Heist Brew Co. Masters of their Craft
Kelham Isand’s thriving beer community welcomed Heist Brew co. to the neighbourhood earlier this year, and we caught up with owners Dan Hunt and Adam France to get the lowdown on the latest Kelham hotspot. Pictures: Marc Barker, Ben Hargreaves and Heist.
As relative newcomers, Heist Brew Co. only began life as a fully-fledged brewery in 2018, following the success of the owner’s bar and craft beer export business in a sleepy former mining village in Derbyshire. Initially starting out brewing by creating collaboration beers with other established breweries around the UK, owners Dan Hunt and Adam France went on to make the bold decision to begin brewing for themselves out of their then base in Clowne.
Dan, who has up to this point been head brewer, taking to his task like, well, hops to beer, explained their decision-making process: “We realised that we really wanted to bring something to Clowne that hadn’t been done before, so in 2018 we purchased the original brew kit and moved it on to site in the tiniest room ever.”
“We had spent a lot of time with people researching and looking into brewing but I suppose, looking back at it, not coming from a homebrew background was a bit stupid! But, ultimately, one of us had to do it, and I’m very meticulous and liked going through and understanding the process. The first beer we ever brewed on the commercial kit, we fully expected to be a bit of a drain pour, but it’s ended up being part of our core range and is still quite a highly rated beer.”
Following this unexpected maiden brew success, confidence grew, and the brews have continued to improve ever since, leading to the development of an acclaimed core range. With everything from a milk stout to a Kölsch and a rotating cast of IPAs, it is perhaps their lack of experience that has been their major asset, leading them to fearlessly follow their instincts and create some of the most interesting brews in the region by doing ‘a bit of everything’. The most popular beer-style being their Imperial stout, which is often a collaboration. Recent versions have included a salted caramel chocolate stout with Emperors, which sold out in under an hour, and an equally popular chocolate and coconut stout with Hebden Bridge’s Vocation Brewery.
The breweries rise has been so steep that they quickly reached capacity in Clowne, triggering 2020’s announcement of a move to the big city (well, the world’s biggest village, Sheffield). Following the various lockdowns and some well documented roof issues, Heist Brew Co’s brand-new brewery tap, on Neepsend Lane, finally opened its doors earlier this year – and take it from us, it sounds incredible.
Not satisfied with a bigger and new-improved brewery, the site is also an ‘alternative hangout’ with shuffleboard tables, an arcade that boasts 2p machines and grabbers, TV screens showing alternative sports and a projector on which you’ll be able to play Tony Hawk’s on PlayStation. If that isn’t enough, top burger pop-up kitchen Slap and Pickle will make the venue their new permanent home and, perhaps most importantly, the bar offers a massive 30 different lines of beer, giving them the most lines and biggest selection of draught beer in the Steel City. Impressive stuff, we think you’ll agree.
It would be remiss of us not to also mention Heist’s pretty out-there gin selection, which they currently distil at Derbyshire Distillery. The range includes the magnificent sounding wild mango, tobacco and oak flavour, which to their knowledge is the first-time tobacco has ever been used in a spirit and apparently tastes ‘surprisingly good.’ They also have plans to launch a rum and vodka range, with even more exciting ideas for unusual flavours. Whatever they produce though, the Heist boys are stealing the hearts of the Sheffield beer and spirits scene.
For more info, or to buy some bevs, head over to their website.