I have been going to Sun Fest for over ten years now - certainly for all the years that Abbeydale have been based at the excellent Rising Sun in Nethergreen in Sheffield, and certainly since their "First annual beer festival" in 2007, according to the glass I have collecting dust on my bedroom window sill. Am even sure that some of the staff volunteering at this years festival may have worked at the long ago Moon Fest, or fests, when Abbeydale briefly owned the pub before and now again called the Office, in Upperthorpe. This year, momentary madness and a recent return to work have rendered me a trifle funds free, but I still got up on Thursday last for the first public session.
Having walked into work I was a little tired when Malc asked me if I was attending. I advised him that my lack of funds was a good indication that I wouldn't be, however a kind friend lent me a few and after a couple of post work starters in the hot sunshine I set off about half past four to walk through Sheffield and up to the Rising Sun, which took me about one hour and fifteen minutes . I sat with Richard S, Bex and Richard H, and started on a third of Abbeydale Cyro Huxter, a fab soupy IPA brewed with Peddler market, and an ideal starter at 6.0%. During my sup I went to see Malc and Ally, although as I know she prefers dark beers I didn't offer her a taste. Bumping into Dan and Robin from the brewery and a number of folks from Shakespeares and the Crow, it was obvious there was much interest in the beer list, and later attendees can confirm that my starter did not last that long.
The next boozes tried from the list were Black Iris chasing the Sun, a fab 6.5% murky, Juicy IPA, later followed by rain showers, along with Crosspool Ale Makers society Delph House, a similarly strong IPA but with more traditional flavours, and the absolutely excellent Turning Point Brew Co 6.2% Off the grid IPA, like the first two significantly vegan friendly, and made with excellent Simcoe, Cascade and Chinook. I also tried some of my fellow guests Unbeliever 8.1 Mango and Lychee kettle sour, along with Box Social Blood Eagle at 4.2%, an excellent hazy dry hopped pale, and the absurdly strong Methusula Rum barrel aged imperial stout which was incredible.
Dan and other Abbeydale folk came round with free tasters of their 4.5% keg lager, which I understand is being sold to a number of local restaurants, and I tried some Brew York Tonkoko which was a strong flavoured 4.3% coconut milk stout. I soon moved onto the "evil keg" section, as nobody rational called it, and enjoyed the excellent St Mars of the dessert Endless Toil brewed with Hop Hideout, along with an equally marvelous Arbour Ales Space Hardware IPA at a lovely 6.6%. I also tried a third of the Abbeydale and Thornbridge Black IPA RITA at 6.0%, which was very enjoyable. I may have finished on either a third of the 9% out of sight strong pale ale with a wonderful selection of hops, frim Manchester's Track Brewing, and possibly a Wilde Child wheel of fortune at 4.7%, a heavily hopped pale packed with Summit, Eureka and Simcoe hops. This mesmerising intake of resin was, throughout the festival, perfectly supported by marvelously tasty snacks from a wonderful person who had brought some to keep us sober during our libations. I left about 21.30 to catch a bus back to town and home, filled to the brim with wonderful tastes and memories.
Interestingly I overheard a discussion in a venue yesterday from a Sunday or Saturday attendee , claiming that there was too much Abbeydale produce. This is an interesting suggestion, given that the pub is owned, and the festival run and organiseded by, the very same. Someone had apparently said it was "all Abbeydale", but in a moment of geeky knowledge searching I can confirm that even if you dismissed the statement I made above, of a total of 103 listed beers, only 27 were Abbeydale, which if perhaps high, is also admittedly less than a quarter. And, also, why not? A beer festival is a great way to try out new beer styles, and their percentage of involvement I think justifies their provision of a higgh number of, lets face it, numerously different styles (they also did some very low gravity, almost alcohol free brews) of boohar, in an excellent location.
Well done once again to all involved in this excellent celebration of beers and sunshine at yet another excellent Sun Fest at the Rising Sun.