Sheffield’s beer scene is rightly hailed as one of the best in the country – with many even calling it the UK’s capital of beer – writes Ellen Beardmore.
And last week that was celebrated in fine style with the return of Sheffield Beer Week, a packed festival picking out some of the best beers, brewers and venues in the industry.
There was something for everyone – from a photography trail to tap takeovers – as long as you liked a good beer.
I am not a craft beer fan or expert, but there wasn’t going to be a better time to try and get acquainted.
Thornbridge Brewery invited the Telegraph to taste its collaboration with the acclaimed Burning Sky Brewery at a food and a beer pairing at The Stag pub on Psalter Lane, the final event of the beer week, on Sunday.
The team had carefully matched each course of locally sourced ingredients with one of their artisan creations, from the Cuvee 2016, a blend of beer imported from Belgium and aged at Burning Sky. At 6.5 per cent, it had a good kick.
It had elements of both a sour beer and a wine, and really cut through the creaminess in the wild foraged mushrooms in garlic, butter and cream on brioche starter. A crispy panko quail's egg was just the right finishing touch.
We raced through a pot of steamed mussels – from Sharrowvale’s JH Mann fishmongers down the road – with the Arise pale ale and on to a very clever sorbet made with the Cuvee.
It was sharp and cleared the mouth beautifully for the main, a roast lamb rump sourced from Owen Taylors, perfectly cooked to a beautiful fading pink and smeared with rosemary butter, in a sticky red wine jus. A pot of dauphinose potatoes to the side, and roast carrots, both from SJM Fresh added more richness of flavour.
The Saison de fête accompaniment – an attempt to create a “Christmas beer, without making a Christmas beer” according to Burning Sky – was subtly spicy and you could tell it had been aged in wine barrels.
They saved the best until last.
Tonnes of peaches that would otherwise have gone to waste had been put to good use in the aptly-named Saison de Pêche. It was intensely fruity, sweet and warm, an ideal partner to the warm spiced ginger and treacle tart pudding.
There was clotted cream and ice cream, the latter rolled in candied almonds with lemon zest, to top off an incredible finish. We left with a newfound appreciation of craft beer – and with the last bottle of the Cuvee 2016 from behind the bar.