Sheffield Beer Tasting 2021

On Sunday 18th.April, as part of the National CAMRA 2021MW, over 266 Zoom accounts took part in a simultaneous beer tasting focussed on beer from our Branch area. This smashes the world record, as noted by the Guinness Book of Records: a mere 18 venues achieved by Brewhouse & Kitchen Limited (UK), on 29 November 2018.

In a normal year, attendees at the annual CAMRA AGM, Conference and Members Weekend would visit local breweries and pubs. 2021 was different. It was impossible to use the original plan of a two-day event at the iconic art-deco Sheffield City Hall. Hence, both the AGM and Conference took place online. In addition, a live online tutored beer tasting took place.

Initially, there was the unenviable problem of finding a representative selection of six beers from the hundreds produced by the 28 brewing companies located within our branch area. At a time when some local breweries were moth-balled, we wanted:  Award winners (CBoB, Champion Brewer of Sheffield, Ratebeer …..), a geographical spread, a mix of new and well-established breweries, a diverse range of beer styles and strengths and a commitment to supply 500 by the deadline.

Ten days prior to the event, the CAMRA warehouse despatched:

  • Neepsend: Acadia, 3.9% New England Session Pale: 440 ml can
  • Kelham Island: Pale Rider, 5.2%: Premium Golden Ale: 440 ml can
  • Triple Point: Dyad #4, 5.2% DDH New England IPA: 440 ml can
  • Intrepid: Stanage, 4.5% Oatmeal Stout: 500 ml bottle
  • Bradfield: Belgian Blue, 4.9%: Speciality Ale – Flavoured: 500 ml bottle
  • Abbeydale: Black Mass, 6.66% Strong Stout: 440 ml can

On the day, Christine Cryne introduced the event. The MW21 Local Co-Organiser then said a few words about Sheffield, reminding participants that they had missed a visit to possibly the best beer city in the world. We then moved into the beer tasting.

Several local brewers participated, commenting about their beer and responding to comments: Ben Millner (Intrepid), Bruce Woodcock (Bradfield), George Brook (Triple Point), Gavin Martin (Neepsend) and Jim Rangeley (Abbeydale).

Feedback was very positive :

  • ‘Brilliant event, thanks & well done to all’
  • ‘Absolutely super event, wonderfully produced, great host and contributors and the sense of the CAMRA community,  and great beer!’

Thanks to all who took part and also thanks to Alice Yardley and the team at St.Albans for organising the event.

Opinion
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 was a sell-out. The third edition is available as a free download. Alongside Paul Crofts, Dave was co-local organiser for the 2021 National CAMRA Members’ Weekend, AGM & Conference which was planned to be held at Sheffield City Hall on 16-18 April - now cancelled. We hope to see you at a future Members' Weekend in Sheffield.

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