Real Ale: Riders on the Storm – Kelham Island Brewery

A golden amber ale combining the best British malts and a combination of British and American hops which mingle together for a fragrance of fruits and spices. The addition of crystal malt gives a fulfilling equilibrium of sweetness and body.

This 4.5% pale ale is from a brewery I’ve not tried before, Kelham Island Brewery, which is based in Sheffield.The history of the brewery is quite interesting as its first beer was in September 1990, making it the first new independent brewery in Sheffield in almost 100 years. That’s pretty remarkable as breweries have been popping up across the Yorkshire region for many years, and yet it had been quiet in Sheffield until Kelham Island.

Another interesting aspect of Kelham is there is a link on their website which talks about working with local artists on the pump clips. Coming up with the name for a new ale is always going to be difficult, as it needs to be something catchy and interesting, but like so many other things, the packaging has to be eye catching. Most, not all, real ale is produced in the same sort of brown glass bottle. So the label, or if you’re in a pub, the clip, has to be something special. This isn’t a side of the process that usually gets a lot of coverage, so it was fascinating for me to have a behind the scenes look. There are some really interesting designs on the Kelham Island website here.

Anyway, about the beer itself. The name and the label caught my eye first, and the description above made me keep reading. I’m not a fan of ales that have a strong citrus edge, but a flavour of fruit and spices sounded interesting and worth a try. It was a very clean and crisp drink, a little bit of fizz, but not too much that I was burping a lot, which can happen when they’re too gassy. It was a little sweet, but also very mild in flavour. So while it was nice and I did enjoy it, some might find it too mild and want more of a kick in the taste buds, but if you like something smooth then I’d recommend it. The beer was also very light, as I drank a bottle and didn’t feel bloated or heavy afterwards. Colour wise it’s almost amber, but I believe it’s still classed as a pale ale.

More information on all of Kelham Island Brewery’s beers can be found here on their website. If you’re in the area you can arrange to take a tour and find out where they’ll be appearing at any events and all of their latest news is on their blog.