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Beer Census results

On Saturday 10 June, members of the Sheffield & District branch travelled to all corners of the city for the annual Beer Census. The intention was to gain some insight into the amount, range and cost of the real ales available in Sheffield on any given day. It’s an annual opportunity to take the pulse of the Sheffield ale scene, and a great excuse to visit a few of those pubs you walk past all the time but never seem to go in.

Our intrepid enumerators headed out from midday, some surveying more than 20 pubs, before convening at the Red Deer in the city centre in the evening (a few of them a little worse for wear!). Unfortunately, we were not able to visit as many pubs as last year, but we believe that what we did find enables us to sustain our claim of being the Beer Capital of the UK.

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136 pubs were visited on the day and between them they offered 590 real ales. That equates to an average of 4.3 handpumps per pub, which is far higher than the number found by Manchester in their recent beer survey. In total, there were 360 unique beers from 148 different breweries. Real cider was available at 24 of the pubs surveyed, comprising 25 unique ciders from 20 different makers.

The average cost of a pint of real ale was £3.12, an increase of about 8p (or 2.6% for the mathematically minded) from last year. This is in line with 2% inflation, plus the 2p beer duty added in the March budget. Beers ranged in price from £1.79 to £5.60. The average amount paid for a pint of real cider was somewhat higher at £3.72.

Local breweries dominated the pumps, with Abbeydale (57), Bradfield (50) and Thornbridge (46) the top three most widely available breweries in Sheffield’s pubs. Abbeydale’s Moonshine took the top spot in the beer standings, being offered in 33 of the 136 pubs visited. Encouragingly, local beers held six of the top ten places.

Thanks to everyone who organised and took part in the census, and a special thank you to Phil Ellett who created an excellent online system for us to check-in our findings.

SCBF43 mats

SCBF43 beer mats on eBay

Four limited edition sets of 15 mint condition Beermats, advertising the 43rd Annual Steel City Beer Festival (SCBF43) are to be auctioned on eBay. On one side of each mat is the SCBF43 logo, with the reverse printed for the sponsor. The logo side, when arranged, gives a large image of the festival poster. The original plan was to have 14 mats. However, a printing error has resulted in two different ‘Toolmakers’ mats.

In total, there are about 100,000 beermats available. Over the next few months, these will be distributed over Sheffield, the surrounding area and wider afield. However, a full set is very unlikely to be seen in one place at any one time!

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Thanks to our sponsors:  Abbeydale, Acorn, Blue Bee, Bradfield, Emmanuales, Little Critters (two different designs) Lost Industry, Sentinel, Shakespeares, Sheffield, Thornbridge (Peakender 2017), Toolmakers (two different logo sides) and True North.

All profits from these eBay sales will go the official SCBF 2017 Charity – Weston Park Cancer Charity  The festival will be held at Kelham Island Industrial Museum from 18-21 October 2017.

Dave Pickersgill

The 30metre bar at BeerX

BeerX to leave Sheffield

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has annouced that next year’s BeerX trade show will take place in Liverpool rather than Sheffield. The exhibition, one of the largest of its kind in the UK, had been held here for the last five years.

This year’s BeerX took place at iceSheffield from 16-19 March, hosting more than 2,000 industry delegates and featuring more than 400 beers. The BeerAlive! festival was held in a pop-up beer tent next door.

SIBA’s operations director, Nick Stafford, said: “It was a tough decision to move the event as Sheffield has been BeerX’s home for five years, but we think the time is right for a change and look forward to hosting our key event […] in Liverpool.”

One of the main reasons given for the move was the relative ease of getting to Liverpool by road, rail and air compared to Sheffield. Air travel has become increasingly important with SIBA looking to attract more international visitors.

Next year’s event will take place over just two days instead of four, and will not feature the simultaneous beer festival.

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George & Dragon day trip

Sheffield & District CAMRA are hoping to arrange a day trip to visit CAMRA’s national Pub of the Year for 2017, the George & Dragon in Hudswell, North Yorkshire. The pub was re-opened in 2010 by a local community group and also won the Yorkshire Pub of the Year award in 2016.

We have provisionally scheduled the trip for Saturday 2 September and are currently trying to gauge interest. We are planning to depart from the Old Queen’s Head in the city centre at 11:00, and stop for a drinks break at the Castle Tavern in Richmond around 13:00. It is then a short drive to the George & Dragon, where we are hoping to spend about two hours. On the way back, we will stop for food at the Cover Bridge Inn in East Witton, then we should arrive back in Sheffield around 21:30. The cost of the transport will be around £20 per person, depending on numbers.

If you are interested, or know anyone who might be, please contact our Social Secretary, Patrick Johnson, at, or sign up at the August branch meeting. The deadline for bookings is Saturday 5 August, so please act quickly to avoid disappointment!

LocAle logo 2013

Is your beer LocAle?

LocAle is a CAMRA initiative aiming to recognise and promote those pubs who support local brewers by selling locally brewed beers. Any pub that has at least one good quality locally-produced real ale available at all times can be accredited by its local CAMRA branch. Our branch defines “LocAle” as beer brewed within 20 miles of the pub by road.

Currently we have 117 LocAle accredited pubs in the Sheffield & District region, but our recent Beer Census indicated that there could be at least 44 more eligible pubs out there. We are looking to make sure that every pub that could be LocAle accredited is so, so that we can maximise support for local ale and the people who make and sell it.

If your local always has at least one local real ale available, we encourage you to urge the licensee to get in touch with the branch committee. Contact details can be found on our website or at the back of the magazine.

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Beer Scoring

With the popularity of beer scoring apps such as Ratebeer and Untappd on the rise, you may or may not be aware that CAMRA has its own scoring system specifically for real ales that members can access through the WhatPub website at

CAMRA developed the National Beer Scoring System (NBSS) to give ale drinkers an easy-to-use, consistent scoring scheme. The NBSS scores are as follows:

0. No cask ale available.
1. Poor – Beer that is anything from barely drinkable to drinkable with considerable resentment.
2. Average – Competently kept, drinkable pint but doesn’t inspire in any way, not worth moving to another pub but you drink the beer without really noticing.
3. Good – Good beer in good form. You may cancel plans to move to the next pub. You want to stay for another pint and may seek out the beer again.
4. Very Good – Excellent beer in excellent condition.
5. Perfect – Probably the best you are ever likely to find. A seasoned drinker will award this score very rarely.

In total between June 2016 and June 2017, 249 of the 329 pubs in the Sheffield & District region serving cask ales were scored at least once, so there is evidence that the system is being used. However, out of the 2,159 scores input into the system in the past year, only a meagre 3% of these were from Sheffield & District CAMRA members, with the vast majority coming from visitors from other branches.

We are encouraging our branch members to make more use of the beer scoring system. This is because we are hoping to start using these scores to help us select our Good Beer Guide nominees and to draw up our shortlist for the Pub of the Year award. So, if you think your favourite local deserves more recognition, get scoring and it could be in with a chance!

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Thornbridge Peakender

Some of the world’s best breweries and their beers in the beautiful Peak District countryside all with free entry – just some of the reasons for attending Peakender 2017 at the Bakewell Showground from 18-20 August.


Thornbridge’s Peakender Festival has moved for 2017 to the Bakewell Showground enabling much better access to previous years. As in past years an array of great breweries including Tiny Rebel, Beavertown, Cloudwater and Wild Beer will have their beers on the bar and a number of breweries will be presenting tasting and talks. Music, magic and kids’ entertainment will also feature.

Full information, including how to pre-register for your free day ticket or how to book a camping pitch is available at

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Tour de Yorkshire in Sheffield

On Sunday April 30, the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire cycling race finished in Stocksbridge. The final 20 km included 4 top category climbs, but also passed a number of local pubs in our area. They all reported good business on the day, extending opening hours and utilising extra serving space. The Friendship, for example, had an extra bar to the rear of the pub and was involved in an all-day extravaganza on the precinct opposite.

The Castle Inn (Bolsterstone) had a marquee and the pubs in Deepcar (King and Miller and the Royal Oak) both put on a show. However, the prize for ‘best-dressed pub’ went to the Castle in Bolsterstone.

Bolsterstone - 3rd.May 2017

The Castle Inn, Bolsterstone – 3 May 2017

We expect to see the Tour de Yorkshire return to Sheffield in the future and hope that the Tour de France is back before too long!

Dave Pickersgill


Music in the Gardens

One of Sheffield’s biggest open air concerts has teamed up with Bradfield Brewery to offer four day summer spectacular which will bring together, beers, bands and much more!

Taking place between 29 June – 2 July, Music in the Gardens is organised by the Rotary Clubs of South Yorkshire and will feature a diverse entertainment line-up including headliners The Zombies, famous for hits such as “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No” (Thursday 29 June); the best known Beatles tribute band in the business The Bootleg Beatles (Friday 30 June) and Classic 70s Rock outfit 10cc (Saturday 1 July). The event will culminate on Sunday 2 July when Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra and Unite the Union band come together to perform a “Night at the Movies” as well as brass band favourites, proms and fireworks spectacular.

To celebrate the twelfth anniversary of Music in the Gardens, organisers have teamed up with Bradfield Brewery, who also celebrate their twelfth anniversary in 2017, to host a mini beer festival during the event.

Set to feature a variety of Bradfield Brewery’s popular farmers ales range, a special MitG Blonde will also be available exclusively during the event. For non-ale lovers, a range of wines, spirits, Pimms and soft drinks can also be purchased at the Bradfield Brewery bar, as well as a selection of hot drinks available from Café Carte. To soak up the abundance of alcohol on offer, food stalls including Spoilt For Choice Catering, Rotherham Hog Roast Company, Whirlow Hall Farm Trust and Our Cow Molly, will also take up residence at the four day festival.

Music in the Gardens organiser Phil Sherriff said: “We first started working with Bradfield Brewery five years ago and the beer and since then, the food and drink offering for Music in the Gardens has really grown. I think when most people think of visiting a music festival, they automatically assume that it is going to mean paying exorbitant prices for a pint of flat lager and a cold hot dog. Instead we have teamed up with some great local food and drink producers which will all be available at sensible prices.”

Josie Gill, Director of Bradfield Brewery said: “2005 saw Bradfield Brewery open its doors for the first time, and coincidentally it was also the same year that Music in the Gardens was first held. To mark this year’s anniversary we will be selling MitG Blonde, a beer available exclusively during the festival. We were thrilled to support Music in the Gardens once again this year, the music line-up is always fantastic and there’s always a really pleasant and friendly crowd, resulting in a true party atmosphere. and we are delighted to be a part of this wonderful event once again.”

Tickets for Music In The Gardens are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 0114 22 33 777 (Monday – Friday 9am to 8pm), visiting, from Sheffield City Hall Box Office (Monday – Thursday 9am to 2pm and Friday and Saturday 9am to 5pm) or from selected outlets across Sheffield, including Design Studio and Spoilt for Choice Catering (both on Ecclesall Road) and The Curator’s House Bistro in Sheffield Botanical Gardens.

Annual Beer Census 2017

Saturday 10 June sees the return of the Annual Beer Census for 2017.

As many of you will be aware, Sheffield & District CAMRA organises this city-wide survey to collect information on which beers are available in the city on a particular day. We have been doing this for a few years now, and we are pleased to say that despite various claims from other cities such as Norwich, Derby and Nottingham, the information on the number of beers on sale usually shows that Sheffield can rightly claim to be Beer Capital of the UK. This claim was given further weight after the findings of the recent Beer Report, commissioned by Sheffield University and written by well-known author Pete Brown.

It is now time to undertake the census again, and we are looking to enlist more volunteers to help collect the information. There are several daytime crawls, starting in various suburbs and working into the centre, followed by a number of city centre crawls in the evening. Each crawl will be led by a designated leader who will have the survey forms and a planned route through the various pubs.

Daytime crawls will start at 12 noon, and eventually arrive at the Red Deer on Pitt street by early evening to hand in the completed forms. Evening crawls then start from the Red Deer moving out through the center and regrouping in the Kelham Island area. The crawls are a sociable way to try different pubs and clubs from your usuals, as well as helping to further the beer scene in Sheffield. Most of the routes will involve public transport at some point, but your route leader will have details and can advise on costs etc.

If you would like to join on one of the crawls simply be at the start point for midday and look out for someone carrying survey forms, and a copy of Beer Matters. If you can’t make the start, simply email us at and we will pass on the mobile number of the appropriate leader so you can arrange directly with them where you can join on the crawl.

If you are unable to join on a crawl, but would still like to help with collecting information, we will have an interactive survey section on the Sheffield CAMRA website where you will be able to enter details on the day. It will be updated in real time so you will be able to see which pubs still need surveying. We will need the name of the pub, and then for each cask ale on sale that day we need the name of the beer; the brewery; % strength; and price of a pint. There will be a Notes section where you can add if the pub serves real cider and keg beer.

It would be great to see a few more faces on the crawls, and even better if we can prove yet again that Sheffield is unrivalled in it’s range and quality of beer on sale.

The routes this year (and how to get to the starting points) are as follows:

Route A – Dore, Totley, Abbeydale Rd. Starting at Devonshire Arms, Dore. Route Leader: Mick Saxton. Buses 81, 82, 181, 272 and M17.

Route B – Norton Lees, Woodseats, Heeley, London Rd. Starting at The Abbey, Woodseats. Route Leader: Dom Nelson. Buses 18a, 24, 25, 43, 43a, 44, 44a, 75 and 76.

Route C – Ecclesall Rd. Starting at Hammer & Pincers. Route Leader: Alan Gibbons. Buses 4 and 88.

Route D – Deepcar, Bradfield, Stocksbridge. Starting at Rawson Spring, Hillsborough. Route Leader: Dave Pickersgill. Buses 31, 52, 57, 61, 62, 81, 82, 85, 97, 98 and the Blue tram.

Route E – Attercliffe, Meadowhall, Chapeltown. Starting at The Wagon & Horses, Chapeltown. Route Leader: Patrick Johnson. Buses 1, 1a, 29, 86, 265 or train to Chapeltown station.

Route F – Walkley, Commonside, Crookes, Broomhill. Starting at Walkley Cottage. Route Leader: Paul Crofts. Buses 31, 52 and 95.

Route G – Lodge Moor, Nether Green, Ranmoor. Starting at The Three Merry Lads. Route Leader: John Beardshaw. Bus 51.

Routes H, I, J – City Centre (afternoon). Starting at Sheffield Tap, Sheffield Station. Route Leader: John Bratley and others. Buses 1, 1a, 4, 4a, 6, 7, 8, 8a, 18, 43, 43a, 44, 53, 56, 65, 71, 85, 95, 181, 215, 218, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, X1, X17 or Tram or Train.

Routes K, L, M will be done in the evening after all volunteers meet at the Red Deer around 7pm.