What's a SMOD?

SMOD is a nickname given us by our earliest customers, and simply stands for our name: St Mars Of (the) Desert. We now use it as an adjective, for which we apologise.

What is the difference between SMOD beers and beers I can purchase in a supermarket?

This is a great question.  Most but not all beers in your supermarket are price-driven, meaning they cannot afford to use even the basic raw materials.  Sugar is added in place of some of the barley, hop extract products are added instead of hops themselves and so on. At the end of the day they are a sort of different beer that cost a lot less to make and can even exist on the fringes of what can be legally classified as beer.  SMOD uses the real raw materials and often gives you more than what tradition dictates. This is real beer from a small family brewery.

Where did you get the brewery name from?

When we were searching for a location for our new brewery we looked at 75 cities and towns in four countries.  One early site that we were very keen on was in a village called “Saint Mars du Desert” in the Pays de la Loire region of northwest France. While we didn’t buy the farm there - the name stuck.

I’ve been to your taproom and the beers are very foamy.  What’s up with that?

This is true. We serve our beer with a great cap of foam that billows from the rim of the glass.  The reason is that there’s no better visual indicator that you’re about to receive a quality beer experience than seeing this foam. First of all, a cheaply made beer doesn’t have enough protein and hops to create a nice lasting foam.  Secondly, beer doesn’t foam if it’s served from a filthy draft line or tap.  Thirdly, beer does not foam if it’s served in a filthy beer glass. So always look for the foam!

(Small disclaimer: some beers just don't hold foam, for example sour beers).

Why is your beer fizzier than others?

Our beers are naturally fizzy from the CO2 bubbles created during fermentation.  These bubbles are kept back into our beer much in the same way “real ale” gets its bubbles.  Our beer contains NO added carbon dioxide. The difference is that our beer does not rest with its pressure released in a pub. It is just simply squeezed out of a keg or can.

Is your beer Vegan friendly?

Yes, all of our beers are vegan friendly.

Why Sheffield?

As you may have read above - we looked at 75 cities, towns and villages before we “found” Sheffield.  If you live in Sheffield you know why.  If not, nothing to see here.  Boring, don’t move here. Yucky.

What’s a “koelschip”?

Okay we’ll ignore the fact that Dann wrote a billion word blog all about “koelships”.  In England they’re traditionally called “flat coolers” but obviously the German or Dutch “koelship” is much cooler.  All you need to know is that it’s a shallow bathtub-looking vessel where the “beer” goes to cool just after the boil.  It’s where we add a lot of hops, which is kind of our thing. It has a mythical reputation for making unique beers.

What is a foeder?

A “foeder” is simply a large wooden vessel that is used the same way as a stainless steel fermentation tank.  Various lovely microbes can nestle in the wood over time (from previous batches of beer) and make a more distinctive character unique to each vessel.  We ferment all of our sour beers and stingos in a 100 year old, former Barolo (red wine) foeder.

What is yeast?

Yeast is a fungus that has the ability (in the case of beer) to convert sugar into alcohol and CO2.  So no yeast, no beer.  It also creates amaaaaazing flavours, thanks to generations of small breweries using specific yeasts and adapting them to their specific breweries. And yes, fizzy is all natural.