We’re back at the wonderfully atmospheric Kelham Island Museum from 18 to 21 October 2023 with a huge range of cask ales and other craft beers, artisan cider and perry, street food vendors, traditional pub games and live entertainment.
The event is organised and staffed entirely by volunteers on behalf of the Sheffield & District branch of the Campaign for Real Ale who do it to share their love of beer or cider and are passionate about having such an event in Sheffield.
Times and prices
We don’t sell advance tickets for admission, simply pay on the gate with cash or card. The entry price shown is a package, see below.
- Entry to the festival
Including live music performances.
- Commemorative glass
Choice of pint or half pint. To use and keep as a souvenir or return for a £3 refund.
- £10 token card
For the festival bars, tombola and games.
- Programme (£1)
Containing the beer and cider list. Available from the entrance and token desks.
- Talks and tutored tasting events (see event guide below)
Advance booking recommended (any remaining tickets will be sold on the door).
Accompanied children are welcome on site until 8pm, after which it is strictly over 18s only.
Kelham Island Museum do not allow dogs on site unfortunately, except for registered assistance dogs.
If you want to leave the festival and come back later the same day, please ask for a readmission wristband before you leave. Note readmission is not guaranteed, for example if the venue is at capacity.
There will be talks and tasting sessions in the Power Room (booking recommend) and live music in the Upper Hall.
The River Don Engine, Europe’s most powerful working steam engine is located in the Engine Room and will be running at set times during the festival.
Exploring Sheffield’s Little Chicago Quarter in 1925
11am – 12:30pm
This will explore streets that feature in the leader’s book ‘Sheffield 1925: Gang Wars and Wembley Glory,’ with a narrative explaining how Sheffield briefly became the most turbulent city in Britain because of an escalating gang war. This short walk will conclude at the beer festival with fast track admission included in the ticket price.
The sales director of Purity Brewing, who are taking over the taps in the Millowners Arms during the festival, will talk about the brewery and their ethos. You are welcome to bring a Purity beer up from the Millowners to enjoy during this talk!
River Don Engine
Bridging the Gap between Beer and Cider
7 – 8pm
A tutored beer/cider tasting
Mike Pomranz (Old Shoe) will compare two beers and two ciders: two ‘single variety’ and two of a ‘funkier’ description before sampling the single box of a 2023 mixed-variety Sheffield grown and made cider from his Exemption Ciderhouse.
River Don Engine
Sheffield’s Pub Heritage
3 – 4pm
An illustrated talk (no charge) from heritage expert, Dave Pickersgill (Sheffield’s Real Heritage Pubs).
Cask is Craft?
4:30 – 5:30pm
A tutored tasting and discussion
Julia Gray (Hop Hideout) will introduce four contrasting beers: two cask (gravity and hand-pull), one key-keg and one from a small pack. An experienced beer trade professional with almost twenty years in the field, she aims to showcase, “the variety and quality of beer currently available in the UK.”
River Don Engine
River Don Engine
From Europe to Mars
4 – 5pm
A tutored beer tasting and discussion from the team behind the world-renowned Sheffield brewery, Saint Mars of the Desert: Dann Paquette and Martha Holley.
River Don Engine
Beer and cider
We have around 200 different beers available across several bars in cask, keg, can and bottle, although given our roots we specialise mostly in cask!
Part of the beer list features local favourites while the rest we try and get a broad range of styles from across the UK including many you might not have tried before.
Cider and perry
We anticipate a range of around 30 ciders and perries to choose from ranging from dry to sweet, traditional and flavoured, but all your proper natural products #notfromconcentrate.
The bars only accept tokens for payment.
We’re using a different style of token system this year with £5 cards, 20p sections of which will be crossed off as you spend.
There are desks around the venue selling token cards and any unspent credit can either be refunded (up to a maximum of £10) or donated to charity.
Using tokens helps our volunteers serve quicker and provides security in not having cash or card machines around the bars.
Glasses and dispense
All drinks are served into your personal glass so keep hold of it! Self service glass rinsing stations are available around the venue to use between drinks if required.
Some beers are served on handpump or tap while others are gravity poured direct from the cask.
Draught beer, cider and perry is served in a choice of pint, half pint and third measures.
Every beer will have an A4 label displayed on the bar telling you about the beer along with the price and allergy information. Please ask the volunteer serving you if unsure.
Cider, perry and beers in cans or bottles will also have labels on the bar.
A basic range of soft drinks and drinking water is available free of charge from a dedicated table next to the cider bar.
Other non-alcoholic drinks along with wines and spirits are available to buy from the Millowners Arms and other independent traders.
CHAMPION BEER OF SHEFFIELD
This competition was judged via a blind tasting event on Wednesday afternoon. The winners are:
GOLD – Heist, The Bad Part of Gnome Town (a hazy session pale)
SILVER – Tapped, Brook (a porter)
BRONZE – Little Critters, Great Danish (a premium strength pecan & maple stout)
Various food vendors can be found around the festival. These are independent traders and will generally accept cash or card payment.
Hot food can be found in the Courtyard
- Thai Street Food
- Sunshine Pizza
- Yuleys Bratwurst
- Indian Street Food
- Millowners Fish & Chips
cold snacks in the Upper Hall.
- Helen’s Bakery (pasties, sausage rolls and sandwiches)
- Brownies & Shortbread
Also look out for Hendos promoting their snacks at the festival Wednesday to Friday and Seven Hills WI on Saturday with their charity cake stall, this is likely to be in the Bradfield Brewery bar.
The Millowners Arms pub will be within the festival site and open exclusively to festival visitors, operating normally as an independent trader serving food and drink. They accept card payment only (not festival tokens or cash). During the festival the Millowners Arms are hosting a tap takeover with Purity Brewing.
The closest tram stop is Shalesmoor, served by Yellow and Blue routes towards Middlewood and Malin Bridge.
Trams run from the City Centre and Hillsborough about every six minutes in the daytime, every 15 in the evening, up to midnight.
Direct journeys are also available from Meadowhall and Halfway plus various park & ride car parks – check the Stagecoach Supertram website for more information.
There are two sets of bus stops a short walk away: Shalesmoor Allen Street/Ebeneezer Street served by routes 57/57a, 81, 82 and 86, and Nursery Street (by the Harlequin pub) served by routes 7/8 and 95/95a.
From Sheffield railway station you can catch the Blue route tram to Shalesmoor, which is about five minutes walk from the venue. Board the trams at the back of the station. Alternatively leave the station via the main concourse and cross the road to the bus stop by the Howard pub where you can catch bus 57/57a or 95/95a (see above).
The main taxi companies are Uber, Bolt and Veezu. All have apps to book and pay for rides with Veezu also offering the option to book by phone (0114 239 3939) and pay the driver cash.
Hackney carriage (black cabs) are widely available in the City Centre without booking and can usually be flagged down on the main road around Shalesmoor. They also have a taxi rank at the railway station. Note they are generally cash only.
Desks for general and sponsor admissions can be found at the Entrance on the museum gates.
From here, head into the building on the right and turn right for the Bradfield Brewery bar in the Brearley Room, or left and up the stairs or lift then across the bridge for the Upper Hall with cask ale, can and bottle beer, cider, perry, snacks, tokens desk, CAMRA membership and shop, live music, and the tombola.
To the right at the top of the stairs (or left from the lift) is the Power Room where talks and tasting events will be held.
Straight ahead from the Entrance is the Courtyard where you’ll find hot food traders and, round to the left, the main Toilets. Also on the left, to the back, is the Marquee with cask ale, can and bottle beer, cider, perry, tokens desk and games. On the right is the Millowners Arms, an independent pub serving a range of drinks and food.
At the far end of the Courtyard past the Marquee, is the Engine Room with the steam-powered River Don Engine that will run at set times during the festival.
KeyKeg craft beer is in the Crucible Room with seating available in the Stone Garden. To access this area walk through the Engine Room and the Hawley gallery.
The Glass Return area is on the right as you approach the entrance gates when leaving.
There are loads of pubs, bars and restaurants a short walk away in Kelham Island and Neepsend. Check out our online pub guide.
Our festival is entirely organised, run and staffed by volunteers.
Although as a volunteer doing it for the love of the event you don’t get paid, there are some perks including a free drinks allowance (cask ale, cider and perry), staff t-shirt, buffet for those that work the takedown day and an invite to a reunion social trip to Lincoln.
While we need plenty of bar staff, there are other jobs too, including admissions, glass washing, selling tokens and programmes, selling merchandise, selling membership, admin roles, hosting the games and more.
To volunteer, please complete the staffing form.
Profits from the beer festival go towards the cost of CAMRA’s campaigning activity, however we also raise money for a local charity each year with collection buckets around the venue.
If you have unspent credit on your bar token cards, you may also choose to donate them to the charity.
This year we are supporting the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, an independent charity providing a lifesaving rapid response emergency service to five million people across the whole of Yorkshire. To keep both of their air ambulance helicopters maintained and in the air, they need to raise £19,000 every single day. The generosity that they receive really is the lifeblood of the Charity.
We’ve produced promotional beermats supported by a number of sponsors, with the festival logo on one side and the sponsor on the other. Our volunteers have been distributing them to pubs and events. If you collect all 12 versions you can put them together like a jigsaw puzzle to form the poster artwork. We’ve kept back a small number of complete sets in mint condition that are being auctioned on ebay in aid of the charity above. The final auction runs from 22:00 Sunday 8 October, bidding ends at 22:00 Wednesday 18 October (the day the festival opens).
We still have sponsorship opportunities! If you want to promote your business at the festival and help support our event please get in touch at email@example.com.
A little bit of information on the festival, the CAMRA branch that organises it and our media policy is in the document below.
We’ll be running a guest list for early admission from 4pm on Wednesday for trade and media, the festival opens to the public from 5pm. Please email using the address below to arrange.
If you are a student wanting to get a little more involved and immersed you may wish to work as a volunteer at the festival, please see the volunteering section above and fill in the staffing form. We especially need staff for late shift and for set up / take down.
Please email any press enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.