“Sheffield is the city for quality beer”
Sheffield Beer Week shows why we’re the best for beer, writes Kevin Meagher.
Moving around with work, I find myself in conversation, on a fairly regular basis, with fellow beer guzzlers explaining why Sheffield is the beer capital of Britain. I can happily report that none of the discerning folk I speak to demurs from this assessment. Word has spread. Sheffield is the place to go for quality and innovation. Across the city, exciting things are happening. Brilliant new breweries are popping up, servicing a fabulous network of pubs, bars, micro-pubs and specialist retailers. Sure, other places like Bristol and Manchester also have a thriving craft beer scene, but there is something effortless about Sheffield’s offer. We’re a city of genuine beer enthusiasts that that blends together rich and poor, young and old. Hipster and, well, hip replacement. All of which is an around about way of saying Sheffield Beer Festival begins next week (March 11-17). It’s the fifth one and the programme positively froths with quality, offering a winning mixture of special events, brewery tours, tap takeovers, ‘meet the brewer events’ and product launches. Its impossible to pick favourites, but I will just flag up a few events taking place this weekend. This Friday and Saturday, Abbeydale Picture House hosts ‘Indie Beer Feast’ (indiebeerfeast.co.uk) offering a tantalising range from twenty-two fabulous breweries. There’s music and street food and tickets cost £7.50. The line-up includes homegrown superstars like Abbeydale, Neepsend Brew Co, and Thornbridge, with talent from farther afield, like Manchester’s renowned Cloudwater and Huddersfield’s sublime Magic Rock Brewing. On Sunday, The Rutland Arms hosts the ‘Fantôme Brewery Showcase,’ showing why this iconic Belgian brewery is, well iconic. Not to be missed. If you want to mix beer with grub, The Closed Shop at Commonside is launching a week-long beer and food pairing menu, while the Ecclesall Ale Club on Eccy Road is hosting London’s Orbit Beers for a beer and cheese evening on Sunday. There’s a handy programme knocking around the city’s better hostelries from the team at Exposed Magazine with all the listings, or check out the website (sheffieldbeerweek.co.uk).