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Absolution wins 1st prize at Northwich Beer Festival

Absolution wins 1st prize at Northwich Beer Festival

The annual Northwich Beer Festival, the joint venture between North Cheshire CAMRA and the Northwich and Northwich Vale Royal Rotary clubs, took place over the weekend of the 20th September 2013.  This year saw the festival take place at Winnington Park Recreational Club providing drinkers with a whopping choice of 40 different ales from all corners of England. One of these ales was our very own “Absolution” which to our delight, romped home to take 1st prize in the competition!

Members of North Cheshire CAMRA who combined their visit with a real ale pub-crawl around Sheffield presented the award to us at The Rising Sun on Saturday the 16th November.

Further information on the festival including pictures and final beer list can be found on 


Absolution Award

It’s fantastic to see that beers from our core range still pick up awards. Absolution is one of the first beers ever made at Abbeydale and the recipe has changed very little over the years. Thank you North Cheshire CAMRA!

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Steel City Beer Festival 2013

Every year when the weather worsens and the temperature plummets to just above freezing, we ale enthusiasts make a pilgrimage towards Ponds forge for the Steel City Beer and Cider festival, this year making its 39th appearance.

It’s a strange experience to say the least, witnessing the transformation from a sports hall usually filled with people fit and of fine fettle, to an alluring ale haven of liquid solace.  

The hall is certainly no place for the indecisive.  With over 150 real ales, ciders and perries to choose from, Sheffield CAMRA certainly made sure that there was no spitting of feathers.

My night began with Chantry Brewery’s delicious dark drop “Diamond Black”, a 4.5% stout recommended by Chantry’s loquacious leader, Sean Page.  This delectable dram set the theme for the night, as many a stout and porter was downed from here on.  Next was a glass of the 4.3% Oat Stout by the Brew Company.  Having always been a fan of their Anvil Porter, I know this team can really deliver in all that is dark. Full bodied and full of flavour, their voluptuous stout did not disappoint. 

The next tipple to satisfy my senses was a pint of the provocative “Black Jesus” by Great Heck brewery.  This monster of a beer is packed full of hops and dark malt and at 6.5%, delivers this unique flavour with thunderous thwack.

Moving my way meticulously around the bar, my next measure was the marvellous Black Rat Porter.  Although I must say this Porter is not a scratch on Rat Brewery’s sublime stout; “Ratsputin”, it’s slight sweetness gave the beer what the French call a certain…I don’t know what. As a college of mine so eloquently put it; "Reyt nice, that".

Next up was a Vanilla Stout. This seemed to divide the team into two halves; those who thought it was a superb sup, and those who like me, thought the vanilla actually took something away from the wonderfully smooth dark beer. However, whatever the belief, it didn’t stop me drinking a pints worth.

With a quick fuel stop of pasty and chocolate, a successful go on the tombola and a quick conversation with the Abbeydale team about what was hot and what was not, a few of us were selected to take part in the beer tasting. As the tasting was blind, I simply can’t comment about which beers were good or not. But I can say some were fantastic. 

Sat around the table with an eclectic mix of ale fans: some landlords, managers, brewers, camra members, it was interesting to hear everyone talk about their journey to the love of real ale.  We were also so immersed in conversation, we nearly missed the results of the festival. 

The Brew Company’s “Crazy horse IPA” won champion beer of the festival, with Sheffield Brewery’s "Sheffield Porter" coming in 2nd.  Joint third came "Farmers Blonde" by Bradfield brewery, tied with our very own "Black Mass". It was a great result. In the short time I’ve been working at Abbeydale, the brewery has expanded time and time again. I must say as not only a worker, but a genuine fan of Abbeydale beers, that it is results like this that prove, to me at least, that with expansion we have not sacrificed quality!


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British Hops

British Hops

British hops logoIt’s no secret that here at Abbeydale we don’t shy away from hops. Those of you who have seen my short video blog showing off our hop back in "Abbeydale Brewery We Love Hops" will see how we try our utmost to get all the essential hop oils and good stuff out of them.

I personally have always said "Wherever you can grow good wine grapes, you’ll grow good hops" and while I still think this is true we don’t want our drinkers to overlook the fabulous range of home-grown little green gems on our doorstep. Of course when I say doorstep, I really mean the UK in general. There are over 20 different varieties to choose from and with such a wide spectrum of beautiful flavours why wouldn’t you!? Achievable characteristics commonly found in our native hops include: Citrus (well what else!), spice, pepper, grapefruit, tangerine, marmalade, mint and in some cases apricot and blackcurrant.

It is with this in mind we have decided to jump on the Charles Faram Well Hopped Campaign and aid them in showcasing exactly what our English hops can do. We have decided to run with Dr. Morton’s Four Yorkshiremen of the Apocalypse and packed it with East Kent Goldings, Challenger and Bramling Cross hops and – in true Dr. Morton style – each in suitably large quantities! Since we are so proud, we will be flying the flag and showing off the British Hop Association’s logo on our pump clip publishing the fact that this beer has been brewed with love as standard but also with 100% British hops. This 5.0% ABV monster will be on sale from Monday the 4th November 2013 and for the pump clip collectors out there, it will be the first pump clip to date with a collaborative logo on it.

For further information on British hops (including some pretty pictures), log on to

Full tasting note: "An assertive English Pale Ale packed full of wonderful, juicy English hops. Mainly East Kent Goldings, Challenger and Bramling Cross and in abundant quantities. Flying the flag for our native hops. Offering sweet lavender, thyme and cedar- like aromas. Whilst berry fruit freshness like Loganberry and Blackcurrant come through, there is also a more-ish honey-like undertone. It’s also reit nice an that! "

Enjoy everyone and let us know what you think 🙂

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Sunfest 2013: An Introduction To The Beers

Sunfest 2013: An Introduction To The Beers

I set out to source from a greater number of breweries this year. This means that many feature one beer, two should the criteria fit – new breweries / new beers (or at least new to us!). New breweries we have managed to pin down for a cask include; Mouslow Farm, Hamelsworde, Healey’s,Newark, Tiny Rebel, VIP, Talke O’Th’ Hill & Betjeman Brewery not to mention our new local breweries; Dronfield, Harthill VIllage, Toolmakers and On The Edge. Big thank yous go to Stu at North Riding Brewery for making us a special brew, a beer appropriately named Seventh Sun 4.0%, and also to Dave at Raw and Mark at Townhouse for sourcing beers for us.

For all you beer spotters out there, it may be good to know that all the  beers selected are not souped-up, dry-hopped/blended, one-off festival specials concocted from existing brews. Each cask beer at the festival has been made in a batch or been on sale/will be on sale in the general trade. Actually, that’s not entirely true of the Abbeydales. The Milk Stout – we’re trying something there! Let us know what you think. Well it’s our festival and we’re allowed to play.

Back to this Milk Stout of ours at 5.0%. This beer style is something we have wanted to do for a long time. A few of these were sampled (just to make sure) at Rotherham CAMRA Real Ale and Music Festival at Magna (takes place in February each year, plug) and it was so good we decided to trial it and what better place to trial it than here at our beer festival.

It is also worth noting that I massively over ordered (oops!) and the extra beers will be on sale in the pub throughout the coming weeks. So please come back after the festival for more beers from many of these breweries. Join YourRound and get emailed / texted / tweeted when they come on the bar.

Let’s also not forget the large selection of speciality beers available. From fruit, ginger and chocolate beers to spiced and wheat beers. They can be found in the Sunfest programme with a red box around the beer colour identifying them as extra special. For you newcomers out there, this is not to be confused with beer flavours. Beers are often described as tasting of something e.g. raisins or burnt toast. This flavour is obtained by carefully selecting the barley and roast type. This is not ‘Speciality’ (although special and yummy it may be) unless it had actually had burnt toast in the brew – if that floats your boat! Similarly a beer can be described as tasting of mango or grapefruit. These flavour compounds are found in certain hops, if added in sufficient quantity. To summarise, it’s "speciality" (red box) if the beer has something other than the four main ingredients; Water, yeast, hops and barley. We also identified a couple of beers which definitely did not use isinglass finings and marked these with a V. (others may not, but we’re not sure). Some vegans will know what we mean, the rest of you, don’t worry about it.

The craft keg beer bar is back again this year featuring some of the well-known micro brewery kegger’s out there. We have ten different beers here but are restricted to serving six at a time. We have given it a go, kegging some of our Ascension 6.0% on dry hops to compensate for the beer being served at a lower temperature than was initially intended for a cask product, if that makes sense?

Hopefully there will be something here for everyone. Enjoy the festival! 

Dan Baxter

PS This year we have  added a few favourite beer (and cider) quotes  to the programme and would love to hear any particular beer quotes that have stuck in your mind. If you are a tweeter, Facebooker or emailer, send us in your favourites. Be it comical, factual or historical. I’ve always liked:
    "I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s
            as good as they’re going to feel all day."                         ~ Frank Sinatra

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Tramlines Ale Launch Party

Tramlines Ale Launch Party


The "Tramlines" beer launch night started as you may expect any other Thursday to start in Sheffield; with intermittent downpours of Biblical proportion. We lucky few escaped the deluge and were pleasantly serenaded by a few of Sheffield’s sprites under the roof of one of the steel cities’ favourite institutions; The Harley. 

The launch began with an explanation to the uninitiated on how this years beer would be chosen. Simply; we would be given the choice to vote for one of two different beers and the favourite would be put into production for the attendees of Sheffield’s "Tramlines" festival to enjoy.   

After the excitable murmur of how retro the vinyl stamped pump-clips looked was brought to a simmer, it was time to get down to the beers themselves.   

It was a pleasure to witness the ignition of senses by our beers, as it’s praises were sung by those whose taste buds were tantalized. A spectacle that humbles any hard working brewer.   

The Golden "Tramlines 1" got my vote. The wonderfully subtle toffee flavour coming from the cara-malt seemed to be balanced beautifully with the US Cascade hops which both resonated harmoniously with my pallet.

However, it seemed that the paler, Galaxy hopped "Tramlines 2" made more of an impression in the Harley. With it’s tropical notes and citrus edge paraded around the place, I got the impression this may be crowned the victor. 

If this is true, it affirms Sheffield’s insatiable appetite for pale hoppy beers. Good news for us at Abbeydale!


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Call for Tramlines Tasters

Call for Tramlines Tasters


Tramlines, The UK’s biggest inner city festival, is calling on ale fans to help them choose the Tramlines 2013 official ale.

This year the official Tramlines Festival Ale comes from Abbeydale Brewery. The Sheffield based brewery has come up with two ales that will go head to head on Thursday 23 May.

The Harley on Glossop Road will be hosting the Tramlines Ale Launch Party from 7pm, giving punters a chance to enjoy some free music and take their pick of the contenders. Tramlines tipplers will be able to have their say on which of the two ales should be sold at the festival.
Both Tramlines Ale 1 and Tramlines Ale 2 will be available in venues across Sheffield on the run up to the festival but only one will be sold over the festival weekend.

Which side of the tracks are you on?

Punters can vote on their favourite Ale via a ballot box at the Harley or by using the hashtags #TRAMLINESALE1 or #TRAMLINESALE2. All the votes cast on the night will be counted and the winning ale will be sold across the festival weekend.

Sarah Nulty, Festival Director at Tramlines said: “Sheffield has a fantastic real ale community and some brilliant breweries and we need to celebrate that. The Blues Stage and Ale Trail are key parts of the festival and real ale is something that our punters love. A Tramlines Ale has become a staple part of the festival now. We are selling both Tramlines ales at only £1.50 for one night only while stock last and at that price you can afford to try both.
“We’ve got great ale, great music and lots to entertain. It should be a fantastic night, and what better way of starting the bank holiday weekend. Come on down and have your say on which ale should win.”

Live bands and DJs will be playing from 8pm including Ham Pocket,? 50 Sniffs and The Grand Old Ukes Of Yorkshire.
Tramlines, returns to Sheffield for its fifth year on Friday 19 July to Sunday 21 July with a bigger and better music programme than ever before.

Regular line-up announcements will be made over the coming weeks. Confirmations already include Lianne La Havas, David Rodigan MBE, Toddla T Sound, Maurice Fulton, Theo Parrish, New Young Pony Club, Shangaan Electro, Fenech Soler, Slow Club, Jim Jones Revue, The Invisible, 2.54, Friends, Duke Dumont and Dutch Uncles

A limited number of weekend tickets (priced at £15 plus booking fee) are available at

Last year’s Tramlines saw over 150,000 people turn Sheffield into one massive festival over three days, creating the feel and atmosphere that rivals any green field festival site.

Find out more about the artists playing Tramlines 2013 at

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Now Then Magazine Celebrate Their 5th Birthday

Now Then Magazine Celebrate Their 5th Birthday

Happy Birthday to the guys at Now Then magazine Sheffield (and now Manchester).

To celebrate, they asked us to do a beer for them…again.

When you start serving this beer OR purchase a pint of it, please tweet @AbbeydaleBeers or @NowThenMag using the hashtag #nowthen5, or email [email protected]. Any stories you wish to share – let us know where you are, who you are and most importantly what you think cos we think it’s right good. Cheers!

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Invoice no. 50000

Geoff & Pat Fuller at The Stags are our oldest customer (the first infact) being issued invoice number 1 – our starting point. So it only made sense that they receive invoice number 50000 17 years down the line.

  • About Us

    A true Sheffield institution founded in 1996 and based in the heart of the Antiques Quarter, Abbeydale Brewery blends heritage and tradition with creativity and innovation.

    Abbeydale Brewery brochure

  • Contact Us

    Abbeydale Brewery Ltd
    Unit 8, Aizlewood Road
    S8 0YX
    Telephone: 0114 281 2712
    Email: [email protected]


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