Over the past few years, Steel City have consistently been our favoured brewery in Britain's real ale capital but this year it's certainly not as clear cut. Last year we went for Neepsend as best brewery after their superb start we they continue to build upon and more recently we have some new kids on the block in the shape of Little Critters, Sentinel and the excellent Lost Industry. Now then, add to that the improvement at the likes of Abbeydale and things just got interesting....
|Pops vs Steel City @ Sheaf|
The signs were on the wall literally and metaphorically with the huge improvement at the Devonshire Cat since the S8 maestros took it over (have a look at their new `what beers are on` boards btw) and it now actually deserves its place in the Good Beer Guide. Signings from the likes of Shakespeare's mega pub, Blue Monkey and Buxton Brewery have heralded a more modern, crafty wave of Abbeydale ales.
|Abbeydale? On keg? Beginning of the end?!|
Having missed the (apparently excellent) 20th birthday celebrations for Moonshine (Sheffield`s most supped real ale, still) on the Friday night, I made sure that I was at Hop Hideout next morning, OK early afternoon, for the (kind of) launch of Abbeydale's first sour beer Mango Rango. A month or two earlier I had sampled (several) of what I'd rate as Abbeydale's best ever beer Hop Smash and Jim Rangley`s signature sour brew could be up in that league too. Jim is conscious of the current `craft ale` hop demands, but also of the fact that Abbeydale are well-connected and well-established in the market. Jim reckons lagers and fruity pales are likely avenues along Abbeydale Road`s progressive beery pathway. Watch this space...
|Mango pulp reality. YUIM.|
<(Filter `n `fine that beauty!)>
For £3 a pint this was a real mango fest reminding me of the Great Alphonso (Magic Rock) and, more recently and closer to home, Fruit Machine that Beer Central / Steel City produced last year (our beer of 2015 probably ) but here you get more sour elements too resulting in a quaffable yet thirst-quenching taste at about 4% ish. Oh, yes.
This `meet the brewer` event was a part of Hop Hideout's sour showcase, a canny idea from the brains-trust at 448 Abbeydale Road for the August Bank Holiday weekend. Great work all round.
Abbeydale on the UP!