Last night was the 32nd Steel City Beer festival. It was slightly alarming to realize that a visit to the tenth festival was one of the first things I did when I first came to Sheffield, which means that I’ve been living here for – oooh, lots of years. After an uncomfortable bus journey where we got over charged by a borderline psychotic bus driver who sped past at least three bus stops with people waiting with their hands stuck out and who seemed determined to hit every speed bump at full pelt on the way, followed by a walk through a very grim back street towards the St Phillip’s social club, we arrived at the door.
The last time I was there must have been an anti poll tax disco some time in the 80s and it hasn’t changed much in the intervening years. The place was packed with a crowd that was overwhelmingly male and white, with the main demographic being middle aged men with either no hair or rather too much of it, closely followed by a lot of students. We met up with Andrew and Lizzie, after a slightly confused phone call to the wrong number, paid for our souvenir beer glasses and beer tokens, and got stuck into the beers.
I have to admit that I wasn’t taking notes, like at least one of the nerdier CAMRA members that I saw diligently ticking off the beers he had tried in his programme, but there were plenty of excellent beers on offer. The ones I can recall include Armadillo, Happy Bunnies, a rather nice from the Acorn brewery, Restoration, Ginger Snap and to finish with a glass of the champion festival beer – Abbeydale Black Mass with a nicely appropriate %ABV of 6.66. A touch too treacly for my tastes, but a good note to end on.
I am feeling a little worse for wear today, and croaky even though nobody was smoking in the venue as far as I could see. Still, roll on number 33!