freshers societies

Welcome Freshers!

It’s that time of year again when Sheffield welcomes around 20,000 new students who are beginning their degrees at one of our two excellent universities. Sheffield & District CAMRA would like to welcome you to what we think is the best city in the country for real ale! There are more than 300 pubs in the Sheffield region serving real ales and ciders, so there’s plenty of choice for even the most discerning drinkers. Furthermore, whichever university you are attending there is a real ale society you can join.


The University of Sheffield has a long-established Real Ale and Cider Society, which holds socials every Thursday and organises regular trips and pub crawls. A year’s subscription costs £3 and members receive discounts in a number of local pubs. The University also holds an annual beer festival in Bar One and Interval, which this year featured more than 100 real ales and ciders. Both Bar One and Interval also serve a selection of real ales throughout the year at very reasonable prices.

Near to the university, the University Arms – our branch pub of the month for May 2017 and a regular feature in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide – serves up to eight real ales at any one time. The Doctor’s Orders round the corner also has a selection of ales from local brewery Little Critters (I can personally recommend C Monster and Nutty Ambassador!). For those with lectures in St George’s Church or the Stephenson Building, the Red Deer is ideally placed for a post-study pint. Meanwhile, students in halls can check out the excellent pubs of Broomhill and Ranmoor.


Sheffield Hallam’s Real Ale Society was founded just over twelve months ago and at the end of its first year was awarded “Best New Society” by Hallam Students’ Union. The society holds regular socials, day trips, brewery tours, meet the brewer evenings and ale trails. Members can also get discounts with local breweries, pubs and beer shops.

The university is located on two separate campuses, City Campus in the city centre and Collegiate Campus on Ecclesall Road. City students will find a number of pubs serving real ale in the vicinity, with the Globe in particular being very popular with students looking for some post-lecture relaxation. The Roebuck, Rutland Arms, Red Lion and the Howard are all also within a five-minute walk. Meanwhile, Collegiate Campus students have several options nearby: the Portland House is a micropub owned by Welbeck Abbey Brewery and the Nursery Tavern also serves real ale alongside reasonably priced meals. A little further up Ecclesall Road, the Beer House stocks an excellent selection of well-kept local ales and is well worth a visit!

Of course, if you’re not already a CAMRA member, we also welcome you to join the campaign and help us support the promotion of real ale at a local and national level. Those aged under 26 are eligible for discounted membership, but with all the usual benefits including £20 worth of Wetherspoons vouchers. Our monthly branch meetings take place on the first Tuesday of every month; simply check out our branch diary (on our website or at the back of Beer Matters) for the venues of upcoming meetings. Or why not head down to our annual Steel City Beer and Cider Festival, taking place at the Kelham Island Museum from 18-21 October?

Welcome once again to Sheffield and we hope to see you soon!

Dominic Nelson

Paul Hamblett of Church End

Champion Beer of Britain

You might have seen by now that Church End Brewery’s Goats Milk won the coveted CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain prize at the recent Great British Beer Festival in London. Unfortunately there were no Sheffield winners in any of the categories this year, but now your chance is here to change that in the future.


Voting for the first round of the 2019 (yes, 2019!) competition is now underway. All CAMRA members are able to vote via the website at You can nominate up to five beers in each of the eleven categories to be put forward for the CBoB competition, but if you only want to nominate beers in one category, or even just one beer, that’s fine too. As Sheffield & District CAMRA covers both South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, our members are eligible to vote for breweries based in both the North East & Yorkshire and the East Midlands regions, but you will have to log on twice to do so.

The process for a beer winning this national competition is as follows: CAMRA members vote for the best beers brewed in their area (subject to certain eligibility criteria), then there is regional judging at local beer festivals to decide which beers progress to the national vote, and finally the prizes are judged and winners announced at Great British Beer Festival.

Happy voting!

Dominic Nelson

sheffield ale trails

Ale Trail prize winner

We recently held a competition to promote the launch of our Ale Trails, with everyone who signed up to the mailing list by the end of July entered into a draw to win a free night out courtesy of Sheffield & District CAMRA. We had almost 100 entrants, and we can now reveal that the lucky winner was Sheffield resident Gary Shaw.

Gary has selected the Heeley Ale Trail for his night out, which will take place on 4 November. The trail will start at 4pm at the Crown Inn, 2 Albert Rd, S8 9QW, and CAMRA members are welcome to come and join Gary to celebrate his win, while sampling the delights of the pubs of Heeley and London Road.

To find out more about the Ale Trails, and to subscribe to the mailing list, head to

young members

Young Members

CAMRA is hosting its first ever Young Members’ Forum this October to debate and promote the ideas and issues that affect the campaign’s younger members. The Young Members’ AGM will also take place at the same time, and will see the election of the new chairman and committee members.

Every CAMRA member aged between 18 and 30 is automatically counted as a Young Member and is invited along to the event, which is set to be held at the Ned Ludd in Nottingham, NG1 6DA, on 14 October from 2pm. The forum coincides with the Robin Hood Beer and Cider Festival being held at Nottingham Castle, and attendees will receive a queue-jump pass and a token for a free pint once inside the festival.

Sheffield & District CAMRA currently has a vacancy for a Branch Young Members’ Contact. The BYMC is responsible for organising social events at a local level and should be the first point of contact for Young Members in the branch. If interested, get in touch by contacting our chairman, Mick, at or get in touch on Facebook.

beer census logo

Beer Census 2017 app

You might have seen the article in the August edition of Beer Matters where we revealed the results of this year’s Sheffield Beer Census, which took place on 10 June. Well, we have now released a web app designed to let you explore the results for yourself! We might have given you the headline figures already, but there’s much more to discover.

beer census app

Find out the average price of your favourite pint, discover the most popular beers and breweries available in your area and see how the price of a pint is correlated with its strength. You can find the app at


An apple a day…

There are many things I took from my time living in Bristol, a love of cider was not one of them. To this day that has always surprised me. My summers were spent sat in the garden with my friends trying every type of cider produced in the South West. Yet much to their dismay my preferred choice always seemed to be ‘anything with blackcurrant’. With that I found cider became a firm fixture on my ‘no go’ drinks list. However, this past July two events came up in Sheffield CAMRA’s diary that made me think I really should give cider another chance; these being the Wetherspoon’s Real Cider Festival and The Cider Pub of the Year presentation.

After sampling many, many different ciders I found a preference towards the medium-sweet varieties as I found they had a much fresher taste, perfect for the summer weather. I also preferred cask to keg – probably why I’d never truly taken to cider before as shop-bought is almost always fizzy. The cask ciders tasted had a smoothness that I didn’t experience with any of the keg varieties, which made them a lot easier to drink and allowed any tart flavours to come through the fruit. Although I tasted many ciders which were tasty and well-rounded (Scrummage by the Bottle Kicking Cider Company comes to mind), my top three reflect the ones that I found perhaps a little too easy to drink!

1) Slack Alice 4.6% – Celtic Marches: Over the course of the evening at the Cider Pub of the Year presentation I found myself continuously coming back to this drink. Described as a medium cider, I found it to be well rounded with semblance to a fresh apple juice, if not a little tarter.

2) Strawberry Cider 4.0% – Barbourne Cider Company: Noted in the tasting notes as being voted cider of the festival at the CAMRA Worcester beer festival 2016, this strawberry cider tasted in The Sheaf Island certainly did not disappoint. Unlike a lot of the other fruit ciders I tried it was not overly sweet and was extremely light and palatable.

3) Thundering Molly 5.2% – Celtic Marches: Also tasted in the Harlequin, Thundering Molly is a well-rounded medium cider. With a strong apple aroma, it tasted both fresh and fruity and overall was a solid cider, if not a little better after a few minutes left to settle in the glass.



Introducing GBBF Winter

CAMRA have announced that their winter beer festival, previously known as the National Winter Ales Festival, will be known as the Great British Beer Festival Winter from the 2018 edition onwards.

The new name was chosen for greater consistency with the campaign’s flagship Great British Beer Festival, and also reflects the fact that there are more beers available at the event than just winter ales. The first festival under the new name will be held from 20-24 February 2018 at St Andrew’s & Blackfriars Hall in Norwich.

Brewery pic

Dom’s Casks of the Month

I’ve been thinking for a while about starting a new column where CAMRA members can write about their favourite cask beers from the last month. The idea was first brought up at the branch meeting back in June, but I’ve never got round to starting the ball rolling until now. So, here they are, in no particular order, my three favourite real ales I have tried in Sheffield over the last few weeks:

What: Hallertau Blanc + Ekuanot Pale (4.1%) – North Brewery (Leeds)
Where: Devonshire Cat
This beer was sampled as part of North Brewery’s recent tap takeover event at the Devonshire Cat. With its combination of German and American hops, the pint was attractive to the eye and the nose with a good-sized white head and a fruity, tropical aroma from the Ekuanot. The flavour had defined citrus notes imparted by the Hallertau Blanc hop, without being overly bitter. A good, sessionable pale.

What: Drop O’ the Black Stuff (4.0%) – Springhead (Laneham, nr Retford)
Where: Sentinel Brewery
I’ve always been a fan of darker ales, and this porter was no exception. Not quite black but a very deep brown colour, the aroma was packed with chocolate, liquorice and malt. Fortunately, the taste wasn’t nearly as sweet as the aroma might have suggested, with a delicious coffee bitterness from the roasted malt providing an excellent balance of flavours.

What: Brewers Reserve (5.0%) – Kent Brewery (Birling)
Where: The Drink Inn
A little stronger than the other entries on this list, but no less drinkable. Poured a rich, clear golden colour with a clean white head. The nose had a strong hoppy character, with notes of citrus and farmyard. The beer was very easy to drink, with the bitterness of the hops complimenting a strong malty flavour. You’d have to be careful not to have too many at this strength though!

Have you tried any outstanding real ales around Sheffield lately? Send in your three favourite beers for the next issue of Beer Matters.

Dominic Nelson

cask sponsor

SCBF43 cask sponsorship

Do you want your pub or business name to be seen by thousands of people? If so, you should consider sponsoring a cask at this year’s 43rd Steel City Beer & Cider Festival, taking place from 18-21 October at the Kelham Island Museum.

For just £50 (+ VAT) you can sponsor a cask of your choice, giving you or your company valuable exposure while showing your support for Sheffield’s biggest real ale festival. Your company logo and details will be incorporated into the label for your chosen beer, and you will receive 2 free festival tickets, a mention in the programme and a link on our festival website.

If interested, please contact for further information.

SCBF42 Friday 21 10 2016

SCBF43 festival staffing


Our Steel City Beer & Cider Festival is a popular annual celebration of traditional real ales, international craft beer and artisan cider accompanied by street food, live music and more – all set within the incredibly atmospheric Kelham Island Industrial Museum. It is organised, run and staffed by volunteer CAMRA members who all come together to put the event on to share their passion for good beer and/or cider.

We are now recruiting volunteer staff. Although it is unpaid work there are perks of course – you get in for free and get to try the draught beer and cider for free; you may also even get a free staff t-shirt!

Volunteers are required on site from Monday morning onwards to help with the build and set up of the festival, staff it when we are open Wednesday to Saturday and help take it all to bits and transport the kit back to storage on the Sunday.

There are a variety of roles available staffing the festival whilst it is open for business – not just the obvious serving drinks on the bars but also working on admissions, selling beer tokens and programmes, hosting the games, promoting CAMRA membership, working on the glass return desk (including glass washing), cellar work, health & safety support, administrative and financial roles, sign writing and more.

Although volunteering at the beer festival can be hard work at times, it is also fun and generally quite rewarding.

If you’d like to help out, please keep an eye out for the staffing form coming soon on our website,

Andy Cullen, Staffing Officer