Thursday, 22 October 2015

The 41st Steel City Beer & Cider Festival

Just a quick bit to promote the event which runs until this Saturday 24th October.

Just as everyone says, the venue at Kelham Island Museum is SO much better than previous ones. Food stalls are outside on the courtyard whilst the ale is spread between the marquee, the upper gallery and the Millowners Arms. There are bottles galore too sagely supplied by local heroes Beer Central and Hop Hideout. And there`s cider.....

Judging took place near the stage upstairs. After a swift half of East London`s Red Ale I was into judging some of the offerings in the speciality category along with experts from the Sheffield Brewery, Lincoln Green and the WI. Several of the ales divided opinions but then everyone`s taste is different. Some were not keen on salty beers and ditto with the bretted offering but I enjoyed sampling such a wide variety. Pretty sure I recognised the lovely Magic Rock `Simpleton` in the mix there too and that was popular.

Between the judging, I grabbed a half or two and one ale in particular grabbed my attention. The Mikey Rayer All Dayer was, indeed, the sort of easy drinking dream that could see a swift one turn into a session. Bags of hoppy taste packed into a 4.2%er. I`d struck lucky.

Winner from Wales

The golden bitter category judging was assisted by the experts from the Dronfield Arms and the Sheffield Brewery. We had a clear winner albeit amongst some forgettable sups even though I made a complete mess of my scorecard.

The gallery was pretty busy by this stage and the turnout overall was very impressive for a midweek night. Before home, I sampled a few more. Two beers stood out for me. Steel City`s Light at the End of the World (4.5%) was spot-on not surprisingly but my beer of the night came from North Riding. Red Citra weighs in at 5.0% and showcases the hop beautifully whilst maintaining a balance that makes it very drinkable. I hear that there is a cask or two of this in Sheffield cellars so keep a look out for it. Nice one.

Red Citra


Gold - Crafty Devil, Mikey Rayer All Dayer
Silver - North Riding, Red Citra
Bronze - Saltaire, Triple Chocoholic

 MILD CATEGORY - Brass Castle, Hazelnut Mild
BEST BITTER CATEGORY - North Riding, Red Citra
GOLDEN ALE CATEGORY - Crafty Devil, Mikey Rayer All Dayer
SPECIALITY BEER CATEGORY - Saltaire, Triple Chocoholic

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