What better way to spend the holiday weekend than visiting a local beer festival?
The beer of choice for a group of my friends and I is currently Abbeydale Moonshine (4.3%). It is a very easy-drinking straw-coloured ale and seems to be found in an increasing number of pubs around the city. As with many real ales, attention to detail has also been paid to the artwork on the pump clip and Moonshine is no exception, with a pleasing blue gothic design.
Now I am by no means a beer aficionado, have never been a member of CAMRA and due to the fact I would generally normally buy a non-premium lager or smooth-flow bitter, I have a pretty undeveloped real ale palette. However when flicking through a local beer-lover’s newsletter in the Washington we spotted that a beer festival was taking place at Abbeydale brewery‘s Moon pub in Sheffield over Easter and decided it was worth a visit.
Formerly the Office, the Moon pub on Upperthorpe Road was taken over by Abbeydale Brewery in May 2007 and it looks like it is doing quite well, despite it not really being a destination pub in a central location.
It offers a good selection of local real ale all year round, but over festival weekend there were over 50 beers on offer, including 12 from breweries within 20 miles of the pub and then 39 from further afield. Armed with a £1.50 festival glass (printed with the cool gothic logo), the beers I sampled were:
Absolution (Abbeydale), 5.3%
Bee-Ale Z’Bub (Abbeydale), 6%
Double Sunset (Leek), 5%
Shacklers Gold (Hopshackle), 5.2%
Chatsworth Gold (Peak), 4.6%
Bravo (Pictish), 4.7%
Last Rites (Abbeydale), 12%
I think my favourite beers were the fruity Absolution and also Double Sunset. We saved the 12% Last Rites for a treat at the end of the night. The initial general consensus was that it seemed quite nice with a sweet taste but the more mouthfuls we had, the less easily it went down. By the end of the half, the syrupy consistency and sickly sweet alcoholic taste became overpowering and we were glad to finish it. Definitely worth trying though, and for such a strong beer, relatively drinkable.
So overall a good night out – plus a bit of money was raised for charity. And full marks to friendly staff at the pub: at the end of the night we left without our festival glasses but we popped in on Sunday afternoon to pick them up and they were more than happy to sort us out.
Sister Abbeydale brewery pub The Rising Sun at Fulwood is hosting a beer festival in the sunshine from 10-13 July 2008 – I for one will definitely be there, with my gothic festival glass in hand.