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Meet the Artist – Theo Matthews

Meet the Artist - Theo Matthews

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new Double IPA “Call To Adventure” next week, brewed in collaboration with Manchester’s Beatnikz Republic. And you will surely be able to spot a new artistic theme developing, as we’ve brought the wonderful Theodore Matthews on board for our next artwork series. We chatted to Theo to learn a little more about his creative processes and the inspiration behind his detailed and inventive scenes…

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself – what’s your background and how did you first get into doing what you do?

I’ve always liked to draw but never felt it should be something I pursue what with art being a hard career path to follow (not to mention being quite colour-blind). Despite that I continued to occasionally draw and doodling in school became a large percentage of my academic effort, luckily my teachers were sympathetic and encouraged me to actually go for it and try out doing art. I did a foundation year at UCA not knowing what I wanted to do till my tutor said to me ‘you’re an illustrator’, that was a big moment for me and I followed up my foundation and got my BA in Illustration 3 years later. This is my first commercial work and I’m grateful to the Abbeydale team for bringing me in for this series, I hope everyone enjoys! 

2. How would you describe your own style?

All I know is that people seem to know when something is my work, which I guess means it must be distinctive. I think the most unifying traits of my illustrations are content based: my work tends towards fantasy or science fiction and a sure-fire way to know that something is mine is if there are big swirling clouds around a prominent character. If there’s someone holding a sword and standing in some cloudy wasteland then there’s a good chance I drew it. I mentioned earlier that I’m colour-blind and how that discouraged me from doing art and for a long time I never used colour in my drawing, it wasn’t till I went to university that I made a conscious effort to use colour as much as possible, I’ve still got a lot to learn and experience to get using colour effectively but I am determined to overcome my natural disfunction. 


3. What are the main inspirations behind your ideas?

First and foremost I’m inspired by other artists, I love all kinds of illustrations but I think that the clearest source of inspiration for the art I’ve done for Abbeydale is early 20th century British illustration, the likes of Arthur Rackham and Harry Clarke. Illustration covers a wide range of subjects but I’m most interested in narrative: I think storytelling is important and I try to bring that into my illustrations as much as I can. 

4. Are you a beer drinker yourself? If so – what’s your favourite beer style?

In complete honesty I don’t drink beer very often, but when I do I tend to like something that you can enjoy with food, usually something like a pilsner or IPA. Nothing too complicated I must admit, though I expect this series to convert me!

Call To Adventure is released next week in keg and can. Keep your eyes peeled over the coming months as there is plenty more to come from Theo!

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Funk Dungeon: Chianti BA Blackcurrant Saison

Funk Dungeon: Chianti BA Blackcurrant Saison

Back in April 2019, we invited our friends ORA Brewing to join us in the brewhouse to create a duo of collaborations, using similar ingredients but produced very differently, experimenting with process and pushing those ingredients to different boundaries.

The first of these beers, Blackcurrant Sorbae, was a kettle sour with a quick turnaround which became one of our fastest selling beers ever made. The second, Chianti BA Blackcurrant Saison, is an altogether different beast, which has taken nine months to realise its full potential.

The only similarity between the two beers is the initial pre-soured wort. For the Chianti BA release, we took the first runnings of the brew, pre-kettle sour, where it underwent primary fermentation with a blend of our house saison yeast plus a pitch of lactobacillus. The fermentation was warmer than usual, around 25C (rather than our standard 22C). Towards the end of fermentation, we dosed whole blackcurrants into the tank and allowed them to sit for a few days.

Now this is where this beer gets particularly special. Once primary fermentation was complete, we transferred everything into three Chianti barriques, sourced and personally selected by our friends at ORA direct from Renzi Botti, one of the most iconic casks producers in Modena, Italy. Dan spent the day with Renzi Botti’s owner, Francesco, carefully choosing the barrels which would give us the desired final flavour of robust fruits coupled with a tasty tannic backbone.

We have aged the beer in these exceptional barrels for around 9 months before packaging into KeyKeg. The resulting beer holds a vibrant rounded acidity and a plethora of soft fruit flavours.  Plus, it’s pink!

We hope you enjoy the beer.



  • About Us

    A true Sheffield institution founded in 1996, Abbeydale Brewery blends heritage and tradition with creativity and innovation, showcasing these values across an unparalleled range of beers.

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


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