2014 has clearly been a great year for all things ale in our Steel City. New pubs have opened and old ones have been revamped and revitalised. Breweries have blossomed and it is now possible to buy beer to sup at home from a couple of discerning dealers who have recently celebrated their first anniversaries.
Beer Central is a booming little business that operates out of Sheffield's much lauded Central Market. Some have struggled in the new location but Sean Clarke already has a loyal following and his breadth of beer belies the size of his pitch. Having sold in excess of 50000 bottles in it's first year is a worthy testament to Beer Central's ability to appeal to mainstream beer boys (and girls) whilst offering geeky gifts for crafty kids. <You need a habiscus-infused Berliner weisse brewed and bottled in Brittany after aging in vietnamese gin barrels? They'll have a selection!> Beer Central's top sellers have been Bradfield Blonde, Kelham`s Pride of Sheffield and Thornbridge`s Jaipur but Sean cites Siren and Kernel as his 2014 faves, especially the former`s Carribean Chocolate Cake brew. Keep a look out for a Beer Central website in 2015.
Beer Central and Hop Hideout stand out from the competition because they go that extra mile and they have fast become focal points for the local beer scene. Together, Sean and Jules were a part of the brains trust behind the excellent Bath Brew Fest in October. Sean runs regular bottle share evenings where cool kids swap stories and scores for the beers they've brought whilst Jules at HH has offered successful meet the brewer events held at the Electric Candlelight Cafe next to her shop (444 Abbeydale Road) near The Broadfield. Jules had Siren`s Tickle Monster and Wild`s Shnoodlepip as top sellers whilst the boffins at Buxton were the top brewery. The Northern Monk MTB evening was a particular success and more similar events are planned for next year. Sounds good to us!
Neither of us beer geeks are big consumers of bottles (we prefer drinking darn t'pub mostly) but we certainly appreciate what these two have added to Sheffield's beer scene. Not many days left until Christmas but it's never too difficult to think of an excuse to buy a bottle, is it? Today is Gary Cahill`s birthday btw! And Jennifer Beals turns 51. Who`d have thunk it, eh? Beer Central and Hop Hideout will always have a suitable bottle whatever the occasion! Cheers Jennifer!