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So long, 2023… and hello 2024!

The final brew of 2023 is now underway, so we thought it was high time to take a look at our year in beer! We’ve brewed a total of 382 times, creating 88 individual beers, adding up to over 2.5 MILLION pints – more than 1 million of which were our flagship, Moonshine! We’ve continued to cover a huge range of styles across all those beers, from the sweet and sour Unbeliever – Tropical Radler (2.8%) to our malty and robust classic Old Ale, weighing in at 8.0% ABV.

A major highlight of the year just has to be Black Mass winning the Overall Champion beer in can at the National SIBA Awards, and excitingly it’s got the opportunity to defend the title this year too, having recently scooped a regional Gold Medal in the Speciality IPA category for the second year in a row. It’s a beer that’s been with us since our very beginnings, so to see it named the best beer in the country and continue to be enjoyed by those who’ve been drinking it since 1996 as well as those new to their beery journeys really does warm our cockles (as does a can of Black Mass itself, it has to be said!).

Another big achievement for us has been taking our first steps into the no-and-low market, with the launch of our tasty and oh-so-refreshing alcohol free Sparkling Hop Water. There are two varieties available at the moment, a great choice if you’re considering Dry January. Find out more about our spritzy, mindful AF option here.

The spirit of community and collaboration which is one of the cornerstones of our identity has once again thrived this year. We were honoured to be part of Collabageddon, a fantastic celebration of collaboration organised by the excellent team at Elusive Brewing, which saw us paired up with Good Chemistry and Utopian – new friends we’re delighted to have. And we’ve launched a new series celebrating cask ale, working with fellow renowned cask-led breweries Ossett, Anthology and Loxley Brewery so far, with more to come in 2024. Our work with local charities has continued too – we’ve loved partnering with the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust this year, with our special beer “Swifty” raising £720 in support of their Sheffield Swift City campaign (and please do check out their exciting recent Ughill Farm news too), and we also took part in this year’s Half Pint Marathon along with True North Brewery which raised much needed funds for Sheffield Mind.

Cask beer still reigns supreme for us, amounting to over 75% of our total output – although it’s worth pointing out that we also filled a whopping 275,000 cans this year too! Moonshine is still far and away our biggest seller, but it has dropped slightly as a proportion of our total in recent years, now sitting at just over 40%, as our other beers gain popularity. Deception is our second most popular beer, with Heathen hot on its heels at almost 10% of overall total volumes.

The amount we’ve brewed, packaged and sold overall is actually remarkably similar to last year – we’d hoped for a little more growth following our production beginning to return close to pre-Covid levels, but can’t complain at consistency in the midst of continuing industry upheaval, which affects all of us within the beer world every day. Duty reforms, the cost of living crisis, and the ever-developing impact of Brexit are all things we’re continually working extremely hard to navigate. We know that these challenges may continue for more time to come, but we promise our commitment to beer quality, customer service, and love of experimentation will never change!

Export continues to be an exciting area of growth, despite the aforementioned Brexit challenges. It’s edged over 1% of our overall volumes this year, which although still a small number is an increase of 65% from 2022. Our beer has been seen in the Czech Republic, Denmark and France for the first time in 2023, with Italy being our biggest overseas market. Saluti!

Finally, thank you to everyone who’s supported us this year – whether that’s as one of our amazing trade customers, by buying a pint in a pub, some cans from one of the fantastic independent retailers we supply or from us directly (including our first ever pop up shop in the run up to Christmas!), or simply sharing a post on social media or sending us a message to let us know you’ve enjoyed one of our beers. It genuinely does mean a lot to us.

We’ll be taking on 2024 in our usual fashion – by continuing to make the best beer we can! We’re a team who are genuinely passionate about what we do, and we hope that shines through in what we produce. Our beer plan for next year already contains some very exciting new and returning recipes (did someone say Hop Smash?!) – but do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see, we’d love to hear your ideas!


Team Abbeydale

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Award Winning Beers

We’ve got a double celebration going on this week, after two of our permanently available beers scooped medals at the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) Regional Bottle & Can Awards!

Our Heresy Lager received a brilliant Bronze medal, and Black Mass received a top class Gold award in the Speciality IPA category, meaning it scored over 90/100 and will go forward to the National Finals, due to be held in March next year.

Excitingly for Black Mass, this is the second year in the row it’s come out on top in the Speciality IPA category, following us strengthening its identity as one of the world’s very first and longest standing Black IPAs. Last year, it went on to win National Gold before being declared Overall Champion beer in can in the whole of the UK – so we’ll be eagerly waiting to see if it can defend its title!

Brewer Jim Rangeley says of the award, “Black Mass has always been one of my favourite beers both to make and to drink, and it’s great to see that the judges agree! I’m looking forward to celebrating with a can of it.”

The SIBA Bottle & Can Independent Beer Awards 2023 see beers marked against internationally recognised style guides for the different beer award categories – looking at appearance, aroma, flavour, aftertaste and saleability. The awards are judged by beer sommeliers, experienced beer judges and fellow brewers too.  Just three of the highest level Gold awards were given out across the whole region, and we’re in excellent company, with the fantastic Brew York receiving one for their hazy pale ale Coney, and our friends at Turning Point Brew Co completing the trio with Astral Voyage, a 3.4% sessionable pale.

Cans of both Heresy and Black Mass are available now, via our online shop and from independent retailers nationwide.


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Meet the Team

Next up in our series introducing you to the people behind the beer, it’s the turn of Jim, lead brewer of the Funk Dungeon mixed fermentation project. We’ve recently released two delicious new beers from the project (more details on those here), so we thought getting to know a little more about their maker seemed timely. Over to Jim!

First up, the basics! What’s your name and where do you come from?

I’m Jim Rangeley, and I’m from right here in the Abbeydale area of Sheffield. Other than an errant few years in dirty Leeds for a degree I don’t use anymore, I haven’t strayed too far from the river Sheaf.

What is your role at Abbeydale Brewery?

I’m the Lead Brewer of the Funk Dungeon project, which means I care for the barrel stock, the yeast blend and the packaging of all the sour beers we’ve released through the years. 

On a more day to day basis, I’m a production brewer of all the regulars!

What’s your favourite beer and why?

My favourite Abbeydale beer is Black Mass on cask, it’s a rare beast but whenever I see it it’s pints for Jim.

I’m at the point in my drinking where good reliable consistency is the most important factor in my choices, so I drink a lot of good quality lagers – whether they’re imported and bought from Archer Road Beer Stop or from a British brewery like Braybrooke or Utopian. But also I do like to treat myself to a 750ml of mixed fermentation beer from a producer like Burning Sky.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Abbeydale Brewery?

As brewers, we have quite a bit of freedom of creativity as we’ve always got a special release on the go, and having the trust in me to embark on the mixed fermentation project and ability to experiment with foraged ingredients or fruits. The brewery is putting us through further learning through the IBD (Institute of Brewing and Distilling) to continue learning to improve our consistently good quality and dependable beer.

Also, 4 o’clock hometime is nice.

Where’s your favourite place to enjoy a pint?

After a run in the Peak District, with a pint of well kept cask, in front of a fire to warm up.

Further afield, the (now unfortunately closed) Foeders bar in Amsterdam is the best place I’ve ever spent an afternoon. Incredible lambic selection, complimentary peanuts, in a fantastic setting and a wonderfully convivial atmosphere. I’m really excited to see what their original founder Yuri has in store for us in the future.

Where did you have your first (legal!) pint?

I think it will have been Moonshine, in the sadly no longer East House, before a curry across the road – where you could carry a pitcher over to enjoy alongside your meal. I’ve been eating at the (now also long gone) Kashmir since I was old enough to eat solid food, so jugs of Moony were ever present on the sticky cafe like tables on a Friday night for me. It was either there or the Sheaf View, which has become my local since. 

Fries: Bacon or Scampi?

Scampi fries, every time. From a wider snack perspective, the packets of Poppadoms that come with a pot of mango chutney in them are an absolute revelation. They stock both at The Bear just down the road from the brewery, which is where you’ll tend to find me after work on a Friday.

When you’re not making beer, what do you get up to?

I can usually be found trail running in the Peaks. I’m into long distance, big hills, and generally getting cold, wet and muddy in the great outdoors.

And finally… If you were a fictional character, who would it be?

Gimli son of Gloin from the Lord of the Rings. The resemblance has diminished somewhat since I had a haircut, but the holy triumvirate of meat, ale and axes still stands.

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New Funk Dungeon beers!

We’ve got a delectable duo of special new releases emerging from our Funk Dungeon small batch mixed fermentation project this week! Here’s our Funk Dungeon brewer and blender (and bottler, and labeller!) Jim to tell you all about them…

Olicana Dry Hopped Heritage Saison

First up is a 5.0% barrel aged, bretted saison, dry hopped with UK grown Olicana. The base beer for this release was brewed in late March 2022, and features a complex mix of malt. It was predominantly created using Plumage Archer heritage grain, one of our favourite base malts for mixed fermentation brewing because of its complex biscuit maltiness. Alongside this was plenty of rye malt for a pleasant spice, and a good helping of torrified wheat to add to the wort complexity, giving the brettanomyces (brett to its friends) and other microorganisms plenty of food during the aging process. Finally, a little touch of crystal rye, to add a residual sweetness and body that balances out the end product. 

Late boil additions of Olicana in the kettle bittered the wort to around 60 IBUs. UK grown Opus hops (previously known as CF182) from the Charles Faram development programme were added on the brew day – 6.25g/l in the hop back, and we primary fermented with a non-Diastatic farmhouse yeast strain. Many saison strains contain a gene which is responsible for diastatic action (additional enzymatic action that breaks down malt sugars and can cause excessive fermentation) – we chose to use one where this gene has been removed, thus making it much safer for use in our brewery, as there is a lower chance of cross contamination of yeast that could wreak havoc with our clean beers!

After a good Olicana dry hop during fermentation, the beer was racked into barrel and pitched with our house brett blend which brings a gentle tartness to the party. After sitting in French oak for about a year, another dry hop of whole cone Olicana was added directly to the barrel for extra hop vibrancy, before packaging into bottle and keg. The hops give flavours of ripe stone fruits, alongside a deep herbal character and gentle bitterness, which balances beautifully with the oak presence found in the beer.

The artwork for this one, created by our designer James Murphy, depicts a funky Roman legionary! Olicana was the name for the Roman fort situated where the town of Ilkley now stands (the hop itself was actually named by Ilkley Brewery, who worked with Charles Faram on its development), so this was a clear source of inspiration for our skellie friend’s next adventure.

BA Tea Saison with Cider Lees

Release number 2 is a 5.4% barrel aged saison aged on cider lees, a real experiment created with the help of our friends at Duckchicken Cider.

We knew we wanted to work with James and Colleen of Duckchicken after they joined us at Funk Fest 2019 and blew us away with a tasting of their unique small batch ciders (please do look out for them, every single one we’ve tried has been absolutely delicious), and finally in 2022 we were able to make it happen.

A lightly fruited base beer was selected from our barrel stock. The brew itself for this one was a complex wort enriched with caramalt and wheat, to keep some body and sweetness in the flavour of the beer through extended aging. In the hot side of the brew, we used whole peaches for a rich pithiness and a little nuttiness from the character of the stone. Accompanied was a sencha green tea with hibiscus and dried peach for a soft tannic balance. But the real interest in this release comes from the secondary fermentation, spent aging on cider lees from Duckchicken. 

Lees are the residue from the skins and wild yeast which are left behind after cider production. They contain a lot of complex microbes that aren’t present in our usual house yeasts. The lees were added straight to barrel and allowed to age for a number of months, giving a layer of interesting almost apple skin character to the beer and a beautiful distinctive freshness. Well rounded and with delicate tannins sitting in perfect balance with the light tartness of the finished beer.

The artwork shows, somewhat unsurprisingly, a duck and a chicken! We wanted to have a bit of a whimsical feel to this one, bringing the poultry into a scenario with our familiar skellie character (now there’s a phrase I don’t think anyone’s ever written before), and features a cheeky duck stealing away the apple!

There are just over 100 bottles of each, and they’re available now via our online shop (including as a pair in our snazzy new bottle gift boxes, if you’re looking for a Christmas present for a funk-loving friend!) and from independent retailers.

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Casks for Christmas!

Planning a party?  Setting up a soiree? Putting some forethought into festivities?

Make it an event to remember with a full cask of delicious Abbeydale Brewery beer! Available to purchase through our online shop, we’ll provide you with a cask, and everything you need to pour yourself 72 of the freshest, tastiest pints you’re likely to get your mitts on!

We can deliver locally to the following postcode areas – S1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and S17 – or collect from the brewery (Aizlewood Road, S8 0YX) at your convenience. We recommend collecting your beer the day before you’d like to serve it, to allow it time to settle.

Our opening hours in the run up to Christmas are as follows:

  • 2-5 Monday 11th & Tuesday 12th
  • 12-6 Wednesday 13th – Friday 15th 
  • 12-4 Saturday 16th December
  • 2-5 Monday 18th & Tuesday 19th
  • 12-6 Wednesday 20th & Thursday 21st 
  • 12-4 Friday 22nd December
  • 12-4 Saturday 23rd December

On Mondays and Tuesdays we are open for collection of pre-ordered items only, Wednesday through Saturday as shown above we are open as a pop-up shop, so come and have a browse!

You’ll be provided with all the information you need to get the best out of your beer, but if you’d like a preview of how it all works do check out our brewer Christie who can take you through it in this handy video!


Team Abbeydale

  • 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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