There’s something brewing at Stevenson Road
Once an area associated largely with steel mills and saunas, the industrial suburb of Attercliffe is being touted as one of the city’s next key areas to undergo a significant regeneration
Over the past couple of years a number of bars, hotels, companies and shops have moved to Sheffield East: everything from jazz cafes to tattoo parlours have sprung up in the old neighbourhood, and one of the most exciting announcements was the arrival of a family-owned brewery and taproom all the way from Boston, Massachusetts.
Head into a small courtyard on Stevenson Road, overlooked in true Sheffield fashion by a historic steel foundry, and there you’ll find The Brewery of St Mars of the Desert (SMOD) tucked away towards the back with a few benches parked out front for sunnier days. Inside the quaint taproom decorated invitingly with quirky artwork and bright colours you’ll meet Dann and Martha, former owners of beloved Boston brewery Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project, who after hearing about Sheffield’s UK-wide beer reputation decided to take the plunge.
“Sheffield ticked all the boxes,” says Dann. “We’d heard about the beer scene down here, that it was very progressive and cool, so any place like that has potential. The taproom has been incredible since opening; we were originally concerned that people wouldn’t want to come all the way out here, but people have been turning up from day one and that’s how we knew we were in an incredible city.”
Ask nicely enough and Dann might even take you around the brewery next-door. A professional brewer for 27 years, he describes it as a small version of his dream brewery and it’s fitted out with plenty of interesting contraptions for beer aficionados to learn about – a particular attraction being the coolship, a large bath-like vessel used for getting extra character out of hops.
It would appear that the word of SMOD has spread much farther than South Yorkshire, too. Every weekend the taproom has opened its doors Dann and Martha have met couples travelling to the city for its beer tourism, whether that’s a day out in the pubs and breweries or for a full weekend of hoppy exploration. “We’ve even met couples who have retired to Sheffield for the beer scene… seriously! I’ve never heard of that before, but it just goes to show what the city offers.”
MEET THE NEIGHBOURS
Sharing a courtyard with SMOD and based inside the CADS-owned Eagle Works building next door are a number of local independents. We knocked on some doors to find out a bit more
Based on the upstairs floor in Eagle Works, Miriam’s company makes bespoke props and models for the BBC, films and advertising purposes. As a freelancer, she has helped to make sets for Doctor Who spin-offs, props for BAFTA afterparties and worked on Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Ready Player One.
Specialising in premium made-to-order sportswear, Hugga was born in 2012 and began by making high-quality, well-priced rowing kit. Proudly adopting a strict Made in Britain ethos, the brand now makes kits for running, cycling and tennis clubs too; they use the best fabric and fibre technology to create hard-wearing clothing from training gear to gilets and jackets. In more exciting news, the company has recently launched its own menswear brand, Robin + Rhino, selling Sheffield-made garments built to last. Their current range of tees each have a personalised touch, are made from 100% heavyweight cotton and finished R+R signature motif.
hugga.com // robinandrhino.com
Tower of Bagel
Providing the wood-fired pizza bagels to the punters of the SMOD taproom is Johnny Feldman’s Tower of Bagel. “I’ve always wanted to do this,” Johnny tells us. “It’s a big part of my childhood, going over to the bagel café. We’d bake Challah every Friday night and have different shapes for different occasions.” When he’s not busy providing drinkers with a pretty perfect bar snack, Johnny runs a bagel school along with workshops at Regather on the art and the history of bagel making.
Livvy’s Ice Cream
After training in Italy, the home of gelato, Joanne Chapman returned to Sheffield to make delicious ice cream using only natural ingredients. Joanne has also been known to come up with some interesting bespoke flavourings (cheese and marmite, anyone?), whilst they can also keep your pooch happy with their range of doggy-friendly ice creams. Their striking vintage van can be hired out for all types of parties and events.
Ben Suddenly Film Processing
Tasked with designing the unique cover labels for SMOD’s takeout can and bottle selection, Ben Suddenly (or Ben Cootes to his mates) moved to the Steel City from Stockport a few years back in search of a creative path. Describing himself as “creative, but not arty”, you’ll find Ben flitting between his studio and SMOD’s taproom or snapping the industrial pleasantries of Attercliffe for the next beer in Saint Mars’ series.
One of the most interesting chats of the day was with Cassie and Richard of Oraphim, purveyors of shungite jewellery and gifts. For the uninitiated, and to try to keep it as simple as possible, shungite is a mineral found only in Karelia, Russia, and is made of around 98% carbon. Possessing a very high conductivity, the rocks have been seen as “miracle stones” since the 17th century and due to the high content of fullerenes – powerful antioxidants – it’s believed that they can assist in treating physical ailments, boosting mental health and inducing positive energy.