Friday, April 04, 2014

A trip to Abbeydale's Devonshire Cat

The Devonshire Cat, Wellington Street, Sheffield, S1 4HG
A successful Sheffield mission buying snooker tickets and Waterall's pork pies left me standing in The Moor considering my beer options.
Should I turn left for The Rutland Arms on Brown Street (been there recently) or plough onwards to The Broadfield on Abbeydale Road (not enough time available to do this acclaimed pub justice)?
But the Abbeydale thought planted a seed in my mind. I recalled the brewery has taken over The Devonshire Cat on nearby Wellington Street.
So I turned right through the demolition site and headed for the Devonshire Quarter, aka 'studentland'.
Now, I should state I have no problem with students, I was one myself many moons ago, but I make reference to it because these glass-fronted large-scale pubs are a different drinking experience to a Kelham Island crawl.
I figured I hadn't been in the Dev Cat for many months, possibly a year or two, so I was keen to see what Abbeydale had done with it.
On the surface it looked pretty much as I remembered, but on closer inspection there were some subtle changes (beer range/decor/menu). 
A selection of Dr Morton's clips
As I was only wanting a quiet session I stuck to Abbeydale beers rather than the guests (Blakemere's Hit & Run, Derby's Hop 'til you Drop etc).
First came the Devonshire Cat Bitter, which through its colour and taste suggested this was Abbeydale's own Daily Bread. The bar staff confirmed this and were perfectly open about a re-badge, which I think is the right way.
As I was paying up I caught sight of a chalkboard, which immediately grabbed my attention.
A half of Abbeydale's first kegged beer

It said: "Pale Ale #1, Abbeydale's first keg beer." So I was keen to try that next. Now, I'm traditionally a cask ale man but I'm not blinkered about keg. I tend to prefer the safer four percenters, which bracket this beer was in,  rather than the experimental high ABV key keg efforts.
The beer was cool, got tastier as it warmed up a little and turned out to be the best of the three beers I sampled there last Saturday.
It will be interesting to see if Abbeydale keep kegging or if this was just a toe in the water.
I finished with a pint of Abbeydale's North American IPA 6%.
At the time this three hopped Yankee beer split my opinion. First, I thought it was way too sweet, then it began to grow on me. Later I discovered the sweetness was deliberate.  
On their website - http://www.abbeydalebrewery.co.uk/ - Abbeydale say: "Columbus, Centennial and Mosaic hops flavour this IPA while Munich malt added in the malt grist gives a sweet and full-bodied mouthful.
"Dry hopping during the conditioning process means lemon and citrus flavours dominate this golden ale with floral and piney aromas in abundance. Munich malt has been added for extra sweetness giving a warm and full bodied mouthful."
Sunk halves of Dev Cat Bitter, Pale#1 with North American IPA
So ended a relaxed two-pint session. Sadly, there was no time for food, which the pub is well-known for. Maybe next time?
More information: The pub has a regularly updated Facebook page where you can find what's on the bar, tasting notes and links to upcoming events.
https://www.facebook.com/devcat
And here is a link to an email interview we've just done with Abbeydale's sales chief Dan Baxter:
http://www.aswiftone.com/2014/04/a-question-answer-session-with.html

1 comment:

Timbo said...

Looks like another 'must visit' pub reaches Sheffield...A good idea for them to take over a pub in the centre, I always enjoy their other pub at Fulwood, 'The Rising Sun' but it is a trek out there when there are so many other good pubs closer to the centre. Seem to recall they had a place not far from Hillsborough a few years ago, but it closed quite quickly.