Sunday, 23 October 2016

The 42nd Steel City Beer Festival

Quick one. I think it's now the third year that the Steel City beer festival had been held at the impressive Kelham Island Industrial Museum and the third year that twobeergeeks has been involved in the judging.

The event seems to grow year on year and, even at the Wednesday afternoon opening session there was a decent turnout of ale enthusiasts.
I stumbled upon four different bars during my visit. Having done no research before hand to speak of, strangely hazy memories of previous visits and being too tight to buy a programme (and guaranteed to lose it within twenty minutes), it was lucky dip.
The pub bit (Millowners Arms) seemed to be all Bradfield this year and just a bit further down from it was the keg bar. When I popped in I was impressed with the selection but gas issues meant nothing was available. There's the long marquee bar downstairs again and the upstairs bar next to where judging takes place.
After last year's luck where I happened upon brilliant brews from North Riding and Crafty Devil and got to rate the speciality ales category, this year yielded a mega crop of Golden Ales. Suffice to say that, after sampling 20 of the blighters, this is not my preferred beer style..... On a positive note, good to see CAMRA criteria now allowing for unfined ales (surely the way forward) and for the fact that there was a keg bar this year (although I suspect an old school twiggy beer type might have sabotaged it on Wednesday?! ).
However , I did get to redress this somewhat between judicial sittings and enjoyed beers from newbs Beer Ink (formerly Hand Drawn Monkey, I believe) and Steel City before departing.
Best bit for me was chatting to lots of nice beery folk and hearing the results next evening:-
Beer of Sheffield -
1st. Rollabout Stout by Neepsend
2nd. C Monster by Little Critters
3rd.   Azimuth by On The Edge
Not saying we told you so but Neepsend was our Brewery of the Year for 2015 and this week's deserved award heralds the progress that they have made this year, particularly with the darker ales. Competition was tougher than ever too and Little Critters have arrived with a bang and a solid range of core ales. A silver for Critters must make the switch from Bakewell well worth it. Also great for On the Edge`s Tom who combines teaching art with brewing craft. Well done chaps. Take a bow, (and ask for a pay rise). And a big thanks to all of the people involved with this year's festival - Pride of Sheffield. x

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