- Dave Pickersgill
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!