County Stat Attack Week 27 - South Yorkshire

This week gives us our 3rd visit to Yorkshire and our first metropolitan county for a while, created in the 1974 division of greater Yorkshire. It’s western boundary is in the Pennines, Derbyshire to the S.W, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and each of the other Yorkshires. It consists of the 4 metropolitan boroughs of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. The main settlements in South Yorkshire grew around mining (coal and iron ore) and premium steel manufacturing industries, particularly cutlery.
The geography of the county is basically about the Pennines and its foothills which descend into the Humber basin. The landscape is littered with Industrial activity both abandoned and current. The valleys and transport routes are largely urbanised, however part of the county is Dark Peak. The main rivers are the Dearne, Rother and Don all draining from the high Pennines.

On Ratebeer we have 65 Breweries listed, 41 currently active, 24 closed. Of these 8 are Client / Commissioner companies.

The oldest Brewery we have on Ratebeer for the county is Kelham Island Brewery of Sheffield (Est 1990). Sheffield itself did have a long history of brewing resulting in the big four breweries, after many mergers, of Wards, Stone’s, Whitbread and Hope, all of which became very well known. The earliest of these, forming in the very early 18th century is Wards. Evidence of 3 of these breweries can be still seen around Sheffield with only Hope Brewery completely disappearing from the landscape, that’s No Hope then?. All the breweries struggled after mergers and take overs, possibly Whitbread being the worst example but the company known now for hotels rather than brewing.

The Brewery with the largest range of beers on Ratebeer is Abbeydale Brewery of Sheffield (Est 1996) with 520 beers including their Beer Works Doctor Morton’s range.

The Ratebeer Awards for 2020 gave us St. Mars of the Desert of Sheffield (Est 2018) as best Brewery. Their beer St. Mars of the Desert Clamp won Best Beer. No award was made for new brewery.

The Top 10 Beers for South Yorkshire are –

  1. St. Mars of the Desert Quadruple
  2. St. Mars of the Desert Old School Quality
  3. St. Mars of the Desert Clamp
  4. Kelham Island Smoked Porter
  5. Steel City Shadowplay
  6. Abbeydale Deliverance – Sabro, HBC 472, HBC 692
  7. St. Mars of the Desert Jack D’Or Reincarnation Number 2
  8. Abbeydale Black Mass
  9. St. Mars of the Desert Koel It Nectaron’
  10. Abbeydale Lost Souls – 2017 Russian Imperial Stout

The Top Bars / Pubs for South Yorkshire are –

  1. Sheffield Tap (Tapped Sheffield) – 94
  2. Shakespeare’s Ale & Cider House, Sheffield Kelham Island – 91
  3. Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield Kelham Island – 89
  4. Hop Hideout, Sheffield – 88
  5. Rutland Arms, Sheffield – 88
  6. Beer Engine, Sheffield – 87
  7. Wellington (Neepsend Brew Co.), Sheffield Kelham Island – 86
  8. Hillsborough Hotel, Sheffield Hillfoot – 85
  9. Crow Inn, Sheffield – 84
  10. Fat Cat, Sheffield Kelham Island – 83

The Top 5 Raters of beers from South Yorkshire are –

  1. @Garrold
  2. @ManVsBeer
  3. @imdownthepub
  4. @fonefan
  5. @cgarvieuk

You will require just 65 beers to get into the top 50 for South Yorkshire.

The Rater who resides in South Yorkshire with the most ratings is –
@deanso who certainly is still on here.


I’ve been to the area on numerous occasions but let’s get one thing out of the way, I have never done any major walks there, I don’t even know if there are any, but as the Pennine way skirts the other side of the range here and doesn’t touch the county then I can’t think of anything else. Loads of Football at most of the grounds, particularly an FA Cup Semi Final against Fulham at Hillsborough, which ended as a draw but we lost the replay at Maine Road.
Sheffield really is a great place to go for pubs and beer, done it many times culminating in a weekend at Sheffield Beer Festival, getting in loads of pubs at the same time. I can’t really say that I have done Barnsley, Rotherham or Doncaster very much justice though, so still plenty to go at. I used to have to go to a glass factory in Rotherham from time to time, I can’t ever remember them entertaining us though.

3rd for the county is decent going I reckon, the county is 10th in my list of counties and I have had 470 beers currently at an average of a very healthy 3.34. Our local in Banbury, sadly gone now, used to get in every Abbeydale beer they could get hold of, Rick the Landlord loved them.

The South Yorkshire Breweries I have had most from are –

  1. Abbeydale Brewery – 92
  2. Acorn Brewery – 52
  3. Kelham Island Brewery – 43
  4. Wentworth Brewery (Closed) - 27
  5. Neepsend Brew Co. - 20
  6. Steel City Brewing – 20

I have marked a whopping 45 beers from South Yorkshire 4 or over, the best are –

  1. Abbeydale Matins – 4.3
  2. Beer Works Doctor Morton’s Horse Tonic – 4.3
  3. Steel City Riot in Paradise – 4.3
  4. Steel City New Dawn Fades – 4.3
  5. Crown Loxley Gold – 4.2
  6. Abbeydale Resolution – 4.2
  7. Abbeydale Resurrection – 4.2
  8. Beer Works Doctor Morton’s Horrable Skellington – 4.2
  9. Steel City Saint Brendan – 4.2
  10. Steel City Xiberia – 4.2

My South Yorkshire Breweries with the highest average are –

  1. Steel City Brewing – 3.909
  2. St Mars of the Desert – 3.64
  3. Little Ale Cart Brewing Co – 3.58
  4. Crown Brewery – 3.46
  5. Triple Point Brewery – 3.46

I have only managed to review 13 places in South Yorkshire, all in Sheffield, my favourites are –

  1. Shakespeare Ale & Cider House – 86
  2. Crow Inn – 82
  3. Fat Cat (Kelham Island) – 78
  4. Sheffield Tap (Tapped Sheffield) – 76
  5. Rutland Arms – 76

The plan is to visit Sheffield again this year for the Beer Festival which I do believe is still hanging on despite CAMRA’s refusal to back Festivals at present, I really hope it can go ahead, it’s one of the nicest on the circuit.


They talk funny in South Yorkshire, especially in Barnsley!

I have been many times, mostly for football matches, and have friends from the county, but strangely only reviewed one place; the now closed Devonshire Cat in Sheffield. Both the M1 and the A1(M) flow through the county and that’s where I’ve been lately (pre-lockdown) when in the area, just passing through.

The 131 different beers (@ 3.16) I’ve had puts South Yorkshire 15th in my English County League and places me 22nd on the RateBeer Leader Board.

Four beers sit on a score of 4:
Wentworth Early Fruits
Oakwell Dark Mild
Kelham Island Gentlemen Death
St Mars of The Desert Our Finest Regards

My lowest rate is a 1.2:
Freddies Fruit Lager with Wild Fruits

I’ve hit 25 different breweries, 7 of which have now closed. No Cider, Mead or Sake has passed my lips from South Yorkshire.

Abbeydale 32
Kelham Island 19
Barnsley Beer Co (closed) 12
Acorn 10
Wentworth (closed) 9

Must get up there again and remember to review the places I visit!


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Given its proximity to Notts, I guess 78 is no more than a modest intervention.
My top five at least have the merit of diversity.
Blue Bee Tempest Stout 4
Exit 33 Pitch Black Porter 3.9
Abbeydale 1868 Strong Scotch Ale 3.8
Acorn Old Moor Porter (Cask) 3.8
St. Mars of the Desert Babayaga 3.8
I have only had two beers from Blue Bee so its first place as the only 4 on the list was a surprise. Similarly, Exit 33 has only come my way 3 times and the porter was way ahead of the two stouts I tried. Abbeydale is much more available but can be a bit pedestrian on the pale side. It also has its Doctor Morton side-brand. Acorn produces respectable cask ale if it is well kept. I suspect that I would have more St Mars of the Desert on this list if I had found it. Certainly I would take it every time over Kelham Island which is struggling to reach a 3.0 average on my list. It tends to be the Sheffield cask you most readily find. I will also look out for some more Lost Industry beers.
Going through these county lists has shown me that my preference for Porter has also tended to reduce the number of beers I sample from a specific brewer since they largely produce more beers of other types, and pubs are similarly not likely to have many on tap unless there is a trail on. Little Critters, with one listed porter, a regular ale provider at JDWs round here, is a case in point. Sentinel and Neepsend would be other examples, although the latter two bolster my sense that Sheffield’s own production needs to go some to rival other centres of brewing.
I am sure that the many raterbeerians above me on the list can confirm that S. Yorks has a lot of small producers whose output is so-so. I used the phrase “balanced to the point of oblivion” about one beer and it could apply to others. Nevertheless, that’s part of the interest and I am looking forward to drinking a few of the better ones as soon as I can.


South Yorkshire? Never heard of it :wink:

Obviously I’m less than active with beer rating, but I’ve rated quite a few places. For me there’s a ‘Big Three’ that are head and shoulders above everything else (Rutland, Shakespeare, Crow) and the order between them varies, there’s a lot of other good places but those three are standout. Oddly, I’ve barely been anywhere outside Sheffield within SY, but then it’s the only place of any significance really

Brewery-wise, I would concur that while we have a lot of breweries, particularly in Sheffield itself which has one of the highest brewery per capita figures in the country, there’s a definite element of quantity not quality, out of 25 breweries in Sheffield there’s about half a dozen I bother to drink - Lost Industry are my pick, but that’s with my preference for sours and silliness. Abbeydale range from average to very good, and I especially like their Funk Dungeon stuff. Neepsend have really developed and are doing good beers in a range of styles. Blue Bee are pretty good, I like that their pales have bitterness.

most of the rest have nothing wrong with them (definitely a couple of exceptions!) but just very safe/trad/bland


Hey Dave I’m surprised that you didn’t mention St Mars of the Desert. I have only ever heard really positive stuff about them and a lot of that from brewers and not just drinkers. I cannot really comment because without looking I think that I have only ever had a couple or so but they do interest me.

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642 rates for me, putting my home county in 4th position behind Greater London, Greater Manchester, and West Yorkshire. It definitely could be higher but I don’t necessarily chase area ticks, and as mentioned earlier, although there’s a lot of beer being made here, some of it is very ordinary.

First beer I ever had a taste of came from the aforementioned Ward’s brewery (their Best Bitter), which nearly put me off beer for life, due to the massively eggy, farty aroma on it, but it was a beer I grew to love.

I’ve served my fair share of pints too, most of them at my Bass owned local, that was run by my to be In-Laws. It’s a tiny place (on here and now known as the Chantry Inn) but we’d sell around 360 gallons of Stones Best Bitter every week (This was the very early 90s). I drank a decent percentage of that, often straight out the cask during regular quality control duties. I’d also get through a few bottles of Worthington White Shield too, which was instrumental in me developing an interest away from just cask beer.

Nowadays the best beer out the city (not too much decent stuff coming from outside of Sheffield, to be honest), is from St Mars of the Desert, Abbeydale (who sometimes put some right clangers out), Triple Point, Blue Bee (who, as Dave said, make properly bitter pales) Steel City, and Lost Industry. Chantry out of Rotherham make solid brown beer, and I’ve had a few from Chin Chin in Barnsley that were decent.

As for places, we do pretty well. The St Mars taproom is one of my favourite spots ever to drink, and we’re spoiled in the city with the likes of Shakespeare’s, the Rutland, the Kelham Island Tavern and the Crow. The Sheffield Tap is ok if you’ve got a couple of hours to wait between pints getting served, and the Fat Cat is good if you like brown beer in brown surroundings served by humourless staff sat among humourless punters.

Overall it’s the kind of area that makes it hard to jump on a train to discover somewhere new. It’s already all here, to be honest.


Not the greatest beer stats for the county. I have 59 beer rates, not enough to get into the top 50. Only 20 breweries as well (16 active, 4 closed) with Abbeydale way out front with 12, followed by Acorn with 5, then Chantry, Heist Craft, Kelham Island and the defunct Wentworth at 4 each. Top beers are very cask-led:

South Yorkshire to me is all about Sheffield, although I have been to Doncaster a couple of times and even ventured to Rotherham in 2016. The top places are all in Sheffield at any rate.

I’d like to explore some more but I’m not sure that there are many areas in S Yorks that would complete with Sheffield centre for pubs!

When I was at Uni in Hull three of my mates from Farnborough studied in Sheffield so often used to head there for gigs and things. And two of my Hull mates were from there as well so have been up to visit them a few times but neither of them live there anymore. The last time I was when I changed trains on route to the Concertina Club in Mexborough and I had a pint in the rammed Sheffield Tap. I would have gone to the Imperial Club after the Concertina Club if I’d realised beforehand that there were two brewclubs in town.

We used to go to one particular bar in Hull ( was it called Circus Circus?) that did dirt cheap beer. A lager called Sheffield Steel or something like that which was maybe £1.00 a pint.

19 for me. Top rated all on 3.7:


10 Breweries:

Abbeydale/Acorn/St. Mars/Triple Point – all 3
Concertina – 2
Emmanueles/Kelham Island/Little Critters/Sheffield/True North – all 1

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I was kinda hoping nobody would notice that :wink:

SMOD’s set up is ace, Dann and Martha are lovely, the beers are good but just not usually my cup of tea. And I’m gutted the only coolship in Sheffield isn’t used for spon! That said, Attercliffe wild yeast probably not the most desirable…

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I noticed! I thought Abbeydale had a coolship? Also, I’d have thought SMOD’s XXXX mild was right up your gennel?

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AFAIK Abbeydale don’t have their own coolship, they used London Beer Factory’s mobile one

Luckily, the Funk Dungeon master is at the next table. One moment…

No, they don’t. They have a small vessel they can use for spontaneous ferm but not really a coolship or big enough for their main brewkit


Ha! Solid info!

71 rates from South Yorkshire for me, the highest rated with 4.2 is:
Abbeydale Deliverance DIPA - Galaxy & Vic Secret

Abbeydale, Triple Point and Crosspool Alemakers all put out Gluten Free Beers in cans so I’ve had quite afew from them - Abbeydale are top with 35 rated. Alot have come from Craft & Berry in Sheffield which have a great selection of gluten free beers from their on-line shop.

Rather surprisingly there’s only 1 cidery listed for the whole of South Yorkshire, which is CiderBeast from Sheffield and it only has the 1 cider called Feral Nancy, with an exclusive club of only 3 users on ratebeer which have rated it!

South YorkshireCider Ratings


Not much to add except I have 8 rates and all Abbeydale. Solid brewery. My top 3:-



Just 3 South Yorkshire rates for me, 2 from Triple Point and 1 from Abbeydale: looking at my non-RB history, I’ve had a lot less than I thought (47) with Abbeydale the biggest contributor (16). I did actually live near Sheffield for about 3 years, when I was a tiny wee lad, but don’t remember a great deal about it, and it’s not somewhere I’ve gone back to much at all (apart from Hillsborough in 1987, goddam Coventry City, grrr!). Coal mines, steel, Arthur Scargill and Dickie Bird are the things I most associate with the place

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One of my less rated counties - I’ve rated just 20 beers putting it in the bottom quarter of my counties and leaving me well off the top 50.

My top rated beers are:

I’ve tried 9 different breweries (2 now sadly closed, of which I’ve had the most beers from Acorn with 6.

I haven’t rated any places here yet; in fact looking at the map I don’t think I’ve really visited the county at all since I’ve been on RB (despite passing through it quite a few times). I think the only time I’ve set foot there my have to bag the highest point of the county (and of each of the unitary authorities it’s since been split into). And even the highest point I climbed from the Derbyshire side (it’s Howden Edge at 550m high, on the county border a little way west of Sheffield).

Definitely a “must try harder” county for me.


South Yorkshire is another of the counties that board Lincolnshire. I have visited a few time not just to Sheffield, but I did the RateBeer Sheffield pub crawl a few year ago.

This is my 9th highest county with 234 beers, 7 of which I have rated 4 or over, top of the pile is:

Abbeydale Methuselah

I have had 47 Abbeydale beers, 35 Glentworth, 21 Lost Industry.

My 234 beer are from 40 breweries putting me 9th, my top rated brewery is:

St. Mars of the Desert

All the 8 place rating were from the rate beer trip, on the 3rd Dec 2017.

Top rated was:

Which I seem to remember being a long walk. The other highlight of there trip, MY FIRST EVER UBER…


I’m still an Uber virgin!

Uber made such a difference in America! We used to arrive at a station, the hotel/motel was always a few miles away cos they build them for freeway access not rail, never a taxi waiting and usually no way to order one… then Uber invented, suddenly no matter where we were there was always a car a few minutes away, summoning it was easy, and a lot cheaper to boot