Indie Beer Feast: the start of Sheffield Beer Week 2020

Held in the iconic, 1920s, Grade II listed Abbeydale Picture House, the only cinema I know which has spider plants in the toilets, the third incarnation of the Indie Beer Feast (IBF), the now traditional start of Sheffield Beer Week, occurred in early March. A  new glass design (16.5 Fl.Oz. Mencia Rocks Tumbler) greeted the wide beer range provided by over twenty brewery bars: some cask, some keg, but all interesting.

For example: Torrside (New Mills) provided ‘Valour,’ a 7.7% Imperial Stout based on a 1917 recipe while London brewers, Orbit, provided an excellent Kolsh (4.8%) and a Belgian-style pale, ‘Cuvee de Bruxelles’ (4.8%). Closer to home, Sheffield brewers Lost Industry debuted an 8.7% ‘Wild Honey Braggott’ while St.Mars of the Desert (SMOD) exhibited the latest products from their Attercliffe hideaway. ‘Abbeydale BA 1868’ (11.7%), after three years in a cask, was a memorable, positive experience.

IBF also provided an increasing international selection. FrauGruber Craft from Augsberg, in Germany, made their UK debut bringing a selection of brews new to the UK. ‘An eye for an eye,’ a 10.5% Imperial Stout collaboration with Dutch brewers, De Moersleutel (Alkmaar) was particularly impressive. SMOD recently made the international Ratebeer top ten list of best new breweries, a compilation compiled from over 4.2 million customer and industry reviews.

One future innovation for IBF could be running a series of (silent) films on the big screen: perhaps beer related material from the last century. Such images would make an excellent contrast to the vibrant C21st.vibe emanating from the ample seating in the stalls. It would also be useful to have more opportunities to purchase take-aways: bottles and cans.

Yet again, IBF proved a positive start for Sheffield Beer Week: lots of innovative variety in an excellent developing venue – see you there next year!

  • Dave Pickersgill

About Dave Pickersgill

Dave has been a CAMRA member since the 1970s and has worked at almost 40 Sheffield CAMRA festivals, plus a fair number of others. He is Brewery Liaison Officer (BLO) for Abbeydale, Blue Bee, Bradfield and Loxley. A member of the National Pub Heritage Group, he leads on planning and pub heritage issues. He also edited the Sheffield's Real Heritage Pubs book, for which downloads vastly exceeded expectations. The hard copy was available in October 2018 and again in 2021. On both occasions, it was a sell-out. The 4th edition is available as a free download. Alongside Paul Crofts, Dave is co-local organiser for the 2023 National CAMRA Members’ Weekend, AGM & Conference which is planned to be held at the Octagon on 21-23 April. We hope to see you at this event.

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