After two years of Covid restrictions, Sheffield Beer Week was back to its usual format with fantastic beery events going on in pubs, bars and brewery taprooms across the city, not only getting us local beer lovers an excuse to get out and about more but also bringing in beer tourists from across the country to enjoy what is on offer in the area.
The week was preceded by a couple of beer festivals. In Sheffield the Indie Beer Feast was held at its new home of Trafalgar Warehouse in the City Centre, this festival is predominantly one of breweries bringing their own bars to showcase and talk about their beers. Meanwhile down the road at Magna, the Rotherham Real Ale & Music Festival was taking place, here live music is a bigger feature and the beer range more traditional and the event raises money for charity.
After having fun volunteering behind a bar at Magna on the Thursday and Friday, I attended Indie Beer Feast on the Saturday evening. Local brewers pouring here included Abbeydale, Lost Industry and St Mars of the Desert and it’s always a pleasure to say hello! My drinking plan was to start with a few sensible strength beers and work my way up, trying as many different breweries as possible too. First stop was the Torrside bar, this is a brewery perhaps best known for their smoky beers but had brought mostly pale ales to the festival and my first beer of the evening was their Yellow Peak, a 4.2% pale ale on cask. Also hosting bars were Black Iris, Donzoko, Duration, Fyne Ales, Mobberley, Neptune, Pomona Island, Rock Leopard, Turning Point and Wilderness plus Hogans Cider and Ross on Wye Cider & Perry Co. My final beer was from the Craft Beer Newcastle bar which was showcasing a number of beers from the North East, including Molinillo, a 11.3% keg Mexican hot chocolate stout brewed as a collaboration between S43 and McColl’s.
Once we’d had enough at the beer festival, we moved on to the Washington for music, chat and Abbeydale Salvation Stout!
Being the lightweight/sensible person I am in my old age I had a couple of nights off the booze and didn’t head back out to enjoy Sheffield Beer Week until the Tuesday evening. This started with a visit to the Brothers Arms at Heeley as they were being presented with CAMRA Sheffield & District’s Pub of the Month award followed by a visit to the Sheaf View where a number of guest beers from Burning Soul featured. A bus ride into town was then taken ahead of the football kicking out to get to the Bath Hotel, however I was a day too early for the Mallinsons tap takeover so had to “make do” with Thornbridge beer! Finally we took a tram ride down to Shalesmoor and visited the Kelham Island Tavern for their Bristol beer showcase and the Crow to see the result of the battle of the beers event and try the rather interesting carrot cake sour!
Wednesday evening kicked off with a visit to the Rutland Arms who were hosting an event with Kernel brewery of London. Unfortunately the ticketed tasting event with the brewer which included a food pairing was sold out but a huge range of their beers were available on the bar to order in the traditional fashion! Three dark beers from Kernel were available on cask which I just had to try – you very rarely see their cask beer outside their own tap room, however there were lots of goodies to try on keg too including a foeder beer, a damson and sour cherry saison, a grisette, various IPAs and more.
Thursday evening saw us head down Abbeydale Road for the Two Thirds Beer Co. event – a tap takeover by Polly’s. Six beers were on and tasting flights of a third pint of each was ordered and enjoyed!
Finally Friday and I joined members of Dronfield’s CAMRA branch for an Ecclesall Road social. The beer week event here was a meet the brewer with Dronfield’s own Temper Brewing at the Beer House micropub, however we also took advantage of the opportunity to try out two newly opened bars at Banner Cross – Itchy Pig 2 micropub and the Dark Horse bar -along with established favourites Ecclesall Ale Club and the Portland House.