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Guest Brewery #5 Cloudwater

CloudwaterHow much is too much for a pint? It wasn’t that long ago when us northerners would avoid London beer prices. £3? Na, I’m happy up hear, thanks. What about £13? Last year Cloudwater, possibly the most hyped craft beer brewery around hit the headlines with their £13 pint in London. Sadly it’s not only London where you’re paying more than a tenner. Is this Cloudwater’s fault? Is there more to the story than the headline and, most importantly, would you pay it?

No. Yes. The third question needs to be rephrased. Are the short answers. Let’s dig a little deeper…

You are reading this because you have an interest in good beer. You don’t need to be sold to but there’s more reasons behind the price than just hype or a label but the hype doesn’t help, especially for the likes of Cloudwater. The Manchester brewery have only been going for a few years, they are relatively small but they’ve had to grow up fast and that, in itself doesn’t come cheap. They are also small in terms of the amount of beer they can brew and when you’re making headlines, whether for good or bad, you are going to be in demand. They have had to hike prices up to keep to high standards and to slow down the demand.

Breweries don’t get into it to make lots of money, they want to make beer they love and that’s why people like what we do, we want to be proud about the product. A hand brewed beer, made with love, care and the best ingredients is incomparable to a pint of lager made on mass, by machines with low quality ingredients. You can find yourself paying a fiver for that anyway. With some craft beers, like the famed 9% double IPA we’ve got to change our mindset and think of it like you would a good bottle of decent wine, then the price doesn’t seem that bad. You wouldn’t buy a pint of wine and you probably shouldn’t buy a pint of this either, you’d be steaming. You get what you pay for.

Who are Cloudwater and why should you give a shit? The name might be kind of new (established 2015) but the brewers certainly aren’t. They’ve been making (and drinking) beers for years now so it’s not just some amateurs, jumping in on the bandwagon Nathan Barely style. They pride themselves on using seasonal ingredients which not only ensures that they have the ability to make beers in their prime but they can continually change their range. They are always tweaking their recipes as they look for improvements. Cloudwater’s signature Double IPA has evolved over the last two years as the brewers have gained new inspirations, it’s currently at v3.1. They are the Heston Blumenthal of beer; adventurous, innovative, sometimes daring but it’s the end result that really matters.

Based in the centre of Manchester, underneath Piccadilly train station arches (their tap room is worth a visit), Alphabet Brewery and Chorlton Brewery are their neighbours. Sheffield might be the beer capital but Manchester is becoming a strong competitor!

What’s your budget for a good pint? Or half? Or a third? What about a glass of wine with your meal? Probably about the same. And, five quid for a pint of shitty lager or a third of something decent? Think of it like a treat, rather than a session drink, there’s plenty of other great beers to choose from after your tastebuds have been tantalised by Cloudwater anyway.

They aren’t in the worlds top 15 breweries in the world for the sake of it.

For more information on Cloudwater, visit their website. Want to taste what all the fuss is about? Pop into the Ale Club, if it’s not on tap, you’ll find some cans in the fridge to drink in or take home.

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Tryanuary Sheffield Craft Beer Breweries Edition

Guide to Sheffield Craft Beer Breweries.

Januarys, who likes them? They are like Mondays. We just have to get through them, even if it means that we’ll be miserable for its duration. Luckily, we’ve had Tryanuary Sheffield to get us through the month with Sheffield Craft Beer breweries.

The Steel City is full of great craft beer breweries, it always has been. We do a lot of things like masters, it used to be our handy work (y’know, cutlery, steel, etc…), we still make great music and art as well as beer, the only downfall is that we are bloody good at drinking it too, even if we can’t use the excuse that we’ve been working hard at the factory all day and deserve an afterwork pint whilst wife puts a pie in the oven.

Since the resurgence of real ale has been dozens of breweries crop up offering something different, exciting and new, it just hasn’t had the opportunity to leave South Yorkshire because we want it all. We are the Real Ale Capital of the World, there’s one brewery for every 23,991 people according to a report by the University of Sheffield and you’ll be able to find around 400 different beers available on your typical day (when the boozer is open!). It might not be the size of Wards or Stones (86% of them can be labeled microbreweries) but these breweries push boundaries.

We might not brew in Sheffield but we feel like we are part of the scene. Here’s a snapshot of what is on offer. We’ve been celebrating breweries throughout the UK, now it’s time to look closer to home.

Kelham Island Brewery

Kelham Island Sheffield Craft Beer BreweriesThe catalyst of the new age of Sheffield craft beer breweries. The first new independent brewery in Sheffield for over a 100 years. It all started at The Fat Cat, the real ale boozer that put Kelham Island back on the map when it opened in 1980, a time when tradition pubs were becoming corporate lager drinking holes. It offered something different and from its opening night, until today The Fat Cat has continued to celebrate ale.

Like most breweries, Kelham Island Brewery started off with curiosity. We have a pub, we sell other peoples beer, we could make our own beer to sell. That’s what they did, they brewed beer in The Fat Cat beer garden which is a bit inconvenient for customers wanting an afternoon sesh in the summer so they made the big move next door where they built a brewery. It’s the longest running brewery in the city.

You can find their beers in their onsite shop & tap, The Fat Cat (their pub next door), Tap & Tankard (their pub in town), pubs throughout the city and Tesco!

More in the Valley of Beer…

The Fat Cat might have put the manmade island on the real ale trail of Sheffield but the Valley of Ale is a real destination with many other great pubs too.

Neepsend Craft Beer BreweryThe Stones brewery has bee on gone but don’t worry, those pubs won’t go dry. The old warehouses have been put back to good use as they’ve been converted into everything from trendy cafes to offices as well as breweries. This includes Neepsend Brewery who are relatively newcomers (2015) but have grown fast, supplying many pubs in Sheffield including The Wellington (and they will also be opening an on-site tap room).Sheffield Brewery Company The Sheffield Brewery Company are based just next to the former Stones Brewery, they’ve been around for over 10 years and their tap room opens up monthly, they are shareholders in The Gardeners Rest and you’ll always find their beers on the bar.Little Critterrs Little Critters who started out home brewing in 2012 but things got serious when they moved to Kelham Island in 2015 and continue to grow their presence throughout the city.

Exit 33 breweryExit 33 started out in 2008, learning, building and experimenting. This approach has given them a reputation that you can trust whilst surprising your taste buds. Although brewed in S2, Exit 33 share links with Kelham Island as they own The Harlequin, a pub nestled just on the outskirts of the Island.

Stancil Craft Beer BreweryStancill Brewery have brought the past back, reviving Oakwell Brewery from Barnsley and moving it not too far from Kelham Island. It didn’t take long for them to save the iconic Barnsley Bitter, their award winning beers are available at the Kelham Tavern..

True North craft beerIf you start your Kelham pub crawl at The Harlequin, the next stop will most likely be the Riverside, owned by True North, one of the cities most dominant brands. Since opening The Forum in 1992 True North has become an empire with fingers in many pies including several pubs that have their own niche speciality as well as being a gin distillery and brewery. The True North logo is like a stamp of approval.

Away from Kelham Island, Sheffield has many more decent pints being brewed.

Sentinel BreweryUnlike many brewers who start at home, Sentinel’s journey began in Sheffield’s beer history as head brewer, Alex Barlow spent time at Bass and continued to grow his knowledge ever since. With this experience behind Sentinel and locally sourced ingredients it’s no surprise of its success whilst its city centre tap room and kitchen pair beers with equally good food.

Abbeydale Brewery CraftAbbeydale Brewery share a similarity with Brew Foundation as they also founded with a father and son relationship and a love of beer. This was in 1996 and they have become a staple on many bars in Sheffield pubs. Moonshine is what they are known for but they weekly specials offer surprises and are always in demand. They supply over 400 pubs whilst they count some of Sheffield’s finest as theirs including The Devonshire Cat and The Rising Sun.

Thornbridge beerOk, not technically Sheffield but we’ve got to talk about Thornbridge and Bradfield Brewery, both from the Peak District which isn’t far from the city but their influence is huge! Arguably one of Bakewell’s finest exports (after the tart….) Thornbridge has been pioneers in ale revival. Since brewery began in 2005 their award winning beers have inspired and; Jaipur is the direct influence for BrewDog’s Punk.

Bradfield BeerOn the other hand, Bradfield Brewery have taken a different approach as they brew over 100,000 pints a week on a farm. Their blonde remains a go-to for many drinkers

Both Thornbridge and Bradfield Brewery have been part of the Sheffield craft beer breweries scene since 2005.

Every city is shouting about their craft beer scene but nobody has a past and present like the one based on Seven Hills and there’s so much more than this. You can find many Sheffield craft beer breweries on the bars of pubs, supporting the local makers.

It’s not just about pubs where you’ll find great beers, we like to celebrate with a dedicate week to beers in March and a festival in Kelham Island.

The best way to fully understand Sheffield craft beer breweries is to visit the many pubs. Not sure what to choose? Ask the man/woman behind the bar, they’ll be happy to recommend.

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What is Tryanuary?

Happy New Year! But most importantly, it’s Tryanuary time!Tryanuary 2018

If you are into craft beer you are probably used to experimenting. Having a half is normal these days, not because we can’t handle our beers but because they’ll always be another beer to sample, crafted by an independent brewer.

Walking into a pub and the bar staff have poured your pint before you’ve even asked for it is boring. Having a favourite is fine but you’ll never know what you are missing out on if you don’t try, maybe you’ll find a new favourite…

It’s January, we’re hungover from the party season, skint from Christmas and it’s cold outside. We’re miserable enough, then we are being told to diet and stay off the booze! Seriously guys, whats that all about! It’s not just a hard time for us, if we aren’t drinking, how can the bar staff, landlords and most importantly the brewers afford a pint too? They don’t want you to be supping coconut water at the weekend whilst they are coming up with a taste sensation.

This is why Tryanuary began!

Leave the juicer you got for Christmas in its box and head to the pub. Ask the barman to recommend something new, they know what they are on about and if you are on a health kick then ask for something fruity!

What is Tryanuary?

It all started back in 2015 by beer loving blogger Andy Heggs from Manchester. Using social media campaigns and the backing of independent brewers, pubs and suppliers, Tryanuary gained momentum fast.

Since the successful start 3 years ago it has gone from strength-to-strength. What makes it really work is the drinkers enthusiasm to support and share. Like everybody in the industry, we make beer that we love and want people to try and love it too. A share and ‘#Tryanuary’ gives independent breweries exposure and recognition. This doesn’t just benefit everybody for the quietest month of the year but it continues to help. The campaign isn’t just about beer, many breweries are donating to charities too.

Tryanuary proves that craft beer isn’t a trend or a clever marketing ploy, it is skilled people making something great and the customers are part of that. It isn’t about getting smashed every night, it’s just encouraging people to have a taste. If you’ve got a mate who loves a pint of Carling at ’spoons on a Saturday, bring them down to the Ale Club, we are confident that we can convert them.

What is happening in Sheffield for Tryanuary?

We all know Sheffielder’s love beer, so much so that we drink as much as we brew, making it hard to export which is shame (for the rest of the world, not us!).

From the Kelham Island Brewery (est. 1990), the first new independent brewery in Sheffield for over 100 years there’s been plenty who have followed in their footsteps including Little Critters, Sheffield Brewery Company, Neepsend Brewery, Exit 33 and many more. Stay local, it’s worth it.

On the 11th January, Sheffield’s Tryanuary ambassadors are taking over the Tryanuary Twitter account, which will no doubt help showcase the quality of our beers and pubs, especially late into the night when the tweets begin to slur.

What can we expect at Ecclesall Ale Club?

Like always the Ale Club will be open 11:30am – 11pm 7 days a week with our bar and fridges full of great beers from independent breweries. Our bar constantly changes so you won’t get bored.

We’ve teamed up with Sheffield’s finest bottle shop, Beer Central to host their 26th Bottle Share event on Thursday 18th January. Simply bring your favourite beers (bottles and cans) along, discuss why you’ve chosen them then swap with fellow attendees. This gives you the opportunity to spread the love, taste other peoples loves and socialise with fellow beer heads.

More info available on the Facebook events page. It should be great!

For more information on Tryanuary 2018 visit the Tryanuary website.

By in Brewing 1

Why Choose Craft Beer?

We live in a world where we are given choice. You don’t need to pick one side or another. You don’t need to be rich to have nice things. We don’t need to settle for the mundane, mediocre and average either. Craft beer is giving us more tastes, styles and flavours than ever before. Why would any beer drinker not go craft?

What is Craft Beer?  (Without the jargon)

According to The Oxford English Dictionary ‘craft’ is:

“An activity involving skill in making things by hand.”. Being more specific “Denoting or relating to food or drink made in a traditional or non-mechanised way by an individual or a small company.” Basically, this rules out the beers made by the huge corporations. They use machines to create the same, standardised taste.

Craft beer, is it just a marketing ploy or is there a meaning behind the slogan?

Where did it come from? What’s the difference between ‘craft beer’ & ‘beer’? Will it fade away like every other fad? Probably not.

It might seem like it came from nowhere to suddenly being inescapable. We were once, Great Britain, great at brewing beers, we mastered the traditional ales. Then, like a lot of our old school trades, the grafters stopped. The makers were replaced by machines and cheap ingredients, used to cut costs and make on-mass. For years, we accepted this. Pubs were being closed down, the drinking culture changed. It was the time of binge drinking, cheap juice with high percentages.

More than just a trend
brew foundation craft

Fast forward a decade or two where people like the finer things in life. Our tastes have developed. We used to be a nation known for bland food, we now not only enjoy different cultures and cuisines, we seek them out and we are happy to pay more for something different and unique. The internet has allowed cultures to easily collaborate, giving twists on traditions whilst the class system is becoming less relevant which helps accessibility.   

Gordon Brown deserves some credit for the resurgence in brewing. When the free-house pubs were on their knees and the chains were taking over, we were losing unique character in the places we could enjoy a pint so he introduced a tax break for small brewers back in 2002. Change isn’t instant but this helped start a movement which was accelerated by American brewers.

One of our favourite brewers, Thornbridge began in ’05. Their award winning beers inspired a generation of brewers. Martin Dickie left Thornbridge to start BrewDog, arguably the most successful craft beer brewers in the UK. However, are you still craft when you are the size of BrewDog? It’s a touchy subject which has be argued by many.

Artisan Trades

brewing craft beersBrewers have become the bakers of the drinking world. A few years ago you’d happily settle for a Waburtons loaf, now you’ll go to your artisan baker for a £4 unsliced and then to the coffee shop next door where the barista will carefully use foam to make a shape in your latte for the cost of a jar of coffee. We are becoming a quality over quantity culture and we don’t think twice about paying over a fiver for a decent pint instead of £3 for a crappy lager.

With new flavours, the ale is no longer a drink for old men. We can now think of beer like wine, it’s a drink to taste and enjoy, every pint has its individuality, requires care from both the brewer and the bar man, pumping the ale with care like the chef who plates food artistically. It’s the handmade skills that the dictionary talks about that makes craft beer different.

Whether you go to Starbucks on Ecclesall Road, Manchester or New York, your coffee is going to taste pretty much the same, which, sometimes, familiarity is the wise option but YOLO. In Sheffield we’ve got some great coffee shops, they might all sell the same coffees but they do it their way and this is exactly the same theory with craft beers. Not only is an American Pale from one brewery different to another brewery, every batch can vary slightly. Like wine, some age better whilst others are like a loaf, at its best when its fresh.

Cask and Keg

Brew Foundation Craft BeersCask beers are the beers your grandad drank, flat, warm, topless and often the reason ‘real ale’ gets a bad rep. The brewer only does half the job, the beer isn’t finished until it hits the glass. If the pub haven’t taken care of the cask and the barman doesn’t know how to pull (the pint) then it isn’t going to be an enjoyable experience for the drinker.

Luckily the craft brewers have continued the traditions of cask beers and the warm, flat beers are no longer uninspiring. They’ve used their creativity to bring them to life but, if you are unfortunate to have a bad pint, don’t dismiss it, you might have just been unlucky with the batch or the bar man.

Keg beer is the most common, these include your typical lager as well many ales. They are served cool, with a fizz and don’t require the same barman skills as the cask beer.

If you want something independent, and ‘not on the high-street’ then go craft, there’s something for everybody, even those not into beer! When you consider the locally sourced, high-quality ingredients, handmade and skilled trade, it’s worth paying that little bit extra for.

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Janet’s Treat Porter is back in cask, keg and bottle!

We were only going to brew Janet’s Treat Porter once a year at Christmas time but it went down so well that we’ve been asked to brew it again…so we have! The latest batch of Janet’s Treat is going into cask tomorrow and bottles and kegs will be available again in about a fortnight.

This cherry, chocolate porter is a collaboration brew with Wincle Beer Company (where we cuckoo brew out of) and we’ve added even more real cherries this time. Lots of chocolate malt is used to add rich chocolatey bitterness to balance against the cherry sweetness. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Get in touch if you’re a pub who’d like a cask or keg, or keep your eyes peeled in your favoruite watering holes and bottle shops for it.

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Our IPA, Hop & Glory, makes a welcome return.

Guess who’s back? Hop & Glory, that’s who! After a few months hiatus due to problems sourcing one of the hops, our 4.9% IPA Hop & Glory is making a welcome return to the shelves and pumps of the UK.

Bottles and kegs of Hop & Glory were picked up yesterday and casks are already out and about in pubs.

Brewed using three hops: Magnum, Cascade and Rakau; Hop & Glory is a full bodied IPA with tropical and floral notes. It’s always been a popular part of our core range and we’re pleased that it’s back in the lineup!

If any other pubs or bottle shops would like to get involved then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Another new beer on it’s way: Pop!

It’s like waiting for a bus: two arrive at once! Hot on the heels of our recent Laughing Water, next week sees a new session strength pale ale from The Brew Foundation called: Pop.

Pop will be nice and light in colour and strength (3.6% abv). Made from a new English hop called Olicana and dry hopped with lots of Mosaic to make our latest beer a hoppy session ale with a passionfruit and blueberry hop kick.

Due to it’s hoppy aroma and taste we’ve called this one “Pop”. Casks will be ready from 21st October, with bottles and kegs ready shortly after then. Pop will be available at all our usual stockists but keep your eyes peeled for it and follow our social media accounts to find out where you can pop in for a pint of Pop.

Before Christmas we also aim to bring out our first dark beer, a long awaited porter. We’ll keep you posted on that so there’ll be more details to follow.

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Brew Foundation team up with new bar Little Tap

We’re chuffed to announce that The Brew Foundation has teamed up with the Little Tap in Tarporley and we’re about to launch a new 3.8% bitter called Little Bitter That.

We were contacted by James Ivill and Myles Carr who are about to open an exciting new bar in Tarporley near Chester. The Little Tap will specialise in craft beer and “small plates”, inspired by Spanish Tapas, allowing customers to enjoy several plates of fresh British food accompanied by a fantastic range of craft beers.

The duo had first sampled our beers at the Beer Dock in Crewe and enjoyed them so much that the got in touch about getting a Brew Foundation beer permanently on their bar. They wanted a lower ABV bitter that could be enjoyed by all. The brief was: a session strength bitter with all the malty, fruity flavour of Bitter That, our existing 5% extra special bitter. So we took up the challenge! After some considerable taste testing by all involved (it’s tough but we all managed it) Little Bitter That was born. Brewed using dark crystal malt and pale malt to give it a rich copper colour and 5 English hops, Little Bitter That is the ideal quaffable, malty fruity ale.

The Little Tap opens it’s doors in July so follow them on Facebook here for updates. We’ll also keep you posted.

Little Bitter That will be available from next week (30th May) in our usual stockists and any pub can stock it, so get in touch if you’d like to. If you’re wanting to sample it then head over to the Little Tap as it’ll always be on there.

See you all at the Little Tap soon!

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Brew Foundation beer now permanently on at Hallam Union

We’re very proud to announce that Bar Pheonix at Sheffield Hallam Students Union (HUBS) now has it’s very own Brew Foundation hand pull serving our cask ales to thirsty Sheffield students.Brew Foundation hand pump at Hallam HUBS

After the success of having our bottles on sale at Bar Pheonix we installed a cask ale hand pump (well, Inn Cellar Equipment did it for us but we’ll claim the credit) making cask ale finally available at Hallam Union again.

We’ll be putting on a rotating range of our lovely cask beer so that Sheffield Hallam students can always enjoy a Brew Foundation cask conditioned beer in between their studies.

Currently Hops & Dreams is on the bar and First Light is coming on soon.

Bottles of all our beers are still available from the fridges behind the bar if you fancy trying the whole range in one night!

Keep your eyes peeled for our new dark fruit porter coming out in May. It will be available in cask and bottles at Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union as soon as it’s ready.


By in Brewing, Events 0

Brew Foundation beers now permanently at Craft and Dough

We’re very proud to announce that Brew Foundation beers are now permanently on tap at both Craft and Dough sites; at Kelham Island and at Ecclesall Road, Sheffield.

After the success of the Hop & Glory launch event last Thursday at the Kelham Island Craft and Dough, it has been agreed that The Brew Foundation will be a permanent fixture on their bars! (Woo-hoo!)

This basically means that there will always be at least one Brew Foundation beer on draught plus bottles of all our beers will also always be available. We’ll constantly rotate the draught selection so you’re always getting something new but you can rest assure that you can now always get a pint of Brew Foundation craft beer with your favourite artisan pizza!

The other awesome news is that we’ll do launch events for all our new beers at Craft and Dough with free tasters, unique Brew Foundation pizzas, and meet the brewer nights. Our next beer, that we’re working on now, will be a porter; so keep your eyes peeled for that in the next 6 weeks.

We’re so excited to partner with such a great brand and we look forward to cooking up a storm with these guys and gals.

More info about Craft and Dough and their awesome pizzas and beers can be found here.