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Sheffield Red – The Artwork

Sheffield Red - The Artwork

The latest beer has recently been unleashed from our Funk Dungeon project! Sheffield Red is the seventh chapter in our series of super special, limited releases, so we thought we’d share more of the story behind the incredible artwork on this beer. (And head here to read more on the beer itself, in a technical run through of the brewing process).

Our awesome designer, James Murphy, has taken inspiration from three main images and some other points of local history to create the skele scene you will see on our cans.

The central characters are based around buffer girls, important parts of the workforce in Sheffield’s world renowned cutlery industry. Two of these were immortalised in a famous painting by printmaker, draughtsman, writer, and teacher Sir William Rothenstein in 1919. Buffer girls were responsible for making sure cutlery and other metal goods had a smooth, shiny surface. It was hard, hot, and dirty work, so the neckerchiefs and headscarves you see depicted in the artwork were worn to try and keep the women clean and keep the worst of the sand they used to polish the cutlery off them. The central character is wearing “buff-brats” – dress typical of a Buffer Girl during World War One, with the character on the right hand side wearing clothes which they would have worn during World War Two, like those you can in the “Women of Steel” statue outside Sheffield City Hall. The character shown painting on the left is James’ interpretation of Rothenstein himself.

The pose of the central character is based on that of the famous Rosie the Riveter – a fictional character yet cultural icon who represented all of the women who worked in industrial settings during the Second World War.

There’s a nod to the Duchesse De Burgogne label included in the form of a little skeleton sparrow hawk – this is one of the all time favourite beers of a number of our team here and was a key inspiration behind the establishment of our barrel ageing and souring project. We like to see this style of beer as our little homage to that.

There are other little secrets hidden within the artwork too – you might be able to spot that the name of the large molten steel ladle is ‘Lizzie’, after the famous elephant who worked in the steel industry in Sheffield during the First World War. And although from a later time, there are some Morton’s cutlery and a tuning fork in one of the Buffer Girl’s pockets, representing our brewery founder Pat Morton’s connection to Sheffield’s industrial past – you can read more about this here.

Finally, can you spot the “Mind Your Head” which appears in each and every one of our Funk Dungeon special releases?!

Cans of Sheffield Red are available now from our online shop and via independent retails nationwide – and look out for it popping up on bars too!


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Funk Fest 2021 – the line up so far

Funk Fest 2021 - the line up so far

Hi, funky beer fans!

In case you missed it – Funk Fest is returning for 2021, as a multi-venue celebration of all things sour, wild and mixed fermentation!

Taking place from Monday 25th to Sunday 31st October, we’re 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. Here’s what’s lined up so far…

Monday 25th October – Beer & Bites, The Rising Sun. Our brewer Jim has teamed up with our wonderful chef Dave to create a delicious tasting session, featuring six Funk Dungeon releases perfectly paired with six yummy nibbles. This event is now sold out!

Also on the Monday, the Rutland Arms will be pouring the very first of our Queer Brewing and Out & About collaboration, Glory!, Glory! – a pink peppercorn saison. They have an extra special "plum sauce" variation with the addition of plums and Szechuan peppercorns which is a one off keg! Cans of Glory!, Glory! will be launching next week too, with 10p from each can being donated to local LGBT+ charity SAYiT.

The Crow Inn will be hosting a Berliner Weisse event on Tuesday 26th October, featuring a specially created base beer and different flavours of syrup made by the Rutland Arms kitchen for you to choose from. We did something similar in 2019 and it was an awesome night, so don’t miss out!

From Tuesday onwards, Hop Hideout are curating a UK mixed fermentation showcase, starting with beers from ourselves and Little Earth Project, with a Cider Women showcase also running throughout the week. Plus on Friday, they’re launching the next 750ml bottle release from Crossover Blendery!

We’re very excited to have a cidery on board too! Ascension Cider will be at newly opened The Cider Hole on Thursday 28th October for a tasting of six of their always fantastic (and occasionally a bit bonkers) ciders. Tickets available here!

Friday 29th October sees some incredible guest breweries getting involved – the Pangolin are hosting a Yonder Meet the Brewer and Tap Takeover (this is a ticketed event, pop in to Pangolin to get yours!), and Shakespeares have a whole bunch of beers pouring from Belgium’s Brouwerij Alvinne (plus a special cask of an otherwise as yet unreleased Kriek from the Funk Dungeon). And our friends at St Mars of the Desert will have a new version of their excellent Stingo range available during their taproom opening hours.

Ascension are making the most of their trip up from Sussex, as on Saturday 30th October, they’re joining us for a brewday… and you’re invited! In person tickets are incredibly limited (snap one up here), but we’ll be sharing loads of insights from the day online too. We’ll be making a Graf – a beer cider hybrid – and we can’t wait!

And funky beers will be in the spotlight across Sheffield throughout the week at Bar StewardsJabbarwocky (did someone say Funk Fest inspired dumplings?!), Industry Tap, Beer Central, the Green Shop, Turners and the Kelham Island Tavern (who will have two Funk Dungeon beers ON CASK – a Nelson & Galaxy dry hopped saison and a one off apricot sour!). Outside of Sheffield, Arcadia in Leeds will have three of our beers available over the week, including the very last keg of BA Chianti Sour, and the Broken Seal Tap Room in Stevenage have a keg of Sheffield Red which is being included in a tutored tasting on Friday evening.

We’ll also have videos to go with our new releases for you to watch and taste along, and will be running various other online and interactive bits and bobs all through the week too.

Also a shout out to The Bear, who have got some of our special kegs reserved for a Meet the Brewer event on November 12th – remember Funk Fest is for life 😉 

Keep checking back here as there are more events being confirmed all the time (and do check details with the venue direct before you travel too to avoid disappointment), and if you’re a producer, retailer or venue that would like to be involved, there’s still time to get funky with us! 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! 


  • 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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