Steel City Beer & Cider Festival – another roaring success!

Kelham Island Museum was the setting once again for the annual Steel City Beer & Cider Festival which took place over 4 days in October. Over 6,000 visitors attended, drinking almost 20,000 pints of beer and 3,000 pints of cider. Thanks to help from our friends at Abbeydale Brewery we managed to keep the Keykeg bar open for the whole festival this year, which certainly proved popular. In fact additional supplies had to be brought in on Saturday morning to ensure we kept the taps flowing.

The usual excellent range of food stalls provided a wide range of hot and cold food, and moving one of the stalls round by the Engine Room, and adding more seating made the marquee area a lot more inclusive, giving a better overall feel to the courtyard. Saturday also saw a charity cake stall run by the Seven Hills WI, featuring cakes baked using beer and cider.

Drinkers were entertained by another top quality choice of live music, featuring rock bands each night, plus the usual Saturday afternoon spot by the Loxley Silver Band, and a return appearance by the ever-lively Kelham Rapper, who could be seen performing their sword dances several times on Saturday at various places around the festival.

Wednesday night sees a lot of the local trade visit, and is the night we run the Champion Beer of Sheffield Award, this year sponsored by Beer Central. Each local brewery is invited to submit one of their beers for the competition which is blind judged by teams of selected tasters.

The results, which announced during the evening were as follows.

1st place – Debut by Triple Point Brewery

2nd Place – Get Thissen Outdoorz by Sheffield Brewery Co.
3rd place – Vanilla Stout by Bradfield Brewery

There were a couple of interesting changes for this year which added to the overall event.

3 water stations were set up allowing visitors to have a drink of tap water or to rinse their glass between drinks. Judging from the amount of use they were getting this was a popular addition and we will look to have more of these for next year.

We also ran a special event featuring a talk by renowned beer writer Roger Protz. This covered the history of India Pale Ale and included 6 tasters of IPA’s from the festival selection. 22 people attended the talk and feedback was excellent. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and we will be looking to add additional talks and tasting sessions to the festival in future.

This year’s charity was Burton Street Foundation, who provide various support services for people with learning disabilities and their families. Through collections of cash, unused tokens and donated glass refunds, we are pleased to say that over £2000 was raised for this excellent local charity. Thanks to everyone who donated.

And of course a final mention to our volunteers, all 200 of them! We can’t thank them enough for giving up their free time to come and help make the festival the success it is. It’s a lot of hard work, but everyone enjoys being part of it and it’s nice to see so many faces back again each year. Extra thanks are also due to the volunteers who helped on the last Sunday. What takes four days to build is dismantled and put back into storage in just 10 hours. It’s a herculean effort and the team were rightly treated to a free buffet and free drinks at the Rutland Arms 2 weeks later. This is an area where we could definitely use more help next year, so if you’re feeling up to it, get in touch.

Planning for next year’s festival begins in January, and if you fancy being part of our team, please contact one of the committee, either via the emails listed in the front of Beer Matters, or in person if you see one of us out and about at any point. We’ll be only too happy to let you know what we do, and to find a way you can get involved.

See you all again next year. Cheers.

Paul Crofts

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