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See Britain By Ale

Just in case you haven’t noticed, we are pretty fond of cask beer here. We’ve made rather a lot of it in 28 years. Cask beer is something to be treasured – a link with our history, the essence of our present, and a crucial part of our future too. It deserves to be celebrated.

We know we aren’t the only ones who think this way (if we were, we wouldn’t sell over two million pints of cask beer every year!), and so we’ve recently introduced a new range to our offering which allows us to share this love of all things cask with our friends from breweries across the country that pay it just as much reverence as we do – appreciating the art of understatement, the joy of simplicity and the unadulterated pleasure that comes from a perfectly poured pint of cask beer.

The Travel Poster series is inspired by the home towns of our collaboration partners, and the varied look of this range takes inspiration from the British Railways branding of the early/mid-20th century and esteemed travel posters throughout history. Our designer James has revered this style and aesthetic for a long time, and we’ve been waiting for the right moment to introduce this look – and showcasing it by shining a distinctive light across a range of beer styles, all of which consider the history and traditions of cask ale, seemed just the right fit.

James has been delving deep into researching the areas the breweries visit us from represent, coming to have an even deeper appreciation for this beautiful country and celebrating our diverse landscape.

So far we have created “Explore the River Aire”, a New Zealand hopped ESB, with Anthology (who hail from Leeds), “Walk the Loxley Valley”, a delectable Sabro pale ale with Loxley Brewery (based in north Sheffield), and “Discover Ossett”, a collaboration with Ossett Brewery (from erm… Ossett), which was a hybrid between our beloved Deception and Ossett’s incredibly popular White Rat. Each beer has its very own beautiful, original artwork that depicts the area the visiting brewery calls home and comprises a style that plays to our collective strengths. In addition, we used a little creative license and collaborated with ourselves to make “Swing by Beauchief”, a charming homage to the area where the abbey that our brewery logo is based upon stands – this recipe was an Abbeydale classic, the sort of well-hopped pale ale that we’re best known for.

Next up we’re incredibly excited to be working with Fell Brewery, based in the stunning Lake District, which again gives great scope for another eye-catching cask clip to showcase another tasty beer – “Fall for the Lakes” (see what we did there?!). We’re teaming up to produce a Transatlantic Pale Ale (a small tribute to Fell’s brewer Scott, who hails from upstate New York and joined us for the brewday), hopped with UK grown Harlequin and American classics Simcoe and Chinook to create a vivid and vibrant beer with notes of pine, passionfruit, peach and pineapple. Due for release the week commencing 20th May, so keep your eyes peeled for this one.

So there you have it. The Abbeydale Brewery Travel Poster series, created in the spirit of collaboration and community, designed not only to have great flavour but to invoke a little nostalgia too. Best enjoyed in your local pub with a gentle sense of wanderlust. We can’t wait to see where the next adventure will take us…

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Blood Orange Sour

Introducing Blood Orange Sour, created in collaboration with our wonderful neighbours Locksley Distilling Co. and a fresh release from our Funk Dungeon mixed fermentation project.

This special beer has been made with Sicilian Moro blood oranges, which are left over from the production of Locksley’s absolutely delicious “Morocello” citrus liqueur (which you can read more about and get yourself a bottle of here). They only need the zest for this unique twist on a limoncello, meaning the rest of the fruit is in need of a loving home – which is where we come in! Reducing food waste and making something else delicious from this fantastic produce – it’s a win win.

We added the flesh of the fruit (approximately 150g per litre) directly into barrel with a simple sour base beer, where it spent a year ageing in a single French White Oak barrel with our house brett blend. We chose UK grown Opus hops, which lend notes of sticky orange to boost and back up the citrus character. The fruit gives a fresh, sharp acidity to the beer along with a gentle blush of soft pink hue. The finished product is tantalisingly tart, coming in at 6.0% ABV and is both vegan and gluten free.

Most of the base beer, a straightforward kettle sour, had been destined for use in our Unbeliever series – but we brewed some extra wort to ferment and store in barrel ready for something special to come along… and the Moro oranges definitely qualify. The result is not hugely funky but it is SOUR, coming in at a sharp pH of 3.3. Distinct orange flavours are complemented by a light sherbet berry character and a bit of funk in the finish. Tart, light and refreshing.

For the illustration, our designer James took the Blood Orange name literally, along with the thirst-quenching nature of the beer, creating a vampire skellie! James says of the inspiration, “a vampire was the character I felt fit the image of drinking a “blood-like” liquid, with the blood orange resembling an anatomical heart at first glance, but without being too gruesome!”

This beer was originally previewed at Little Earth Fest last year, and the first keg of the finished beer was released at 2024’s Indie Beer Feast. 750ml bottles are now available from a selection of independent retailers and via our online shop.

And just by way of a small post script to this particular chapter of our Funk Dungeon story… the bottling of this special release took place around the same time as we were receiving this year’s batch of fruit from Locksley’s, and so the cycle begins again! We’ve chosen to add the Moro oranges into a heritage grain saison wort this year, so it will be super interesting to see how the flavour develops in a different base beer. Watch this space, coming not-very-soon…

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Mayday Project

We’re incredibly proud to announce that we are involved in this year’s Mayday Project, organised by McColl’s Brewery and sponsored by hop merchants BarthHaas.

The Mayday Project sees seven UK breweries come together to create 6 unique collaboration beers, all of which are due to launch across the country on Friday 26th April in both keg and can. The aim of the project is to raise awareness of men’s mental health, get people talking and reduce the stigma. 15p from each pint or can is donated and split between three Mayday charities.

The beers are:

McColl’s Brewery x Abbeydale Brewery Signal – 5.5% Extra Hoppy Bier

Roosters Brewery Co. x McColl’s Brewery Perfect Circle – 4.3% Session Cold IPA

Moor Beer x McColl’s Brewery Changing Minds – 2.5% Hoppy Table Beer

Brew York x McColl’s Brewery A Problem Shared – 5.8% West Coast IPA

Attic Brew Co. x McColl’s Brewery Life Raft – 3.8% Session Pale

Anspach & Hobday x McColl’s Brewery Parachute Pale – 4.5% Pale Ale

Twenty-five venues will be pouring all six beers simultaneously (head here for full details of where you can find the beers – local to us in Sheffield we have the Wonky Labrador and the Rutland Arms participating), while cans will be available in 6-packs (containing 1 of each beer) from the McColl’s webshop.

We loved our day up in Bishop Auckland with McColl’s and BarthHaas rustling up “Signal”, a dialled up hybrid that is hoppy like an IPA yet co-fermented to sit closer to a Belgian Saison – inspired by McColl’s incredible “Lowlands”, recently described by the Craft Beer Channel as the “UK’s Taras Boulba” and exactly the sort of thing that our Robin, who had the privilege of joining the brewday, really enjoys. Signal is a dry and bitter bier that is light and refreshing, dry hopped with Hallertau Blanc, Huell Melon and Enigma hops that offer notes of lemongrass and ginger, plus a delicate farmhouse character in the finish.

The three charities involved were chosen for their practical, proactive and genuinely effective means of encouraging men to tackle the issues they face, often feelings of isolation, loneliness, guilt or a loss of pride and community. They are: Men’s Pie Club from Newcastle who work to combat social isolation and a lack of belonging in men, and the associated mental health issues. They do this in a simple way by providing a time and a space (and all the equipment) to make pies, maybe have a cuppa and a natter as well.

Second up is ManUp? from Ipswich who are on a mission to challenge the adapted term ‘Man up’ – don’t just brush yourself down and get on with it! Beyond that they want to abolish the stigma surrounding men’s mental health and have a great number of resources to achieve this.

And finally we have Bristol based Grieving Pint, who provide regular and accessible sessions for young men to speak about their mental health, over a pint, actively promoting collective and responsible drinking.

A huge thank you to McColl’s for inviting us to be involved, and to BarthHaas for their support. Please join us in raising a glass in support of this amazing project on Friday 26th April.

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Bretted Best Bitter

Introducing Bretted Best Bitter! This exciting new Funk Dungeon release is a collaboration with our pals Will and James from the fantastic Manchester-based Balance Brewing & Blending, who specialise in mixed-culture wild and sour beers.

Working with a Manchester brewery meant we just had to create our take on a bitter! Brewed using entirely UK grown ingredients in keeping with one of the key drivers behind the Funk Dungeon project, this one uses Chevalier heritage grain, with crystal malt and a rigorous dry hop with aged Keyworth Early. The pleasant malt sweetness balances beautifully with a bold, slightly funky hop character. Pitched with each of our house blends of yeasts, a complex mix which has produced a delightfully refreshing and light beer with a delicate tart finish, coming in at 3.4% ABV and pH 3.8. It’s also both vegan and gluten free.

On the brewday, the Chevalier didn’t give us a great deal of sugar and the resulting wort wasn’t particularly fermentable by our house yeast, which wouldn’t have been ideal for our “clean” beer! However, it was perfect for this project as it gave plenty of potential for refermentation in barrel. This refermentation was sloooooow, with the beer spending nine months in European Oak barrel, allowing for exciting layers of flavour to develop over time.

After packaging, the beer has spent a further 4 months in bottle prior to release, to allow for a rounding out of flavour and time for a gentle carbonation to develop.

The other side of the Pennines to us here in Sheffield also had a major influence on the design for this collaborative brew. Hence the main feature of the illustration is a skellie suffragette – loosely inspired by the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst which can be found in St Peter’s Square, in the city centre of her home town of Manchester. The statue, sculpted by Hazel Reeves, portrays Pankhurst standing on a chair, which was perfect for us to emulate and be inspired by to bring in a playful element using the literal meaning of the word “balance” – and with it being “the Rainy City” we couldn’t resist adding in an umbrella!

The beer launches at the Balance Taproom, on the (rather aptly named for the occasion) Sheffield Street in Manchester, on Friday 26th April. Our Funk Dungeon lead brewer Jim will be there along with Will and James to chat about the beer and enjoy a few tasty mixed ferm drinks together. Please join us! There’s an exclusive pin heading to the event, and it will then be available in keg and 750ml bottle from Monday 29th April (you can pre-order now, including from our online shop).

PS – We’ve also still got a couple of barrels of this beer resting in the Dungeon which will be released at a currently undetermined point in the future! We plan to spend some time in the beautiful Peak District which lies in between our two breweries to forage some fun additional ingredients for these, so watch this space for Bretted Best Bitter pt. 2…

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Meet the Team

Next in our series where we introduce you to the people behind the beers, it’s the turn of Christie – Quality Manager here as well as the chap most likely to give you a glimpse behind the scenes on our social media channels or tell you about our beers at a Meet the Brewer event!

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

Christie, Huddersfield

What is your role at Abbeydale Brewery?

Quality Manager (brewer with a calculator)

What’s your favourite beer style and why?

I’ve got simple taste with beer, can’t go wrong with easy drinking cask pales or a pint of lager (with or without a lemonade top). In terms of a single beer though, I often really crave a pint of Acorn Barnsley Bitter. But saying that my favourite beers to make are IPA’s.

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

It’s a manual job where I get to use my hands with a sprinkling of creativity.

Best place to enjoy a pint?

Rutland Arms (Sheffield city centre)

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

The Nook in Holmfirth

Favourite snack to enjoy alongside a beer?

Those jalapeno pretzel piece things, or a pork pie.

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

I’ve got a very needy allotment!

Who’s your hero (beery or otherwise!)?

Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse

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

Skeletor

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We made a mild!

We’ve been having a mild disagreement. You’ll have to excuse the puns – we’ve been working on them for some time.

We last had a mild available in early summer 2014. Dr Morton’s The Wrong Stuff, as it was cruelly named, was a bit of an experiment for us at the time – a somewhat controversial style with a fusty reputation, and a hard sell. But the times they are a’changing after all, and mild is finally having its day – a revival, a resurgence, a renaissance. We’ve formed two distinct “camps” amongst Team Abbeydale, one side hankering after that smooth, sweet nectar served in a dimpled glass, donning our flat caps and kicking up a grass roots movement for mild, evoking charming pubs of yore with a roaring fire and horse brass galore… and on the other side, the sales team, still traumatised by their past memories of a beer that outstayed its welcome.

The pro-mild side of the fence has finally got their way. And almost a full decade later, or 3,577 days to be precise, a Mild is back on our availability list.

Introducing Dark Mild, from our Restoration series, brewed using entirely UK grown ingredients. Characterised by a smooth, malt-driven sweetness, balanced by a touch of roast character and hints of coffee. The ultimate British hop, the unsung hero that is Fuggles, were added to our beloved hopback. These delicate hops provide a grassy character and a gentle bitterness in keeping with the traditions of this historic style, with a finish that invites you straight back for more. It’s classic, comforting, rounded and mellow. 4.0% ABV, vegan and gluten free. Anyone else thirsty?!

Mild at heart or mildly perturbed – which side are you on?! We’d love you to let us know. Dark Mild launches TODAY, April 1st (and no, it isn’t an April Fools), – cans are available from independent retailers, including from our online shop, or give us a call on 0114 2812712 if you’d like a cask for your venue. Our sales team are still mildly unconvinced (I’m nearly done, I promise), and I’d love you to help me prove them wrong! [*Edited to add on 01/04/24 at 12.37 – cask all gone, thank you Mild Things!]

Cheers!

Laura – A Mildly Delighted Marketing Manager

PS – Such has been my yearning for a mild that I first started writing notes for this blog post in February 2021. Once it was (a little reluctantly) agreed that this beer could be added to the plan, we came to officially give it a place it on our recipe database. A list of beer styles is pre-populated for us to choose from… and out of 43 in total ranging from imperial stout to gruit, there was no option for mild! Consider this heinous oversight officially rectified. The mild comeback is well and truly on.

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Fly P.A.

Last week we released our latest collaborative brew, Fly P.A., which brings together two Sheffield stalwarts in a cross-industry amalgam. Brewed to celebrate the 20th anniversary, re-release and subsequent tour of ‘Neveroddoreven’, we’re delighted to have welcomed Jarrod and Dean, otherwise known as I Monster, to our humble brewery – to create a beer that’s perfect for dreaming amid the flowers, for a couple of hours, on a beautiful day.  

The electronic music duo, who hail from Sheffield and are best known for their worldwide smash hit ‘Daydream In Blue’, are keen beer enthusiasts and jumped at the opportunity for us to work together to help celebrate the milestone of their early ‘00s creativity – they said, “We’re buzzing to collaborate with Abbeydale Brewery for this high flying, high flavour pale ale!”

The beer itself is a 4.7% dry hopped hazy pale, oozing with Galaxy & Sabro hops for a tropical fruit explosion. Expect notes of tangerine, peach and passionfruit with a delicate hint of coconut. The combination of malts and oats provide a soft, pillowy mouthfeel for the hops to shine through. It’s also vegan friendly and gluten free!

…And it has to be said, we don’t normally allow any flies in our canning room (in fact it was specifically designed to ensure they aren’t able to get in!), but in this instance we decided to make an exception!

The artwork for the beer, created by our in house designer James Murphy, is inspired by the golden age of aviation and gives a nod to the jetsetting antics that the beer was in part brewed to commemorate. You will find the band out on tour in Europe this Spring, with homecoming gigs in London as well as the Leadmill in Sheffield on June 21st, where you will no doubt find the beer on sale at the bar! If you can’t wait that long, you can buy the beer directly from our online shop, as well as finding it on the shelves of independent retailers. Casks and kegs are now available to trade customers, please give our sales team a call on 0114 2812712 or drop your account manager an email for more details!

Cheers!

I Monster getting to work in the canning room
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Our Aquanaut has surfaced!

Introducing Aquanaut! The first in a new series focused around new and exciting experimental hop products, we’re diving in with a full-flavoured and thirst quenching 4.6% pale ale.

Expect intense tropical aroma notes from Spectrum Galaxy and Lupomax Azacca hops, with cutting edge Incognito Centennial added to the whirlpool for a piney, resinous finish.

Chances are you’ve read the above and might be thinking – “what on earth are they are on about now?!” So what are Lupomax, Spectrum, and Incognito, and why are we so excited about them?!

Well, you’ll hopefully be aware that we’re pretty fond of hops round here, with our hop-forward pale ales forming our key house style. Hops contribute enormously to the flavour of beer, and in certain styles such as IPAs they’re the key driver behind all those delicious nuances that entice you in on the aroma and that you taste as you drink.

Hops are beautiful little plants with bags of character, but they’re also expensive, fragile, and those flavours and aromas that we love can be lost over time. On top of that, the more hops you add to beer in leaf or pellet form, the more the beer soaks into them – so for our hoppiest beers, we can lose up to a third of the brew length to those thirsty green little nuggets, which is one of the reasons why big, bold IPAs can be on the pricey side.

This has led to constant experimentation by hop producers as they try and give the freshest hop hit whilst maximising the bang for buck. One thing you may have seen us use before is Cryo hops, which we’ve been using for years now – these are cryogenically frozen hops, turned into essentially hop dust.  They’re more costly than “regular” hops, but they really deliver in flavour.

Hop oils are another option – again, they’re nothing new in the beer world, having been used for decades by large scale commercial brewers because they reduce waste and increase consistency. But until recently they couldn’t really deliver that fresh hop character that we’re after, so they’ve never been of much interest to craft and independent brewers such as ourselves. And it has to be said, it’s hard to get a beer drinker excited by phrases such as “improved maximization of raw materials”!

If only there was something that could do all that AND keep all that fresh, hoppy goodness, then we’d be talking!

The very latest hop products, those we’re showcasing in our new series, are focusing on taking out the vegetal matter in hops that the beer soaks into, and creating a super fresh yet stable flavour that does not decay over time. They’re more environmentally friendly too – with reduced storage and transportation requirements, as well as making cleaning up a little easier which means we use less water. Hop products including Spectrum, Lupomax and Incognito are currently being tried by many breweries around the world and we first used them in Incognito Heathen back in November – which you can learn more about here.

Just for a few more details on the brewing process used in our Aquanaut – the Incognito liquid version of Centennial (one of our favourite hops) is added at the whirlpool stage, as a substitute for hop pellets which means less losses and more impact. The temperature they’re added at means we don’t get too much isomerisation – which means less bitterness, more aroma and more bombastic flavour in the beer. On the brewday we were struck by the intense, piney, resinous aroma – and as an aside, it was also very sticky! The Lupomax and Spectrum hops (Azacca and Galaxy respectively) are used at the dry-hopping stage, added directly to packaging tank for extra pizazz and a final boost of flavour and aroma.

Hop suppliers are describing these products as “revolutionary”! So do they work? We’ve been impressed so far, but would definitely encourage you to drink it for yourself and find out! We’re really excited to keep trialling these products and seeing how they work for us, so Aquanaut is the first of a new “exploration” experimental series designed to do just that, with more to follow. Aquanaut is available now in cask, keg and can (including on our online shop!).

Cheers!

Team Abbeydale

Note: We’ve definitely gone with the short and snappy version here, but if you’re interested in more details relating to the biochemistry behind these new products, feel free to properly geek out on the Baath Haas (our suppliers of Lupomax, Spectrum and Incognito hops) website here.

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Cloud Peak is back!

It’s almost time for the 10th anniversary of Sheffield Beer Week! Taking place from March 4th to 10th 2024, expect beery events galore across our wonderful city.

Collaboration is one of the key elements of this citywide festival, so to celebrate, we’ve brought back our collaboration with Sheffield Beer Week itself – Cloud Peak, a 4.8% Cryo Session IPA.

First brewed in 2023, Cloud Peak is not quite a West Coast and not quite a NEIPA, but a mountain-style pale ale merging the two somewhere in the middle. Flavour-wise, expect a hop forward beer that’s packed with ripe mango and juicy pineapple character. Soft, smooth and fluffy, with a crisp, bitter finish making it perfectly well-balanced. It’s also vegan friendly and gluten free.

We’ll also have limited edition A4 art prints available, showcasing the wonderful artwork of this special release.

The beer is available now in cask, keg and can, so look out for it on bars and the shelves of independent retailers for the perfect way to warm up for Sheffield Beer Week! You can also find it on our online shop. We’ll be sure to save a keg for Indie Beer Feast too, which takes place on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd March – tickets are available here.

Keep your eyes peeled for more news on our plans for Sheffield Beer Week, including more special beers on the way inspired by our heritage, our location and the history of the city we call home.

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Hop Smash

Hop Smash is BACK! First brewed in 2016 in collaboration with our friends from Michigan’s Kuhnhenn Brew Co. and one of our highly regarded and most requested beers, this big, bold, bitter and beautiful IPA has had Citra, Centennial and Amarillo hops added at each stage of the brewing process. A generous malt bill provides balance to the beer, giving a full body and a robust 7.4% ABV.  To boost the hefty hop character still further, we’ve added plenty of fresh grapefruit including hot side in our hopback grapefruit-back, for a pithy, citrus bite that builds to a dry, fruity finish. All enhanced by a clean fermentation, co-pitching our house ale yeast with lager yeast. Plus, it’s also vegan friendly and gluten free.

Hop Smash is a showcase of our magnificent hop store, and also exemplifies the style of beer for which Kuhnhenn Brew Co. have won numerous awards at both the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival (amongst the world’s most prestigious brewing competitions) – notably for their DRIPA (a double rice IPA) which was awarded the Best IPA in the WORLD(!!) accolade in 2012. So a big American style IPA seemed like the perfect beer style to combine our skills, push the boundaries and have some fun!

The original brew involved us attempting a step mash in an isothermal mashtun, which is not quite how our kit is intended to be used (square peg, round hole comes to mind!). The team distinctly remember our brewer Jim coming into the office at the end of a particularly long and challenging (but very fun and educational) day, and declaring “well, I’m glad I never have to brew like that again!” only to receive a letter from the Great British Beer Festival inviting us to send a cask of it there, just far enough in the future that meant a repeat brew was essential. And here we are, 8 years later and on our 4th release! We’ve refined our processes and made the best use of our shiny new(ish) whirlpool this time, streamlining the brew but maintaining the flavour profile and character of the beer.

Crisp, juicy, and dangerously quaffable – definitely not breakfast juice (although we’re not going to judge you if you fancy using it to make yourself a mimosa…)!

Same refreshing beer, refreshed new look!  

Having taken a break from our brewing schedule since 2020, we felt the time was right to update the aesthetics of the pumpclips and cans, reflecting how our approach to design has progressed in the intervening years and bringing it in line with the rest of our Brewers Emporium range, but retaining the iconic grapefruit motif which has become synonymous with this very special beer. 

Hop Smash will be available in cask, keg and 440ml cans, and we’re now taking pre-orders across all formats. Trade customers can give us a call on 0114 2812712, and head here to bag yourself a 6-pack (or case!) on our online shop.

You can also be amongst the first to try it at our launch event! Join the team at The Old Shoe, Orchard Square (S1 2FB) on Thursday 1st February. Get it at its freshest… it’s the American way!

Cheers!

  • 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
    Sheffield
    S8 0YX
    Telephone: 0114 281 2712
    Email: [email protected]

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