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Sunfest Beer Festival Opening

Sunfest Beer Festival Opening


Eight years and still going strong. Sunfest 2014 could well be the best yet! Unintentionally, this year’s celebration of real ale has taken me into an exploration of brewery collaboration beers. There are half a dozen or so of these on offer this year. Brewery collaborations are a fantastic way to share ideas, expertise and knowledge and have some fun while you do it. Abbeydale did its first formal collaboration this year with Founders Brewery of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The beer is 3712, a 7.0% American PA beast – named after the distance in miles between our two breweries. A more recent collab led us all the way to Raw Brewery, Staveley. The idea – which as far as I know hasn’t been attempted before in the UK – was to try a Kaffir Lime leaf Coconut Stout. This is called Lady Boy and it’s 5.5%. Other collaborations are highlighted in the programme.

In total there are 110 beers on offer from 81 breweries. Eleven brewers are featured more than once mainly because there is either a good story behind them or it’s just beer I simply had to include! An ex employee of ours for example, up and left for Siren Brewery in early May. I exploited his betrayal by insisting he brought us up some beer for this weekend. We never miss an opportunity to source some new and superb quality beer. New Breweries to us this year include; Briggs Signature Beers, Firebrand Brewing Company, Fuggle Bunny Brew House (Sheffield’s newest micro brewery), Highland Brewing Co., Isle of Purbeck Brewery, Keltek Cornish Brewery, Keystone Brewery, Pigeon Fishers Craft Brewery, Stonehenge Ales, 360° Brewing Company & 6° North. Good luck trying them all! Give’em all a tweet if you have the time or patience. Use the hashtag #SunFest14 and Twitter addresses provided for most of the breweries.

One very special beer deserves a massive thank you from me personally to Stuart Neilson at North Riding Brew Pub. With several attempts (all failing) to get our heads together to collaborate together on a beer, Stuart produced a beer to commemorate the birth of my 9 week old son (as of this week). We discussed beer style, abv and hops etc but Stuart was adamant from the beginning that the name was going to be Benjamin James. The beer, "Benjamin James" is a 5.2% pale beer and if Stuart had had anything to do with it, you know it’s not going to be hop shy. And neither will Benjamin if his upbringing has anything to do with it!

On to speciality beers. From fruit, ginger, coffee and even chilli beers to spiced and wheat beers. They can be found in the Sunfest programme with a red box around the beer colour identifying them as extra special. To summarise, it’s "speciality" (red box) if the beer has something other than the four main ingredients; water, yeast, hops and barley. We also have a gluten free beer.

We’ve gone all out with the craft keg beer bar this year. Stepping up from six to now eight. I’m happy to announce we will be helping to launch a couple of local breweries’ new keg beers. We’ll be showcasing Acorn Brewery’s No. 1, a 4.5% modern pale ale and Stancill Brewery’s Lager at 5.0% and using an old original Pils recipe. I’m also really looking forward to a Punch In The Face 4.8% by Totally Brewed and Tiny Rebel’s Hank 4.0%.

Lastly, (said in hush whispers) two extra special casks are the beers from the wood. Absolution 5.3% – tried and tested before this weekend in our two pubs. And Old Ale 7.2% – a new beer of ours, purposely designed to be aged in a wooden cask and for an added extra oomph we’ve primed the cask with Maple Syrup and dry hopped it. The casks certainly imparted lovely oaky, whisky flavours in the Absolution, so the Old Ale will be very exciting.

… I said it was to be the best year yet didn’t I!

Hope you all enjoy the festival and please spare a thought for our charity this year Cavendish Cancer Care. I’m sure their cause requires no introduction. You will find collection buckets dotted around hoping for a spare coin or two or the rest of your beer ticket. Other ways to donate are on their website ( or just drink some of our charity beer Dr Morton’s Survival Kit, available for the first time at this festival. For every pint sold Abbeydale will contribute 10p to Cavendish so fill ya boots 🙂

Cheers & Beers!



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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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Abbeydale Brewery are Pub People Company’s Brewery of the Month

Abbeydale Brewery are Pub People Company's Brewery of the Month

Abbeydale Brewery has been nominated to be Pub People Company’s brewery of the month throughout February 2014. "The Pub People Company are one of the top 50 pub operators in the UK and own an established estate of high quality food and drink pubs in and around Nottingham, Derby, Chesterfield, Sheffield and Lincoln."

Visit their website for more details –


use their pub finder and hunt down the places near to you where you can find our award winning beers during the month of February –


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Absolution wins 1st prize at Northwich Beer Festival

Absolution wins 1st prize at Northwich Beer Festival

The annual Northwich Beer Festival, the joint venture between North Cheshire CAMRA and the Northwich and Northwich Vale Royal Rotary clubs, took place over the weekend of the 20th September 2013.  This year saw the festival take place at Winnington Park Recreational Club providing drinkers with a whopping choice of 40 different ales from all corners of England. One of these ales was our very own “Absolution” which to our delight, romped home to take 1st prize in the competition!

Members of North Cheshire CAMRA who combined their visit with a real ale pub-crawl around Sheffield presented the award to us at The Rising Sun on Saturday the 16th November.

Further information on the festival including pictures and final beer list can be found on 


Absolution Award

It’s fantastic to see that beers from our core range still pick up awards. Absolution is one of the first beers ever made at Abbeydale and the recipe has changed very little over the years. Thank you North Cheshire CAMRA!

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Sunfest 2013: An Introduction To The Beers

Sunfest 2013: An Introduction To The Beers

I set out to source from a greater number of breweries this year. This means that many feature one beer, two should the criteria fit – new breweries / new beers (or at least new to us!). New breweries we have managed to pin down for a cask include; Mouslow Farm, Hamelsworde, Healey’s,Newark, Tiny Rebel, VIP, Talke O’Th’ Hill & Betjeman Brewery not to mention our new local breweries; Dronfield, Harthill VIllage, Toolmakers and On The Edge. Big thank yous go to Stu at North Riding Brewery for making us a special brew, a beer appropriately named Seventh Sun 4.0%, and also to Dave at Raw and Mark at Townhouse for sourcing beers for us.

For all you beer spotters out there, it may be good to know that all the  beers selected are not souped-up, dry-hopped/blended, one-off festival specials concocted from existing brews. Each cask beer at the festival has been made in a batch or been on sale/will be on sale in the general trade. Actually, that’s not entirely true of the Abbeydales. The Milk Stout – we’re trying something there! Let us know what you think. Well it’s our festival and we’re allowed to play.

Back to this Milk Stout of ours at 5.0%. This beer style is something we have wanted to do for a long time. A few of these were sampled (just to make sure) at Rotherham CAMRA Real Ale and Music Festival at Magna (takes place in February each year, plug) and it was so good we decided to trial it and what better place to trial it than here at our beer festival.

It is also worth noting that I massively over ordered (oops!) and the extra beers will be on sale in the pub throughout the coming weeks. So please come back after the festival for more beers from many of these breweries. Join YourRound and get emailed / texted / tweeted when they come on the bar.

Let’s also not forget the large selection of speciality beers available. From fruit, ginger and chocolate beers to spiced and wheat beers. They can be found in the Sunfest programme with a red box around the beer colour identifying them as extra special. For you newcomers out there, this is not to be confused with beer flavours. Beers are often described as tasting of something e.g. raisins or burnt toast. This flavour is obtained by carefully selecting the barley and roast type. This is not ‘Speciality’ (although special and yummy it may be) unless it had actually had burnt toast in the brew – if that floats your boat! Similarly a beer can be described as tasting of mango or grapefruit. These flavour compounds are found in certain hops, if added in sufficient quantity. To summarise, it’s "speciality" (red box) if the beer has something other than the four main ingredients; Water, yeast, hops and barley. We also identified a couple of beers which definitely did not use isinglass finings and marked these with a V. (others may not, but we’re not sure). Some vegans will know what we mean, the rest of you, don’t worry about it.

The craft keg beer bar is back again this year featuring some of the well-known micro brewery kegger’s out there. We have ten different beers here but are restricted to serving six at a time. We have given it a go, kegging some of our Ascension 6.0% on dry hops to compensate for the beer being served at a lower temperature than was initially intended for a cask product, if that makes sense?

Hopefully there will be something here for everyone. Enjoy the festival! 

Dan Baxter

PS This year we have  added a few favourite beer (and cider) quotes  to the programme and would love to hear any particular beer quotes that have stuck in your mind. If you are a tweeter, Facebooker or emailer, send us in your favourites. Be it comical, factual or historical. I’ve always liked:
    "I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s
            as good as they’re going to feel all day."                         ~ Frank Sinatra

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The Pub Nearest to the Brewery

In recent years Greene King gave it a good go with some excellent music nights and even let us supply beer to it from time to time but the pub was in serious need of some tlc which they didn’t seem prepared to do.

So just before Christmas, the miracle happened and the pub was bought, closed down, refurbished and reopened in a matter of weeks. It is now being run by those nice people from the Forum Group who as well as the Forum, Common Room and Old House in town also own the York in Broomhill.

The Broadfield is transformed. Loads of real ales, including some of ours, lots of other interesting keg and bottled products, a fabulous array of whiskies and really nice food, majoring on pies and bangers, though I also love the fish and chips and Pat’s favourite is the potted mackerel starter. It has been an immediate hit locally and is becoming a destination for people from further down the Abbeydale valley who are a bit starved for good pubs and a range of beers.

We often walk to and from work, more or less past the door and it is sooo hard not to drop in. It’s a great place to take visitors to the brewery for lunch or a drink. We are very happy to have this as our closest pub. Check it out for yourselves online and in reality.

Sue Morton


  • 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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