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Craft Beer in the UK is reaching out to a new audience

Is there a bitter taste is the mouth for craft beer in the UK or is it just evolving?

The craft beer in the UK market is seeing a new shift, a shift even further away from your grandads bitter than ever before. This is due to accessibility and the adaptation of mainstream, taking it from sub-culture to urban culture. The perception of beer is changing, IPAs are gradually winning over lager drinkers, there has never been so much choice. It wasn’t long ago that you’d struggle to find an IPA, it’s hard to avoid Brewdog these days.

Brewdog pinkThe Scottish brewers recently hit the headlines with two campaigns, the ‘Pink’ launch (reaching out to women) and their 1 million giveaway, a ploy to target the Carling crowd. They hope that a free pint of Punk will turn them into paying customers. It isn’t just on paper where Brewdog have been dominating, you’ll find them in the unlikeliest of places, the bars and clubs that wouldn’t have entertained anything other than your standard lager just a few months are now stocking Punk. Music festivals were once a lager filled weekend, Carling used to sponsor Reading and Leeds, these days they are offering craft alternatives. This could be because they can charge more money or that tastes are changing?

Many will argue about Brewdog’s presence in craft beer. They are bit like Man City, they do the job flawlessly but they’ve done it with investment, lots of it. They still claim that they continue with the craft mentality, they continue to take chances, grow. They have been able to break into the mainstream which can only be a great thing for the whole industry. The more people who taste Punk are the next ones who will buy Jaipur, Gamma Ray or High Wire, once hooked there’s no turning back.

There’s a new hierarchy forming, it was noticeable at Sheffield Beer Week. Is it just about investment and marketing or is it quality and innovation? We’ve got the elite brewers (Brewdog, Beavertown, Goose Island), the local heroes (every city has them), the old schoolers, the breakthrough home brewers and the underdogs who are a bit left wing.

Bitter about bitter, or lack of? Real ale was, up until recently what your granddad drank, that murky, still, warm liquid in a pint class. It wasn’t sexy like your pint of Bud. Bitter is the reason beer gets a bad reputation. The pale ales have been changing that perception, the fruity aromas are much more palatable on the tastebuds making it much easier to convert lager drinkers, it makes brewing a better business model.

The UK craft beer scene might be growing but with all the focus on developing and twisting the IPA, the bitter has been forgotten about by many new breweries. The old men who spend their afternoons in the pub are finding it hard to jump on the craft beer bandwagon. They don’t care about the artwork, if it’s suitable for Vegans or made with ingredients sourced locally, they just want the bitter taste that they have always loved and change from £3. They don’t care for Man City’s slick techniques, forward thinking attitudes and big money innovations, they are happy with Burnley’s solid reputation, it might not be exciting but it works.

Is brewing becoming more about spreadsheets and sales figures or is there true love in that 330ml can that costs £8? They’ll always be businesses in any industry but it’s those who work with passion who will succeed in the long-term. What makes craft beer in the UK great in 2018 is that there’s a taste and budget for everybody.

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The Garden Brewery Takeover

garden brewery logoSheffield Beer Week is great, right? We’re loving the enthusiasm and passion Sheffield has for beer. There’s been some great events held throughout the city and there’s plenty more to come but tonight it’s our turn as we get to showcase the brilliant beers by The Garden Brewery at the Ale Club.

Garden Brewery tapWe’ve been pouring The Garden Brewery’s finest beers since opening the tap room, the Samphire Sour and the Milkshake IPA have been going down a treat so, to coincide with Sheffield Beer Week we’ve let the Croatian brewery takeover the bar for the night.

So, who are The Garden Brewery?

The Garden Brewery story is a little different to most, it began with a music festival in Croatia by a promoter from Birmingham. The Garden has been one of Europes leading dancing music festivals since launching in 2006 but after 10 years they decided to focus on beer instead. The timing couldn’t have been better as Croatia was gaining a craft brewery scene whilst the connections from the festival circuit gave them an outlet early on and they’ve gone from strength-to-strength.

Garden Brewery beerTheir state of the art brewery allows them to brew different beers quickly, they have the ability to brew their core range on mass and test or create specials in smaller batches too, giving them the opportunity to grow fast without losing the excitement that comes with experimenting with different ingredients, flavours and tastes.

Unlike many breweries who specialise in one style The Garden Brewery’s core range is as eclectic as they come, stouts to sours whilst their pales IPA’s aren’t your typical style as they include citrus IPAs and honey double IPAs.

They pride themselves in the ingredients that they use to brew. These are natural and unfiltered, giving a more intense flavour, the hops come from around the world whilst the malts are imported from the UK which might give some familiarity to the taste produced.

Based in Zagreb, The Garden Brewery tap room is open 7 days a week, serving their core range and specialise on cask, keg, bottle and can which will taste much fresher than you’d experience after being imported over land and sea. They offer guided tours and tasting sessions too! And, obviously, should you get peckish, there’s food available too from Submarine a shipping container in the brewery, serving burgers and ice cream, made with locally sourced ingredients.

More info The Garden Brewery, their beers and their tap room (well worth a visit if you’re in Croatia) is available here.

Don’t forget to check out our Sheffield Beer Week offers, available until Sunday.

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Guide to Sheffield Beer Week 2018

Sheffield Beer WeekIt’s almost our favourite week of the year, we’ve been putting our plans together to make sure there’s no logistical mishaps. Not gonna lie, we’ve had to flip coins to decide what to do because there’s so much good stuff going on. Yep, Sheffield Beer Week, we are ready for you.

Sheffield Beer Week launchIt all kicks off on Saturday at the Abbeydalee Picture House on Abbeydale Road with the Indie Beer Feast, celebrating the cities greatest things, independent businesses, food and beer.

They’ll be drinking from then on, through to the next weekend. It might sound like one big piss up and to a degree it is but it’s also about sampling the best of beer in 2018. Whether you want to call it craft beer or real ale, just grab a glass and enjoy the breweries showcasing their work in pubs throughout the city.

Hardywood CraftThe beer resurgence here in the UK owes a lot to the States and the Hop Hideout on Abbeydale Road is showcasing beers from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery from midday. If you are heading to the Indie Beer Feast get down early and nip across the road for a taster, or just go down anyway, The Broadfield is next door! The Indie Beer Feast is a ticketed event and they’ve got some of the best local and UK breweries and street food chefs to kick your tastebuds into gear for the rest of Sheffield Beer Week.

Wellington Sheffield Beer WeekWe don’t have time for hangovers especially on day two when award winner beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones is hosting a tasting evening for the best of Norwich beers at The Wellington in Shalesmoor. Prepare to be schooled.

Monday’s are the worst, not in Beer Week they aren’t. It’s meet the brewer time at Brewdog with Steel City Brewing’s Dave who will be talking about his craft and a taste of their Sheffield Brewery Week special, Rogue One, a 10% imperial stout with a hint of chocolate, vanilla and citrus.

If the 10% stout hasn’t written us off we’ll be heading to the train station, not to escape but for the Sheffield Tap to see how The Tapped Brew Co make their beers before joining the Sheffield Pub Heritage Walk which starts at Fagans at 5:30.

Sheffield Beer Week Beavertown TakeoverThere’s no hump day during Sheffield Beer Week as Wednesday sets us up for another busy one, starting off with another meet the brewer event at Brewdog at 6pm, this time its Lost Industry who will be bringing their exclusive imperial white stout, Off Me Coconut along then at 7:30pm it’s time to head to Hallamshire House for meet the brewer with London’s finest, Beavertown!

Thursday we’ll be starting off with a battle of the sours with locals Abbeydale Brewery against Manchester faves Charlton Brewery at The Devonshire Cat before heading to The Bath Hotel for another brewery from the other side of the Pennines, Marble Brewery who’ll be taking part in a meet the brewer.

Brew York Sheffield Beer WeekBrew York are frequent on the Ale Club bar and we’re looking forward to their meet the brewer event at Riverside on Friday before heading to The Bar Stewards for a Northern Monk takeover.

Saturday will be another Kelham orientated day with the Cloudwater and Howling Hops takeover at Shakespeares, Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end but theres a silver lining at the Sheffield Beer Week closing party which coincides with launch of the Neepsend Brewery tap room opening!

Gladiators, ready?

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Sheffield Beer Week – Guide to Sheffield Breweries Round 2

Sheffield Beer WeekImagine a week dedicated to your number one. Your partner only gets Valentines Day but beer gets a whole week in Sheffield! Sheffield Beer Week is seven days dedicated to the finest beers served across the Steel City.

Sheffield Beer Week doesn’t just showcase great breweries from around the world with events hosted in great pubs, it’s an opportunity to meet the makers, listen to their back story and how they made the beers you are tasting.

Our Tryanuary guide to Sheffield Breweries can be found here. This is round two.

Blue Bee BrewerySince launching in 2010 Blue Bee Brewery have had their ups-and-downs. Things went from a hobby to a respectable brewery by 2011 and they expanded. Last year they lost their 3 pubs but they have continued to brew great and interesting beers using a variety of ingredients from around the world. You’ll find their beers at the Kelham Island Tavern, Shakespeares and the Rutland Arms as well as the Sheffield Beer Week closing party at the Neepsend Brewery tap room launch on 17th March.

More information can be found here.

Lost Industry BrewingLost Industry are relatively babies compared to Blue Bee but in just over two years they have experiments with flavours and influences that have helped them gain an reputation as exiting brewers who don’t limited themselves to a core range. Their beers are found in many of Sheffield’s much loved pus including the Broadfield, Beer Engine and The Greystones. They have spread their wings, supplying to pubs in the UK including Nottingham, Huddersfield, Manchester and London. They will also be available at the launch of Beer Week at the Indie Beer Feast at the Abbeydale Picture House on 10th March.

Want to find out more? Visit their website.

Steel City BrewingSteel City Brewing are cuckoo brewers who are learning fast, producing American influenced pales with a Yorkshire spirit. Their ever-changing selection can be found at the Wellington and Rutland Arms. They will be collaborating with Neepsend Brewery and Lost Industry to create something special for Sheffield Beer Week.

More info on their website.

Tapped Brew CoTrain stations can be bleak. You tend to find W H Smiths, M&S and, if you are lucky you’ll get a ‘spoons. There’s nothing worse than waiting for a train without a pint in your hand. Sheffield Station on the other hand is the home of one of the cities finest boozes, the Sheffield Tap. You’ll always find something special on the bar, probably by the Tapped Brew Co, brewed next door. If you haven’t visited the Sheffield Tap before, it’s worth missing your train for! Why would you want to leave Sheffield anyway? Coming to Sheffield for Beer Week? First stop, the Sheffield Tap. Enjoy.

Interested? More info here.

Mitchell's SheffieldMitchell’s have been a long standing Sheffield business. Starting out as a butchers in 1935, they moved into the alcohol game in the ’60’s, become one of the cities best offies, specialising in wine and spirits. Last year they saw an opportunity and pounced on it when the restaurant next door closed down. The years experience selling alcohol gave them the knowledge to become a micro-brewery and gin distillery. In less than twelve months they have 6 beers available from their well established shop and Sheffield boozers. They regularly host tasting events, not to be missed.

Want to know more? Visit their website.

Regather WorksSheffield is a thoughtful community and the Regather Co-Operative prove that. The not-for-profit venue provides everything from events and gigs to veg box schemes, not only that but they also have an environmentally friendly on-site brewery. The beers, mostly pales are made with locally sourced ingredients, suitable for Vegans.

More info here.

Don’t forget to vote the Ecclesall Ale Club for best new bar at the Exposed Magazine Awards. You can do this here.