A weekly look at the draft selection in beer-friendly bars across the country... and occasionally beyond.
"We don't see many Yanks around here," says a bartender as he pours a couple pints.
True, Sheffield, England is not a tourist epicenter in the United Kingdom. Due east from Liverpool and about 160 miles north of London, the former steel hub is better known for its working-class roots and recent economic redevelopment than for attracting much worldwide attention.
However, the city has spawned a number of prominent music acts over the years, including Def Leppard, the Arctic Monkeys and synth-poppers the Human League. The 1997 international hit film The Fully Monty was even set in Sheffield.
The Rising Sun is a friendly brewery pub (not to be confused with a "brewpub") on the west side of town. They are directly associated with Sheffield's Abbeydale Brewery, meaning they always have five of their unique ales on the handpumps (as opposed to a "brewpub" which brews its own beer on the premises). In addition, the Rising Sun features a rotating selection of seven other real ales from guest microbreweries around the country.
In England, cask-conditioned beer is known as real ale and has a rich history, as the tradition of the English pub predates fancy, modern refrigeration. Ales were far more commonly (and easily) brewed and kept cool by storing kegs in the pub's cellar. Handpumps (or beer engines) brought the liquid to the pint using natural human power instead of any forced carbonation. Some stodgy types, in fact, only refer to real ales as "beer" -- pretty much anything else is a "lager."