

It was organised once again this year by Jules Gray, co-owner of Hop Hideout and director of Sheffield Beer Week. As I write this, we are right in the midst of Sheffield Beer Week, an excellent event for all Sheffield beer lovers packed full of tap takeovers, beer festivals and much more. For this year’s event there were several ‘first pours’ including a few special kegs which were the only ones in existence!

Probably my favourite beer of the evening was the Annum: Cherry (6.4%), a bretted sour aged in Bordeaux barrels on cherries from Lost Industry! It must be said that they really know how to get the most out of sour beer and this is now different. A burnt sourness on the nose with a flat pour, it had a very dry tartness to it but the main selling point is how it punches you with the cherry flavours and almost tastes like a sherry towards the end with the barrel aged nature coming through strongly. Delicious!

The group I went with was a real mix, with several people who hadn’t been to a beer festival before. One of the best things about this local, independent festival is how welcoming it is to people of all beery persuasions from first time samplers to experienced veterans of many a festival! There was a real family feel walking around the venue, with big hugs and smiles from many brewers recognising people from previous events.

No More Wednesdays, a bergamot and basil imperial blonde from Torrside brewery in Derbyshire was a personal highlight from the ‘Seasonal Celebration Beers’ selection, which was very easy drinking for a 9% beer. Herby on the nose with an initial slightly sour kick and an aftertaste that had a nice level of gentle bitterness to it, it was a great start to the evening.

The venue is also a huge selling point for this festival, and unique among the many events I’ve been to in the past. Situated in the old picture house, all the different stands are properly packed in giving it an intimate feel whilst at the same time the huge ceiling and upper levels make it feel quite grand!

From newcomers St Mars of the Desert Brewery, Attercliffe Industrial is a new DIPA brewed with Rakau and Citra. Coming in at 6.6%, this was a cracking beer, fresh and fruity on the nose with an initial creamy sweetness followed by quite a dry finish and leaves you with a nice twang of bitterness. Another very strong beer from a bright new spark on the Sheffield beer scene.

Overall then, a fantastic event which seems to be really hitting it’s stride after two highly successful days which even included a visit from the Lord Mayor Magid Magid. I think I can speak for the whole of Sheffield’s beer and brewing community when I say we can’t wait for next years event!

Andy Hutchinson

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