Great Tunes, Great Ales with Ed Cosens
As part of our almighty #MakersTakeover, Reverend & The Makers' guitarist Ed Cosens kindly volunteered to give us his own very special guide to the top ten ales in Sheffield, with some fantastic matching tunes. Take it with you next time you're out in the Steel City and you've got the soundtrack to a night on the tiles. Take it away, Ed!
Hello all, and welcome to my crash course in ale and music pairing! Over 30 ales across Sheffield City Centre we're consumed during the painstaking research for this article. After much deliberation myself and my panel of expert tasters, Ian Stewart and Rachel Sanderson, decided upon the following top ten along with an honourable mention award and of course, the stinker award.
Whilst enjoying the ales on this list, simply use your favourite personal music listening device and play the corresponding tune to accompany your drinking experience. Then sit back and enjoy!
The tunes were researched in conjunction with Defunkt, Sheffield's premier funk and soul night.
In at number 10:
Abbeydale Brewery – Deception 4.1%
A refreshing light pale ale from the guys at Abbeydale brewery. Look out for a light passion fruity aroma and after taste and at just 4.1% you could have a few of these!
Tune: “Sexy Coffee Pot” by Tony Alvon & the Belairs
Navigation Brewery – Golden 4.3%
A surprise this one from the Nottingham based Navigation brewery. A really good depth of flavour, going from sweet into sour. Very drinkable!
Tune: “Gator Bait” by the Gaturs
Acorn brewery – Newport IPA 5%
A great beer from the much acclaimed Barnsley based Acorn Brewery. A clean hoppy start but with a much easier finish than other hoppy ales.
Tune: “Cola Bottle Baby” by Edwin Birdsong
Thornbridge brewery – Jaipur 5.9%
What can be said about this beer that hasn't already. Multi award winning ale. A real depth of flavour than not many can match. Can be a divisive beer though, a bit marmite! Complex taste, not for the first time easy drinker, a grower for sure.
Tune: “Chameleon” by Herbie Hancock
The award for worst beer/least drinkable beer unfortunately goes to SIB brew company's “Kahuna”. At 6% it's strong, a bit too strong and waaaaaay too hoppy and really unpleasantly bitter. From the first sip, it takes you aback, which no beer should! Sorry Kahuna!
Thornbridge brewery – DocFest Ale 4.3%
Brewed especially for Sheffield's DocFest this is a great little beer. Presumably it'll only be around for a few weeks either side of the DocFest itself but knowing Thornbridge if it's popular, they'll probably keep brewing it!
Tune: “You Got It” by Etta James
Bradfield Brewery – Farmers Bitter 3.9%
I didn't think a classic bitter would make it onto this list, but it seems Bradfield brewery have nailed it with this one. A super easy drinking bitter, not too 'old mannish' and a really nice flavour. You really could knock back 4 or 5 of these at 3.9% without even realising!
Tune: “Sing a Simple Song” by Sly and the family Stone
Black Sheep Brewery – Black Sheep Cask 4.4%
A long time favourite of mine, and many to that matter. THE classic easy drinking bitter ale. Bags of flavour, hops and malt but all packaged in a really smooth clean finish. Again, this is a real drinker.
Tune: “Rocksteady” by Aretha Franklin
Honourable mention goes to Thornbridge brewery's “Frank as Apollo”. Odd name but this scored really highly. Classed as a premium bitter, it had loads of flavour and a great finish. This beer was the winner of Thornbridge's 2011 Homebrew challenge so get your brewing kits out!
Kelham Island brewery – Easy Rider 4.3%
This list wouldn't be complete without an ale from Kelham Island. Multi award winning brewery, no beer epitomises the quality of Kelham Island than this beer. Great taste, easy drinking, class finish. What more can you say!
Tune: “Superfly” by Curtis Mayfield
Thornbridge brewery – Brother Rabbit 4%
Just missing out on the top spot, but not by much is this gorgeous ale from Thornbridge. A great name is just the start of this ale's quality. Somehow Thornbridge have managed to pack the flavour and depth of a Jaipur into this one but at just 4% it's seriously good drinking. A classic Pale Ale if ever there was one.
Tune: “I know you got soul” by Bobby Byrd
And at Number 1:
Bradfield brewery – Farmers Blonde 4%
For me, the undisputed king of ales. Superb finish, and easily the easiest drinking ale around. This is a proper session ale, but don't let that fool you into thinking it doesn't have much about it. While it might not pack the flavour punch of a stronger ale, what it does have is delightful. It's smooth, bittersweet and keeps giving where many beers fall short!
Go and try it now! Currently serving at the Kelham Island Tavern, Porter Cottage and other quality ale houses.
This one is so good, I've given it two tunes!
Tune1: “You did it” by Ann Robinson (no, not that Ann Robinson!)
Tune2: “The greatest dancer” by Sister Sledge
Thanks for reading/listening, now go out and find your top ten ales.
Roger and Out. (Wait wasn't that the guinness record breaking ale that used to be at the Frog and Parrott?!)
Words by Ed Cosens.