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Hopping down to Hereford

Hopping down to Hereford

Early September brings one of the treats of the brewers’ calendar, a trip to the Hop Walk organized by hop merchants Charles Faram. This year the location was Pridewood Farm, Ashperton, Herefordshire. Hops have been grown there since the 19th century and the Powell-Tuck family have been continuing this tradition for almost 20 years.

There were over 300 UK brewers there to participate in a day of learning more about hop growing and harvesting and to listen to various experts giving updates on state of the hop harvest around the world and the effect on price and availability of this essential brewing ingredient.

Alongside all of this there was of course, the chance to sample some beer – not too much for me, I was driving the van but Patrick took good advantage. This year featured pairs of beers  brewed in the conventional way but with one firkin with of hop oils added. This may be a way in future of making hops go further by extracting the oils and adding those to beer rather than using whole hops or pelleted hops. Of course this stimulated much debate between traditionalists and those who see this as a way forward. I am sure it is a debate we will hear more of if the growth in small brewers continues to outstrip the planting of hops.

This year Abbeydale decided to take advantage of the opportunity to obtain some hops straight from the field and make a “green hop” beer. (The downside of this was having to drive rather than catch the train). Normally hops, once separated from the bine (stalk and leaves), are dried gently. This stabilizes them so they can be packed and stored for quite long periods so they can be transported and used thoughout the coming year or so. Green hops are taken from the field, separated and then put into sacks. They then need to make their way into beer within hours or, like any vegetable matter they will start to rot and compost.

Because the hops are not dried we needed eight times as much in weight, so at the end of the day we loaded up our van with 100kg of freshly harvested Early Goldings hops and in less than 24 hours they were in the beer. Indeed one of the main challenges was fitting them into the hop back!

Making a green hop beer is such a special thing – a sort of brewery harvest celebration – that we wanted to make a big thing of it. We have wanted for some time to do a series of beers featuring English hops, our Albion Ale series, so what better way to launch them than to start with this green hop beer. It will be called Scepter’d Ale, ABV 4.1% and in fermenter it is tasting very soft, floral and sweet. Final flavours have yet to develop, but with no dark or crystal malts to hide the hops, this should be one lovely beer.

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Craft Beer At Its Finest – #OldAle

Craft Beer At Its Finest - #OldAle

We haven’t blogged about any beer for a while, so WOODn’t you like to know what we have been up to recently? Well the observant amongst you may have spotted a wooden cask in the bottle room of the Dev Cat recently, or perhaps you tried one of the two on offer at SunFest, and it is our first foray into experimenting with wooden casks.  We have bought some old whisky firkins which we have filled with both Absolution and Black Lurcher, and the whisky flavours have really come through and added something extra to these beers. 

That got us thinking about ageing some of our beers at the brewery in wooden casks, so we ordered some 225L (approx 50 gallons/400 pints) White Burgundy oak casks.  When any drink spends time maturing in wooden casks, the liquid reacts with the wood and there is an imparting of flavour. The colour of whisky comes from the wood* (it is a perfectly clear liquor when first distilled), and it will pick up flavour profiles (if the barrel is being re-used) from the previous contents, i.e. if you age something in a sherry cask, you will impart some sherry flavours. 

So onto our beer, we have selected Old Ale, our take on an Old English Ale, strong (7.2% ABV), mid brown and full bodied, with a fairly sweet alcohol finish, to be our first try.  And while we could have just put it into the wood and see what happens, we thought that wood be a little boring, so we have livened things up somewhat! So into each cask before filling, we added a bag of Jack Daniels wood chips (available from a well known DIY retailer, other wood chips are available!), a good dollop of top quality maple syrup and a big handful of the finest Galaxy hops from Australia.  The beer was then poured in and after sealing each cask, we have to twiddle our thumbs for three months to let the magic happen! 

Once that time is up, we are going to transfer the beer into our bright beer tank (maybe with some extra hops!) and then fill some of our shiny new 30L and 50L kegs. We will also be filling some casks with some unadulterated Old Ale, so we can compare and contrast.  


What wood you like to see us do next with our lovely wooden casks? Please comment below, email [email protected] or chip in on Facebook (…/AbbeydaleBrewery) or on Twitter (@AbbeydaleBeers)


*Some distilleries add caramel to the liquor to add extra colour depth.

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From Pub To Brewery – Seeing The Other Side Of The Trade


Having spent the first six years in the trade from behind the bar, first as a barman, through shift supervisor, bar manager and then onto overall manager, my recent switch to the Sales team at Abbeydale has been a huge shock to the system! I’d only previously known 6.30am from the night before, not the time to get myself out of bed and ready for work! Joking aside, I have adapted to my new working hours much quicker than anticipated, and the 4pm finish is fantastic! 

Seeing the logistical operation in place here gives me a new appreciation to how difficult it is sometimes to keep the vast number of customers happy, fitting in with all the different preferences of each landlord, I now feel I owe a few people an apology for being shirty with suppliers in the past (Abbeydale were always faultless, obviously!!!). It goes without saying that breweries need to look after pubs, but the reverse can also be true. A pub doing the brewery a favour, be it changing a delivery day or time for example, can lead to us being far more receptive to future requests.  

Being on the other end of the phone call has also been an interesting experience. Having never done any telesales before, I was unsure exactly how I would take to this, but having learnt not what to do from various breweries and wholesalers in my previous jobs, I at least felt I had a head-start.  

My first weeks have been thoroughly enjoyable, and I can’t wait to really get to grips with all aspects of the business.  I have also enjoyed writing my first blog, it’s a challenge to put across a reasoned viewpoint whilst being concise enough to keep people interested.  Let me know what you think below or on Facebook. Until next time, mine’s a pint! Cheers!


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Abbeydale and Founders Collaboration

Abbeydale and Founders Collaboration


Although they will surely see some of the sights of the Steel City, the team from America’s 26th largest craft brewery hasn’t just come as tourists.  They plan on teaming up with Sheffield’s own Abbeydale brewery to collaboratively create a beer representative of both sides of the Atlantic.

How did the collaboration come about?

Upon conducting a “Meet the Brewer” event at a pub in Rugby, Abbeydale owners Sue and Patrick Morton were introduced to a fan of their beer, Jon Conroy, who just so happened to become the UKs sales rep for Founders Brewing Co.  This serendipitous meeting lead to Jon bringing over president of Founders, John Green to the UK and visiting Abbeydale Brewery in person.

After the obvious passion both sides shared for beer was expressed, the Founders team wondered how their “complex, in-your-face ales” would work as a cask-conditioned beer.  With Sheffield having been quoted as “Britian’s best beer city” in the New York Times and Abbeydale producing Sheffield’s most popular ale*, a collaborative brew between both breweries seemed the route to take to answer this question.        

What can we expect from the beer?

 We’ve been told to expect a strong, full-bodied, pale golden beer packed full of American hops and English malt.  At present, the exact hop recipe has been kept closely guarded; although rumour has it, Founders brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki is bringing a “box of something interesting” over with him to complement Abbeydale’s already impressive and extensive hop range.

Interesting is a word certainly applicable to Founders’ beers as their ethos of creating “beer that pushes the limits of what is commonly accepted as taste” has lead them to the create such masterpieces as “Kentucky Breakfast Stout” an 11.2% American Double/Imperial Stout which has been brewed with coffee and chocolate, placed into oak bourbon casks, then left to mature for one year 80 feet below the ground in the gypsum mines of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Its transcendence has since been rewarded with a ranking of one of the top 10 beers in the world**.

Although American hops are something used widely at Abbeydale Brewery with the US grown Willamette hop featuring predominately in Moonshine, and other big hitting US varieties such as Simcoe, Citra, Centennial, Sorachi Ace and Columbus being used regularly in their extremely popular “Dr. Morton’s” range, owner Patrick Morton stated  “We’re looking forward to venturing out of our comfort zone and into hop-forward American pale territory”.  After the success of Abbeydale’s own 6% “North American IPA”, taste buds are already tingling in anticipation of the collaboration with a brewery ranked 3rd best in the word***.

A superlative sup will hopefully not be the only outcome of the Founders visit, as both sides seek to learn from one another about their different approaches to beer.

America has very little tradition of cask ale, so having the chance to brew a beer at a busy cask led microbrewery, will provide an in depth education into the processes of creating, distributing and dispensing cask ale.  Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki has also expressed his excitement of using brewing equipment seldom seen in America.

 On the other side, Abbeydale have only just recently started experimenting with kegged beer, with their first two beers aptly named “Pale Ale #1” and “Pale Ale #2”, respectively, being distributed earlier in the year.  They now have the opportunity to learn from a brewery that is planning to brew 200, 000 barrels in 2014.

 The beer will hopefully be ready for distribution around the middle of May and with America’s tradition of kegged beer and the UKs tradition of cask, it only seems appropriate that the collaborative brew be destined for both.

 On Tuesday 22nd April, there was a chance to meet some of the Founders Family as the Devonshire Cat on Wellington Street hosted a “Meet the Brewer” evening with a full range of Founders beer available. But, if you missed it, you need not panic! The Devonshire Cat now plans to regularly stock their beer.








* Moonshine is Sheffield’s most popular beer as judged by Sheffield and District CAMRA’s beer capital survey 

** "Kentucky Breakfast Stout" 8th highest rated beer on (correct as of 22/4/14)

*** Ranked 3rd best Brewery in 2013 by


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Abbeydale Brewery has taken the lease on the Devonshire Cat!

Abbeydale Brewery has taken the lease on the Devonshire Cat!


After a nail biting few months, it is our pleasure to announce that Abbeydale has taken over the lease on the Devonshire Cat on Wellington Street.  We are absolutely delighted to be part of this Sheffield landmark and will strive to maintain the Devonshire Cat’s tradition of quality cask ales, keg and bottled beers and great pub food.

For non-Sheffield residents who haven’t heard of the Devonshire Cat before, it has become something of legend and folklore for real ale enthusiasts in the Steel City since it first opened its doors back in 2001.  Situated in the heart of the Devonhire quarter, the "Dev Cat" as it’s affectionately known is based on a Belgian style beer cafe and home to over one hundred different bottled and twenty five draught beers, including twelve hand-pulled ales from the UK, Europe and beyond.  

It’s not only beer that the Devonshire Cat is famed for, however.  Head-chef Peter Lightfoot and the kitchen team have worked tirelessly to perfect a menu of top quality pub food or “snap” as it’s know in God’s own county. Old pub favourites and classics such as "Hop Smoked Salmon", "Beer Battered Cod and Chips" and "Steak and Ale Pie" as well as ever changing specials made with fresh, local and seasonal produce are always available from 11:30am – 8pm Monday to Saturday and until 6pm on Sunday.  

At first, we plan to change little adhering to the old motto “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”. A few more of our beers shall be making an appearance on a regular basis, however: "Absolution," our beautifully fruity 5.3% pale shall be making a residency on the bar alongside our very own "Deception" which has been a favourite at the Dev Cat for some time.  Our traditional English ale “Daily Bread” shall be taking over as the house bitter and a couple of rotating ales from our Dr. Morton’s and specials range shall also show their faces every now an again.  The other hand pulls shall be showcasing an ever changing number of beers from Yorkshire and beyond as they always have.

In addition to new beers, a new and improved pub quiz shall be taking place every Monday from 9pm with the winners receiving a cash prize and runners up getting a gallon of ale.  To keep up to date with new beers, dishes and general goings on at the Devonshire Cat, please like their facebook page and follow on twitter, too!

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Always Look for the Abbey

Always Look for the Abbey

Abbeydale Brewery was started in 1996 and the concept for the design was put in place by owner Patrick Morton and his old friend Ivan Bradley, a graphic designer, before brewing began. The Abbeydale name had good local connections with the location of the brewery as well as being a good brewery name. The ruined abbey logo appears in every pumpclip and provides a unifying theme along with names which are often ironic and tangential and humorous. Additional point-of-sale material has been produced emphasising the theme of “always look for the Abbey…”


Abbeydale Brewery was started in August 1996. Before a pint had been brewed, the concept for the design of the pumpclips was in place. Patrick Morton, the owner and brewer was keen to have a coherent design concept which would serve the brewery for many years. He was fortunate in having an old friend Ivan Bradley, a graphic designer and artist, who mainly specialised in photography and airbrush paintings but whose main talent was for realising visualisations. Moving on from crayons and brushes, Ivan had been dabbling with an early Mac and took to the new medium like the proverbial duck. This computer was a black and white – not even greyscale – machine which rather limited its scope for beer label work, so this was updated to a colour-able model with a view to ongoing production.

There was initially debate about what to call the brewery but Abbeydale won out over Vulcan, Morton’s and one or two other forgotten suggestions, though the alternate Beerworks name was retained too and is still used. The name Abbeydale was based on the brewery location in the Abbeydale district of Sheffield and Ivan’s Grand Scheme for Thematic Harmony.

Abbeydale was a good name in many respects. To Sheffielders it is a local name and distinctly brands the beer as a local product. Abbeydale is most famous for its ruined Abbey, called Beauchief Abbey (pronounced Bee-Chiff) and for the Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet an early eighteenth century water powered industrial site. It is a common local myth that the brewery is based at the hamlet; in fact we are a couple of miles up the road in less desirable end of Abbeydale in a site which used to be a steelworks until the 1980s. So for Sheffielders there is a strong local identity to Abbeydale. Outside of Sheffield, Abbeydale conjures up very different images, the “dale” gives it idyllic rural notes while the “Abbey” conjures associations with long brewing traditions in ecclesiastical establishments both here and abroad.

Having established that, Ivan and Patrick were determined then NOT to go for very obvious “Merry Monk” type names and artwork but to come at the theme obliquely and from many different angles so that the theme could be used for a very long time.

It was decided right at the beginning that every pumpclip with the Abbeydale name would feature the Abbey Ruin, based on the remains of Beauchief Abbey, somewhere on the clip. Abbeydale Beers generally, though not invariably (where would the fun be in that!) have names with a vaguely ecclesiastical or mystical slant. These are often ironic or tenuous or the theme is tangential. There is a serious attempt to avoid the obvious and the clips are not meant to be taken too seriously. Sometimes the theme is purely visual. Thus the thematically “correct” Black Bishop was partnered by “White Knight” with a common chess theme, both featuring the Abbey in the guise of a rook.

Ivan was adamant that the ruin remain sizeless and scaleless so it could be used in interesting ways on different clips. Thus it has featured as a logo on countless clips, as the gate to hell (Temptation) as a missing artefact (Larceny), as the spots on a dog (Damnation), as honey (Bee Ale Z’Bub), as a Belfry (Belfry), as butter (Daily Bread), as a fake (Deception) and, on the most recent pumpclip, Fascination, as a twinkle in the eye. At last count there were some 70-odd pumpclips featuring the Abbey. A good selection is included in the supporting materials.

A few years later when there was a little cash to spare a Bar Towel was produced which features the Abbey and the strap line “Always look for the Abbey…..” and people do. When Damnation came out the brewery actually received phone calls and emails from people complaining they could not see the abbey. “Just look at the dog’s spots” was the response.The brewery now has bar runners, again featuring the Abbey ruin and the same strapline on a much updated graphic. The ruin also features on an etch effect glass.

The initial style of the early pumpclips reflected the graphic tools Ivan had at his disposal the time. Chronologically Moonshine, Absolution, Matins, Black Mass came earliest and are the simplest designs. The Last Rites in use is a slightly later revision of an original version. Some of the later clips are more complex as the sophistication of the available hardware and software increased. Some of the more recent clips are based on photographs which are then reworked, retouched or used as the basis for paintings. Resurrection and Daily Bread are good examples of this.

The original design concept of the sizeless, scaleless Abbey Ruin, the Abbeydale name and the oblique approach to names has served us well for sixteen years and shows little sign of running out. Ivan continues to generate interesting and exciting designs which catch the eye and stand out on the bar and the single unifying theme of the Abbey Ruin along with the name ensures that anyone who cares, knows it is an Abbeydale 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.

    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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