Friday, 15 December 2017

twobeergeeks` Brewery of the Year 2017

Last year we could not agree on a winner in this category so Danny went for Hopjacker whilst I opted for Lost Industry, both local, up and coming breweries. 2015 was Neepsend and the year before was Magic Rock. This year it was easy!

Our selection for 2017 is Abbeydale Brewery! What a transformation down in S8! With 20 plus years of experience providing beer for the Steel City, Abbeydale deservedly had a reputation for reliable real ales with Moonshine often seen in dozens of establishments around the city and a core range that are popular around the country. Balanced beers with a light, hoppy profile are suppable but rarely a challenge to the fussier palettes. However, Abbeydale`s 21st year has heralded a rebirth. With the snazzy artwork of James D. Murphy catching the eye, the Brewers` Emporium range offer something different in can, cask or keg. Sure, some of the beers don`t quite hit the spot but plenty of them do. The barrel-aged Brett Tangerine is outstanding. And is there a better value beer than Heathen, which you can grab a can of for less than two and a half quid!? We have loved the Voyager range too and Unbeliever impressed us both massively whilst the darker brews have potential aplenty.

Funk Dungeon is the experimental arm of Abbeydale and it is the brainchild of brewer Jim Rangeley, he took a break from his hectic schedule to speak to us, exclusively! ..............

Q.1 - Proudest achievements at Abbeydale?
 This year I passed my General Certificate in Brewing and will be encouraged to study more in the new year by the owners here at Abbeydale.
Also I am really pleased with the barrel-ageing and mixed fermentation project I have started: the Funk Dungeon. While these projects take years to get established and grow, they have to start somewhere, so being able to start this from scratch and push into a direction that is personally interesting and unchartered territory for the brewery, is really exciting!
Q.2 - Plans afoot at Abbeydale 2018?
We hope as a brewery to expand our canned beer range. This way we can produce exciting beers more often in small pack and distribute them further afield. In addition, we have a number of events that we are looking forward to early in the new year and hope to keep this going throughout 2018. 

Q.3 - What`s going to be the next trend in beer?
 This year we have seen many breweries investing in ageing programs here in the UK and, as we start going into the new year, we will see more of them coming to fruition so I expect aged sour beers as well as some more kettle sours. The DDH (double dry-hopped) and NEIPA (New England IPA), I think we`ll also continue to see a rise but possibly be tailing off towards the end of the year. Although what will replace it remains to be seen, possibly fruit IPAs?
Cheers Jim!
Some of the specials have been, err, special too. We both encountered Cold Conscience (a collaboration with the Alvarez Kings) at the Rutland and loved it whilst Encantada didn`t quite do it for us.

Ar Wilson not enchanted by Encantada
Are there hops in hell (with Blue Bee) and Don`t go Bacon My Heart (an Ass Clown collab) were very brave and indicative of the risks that Abbeydale are now prepared to take, and risks can reap rewards. And all this whilst retaining their massive following who prefer to opt for the more traditional offerings from Abbeydale`s core range. Quite a feat. phew. Hats off to Abbeydale!!!
In case you missed them! -
2016 Winner
2015 Winner

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