Posted on

Funk Fest 2021

Funk Fest 2021

Hi, funky beer fans!

The MegaGoat is BACK… in a slightly different format!

Since the last time we held an event at the brewery back in September 2019, things have changed in so many ways. Amongst these, we’ve acquired a canning line and extended our online shop operation, both of which take up lots of space in a venue which was not exactly blessed with spaciousness to start with (as those of you who’ve visited us before will be aware)! With uncertainty still in the air, we just don’t have the room to safely and responsibly welcome people inside.  All of this means that we’re not currently able to hold an event actually within the brewery itself.

HOWEVER! Building on what we’ve started over the past three years, including 2020’s Funk Fest At Home, we’ve come up with a plan to share the funky beer love and make sure we’re offering something that’s accessible to everyone, alongside encouraging beer drinkers to support their wonderful local venues who have had a particularly tough time of it over the past year and a half. We’re really keen to support the wider industry, in keeping with the spirit of the festival and in celebration of the wonderful producers of these styles of beer.

And so… Presenting Funk Fest 2021: Mixed venue. Mixed media. Mixed fermentation.

Taking place from 25th-31st October, we’ll be working together with breweries, pubs, bars and beer shops around Sheffield and beyond, who will all be joining us in shouting about some amazing mixed fermentation and wild beers, ciders and even natural wines. If you’re a producer, retailer or venue that would like to be involved, please get in touch with anything you’d like to do to help us spread the mixed ferm word, we’d love to have you on board! 

We’ll also be hosting an online tasting of a selection of releases from our Funk Dungeon project during the week – watch this space for more details!

Please join us in getting involved with the spirit of support, collaboration and funky celebration that Funk Fest is all about. We’re very lucky to have so many outstanding producers of these styles of beer (and more!) surrounding us, and we’d love you to join in the conversation.


Posted on

Abbeydale Origins: Absolution

Abbeydale Origins: Absolution

Absolution has been in production for as long as Abbeydale Brewery has existed – when brewery owner Pat Morton set up in 1996, he established three pales (Moonshine, Absolution and Matins) and one dark beer (Black Mass) as the initial core range. And Absolution was the very first to make it to release – actually the second beer brewed here, but sadly the first (Moonshine) ended up going down the drain (more on that here)!

And so it was Absolution, our 5.3% golden ale, that went out on that very first delivery, to the legendary Three Stags Heads at Wardlow Mires, exactly 25 years ago on August 16th, 1996.

It’s been a popular beer around the Peak District ever since and can still be found as a permanent fixture on the bar at pubs including the Three Stags and the wonderful Red Lion at Litton today. So much so that when cavers Robbie Shone, Rob Eavis and Katie Dent, regulars of the pub, discovered a new series of caves deep in the heart of the Peak District in 2009, they named one of the chambers after our Absolution!

The Absolution cave is located in a fairly inaccessible part of the Titan system, described as being “extremely well decorated with numerous short stalagmites clustered together and many straws adorning the roof”* and the colour of the rock there reminded the intrepid explorers of our beautiful golden ale. Of course, we threw a party at the Red Lion to celebrate – and launched a limited edition pump clip featuring a photo of the newly discovered cave. We’d love to hear from you if you were there!

Originally single hopped with Goldings, our Absolution is now a little more complex in terms of hops, with a carefully selected combination of six now contributing to the beautifully rounded fruity flavour. It’s won multiple awards over the years, medalling in the Champion Beer of Yorkshire premium bitter category six times since 2011, including winning Gold most recently in 2020. Incredibly drinkable and very well balanced, with a good level of sweetness, it’s a beer which has truly stood the test of time and one which we’re incredibly proud of as we head into our 26th (!!) year.

We hope you’ll join us in raising a pint, or a can, to celebrate our Silver Anniversary with us. You can find cans or casks for a party on our online shop, as well as on bars and shelves of independent retailers around Sheffield and beyond – let us know if we can help you find a stockist in your area!


*From “For Fun and Revelations”, Rob Eavis, Descent (206), 2009.

Posted on

Blind Devotion

Blind Devotion

Those of you who are familiar with our Funk Dungeon project will know that these are beers that take time. And our next release has been even longer in the pipeline than most!

All the way back in April 2019, we announced that our Funk Fest beer festival was to include a homebrew competition, with the overall prize being that the winning recipe would be brewed here on our main brewkit.

The rules were simple – anything goes, as long as there’s an alternative yeast at play. We had almost thirty individual entries, ranging from Kveik NEIPAs to brett fermented black forest gateau stouts, with entrants hailing from all over the UK and even one international entry! And so our judging panel (our brewery owner Pat, Funk Dungeon lead brewer Jim, beer writer Katie Mather and Chris & Pete from Torrside Brewery) got to work in trying them all. The quality overall was fantastic, with some remarkable beers entered. But the winner of the competition on the day was James Newman, with an absolutely stunning pineapple weed saison. Comments from the judges included that it was a “lovely proper saison”, “very nicely balanced with an excellent adjunct character”, and “elegantly done”.

Unfortunately at the time of the festival, we were right at the end of the pineapple weed season, and so the brew had to wait until mid 2020. And then Covid hit and threw the whole world into disarray.

We finally managed to welcome James to the brewhouse in October 2020, by which point James, Jim, and various other members of Team Abbeydale had freezers full of foraged pineapple weed which we had gathered throughout the summer of lockdown.

The recipe was adapted very slightly to suit our processes whilst still retaining the character of the original brew, using our house saison yeast blend and adding a higher proportion of Nelson Sauvin to act as a filter bed for the pineapple weed in the hopback. A ceremonial addition of the last bottle of James’ award-winning beer into fermenting vessel, and our collaboration was officially go!

The beer has spent 9 months in neutral American oak barrels and prior to blending and carbonating ready for can was dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin to enhance aroma. More pineapple weed was added at this stage for a final flourish too, this time from the 2021 season and gathered by Jim whilst on holiday at Little Earth Project and their beautiful campsite in Suffolk.

The result is a light and refreshing beer, with gentle tartness balanced by a good hit of hop character and a floral, herbal backbone from the pineapple weed. The residual house culture in our barrels give a pleasant balanced lemon character, which means the acidity is higher than the original competition entry, but we feel this creates a great fusion between James’ original recipe and the personality of our Funk Dungeon.

The beer is named Blind Devotion, taken from a Miss Havisham quote from Great Expectations… we thought that a pineapple weed bouquet was just the kind of thing a skele-bride might clutch, and the idea spiralled from there into the design you see on the can, created by our wonderful designer, James Murphy. Cans are available to purchase via our online shop, as well as from independent retailers nationwide.


PS – while we’re here, we’re very happy to announce that fledgling plans are starting to take shape for Funk Fest 2021! Mixed venue, mixed media, mixed fermentation. Keep your eyes peeled for more news coming soon.

Posted on

Dreadnoughts Upriver to Peaceful Power

Dreadnoughts Upriver to Peaceful Power

The next in our Hidden Treasures of Sheffield series features the River Don Steam Engine (nicknamed “Big Davy”), the most powerful working steam engine in Europe, capable of delivering a whopping 12,000 horsepower. Originally built for rolling armour plate for Dreadnought warships in the First World War, the engine now lives at Kelham Island Museum, where it still runs twice per day.

As a team, to put this series together we’ve thought hard about those areas, monuments, buildings and bits of history that help to form what Sheffield means to us. We’ve chosen to include this incredible piece of machinery in this series due to a personal connection to it and a link to the pre-Abbeydale Brewery days… here are the memories of our brewery co-owner, Sue: “It is an incredible engine. I started at River Don Works where it was housed as a graduate trainee in 1977. I was recruited by Hugh Wentworth-Ping, who was responsible for saving the engine, raising the £20K scrap value to pay British Steel and getting the engine transferred to Kelham Island Museum. I remember my interview with him to this day. He was a larger than life character, extremely outspoken and unrelenting in the face of incompetence. But those who were prepared to stand up to him got on very well with him. That’s what I did in my interview. There were 5 people on the panel and he kept talking over them and interrupting them. In the end I said to him rather crossly something along the lines of “I’m sorry but I can only answer one question at a time, do you want me to answer yours or the one posed by the other member of the panel?” He guffawed, subsided and behaved himself. When I took up the job he was always great with me and helped me a lot, though I was always careful to answer him boldly. Most of the rest of the team were scared witless by him!

As for the engine itself, it was mothballed when I got there, since 1974 I think. I was shown over it by the engineer responsible for it. When it became apparent that it was being sold in 1978, Hugh arranged for the news magazine programme which went out daily after the news, “Nationwide”, to come and film it in action. He actually arranged for it to be hooked up to the old rolling mill to it and got some plate to roll, complete with birch twigs to throw on as the metal went through the rollers. The crew spent the day getting background shots around the works, particularly the Melting Shop which was the most spectacular (and dangerous). I was asked to escort the camera crew in the Melting Shop and make sure they got what they wanted whilst also making sure they didn’t cook or otherwise injure themselves.

I was there when they ran the engine for the last time that night. It was spectacular. I still love going to visit the engine, remember Hugh and all the other characters I met in the steel industry. It is a very impressive sight.”

You can see the engine in action for yourself by visiting Kelham Island Museum, it is well worth a trip (and head to their website to learn more about the history of this magnificent and mighty machine)! The beer behind the pumpclip is one of our classic pale ales, a 4.0% easy drinking and sessionable beer with a citrussy body and a gentle bitterness to finish.

  • 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]


Sign Up