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Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Everyone here at the brewery would like to thank all our customers for their continued support over the last twelve months.  We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Here’s to 2015 being even better than this year! Now all that’s left is to go to the pub!

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Jester – A new breed of English hop

Jester - A new breed of English hop

The start of December brings with it the release of the third beer in our Albion Ales series, showcasing British hops.  Following on from the roaring success of ‘Scepter’d Ale’ and ‘Full English Breakfast’ we have ‘Jester’.  A 4.1% pale ale in the classic Abbeydale style, we are using just the Jester hop in late addition to try and showcase this great British hop.

Grown by Charles Faram and initially launched in 2012 in tiny quantities, this is an attempt by the hop farmers to produce a British hop with a flavour profile more akin to the very popular varieties grown in Australia, New Zealand and the US. Typically these new world hops are bursting with citrus and tropical fruit flavours and aromas, with grapefruit, mango, lemon peel, and pineapple often present and high amounts of dry bitterness imparted into the beer.  

Typically, British hops have less pungent flavour profiles, with more earthy, grassy and pine notes being the general characteristics, in what has become known as noble hop character. Due to the (relatively) even rainfall of the British climate throughout the year, very few of our hop plants are irrigated leading to lower levels of myrcene (a natural organic compound found in the hop oils) to develop a more delicate aroma.

So we come back to Jester, the new world style hop with a British slant. A particularly oily hop, with aromas of grapefruit and lychee when rubbed in your hand.  When used in a beer, more of a marmalade character develops. We’re excited to see how our balanced session pale style suits this bold young hop, which is leading the way for the revival of the British hop market.   

For more information on British hops in general, we advise you visit the website of the British Hop Association at 


Cheers & Beers!



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Albion Ales, origins of a name

Albion Ales, origins of a name

It is strange how good ideas often come from the coming together of a set of disparate ideas and how great ideas can grow from rather casual beginnings into a Eureka moment. The origin of our new Albion Ales, British hops series is an example of all those things.


One of our passions is chamber music, and we have a friend, Fraser Wilson who works with our favourite Sheffield Chamber Music group, Music in The Round.  Fraser also heads up Albion Choir, a venture of his own which brings together a small group of mainly young singers to sing Fraser’s new arrangements of songs from these islands. As the choir’s website says “Uniquely among choral groups, ALBION sings the music of "these islands" – England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales – and further afield. The islands’ musical heritage stretches back a thousand years, offering a rich store of treasures: dances, folksongs, madrigals, plainsong chants, airs, anthems, and more. In their variety and beauty, they lie at the heart of Albion’s inspiration.”


Having met Fraser one day just before Christmas 2013 at Sharrowvale street market, where he was enthusiastically flogging the choir’s Christmas CD and Christmas concert in Millhouses, we went to one of the concerts and were completely entranced by the haunting arrangements, fabulous singing and interesting staging. We have been loyal followers ever since.


We arranged to have a Moonshine with Fraser before one of the Music in the Round concerts in May and he shared with us his passion for this music, adding that he thought some of the themes and names in these songs would make excellent names for beers in the spirit of many of the Abbeydale names. We discussed it again when Fraser and his friend Duncan visited the brewery for a rather boozier afternoon one Saturday.


Our initial thought was a little dismissive – so many people think they have good ideas for beer names and so few of them actually are good names – but this idea niggled and would not go away.


In our brewery we do use some English hops but most of our hops are from the US, Australia or New Zealand, mainly because these hops deliver the flavours we love. (–and we can digress for hours on why the flavours are different in English and new world hops). But there are some really good English hops around and English growers are developing new varieties which pack more flavor.  We had done our Four Yorkshiremen of the Apocalypse beer using specifically English hops and the British Hops logo and recently we have used some experimental English hops to good effect.  So perhaps the time was ripe for us to support British hop growers by doing more beers making a feature of English hops. Fraser’s suggestion melded well with that notion. Eureka!


The other aspect to selling beer is the pumpclip, and anyone familiar with our beers and especially the specials, will know that we have a very talented artist locked in a cupboard (for his own safety, honest) who generates amazing ideas and images for our pumpclips. So I ran the idea past him. As a patriotic soul with his own wide knowledge of music and poetry, he embraced it willingly. Eureka! And with a final homage to our friend Fraser and the Albion choir, the Brit-hop Albion Ale series of beers was born.


The first in the series is an extra-special beer made with freshly harvested green hops – there is a separate blog about this very special beer. Next up in the series is a Full English Breakfast Stout.


And do check out the forthcoming concerts for both Albion and Music in the Round, both local ventures providing world-class music and well worth giving a try and supporting.

Music in the Round       Albion

Sue Morton

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Hopping down to Hereford

Hopping down to Hereford

Early September brings one of the treats of the brewers’ calendar, a trip to the Hop Walk organized by hop merchants Charles Faram. This year the location was Pridewood Farm, Ashperton, Herefordshire. Hops have been grown there since the 19th century and the Powell-Tuck family have been continuing this tradition for almost 20 years.

There were over 300 UK brewers there to participate in a day of learning more about hop growing and harvesting and to listen to various experts giving updates on state of the hop harvest around the world and the effect on price and availability of this essential brewing ingredient.

Alongside all of this there was of course, the chance to sample some beer – not too much for me, I was driving the van but Patrick took good advantage. This year featured pairs of beers  brewed in the conventional way but with one firkin with of hop oils added. This may be a way in future of making hops go further by extracting the oils and adding those to beer rather than using whole hops or pelleted hops. Of course this stimulated much debate between traditionalists and those who see this as a way forward. I am sure it is a debate we will hear more of if the growth in small brewers continues to outstrip the planting of hops.

This year Abbeydale decided to take advantage of the opportunity to obtain some hops straight from the field and make a “green hop” beer. (The downside of this was having to drive rather than catch the train). Normally hops, once separated from the bine (stalk and leaves), are dried gently. This stabilizes them so they can be packed and stored for quite long periods so they can be transported and used thoughout the coming year or so. Green hops are taken from the field, separated and then put into sacks. They then need to make their way into beer within hours or, like any vegetable matter they will start to rot and compost.

Because the hops are not dried we needed eight times as much in weight, so at the end of the day we loaded up our van with 100kg of freshly harvested Early Goldings hops and in less than 24 hours they were in the beer. Indeed one of the main challenges was fitting them into the hop back!

Making a green hop beer is such a special thing – a sort of brewery harvest celebration – that we wanted to make a big thing of it. We have wanted for some time to do a series of beers featuring English hops, our Albion Ale series, so what better way to launch them than to start with this green hop beer. It will be called Scepter’d Ale, ABV 4.1% and in fermenter it is tasting very soft, floral and sweet. Final flavours have yet to develop, but with no dark or crystal malts to hide the hops, this should be one lovely beer.

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Craft Beer At Its Finest – #OldAle

Craft Beer At Its Finest - #OldAle

We haven’t blogged about any beer for a while, so WOODn’t you like to know what we have been up to recently? Well the observant amongst you may have spotted a wooden cask in the bottle room of the Dev Cat recently, or perhaps you tried one of the two on offer at SunFest, and it is our first foray into experimenting with wooden casks.  We have bought some old whisky firkins which we have filled with both Absolution and Black Lurcher, and the whisky flavours have really come through and added something extra to these beers. 

That got us thinking about ageing some of our beers at the brewery in wooden casks, so we ordered some 225L (approx 50 gallons/400 pints) White Burgundy oak casks.  When any drink spends time maturing in wooden casks, the liquid reacts with the wood and there is an imparting of flavour. The colour of whisky comes from the wood* (it is a perfectly clear liquor when first distilled), and it will pick up flavour profiles (if the barrel is being re-used) from the previous contents, i.e. if you age something in a sherry cask, you will impart some sherry flavours. 

So onto our beer, we have selected Old Ale, our take on an Old English Ale, strong (7.2% ABV), mid brown and full bodied, with a fairly sweet alcohol finish, to be our first try.  And while we could have just put it into the wood and see what happens, we thought that wood be a little boring, so we have livened things up somewhat! So into each cask before filling, we added a bag of Jack Daniels wood chips (available from a well known DIY retailer, other wood chips are available!), a good dollop of top quality maple syrup and a big handful of the finest Galaxy hops from Australia.  The beer was then poured in and after sealing each cask, we have to twiddle our thumbs for three months to let the magic happen! 

Once that time is up, we are going to transfer the beer into our bright beer tank (maybe with some extra hops!) and then fill some of our shiny new 30L and 50L kegs. We will also be filling some casks with some unadulterated Old Ale, so we can compare and contrast.  


What wood you like to see us do next with our lovely wooden casks? Please comment below, email [email protected] or chip in on Facebook (…/AbbeydaleBrewery) or on Twitter (@AbbeydaleBeers)


*Some distilleries add caramel to the liquor to add extra colour depth.

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Sunfest Beer Festival Opening

Sunfest Beer Festival Opening


Eight years and still going strong. Sunfest 2014 could well be the best yet! Unintentionally, this year’s celebration of real ale has taken me into an exploration of brewery collaboration beers. There are half a dozen or so of these on offer this year. Brewery collaborations are a fantastic way to share ideas, expertise and knowledge and have some fun while you do it. Abbeydale did its first formal collaboration this year with Founders Brewery of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The beer is 3712, a 7.0% American PA beast – named after the distance in miles between our two breweries. A more recent collab led us all the way to Raw Brewery, Staveley. The idea – which as far as I know hasn’t been attempted before in the UK – was to try a Kaffir Lime leaf Coconut Stout. This is called Lady Boy and it’s 5.5%. Other collaborations are highlighted in the programme.

In total there are 110 beers on offer from 81 breweries. Eleven brewers are featured more than once mainly because there is either a good story behind them or it’s just beer I simply had to include! An ex employee of ours for example, up and left for Siren Brewery in early May. I exploited his betrayal by insisting he brought us up some beer for this weekend. We never miss an opportunity to source some new and superb quality beer. New Breweries to us this year include; Briggs Signature Beers, Firebrand Brewing Company, Fuggle Bunny Brew House (Sheffield’s newest micro brewery), Highland Brewing Co., Isle of Purbeck Brewery, Keltek Cornish Brewery, Keystone Brewery, Pigeon Fishers Craft Brewery, Stonehenge Ales, 360° Brewing Company & 6° North. Good luck trying them all! Give’em all a tweet if you have the time or patience. Use the hashtag #SunFest14 and Twitter addresses provided for most of the breweries.

One very special beer deserves a massive thank you from me personally to Stuart Neilson at North Riding Brew Pub. With several attempts (all failing) to get our heads together to collaborate together on a beer, Stuart produced a beer to commemorate the birth of my 9 week old son (as of this week). We discussed beer style, abv and hops etc but Stuart was adamant from the beginning that the name was going to be Benjamin James. The beer, "Benjamin James" is a 5.2% pale beer and if Stuart had had anything to do with it, you know it’s not going to be hop shy. And neither will Benjamin if his upbringing has anything to do with it!

On to speciality beers. From fruit, ginger, coffee and even chilli 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. 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 have a gluten free beer.

We’ve gone all out with the craft keg beer bar this year. Stepping up from six to now eight. I’m happy to announce we will be helping to launch a couple of local breweries’ new keg beers. We’ll be showcasing Acorn Brewery’s No. 1, a 4.5% modern pale ale and Stancill Brewery’s Lager at 5.0% and using an old original Pils recipe. I’m also really looking forward to a Punch In The Face 4.8% by Totally Brewed and Tiny Rebel’s Hank 4.0%.

Lastly, (said in hush whispers) two extra special casks are the beers from the wood. Absolution 5.3% – tried and tested before this weekend in our two pubs. And Old Ale 7.2% – a new beer of ours, purposely designed to be aged in a wooden cask and for an added extra oomph we’ve primed the cask with Maple Syrup and dry hopped it. The casks certainly imparted lovely oaky, whisky flavours in the Absolution, so the Old Ale will be very exciting.

… I said it was to be the best year yet didn’t I!

Hope you all enjoy the festival and please spare a thought for our charity this year Cavendish Cancer Care. I’m sure their cause requires no introduction. You will find collection buckets dotted around hoping for a spare coin or two or the rest of your beer ticket. Other ways to donate are on their website ( or just drink some of our charity beer Dr Morton’s Survival Kit, available for the first time at this festival. For every pint sold Abbeydale will contribute 10p to Cavendish so fill ya boots 🙂

Cheers & Beers!



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Sunfest 2014 Beer List

Sunfest 2014 Beer List


  Cask Beers    
Brewery Beer name ABV (%) COLOUR
Blue Bee Brewery Inhov The Black 7 Dark
The Brew Company Mosaic 4.1 Pale
Sheffield Brewery EPO 5 Gold
White Rose Brewery Landing Craft 4.2 Gold
Imperial Brewery Bicycale 4.1 Pale
Wentworth Brewery Chilli Plum Porter 5 Special
Harthill Village Brewrey Twisted Hart 5.1 Dark
Steel City Brewing  Born To Be Riled 4.2 Pale
Woodstreet Brewery Amazonia 4.1 Pale
Little Ale Cart Dominion of New Zealand 5 Pale
Toolmakers Brewery Crank It Up 5 Pale
Welbeck Abbey Brewery Unity 4.9 Gold
Welbeck Abbey Brewery Priest Hills 4.2 Special
Acorn Brewery Topaz 5 Gold
Chantry Brewery Tony’s Tipple 4 Gold
Stancill Brewery Spirit of ’66 5.2 Pale
Raw/Abbeydale Lady Boy 5.5 Special
Instant Karma Brewing Company Saffron Kasaya 4 Gold
Dronfield Brewery American Pale 5 Pale
North Riding Brewpub Benjamin James 5.2 Gold
Brown Cow Brewery On Yer Bike 4.6 Pale
On The Edge Brewery Zeus 5.4 Pale
Kelham Island Brewery Mind Control 6.9 Pale
Rock&Roll Brewhouse Breakfast (in America) 5 Pale
Pictish Brewing Company Flyer 4.2 Pale
Saltaire/Dark Star  Le IPA 5.6 Gold
Saltaire Brewery Elderflower Blonde 4 Special
Saltaire Brewery Blackberry Cascade 4.8 Special
Saltaire Brewery Raspberry Blonde 4 Special
Blue Monkey Brewery Three Wise Monkeys 4.9 Pale
Ossett Brewery Rio De Ja Beero 4 Pale
The Rat Brewery Le Grande Dep-Rat 3.5 Pale
Fernandes Janie’s Addiction 4.3 Copper
Riverhead Brewery Bicyclette Blonde 4 Pale
Backyard Brewhouse Fiesta 4.1 Pale
Highland Brewing Co. Scapa Special 4.2 Pale
Fuggle Bunny Brew House Hazy Summer Daze 4.2 Pale
Totally Brewed Slap In The Face 4 Pale
Totally Brewed Papa Jangles Voodoo Stout 4.5 Dark
Burton Bridge Brewery Battle Brew 5 Amber
Dark Star Brewing Company Victorian Ruby Mild 6 Copper
Dark Star Brewing Company Espresso 4.2 Special
Derby Brewing Company Indian Ink 5.2 Dark
Derby Brewing Company License to Chill 4 Copper
Magpie Brewery Angry Bird 4 Copper
Tring Brewery Company Kotuku 4 Pale
Tiny Rebel Brewing Company ZOOL 4.8 Gold
Tiny Rebel Brewing Company Goldie Lookin Ale 4.5 Gold
Yeovil Ales Lynx Wildcat 4.3 Amber
Yeovil Ales Star Gazer 4 Copper
Dawkins Ales Bristol Blonde 3.8 Pale
Isle of Purbeck Brewery Solar Power 4.3 Gold
Fool Hardy Ales Red Neck Ralph 4.7 Gold
Fool Hardy Ales Rhidonkulous 3.7 Pale
Oakleaf Brewing Company Blakes Heaven 7 Dark
Oakleaf Brewing Company Dubbel Barrel 6 Copper
Axholme Brewing Company Chantico 4.7 Special
Brewster’s Brewery Brewers Dozen 5.5 Amber
Double Top Brewery Old Stoneface 6 Special
Townhouse Brewery Aroura 4.3 Pale
Atomic Brewery Spectrum 4.1 Pale
Hopcraft Brewing Steady As She Goes 5 Amber
Abbeydale Redemption 5 Special
Abbeydale Trance Sister 3.8 Pale
Abbeydale Tramlines 4.1 Pale
Abbeydale/Founders ‘3712’ 7 Gold
Abbeydale Black Lurcher 7 Dark
Abbeydale Absolution from Wood 5.3 Gold
Abbeydale Old Ale from Wood 7.2 Copper
Abbeydale Dr. Morton’s Survival Kit 4.1 Pale
Navigation Brewery Back of the Net 4.5 Pale
Brentwood Brewing Company OMG 3.7 Pale
Shiny Brewing Company New World 3.7 Gold
Keltek Cornish Brewery Even Keel 3.4 Amber
Siren Craft Brew Half Mast Quarter IPA 2.8 Gold
Siren Craft Brew Liquid Mistress Red IPA 5.7 Amber
Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout 4.5 Dark
Firebrand Brewing Company Spring Saison 5 Pale
Pilot Brewery IPA 6.4 Gold
360° Brewing Company Pacific Pale #49 4.9 Gold
6° North Hopocrisy 4.6 Gold
Dukeries Brewery Bolt out of the Blue 5 Gold
Barlow Brewery Revolution 4 Pale
Keystone Brewery Gold Spice 4 Special
Beowulf Brewing Company Pilgrim’s Pale Ale 6.5 Gold
Hop Back Brewery Crop Circle 4.2 Special
Purple Moose Brewery A Pint Of Two Halves 4 Pale
Wood Brewery Golden Goal 3.6 Gold
Downton Brewery Apple Blossom 4.3 Pale
Briggs Signature Ales Gospel 3.6 Gold
Kinver Brewery Noble 600 4.5 Copper
Stonehenge Ales Danish Dynamite 5 Pale
Tipsy Angel Tawny Angel 4.2 Amber
Pigeon Fishers Craft Brewery Test Brew 1.1 4.8 Pale
Ashover Brewery Littlemoor Citra 4.1 Pale
Lincoln Green Brewing Company Village Green 4.2 Gold
  Keg Beers    
Tiny Rebel Hank 4 Gold
Totally Brewed
Punch In The Face IPA
Hibu/Raw trHIBU CHE Balla 5.6 Dark
Rat Rat Against the Machine 7 Gold
Acorn No. 1 4.5 Pale
Abbeydale/Founders 3712′ 7 Gold
Siren/Off Colour Biere de Gouttiere 4.4 Gold
The Kernal Brewery Pale Ale 5.3 Pale
Stancill Brewery


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From Pub To Brewery – Seeing The Other Side Of The Trade


Having spent the first six years in the trade from behind the bar, first as a barman, through shift supervisor, bar manager and then onto overall manager, my recent switch to the Sales team at Abbeydale has been a huge shock to the system! I’d only previously known 6.30am from the night before, not the time to get myself out of bed and ready for work! Joking aside, I have adapted to my new working hours much quicker than anticipated, and the 4pm finish is fantastic! 

Seeing the logistical operation in place here gives me a new appreciation to how difficult it is sometimes to keep the vast number of customers happy, fitting in with all the different preferences of each landlord, I now feel I owe a few people an apology for being shirty with suppliers in the past (Abbeydale were always faultless, obviously!!!). It goes without saying that breweries need to look after pubs, but the reverse can also be true. A pub doing the brewery a favour, be it changing a delivery day or time for example, can lead to us being far more receptive to future requests.  

Being on the other end of the phone call has also been an interesting experience. Having never done any telesales before, I was unsure exactly how I would take to this, but having learnt not what to do from various breweries and wholesalers in my previous jobs, I at least felt I had a head-start.  

My first weeks have been thoroughly enjoyable, and I can’t wait to really get to grips with all aspects of the business.  I have also enjoyed writing my first blog, it’s a challenge to put across a reasoned viewpoint whilst being concise enough to keep people interested.  Let me know what you think below or on Facebook. Until next time, mine’s a pint! Cheers!


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Abbeydale and Founders Collaboration

Abbeydale and Founders Collaboration


Although they will surely see some of the sights of the Steel City, the team from America’s 26th largest craft brewery hasn’t just come as tourists.  They plan on teaming up with Sheffield’s own Abbeydale brewery to collaboratively create a beer representative of both sides of the Atlantic.

How did the collaboration come about?

Upon conducting a “Meet the Brewer” event at a pub in Rugby, Abbeydale owners Sue and Patrick Morton were introduced to a fan of their beer, Jon Conroy, who just so happened to become the UKs sales rep for Founders Brewing Co.  This serendipitous meeting lead to Jon bringing over president of Founders, John Green to the UK and visiting Abbeydale Brewery in person.

After the obvious passion both sides shared for beer was expressed, the Founders team wondered how their “complex, in-your-face ales” would work as a cask-conditioned beer.  With Sheffield having been quoted as “Britian’s best beer city” in the New York Times and Abbeydale producing Sheffield’s most popular ale*, a collaborative brew between both breweries seemed the route to take to answer this question.        

What can we expect from the beer?

 We’ve been told to expect a strong, full-bodied, pale golden beer packed full of American hops and English malt.  At present, the exact hop recipe has been kept closely guarded; although rumour has it, Founders brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki is bringing a “box of something interesting” over with him to complement Abbeydale’s already impressive and extensive hop range.

Interesting is a word certainly applicable to Founders’ beers as their ethos of creating “beer that pushes the limits of what is commonly accepted as taste” has lead them to the create such masterpieces as “Kentucky Breakfast Stout” an 11.2% American Double/Imperial Stout which has been brewed with coffee and chocolate, placed into oak bourbon casks, then left to mature for one year 80 feet below the ground in the gypsum mines of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Its transcendence has since been rewarded with a ranking of one of the top 10 beers in the world**.

Although American hops are something used widely at Abbeydale Brewery with the US grown Willamette hop featuring predominately in Moonshine, and other big hitting US varieties such as Simcoe, Citra, Centennial, Sorachi Ace and Columbus being used regularly in their extremely popular “Dr. Morton’s” range, owner Patrick Morton stated  “We’re looking forward to venturing out of our comfort zone and into hop-forward American pale territory”.  After the success of Abbeydale’s own 6% “North American IPA”, taste buds are already tingling in anticipation of the collaboration with a brewery ranked 3rd best in the word***.

A superlative sup will hopefully not be the only outcome of the Founders visit, as both sides seek to learn from one another about their different approaches to beer.

America has very little tradition of cask ale, so having the chance to brew a beer at a busy cask led microbrewery, will provide an in depth education into the processes of creating, distributing and dispensing cask ale.  Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki has also expressed his excitement of using brewing equipment seldom seen in America.

 On the other side, Abbeydale have only just recently started experimenting with kegged beer, with their first two beers aptly named “Pale Ale #1” and “Pale Ale #2”, respectively, being distributed earlier in the year.  They now have the opportunity to learn from a brewery that is planning to brew 200, 000 barrels in 2014.

 The beer will hopefully be ready for distribution around the middle of May and with America’s tradition of kegged beer and the UKs tradition of cask, it only seems appropriate that the collaborative brew be destined for both.

 On Tuesday 22nd April, there was a chance to meet some of the Founders Family as the Devonshire Cat on Wellington Street hosted a “Meet the Brewer” evening with a full range of Founders beer available. But, if you missed it, you need not panic! The Devonshire Cat now plans to regularly stock their beer.








* Moonshine is Sheffield’s most popular beer as judged by Sheffield and District CAMRA’s beer capital survey 

** "Kentucky Breakfast Stout" 8th highest rated beer on (correct as of 22/4/14)

*** Ranked 3rd best Brewery in 2013 by


  • 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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