At the end of March myself and Dom will be leaving Sheffield to spend some time exploring the beer scenes in Eastern Europe. Unlike many 20-somethings setting up in the city, I’m not from Sheffield nor have I studied at either of its universities.
Though I never really thought about this before moving, it is something I have noticed to be quite significant, as the merit of Sheffield is its community feel, with these being the core ones for people my age. Through the Sheffield and District CAMRA committee I have been brought into one of the strongest communities going, the Sheffield beer scene.
During last year’s Steel City Beer and Cider Festival, I noticed that one of our volunteers was sporting the GBBF volunteer t-shirt from 2018. The mantra read ‘Cask and Keg and Bottle and Can’. This really hit a chord with me and I think this perfectly sums up Sheffield!
For me, Sheffield is cask beer. From the 24 breweries in the branch region, to the hundreds of pubs that keep well, promote strongly and offer quality cask beer, to the activities of the local CAMRA branch in Pub of the Month (POTM) competitions and local events, cask beer is at its strongest in Sheffield. Neepsend, Blue Bee, Little Critters, Lost Industry, Steel City, Toolmakers, all of the breweries creating exciting and new and inventive cask beers while maintaining the classic styles of the more traditional brews, there can be no favourites with so much quality. You only have to attend our festival to see the range and class of cask offerings from the city.
So to completely contradict myself in saying there can be no favourites, for Keg beer I think you can get no finer brewery, not just in Sheffield but nationally, than Abbeydale. The range of styles, range of serves and sheer excitement and inventiveness of their beer has advanced my personal appreciation and knowledge no end.
…and Bottle and Can
I have found that introductions to good beer often happen at home. Sheffield is lucky to have places like Hop Hideout, Beer Central, Archer Road Beer Stop and Turners which stock a vast range of local, national and international beers in a variety of styles, strengths, combinations and collaborations.
Sheffield also has some great pubs where bottles and cans form a major part of the overall offering. Places like the Bar Stewards, Ecclesall Ale Club, the Rutland Arms and the Devonshire Cat all have substantial ranges of bottles and cans offered alongside their hand pulls, which can be enjoyed in the pub.