A Firkin Beer Festival at Picture House Social | Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog

Friday, 3 April 2015

A Firkin Beer Festival at Picture House Social

Since the bar under the old Abbeydale Cinema, right in the heart of our local stomping ground on Abbeydale Road, was re-opened last year as Picture House Social, it's quickly become one of our go-to places for a relaxed meal and a good drink. So when we heard there was a beer festival curated by the excellent bottle shop Hop Hideout (conveniently located just across the road from the Picture House) we had to pop in for a few.


With 18 beers on the festival bar and another 3 on keg, the range of beers was excellent for such a fledgling festival. Tons of variety and oodles of quality were on offer, with intriguing beers and exciting collaborations aplenty.

First up was a collaboration brew from Fyne Ales and Siren, Wee Milky Way - a 3.1% Black IPA brewed with lactose. Creamy, rich and smooth with a powerful hoppy aroma. A great example of how a lower ABV doesn't mean the taste has to be comprised.

Bad Seed and Northern Alchemy have teamed up to create a Belgian Rose ale (4%), with rose petals added in to the fermenter. Rose tends to be one of those flavours that divides people, but we really enjoyed it - delicately balanced, with just the right amount of floral headiness. Lovely.

With Dinner for Two and Dinner for Three, Vienna pale ales from Siren and Elusive Brewery, both available,  a little taste comparison seemed a good idea. Sampling the releases side by side, the high vienna malt bill gave a biscuity quality to both. Dinner for Two had a tad more bitterness, with Dinner for Three being slightly more floral. While both of these beers are made using similar recipes we each had a different favourite of the two.

We ended the evening on a Cromarty Anniversary III Belgian Quad at the lofty strength of 11%, and crikey was it good. Big fruity flavours, figs and caramels combined with the characteristic belgian floral yeastiness that comes with a quadruple stout overwhelmed the palate deliciously, and frankly despite the high strength it was altogether too easy to drink. We had another.

Alongside all this festival fun, it has to be said that Picture House Social has quickly made a reputation for itself as a purveyor of excellent pizza and snacks. Our favourites are the anchovy and salsa verde pizza, the anchovies giving a real salty hit, with the fresh herby nature of the salsa providing a good level of balance, and the meatball piadina - a cross between a pizza and a sandwich, stuffed full of tasty meatballs, spicy tomato sauce and some leafy greens.

The arancini, served with salsa verde, are the perfect little snack - a crisp outer shell with the perfect amount of melted cheese in the middle. They're just about bitesized, but don't be fooled to gobble a whole one as the centre remains at a molten temperature for an AGE. These went brilliantly with Buxton Brewery's Ace Edge - a Sorachi Ace hopped variation on their Axe Edge IPA.

The regular drinks menu is extensive and interesting, with unusual draught beer, a great bottle menu from Hop Hideout, and a cocktail menu which changes monthly. An eclectic mix of 60s tunes, psychedelia and indie vibes, played at a volume that doesn't instantly put a stop to all conversation, provide a laid back atmosphere.

The whole complex is ever-improving, with one room being brought back to life at a time. Alongside the broodingly elegant main bar, and the diner-style eating area, the festival area is usually a games room complete with table tennis tables. Most recently, there's even a mini-cinema, a brilliant nod to this building's former purpose.

The festival is running throughout the Easter bank holiday weekend, so still plenty of time to try some of these brilliant beers for yourselves!

Cheers,

L&J

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