Sunday, 7 October 2018

In the Indy Man, 2018


  I had to make a choice this year, between Indy Man Beer Con and Sheffield Beer Fest. Having only missed one Sheffield fest since I was old enough to attend, have sacrificed my local CAMRA fest for the remarkable wonders of Indy Man. That isn't  reflection of the Sheffield CAMRA fest, which is excellent, its more a representation of my dire finances.

I did it cheaply mind. I bought only ten tokens (which may have been the minimum, but am not sure), and caught the coach both ways, walked to the fest and back into Manchester and only stopped to purchase a couple of thirds after. This meant leaving the house at 07.00 and getting back at 21.30! It was, as ever, absolutely worth the effort.

I had seen Dave Pickersgill on the coach but he wasn't getting there til later so I walked up on my own and then wandered around once I had my tickets to hopefully see folks that I knew. I started on a Burning Sky Arise, a session IPA from a range of theirs including BA imperial stout and about 5 different saisons. From here on in, as I was having two thirds an hour, it was DIPAs and imperial stouts all the way.

Having secured a seat in the Turkish baths part next to Verdant I headed for Cloudwater. who had been very pleased to announce a direct serve cold store for their beers directly behind the taps. I must say their DIPA was very refreshing and frighteningly easy to drink, alas all I know is it was their latest DIPA as when I asked what hops were in it as I couldn't read the label the barman said "I don't work for the brewery mate, am just pouring beer". Um....thats correct. The pump clip is right in front of you however!

I went for a wander to Loka Polly next and had a DIPA of theirs which may have been DDH Citra and Mosaic, and also bumped into Jules. It was her that told me about Indy Man back in 2013 so am always grateful for that, and pleased to see her. Her and her friends headed off to another brewery stall and I went into the third room where I found Jay, Chris B, Heather, Dave Unpro,, KateDave and later Dave P, along with Sue the brew. Here I enjoyed a Whiplash DIPA which had a name and a Circle of Snakes DIPA from Black Iris. This, as Jay confirmed, was one of the most green beers I have ever had hops wise! Such a good advert for fresh beer.

If you are wondering why I can't find details of all the beer names precisely, its because my app downloadable phone has bust so I only have a 2006 Nokia, and there were no paper lists out and about when I arrived. There is therefore some guessmories involved......

The next beer I tried was Wylam Mental State, or similar, and a third of their colab with Whiplash, before I headed back to sit in the baths room with a couple who were from earth, and to have a third of Verdant Don't Tell the Ferryman Barrel Aged imperial stout at 11.0%. Suffice to say this was an excellent dark ale, perhaps the first such style I have tried from one of my favourite breweries.

I also sampled a Hawkshead beer, am guessing it was a DIPA, although am not sure they do one, and also an Almasty beer - the same descriptors apply. We went for a wander round the food village and I bumped into John Clarke who very kindly gave me a taste of his massala chips - absolutely lovely! I also had a Lervig Supersonic DIPA, which was wonderfully easy drinking, in keeping with the unnoficial theme.

My last beer, to the best of my knowledge, was a Cloudwater System Failure colab DIPA with Bragby, or similar sounding brewery. This was very well balanced and tasty, and fresh as a dasiy.

Leaving at 16.15 I met up with Dave P outside and we walked back into town in the pissing rain til we gave up and we got a bus, before undertaking a rather lengthy wander to Tarrif Street and the Northern Monk refrectory Manchester. A couple of beers each were sampled in here before we made our way to the coach station and headed on the way home.

Once more I went to Indy Man and every beer I had was excellent and outstanding and the listed Victoria Baths remain one of the best places to have a beer festival anywhere. Well done to Indy Man Beer Con and their staff and the brewers for one again putting on an impeccable show!


Wee Beefy  

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Turning Point


       don't panic bar owners, the event of the title is not a declaration of temperance or other sobering horror. Instead its the name of an brewery. and everything. I am not about to give up luffly bose. I do after all want to retain one scintilla of pleasure from the suppurating sump of sewage that laps over my every sodden, heavied, footstep every stinking day of my life. Luffly bose kids. Luffly luffly was I?

Ah yes, Turning Point Brew Co. I think I first met these guys and tried their beer at the Indie Man Beer Feast in Sheffield back in March. I definitely remember trying their Disco King American Pale Ale at that event, long before becoming discombobulated and mistaking them for a brewery based in Liverpool instead of Kirbymoorside near York....

Their Tap takeover of Shakespeares was a fabulous affair, as (imaginably) previously noted, not least because I found out that I had them mixed up with an entirely different brewery. What was that brewery's name I hear you ask? I don't chufffing know. Neither did they, bless em. It was important to get it all cleared up regarding who they were at any rate...

On Friday when I was, once again, lucky enough to be in my second home, I tried a beer from Turning Point on "cask",. an old fashioned method of beer dispense. It looked like mud. It tasted like gold. Well, not in fact like gold, but it was bloody marvelous. A thick, unctuous potation, heavy with hops and dank of flavour. It was a perfect starter as well, being over 7%.

Add to that their Rainbow Road 3.0 % Citra nano IPA and their delicious Vision Quest Mosaic IPA  at 7.0% on keg, as well as their Afterglow De Molen colab, and you already have a fab line up of soup. I likes soup. Hoppy only of course. And Turning Point create chewy murky mud beers to delight and tingle all our tastebuds. I should point out that their beers are  unfined and unfiltered, for those who unwisely drink with their eyes, as per their website.

In truth I have never had a bad beer from Turning Point (and I must mention their mango and mint sour with Lost Industry, or whatever ingredients they put in it, which was exemplary). Its unusual to try so many styles of beer from a newish brewery and be resolutely impressed every time. The nano IPA was an absolutely fabulous low gravity session ale bursting to the gunwales with marvelous Citra goodness.

Here's hoping that Turning Point continue on their upward curve of product excellence for years to come, meaning I can enjoy their excellent beers on many more occasions in the future.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Three Tuns closes again, Star Pubs await new sacrificial lamb

Hello readers,

     am a bit late with this as always but I am sad to announce that once again the Three Tuns on Silver Street Head in Sheffield has closed down, awaiting a new manager to be driven nearly to madness and financial ruin by pushing the boulder of pub management up the hill of unavoidable failure.

I heard about this from my friend Reason who said he had witnessed Ed's resignation speech, in which he *may have claimed that Star and Heineken still made profit from the failing pub through tax rebates and write offs and other details I have since forgotten, whilst managers struggled under the yoke of pubco imperialism.

Am so sorry for Ed, and his staff, who took on the unworkable task of running this pub out of love and devotion to regulars only to see the exercise for the unwieldy deception that it is. I genuinely thought that through his and his staff's hard wok the Tuns may return to its glory days under Reet Ale Pubs but alas that is very unlikely to happen ever again. Pubco's don't want to run pubs, except for the absolute star performers. The others are just flat or house conversions waiting to happen.

 I had an interesting chat, possibly with Reason, but maybe with another human with a name, about how one could succeed running a pub or bar or venue for a pubco. The replying orator confirmed that they had chatted to a long term pub manager who advised that the best way to succeed was to not. As demonstrated by the Dog and Partridge under the stewardship of the Flynns, for whom I understand running a successful pubco pub was rewarded only with an increase in rent or other liabilities. The trick, my friend was told,  is to run the pub at about even or at a minor loss, keeping you under the pubco radar so that no increases in payments are generated. In effect, assuming that is true, its actually impossible to make a good living running a pubco house. Does that not strike anyone as madness?

Of course its much less like madness if one remembers the Star Inns how to theme a pub guide which I found online when researching the Church House in 2012. Unattributable stereotypical nonsense dreamed up in a tower in la-la land by robots who have never visited earth, or met real people. Am fairly sure the link is no longer active but searching Star Inns & Bars Three Tuns Sheffield brings up a link to their page about the pub and their "Is it for me" PDf guide to running a pub with them. Well worth a look, if you can forgive there being no mention of the costs of buying all drinks through them (Ed once told me he could buy Blue Bee beers through the pubco, but only at twice the price he could from the brewery, which he was not allowed to do).

I sincerely hope somebody does take on the Three Tuns and reopens it once again as a quality boozer, so that I have somewhere to go before the Shakespeares and Bar Stewards, Dougie has somewhere permanent to do his quiz, I have somewhere I can meet A-ray, Paul-Ray, Mr Bancroft and the Professor, and so that drinkers once more have a traditional centre of town boozer to relax in and socialise.

In reality however, given its four or five closures since I started drinking there, am expecting to be writing something similar in 6 to 12 months time.

Como siempre.

Beeficus the black

*am not certain of the details of the speech. My memories tell me this was said, so you can imagine how much verisimilitude that holds.....

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Beef and Charlie's South Sheffield saunter


    after last week's wander around Walkley, Crookes and Commonside on the Saturday, I met up with Charlie, formerly the beer blogger Ale Ambler, at the Sheffield Tap for a quick pint and an amble around Woodseats and Heeley on the Sunday. The weather was warm and sunny and the bus was due not long after we met up so we started on two halves of low alcohol, and I mean around 4% by that, beers for Charlie, and a slightly stronger one for me, being a pint of Vocation Chop and Change.

I had spotted two free tables in the sunshine a few minutes earlier, but a group of 3 had decided to take one of them whilst waiting for someone to fetch their drinks from the bar. Am not rude enough to do that, but if I had been we would have had a prime seat in the sun. Instead we sat near the doorway and supped our beers before heading to the bus station to catch the 18.

Despite being a Sunday and them deciding to change drivers the bus was 6 or 7 minutes late, and in no rush to set off. There was a delay in Herdings which had made the driver late, but the replacement saw no reason to try and make up time. We set off and headed on the puzzling route towards Woodseats and up Scarsdale Road before alighting at the stop before the Mount pleasant on Derbyshire Lane. The Mount Pleasant is a small traditional pub set just back from the road with two small traditional rooms and about five real ales. We each bought a pint of Moonshine and went to sit in the beer garden, soaking up the sun and carrying on our catch up. Charlie told me that he and his co-writers had discontinued their blog aswiftone when the founder died last year. He is still on Twitter and still loves photographing wildlife and said that not documenting his every drink had actually allowed him to enjoy his pub trips more. I assured him that I still very much enjoyed drinking, and that recording details, as regular readers will know, remained of secondary importance....

The moonshine went down well and we were soon setting off back towards Scarsdale Road. This was Charlie's second new pub, the Cross Scythes. I had a pint of Jaipur on cask whilst he had halves of Jesamine on cask and their Koln style (or Munchen?) lager on keg. We sat in the garden at the back soaking up the hops and the sunshine.  All the beers were on good form.

We headed for Chesterfield road next down the steep path, and were soon in the Tramshed, the third new pub for AA. One of the three thirds he wanted wasn't ready but he tried one from Brew York and a third of the BBnos Pale at 6.5% that I had a pint of. We sat in my usual spot and discovered that there is a small area out the back where people were getting some fresh air. We had a taster of the Brew York Tonkoko cream stout before we left as well.

Our penultimate stop came at the White Lion just down the road. I had recommended we sit in the snug on the left and I had a pint of the Hopscotch IPA and Charlie had the same. It was very enjoyable but you had to get used to the slight sour notes to it. It isn't described as a sour IPA but it wasn't offputtingly so either, on oddly enjoyable beer. I know Jon chatted to Charlie for a while, and both of us about his new venture in the building next door with Edd from Hopjacker - good things will be happening in Heeley soon!

Our final stop was the Rutland, where the AA has been a few times since Dave and Chris took over. He bought me a half of what might have been called Dane IPA from Puhaste but may equally likely have been called something different. He didn't get a drink as he had a lengthy train journey home to outside Barnsley.

After he left for the station I went up to The Blake to meet Steve and bumped into Reason and Dan, and supped a couple of pints of the Neepsend Demeter Spelt IPA which I thought was a cracking pint. The perfect end to our travels and a perfect end to the first weekend of the pay month! Once more I was able to show Charlie a raft of new pubs, all of which served excellent beer on cask and keg here in super sunny Sheffield!

Your very best health

Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Vikkie and Wee's Walkley wander


    on Saturday, the day after payday assuring me of having funds, myself and my fab chum Vikkie went for a wander, billed as Crookes and Walkley, but mainly Walkley, and including Commonside. Co-incidentally, I did mostly the same crawl with Ale Ambler Charlie about 5 years ago, and I met with him Sunday, but details of that are to come in my next post.

I was meant to meet Vikkie at 12.00 in town so left the house at 11.15. The 52a, which runs every ten minutes, when it can be bothered, arrived 30 minutes after I arrived at the bus stop. Things could only get better. After the bus swapped drivers I found Vikkie on High Street and we both boarded the bus I had been on and got off on the top of Crookes. Our first job was to look at how the new micropub was progressing. A neb through the window suggests its potential name may be the builders yard....

Our first stop was the Princess Royal. From a range of four or five ales I started on a pint of Blue Bee Jester and Vikkie on a half of Welbeck Harley, and we sat round the side in the sunshine admiring the views and the wildlife, along with our beers. From here we walked down to gawp at the former Olde Heavygate, R.I.P old friend, and then headed down to Commonside to pop in the Closed Shop. Those of you who know me well will have heard me say numerous times that I would NEVER set foot in this pub whilst Stancil had it, but, you can't judge without visiting. So Vikkie had a half of Saltaire something or other on keg and me a half of full of Dank on cask, and we sat in the sunshine in the beer garden. The beer was OK. It wasn't very busy. Maybe the locals have taken a harder stance than myself.....

Across the road to the Hallamshire House and we sat in their beer garden with a pint of Hacksaw pale for me and a pint of Tangarine lager or ale for Vikkie. Both beers were well kept and we planned our route for the rest of the crawl. Ironically, heading up School Road we bumped into none other than the man of Ash, former manager at the HH. It was great to hear that his tenure at the Beer Engine was going well, and he provided some advice about our later destinations.

Up to the Cobden View next and being mid afternoon the pub was very quiet. After a somewhat lengthy wait we ordered a pint of Deuchars for me and a pint of Farmers for Vikkie and went and sat in their wonderful beer garden, enjoying the hot sunshine. After a quick scrump of some pears we headed down the path at the back onto Western Road then up past Binghams and back down to Commonside, then along to the Rose House.

When myself and Charlie had been they had two real ales on, and it still advertises that in paint on the wall but am not sure thy have served cask for two or three years now. We sat in the garden with halves of Guinness St James' Gold, which was on sale at a decent £2.60 a pint. After listening in on an urban soap opera, we headed on to the Palm on Palm Street.

Two real ales on here, and we both went for halves of Farmers Blonde and went and sat in their  beer garden. The location was lovely, especially in the hot sun, but the beer alas was on its very last legs. We chatted to the landlady for some time about Punch but forgot to mention that it was time for her Farmers to retire. A quick visit next to the Florist, which no longer sells real ale so we had halves of Magnet in their beer garden, before we visited the Blind Monkey. Probably a pint each of Heathen in here, and once again enjoyed in the hot sunshine in their garden!

A quick hoik up Carr Road followed and we settled down to our best beer of the day in the Walkley Beer Co. I had a pint of IPA at 6.8% that had been brewed at a brewery and had a name, and finished on a can of Cloudwater Citra DIPA. Vikkie also had drinks, which were imbibed from a glass.

We were to have popped in the Blake, once again utilising their beer garden, but were fair famished so headed straight for the Hillsborough Hotel for food. Unfortunately they weren't serving food, so we had crisps and enjoyed our pints of beer coloured liquids in the beer garden. Obviously.

Sup finished I know I got on a bus and there is every chance that I got home, so it was a case of mission accomplished. The Walkley Beer Co was the best pub of the day but the Hallamshire House and Cobden also stood out amongst many. Many reasons to make a visit to some or all of the pubs yourselves whilst the weather is still good!


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Beef and Dave's new bar tour


  three weeks or more ago (continuing a theme of reporting tarriance) myself and Davefromtshop met up to do a crawl featuring new venues to him. Dave has lived outside Chezvegas now for years and there have been many new openings in the time since. Meeting at 18.00 as we were it wasn't possible to try them all so we started at Bar Stewards, and headed for the Blind Monkey, and saw how we did for time as we went along.

I arrived prior to Dave and had been drinking already - including the sumptuous and amazing Morning Lemon lemon lactose ale at Hop Hideout from Glen Affric brewery, based in Liverpool, not in the wonderful glen or at the top of Mam Sodhail, as you wouldn't expect. I started on a can of "Sprite", which was sufficiently alcohol free but not as good as the Morning Lemon. Soon Dave joined me and I went on to a pint of the Blue Bee Solo Geek Story which was brewed for the Bar Stewards first birthday, and laden with mosaic hops. It was expectedly excellent.

From here we headed to the Old Workshop. Dave was immediately impressed by the decor, I was immediately smitten by the beer range. We had three beers in all, one of which was Scottish, and identifiable by a a name and evidence of whom brewed it. I think it was Cromarty actually. Memories eh? What are they? Guesses. Get over it.

From here we headed along Burton Road and over the Don to Church. They had a Cloudwater on keg, but it was 6.5% and £8.00 a pint. Dave went for a half a Black Iris Endless Summer which was also over a pound a percent, but less noticeable, and I had the last of a pint of Hopjacker, which is unfined. A fact which completely eluded the barman who warned me that it was near the end of the barrel because it was cloudy. Erm.....

Once again the architecture and design wowed but there appears to be a significant gap in beer knowledge between Church and the Old Workshop. Next was a lengthier walk to the Double H. Not a new pub as a such but when Dave had last visited it was owned by Wood Street brewery. We definitely had two pints of a pale beer in here, and they were sensibly priced and well kept. Identities thereof have as yet to filter through the haze of misrememberance which is my memory. I think they were both the Yorkshire Pale from Helmsley brewery. Or something similar.....

A stout yomp up the hill brought us to the Blind Monkey. Dave hadn't been to its former guise as the Firwood Cottage since the 1980s so the transformation was even more stunning to him. We both had pints of heathen on keg. Well, at least, I did. We sat out in the crowded beer garden supping and taking pictures. One thing the Blind Monkey is doing really well is attracting a local crowd, all of whom seem to love it. Sterling work on their part.

Further up the hill alas the Walkley Beer Co is back to its Thursday opening so as this was a Wednesday it was shut, so we jumped on the bus to town and went for a last one in the Sheffield Tap, just because it was nearer Dave's train. Am not going to even try and guess what we had. I know I had a pint and a half though, as I stayed behind after Dave had left.

There is an Ecclesall Road, Beer Engine Clubhouse and then 95 to Walkley section of the crawl to do next time, and by then one would hope the micropub on Crookes may have opened. As ever, drinking venue options in Sheffield ebb and flow and ultimately increase with every coming season, keeping us all on our libationary toes!


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 11 August 2018

A Fine, Friday, Sheffield crawl


      not yesterday, as am always a week behind, but the first Friday in August, I arranged to meet Christingpher at the Portland House on Ecclesall Road. Given that he had never been there, and we hadn't seen each other for five months, he agreed. I left my appointment nearby around 14.00 and having been unable to find any opening times was surprised to see C standing uncomfortably outside the closed pub. Christingpher still hasn't been to the Portland House. Does anybody know if its still open?

We headed instead to the Ecclesall Ale Club and found Dylan behind the bar, and soon had a pint and a half of Bad Seed Juice Box on keg. I had thought of trying the Burnt Mill beer but was offered a taste of the Bad Seed and it was a perfect juicy IPA. I sat outside with C supping and chatting before he decided to head off after a half - he was driving.

My next stop was the Garden Room, which was offering a beer called Cheers at £2.00 a pint. It was a keg pale and brewed by Thwaites. It was a decent drop, and between 17 and 19.00 they have cask on at £2.50 a pint, this time including Jaipur. Alas I couldn't stay around but may pop back. I like the Garden Room, in a weird way. Its like a Brit owned Spanish bar in Yorkshire. If they don't do roast beef and Yorkie puds I will be very disappointed.  

The Beer Engine came next and the pub is currently being managed by the Man of Ash. As always there was an excellent range of beers, and I had halves of BBno's session IPA and a sour, which was also brewed at a brewery.  I also had a small plate to put me on til later. It was ham and manchego and Dijon mustard potato croquettas. They were fab.

A rarer stop for me next at the Clubhouse. Having ordered a tasty pale ale I was disappointed to find a five pound limit on the card machine, but stumped together over £3.00 in loose change and got the pint a little cheaper. I did think about having more snap but was conscious of time as I was headed for my second home. The beer was well kept and refreshing.

I walked to the Railway on Bramall Lane next. I may only ever have been in winter because this was the first time I had sat in their beer garden. A pint of pale cask was accompanied by a pint of Abbeydale Heathen on keg, and some snacks. A fine stop once again. I did hope to visit the Cricketers, but it was closed, and have been told by those in the know that he only opens matchdays now.

A wander onwards found me at the Lord Nelson, also a first visit for some time. I had a pint of pale ale on cask which was served in a glass, and which entered my throat through my mouth. Am just trying to provide an absurf and unnecessary level of detail in order to pretend that I have clear memories of this event. The beer was very nice as always, and I paid on card.

From here I walked to Shakespeares where I finished on other glass housed liquids. As I was too poorly organised to take any photos am not sure what I had but Friendache tells me it was Boon Kriek. So that will have been a pint then. Evidence of photos in my garden the next day also tells me that I got home, which is where I continue to live. This also what I mostly managed to achieve on Saturday and Sunday...

Its always nice to revisit pubs that one hasn't been to for some time, and with such a massive range of good quality boozers here in Sheffield that is often the case. A big three cheers to all the pubs visited for the continuing efforts to water and feed the thirsty drinkers of Sheffield.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Remember when beer was bottle conditioned?


     I wondered if many of the readers of this blog under the age of 30 know of or less likely still have tried, and even less likely still, have enjoyed, a bottle conditioned ale?

I had a chat back in March with one of the brewers from Northern Monk (it may have been April) about putting bottle conditioned beers in the fridge to reduce its liveliness, and then opening it cold and allowing it to return to room temperature. He seemed concerned. What bottle conditioned beer are you drinking nowadays? I had to think.....Durham Temptation I replied. He seemed to think that was the only one likely to be any good. He is probably right. And its three years since I last had one. I may have met them in May. These are just months after all....

In 1995 I started working at Archer Road Beer Stop, Sheffield's first real ale off license, then just changed from Small Beer, as Davefromtshop had taken over. In 1995 I believed that bottle conditioning was the future of beer. I know. Don't judge me. And this was despite a horror show of evidence to the contrary. If putting live yeast in a cask and expecting strangers in multiple venues to know how to keep it and to avoid multitudinous naturally occurring happenstances that may ruin a beer is risky, then doing the same with a bottle is surely madness.

Then there were the rules. Chill it first, open it col.d Certain beers, such as Burton Bridge Empire Pale Ale, needed chilling for a day, and then to be poured into two steins to hold the froth. Much beer had issues with the yeast used (who chooses to put yeast in a beer that you can't drink?) which would either die, go rank through other issues such as light or temperature, and then needed to be poured away. Usually with the rest of the contents of the bottle. Apart from King and Barnes and Marstons, and the ever so lively Burton Bridge, oh, and Durham, most bottle conditioned ale, or BCA, was to be avoided at all costs.

Although the Belgians seem to know what they are doing with it.....

This realisation of the pooernes of BCA in part prompted me to write the following post here. All the way back in 2012. Having thought carefully about it I reckon there may only have been a handful of bottled beers, all aged, and very few purchased, that were BCAs, thereafter. And that isn't all down to the horrors of the Corvedale or Litton brewery bottled beers, all of which were senselessly bad.

Its mainly because, as of 2014 or 2015 when I first tried "modern" beer in a can, I have recognised that the type of beer I like to drink tastes better in a can. Nobody wants a BCA soupy IPA. Some such beers are bottled but very clearly implore you to drink fresh - spot on advice. I want to drink the freshest beer with the hops at their prime. And the likes of Citra, Mosaic and Centennial do seem to have extra citrus bitterness when freshly mashed. So gerrit supped!

I do still have  couple of old beers that I intend to drink, and some that, unlike most of my collection, may in fact be worth something so won't be opened, although that is a narrow market am sure. My 1994 Thomas Hardy Ale is reaching maturity next year and will be shared. The difference there is, the style is suited to ageing, and the yeast also. Its a work of art. It may not have a whole bagful of zesty hops but it will still be an interesting and hopefully enjoyable drop.

Apart from Durham, am struggling to think of breweries whose beers I like that I know still produce BCAs. Are BCAs dead? No. And for different reasons, not all positive. They don't however end up in my monthly beer shop nowadays, with far far better potations on offer in can.


Wee Beefy.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Antisocial co-dependence

Hiya Kids! Welcome to the funfair of despair......

            Obviously, those who know me know that the above is my pet name for work. so its unlikely you will visit said park. Its just that having chosen the title of this amble through ideas I realised it may not sound like a tremendous spasm of fun to read. I mean, its not, but I have tweaked it in my head since meaning to write it four months ago when I first espied the two characters described in the title. On reflection, it no longer seems appropriate to jest....

The above caveat is somewhat undermined by my wanting to describe the couple as the old man who dresses like he is 29 in the seventies and the incredible shitting woman. In fact, its a socially oblivious man in his mid fifties dragging his elderly incontinent and usually incoherent Mother around pubs in Kelham Island until she wants to go home. Usually about ten minutes after they arrive. A chance discussion last week using the ISW descriptor resulted in a comment that made me think about the underlying dark tones of this unusual pub relationship, when someone said it wasn't  her fault, it was her son taking her out in no fit state so he can get drunk. Am afraid that is right. Please bear that in mind whilst reading, lest you think I may be enjoying this description of events. Its really a cautionary tale of what happens when a relationship becomes skewed in one half's favour, and the pub is the only place the stronger feels safe.

I was sat in my second home and a man wandered to the bar with an elderly woman. She was wearing slippers, a woolly pullover and loose fitting jogging bottoms. There was an odour. He was wearing a 1970s baseball cap, a shirt, wide legged trousers hoist over his belly with a tight belt and gola trainers. He ordered his Mother a glass of cordial or a tea, I can't remember which, and himself a pint of Stancill, and sat down in earshot. I took a long swig of my cloudy post 8% hoppy soup. Its like I knew.

A man still at the bar, probably older than the bloke, was on his mobile phone. This prompted our  societal orator to bemoan the reliance on mobile communications by "the young". The switch had now been flipped.  His Mother shifted uncomfortably at the table....

His next treatise was on expensive modern beers, and how the Stancill was expensive at £2.60 a pint, and how the young had no idea what they were doing wit their money. Ripe for an argument, I willed him to ask me how much my drink cost. He didn't. Instead he bemoaned the flavour of Stancill, before ordering a far more traditional pint. Of keg cider. Which he quickly despatched. Two pints down, and we were ten minutes in.

His Mother made a bid for freedom under the guise of heading for the toilets. On her return he berated her about modern life choices and philosophies, particularly those of the young. Jealousy is a very poor character trait,  although, sometimes its obvious where its seeds have been sown. "I want to go ome" his Mother said. "Not yet dear, am just going t get another pint" Do you want another drink? "No". Cue chuntering. And another five minute pint. And another rant about the poor quality flavours in modern beer. If only it were 1956. Instead of him just looking like he was still there....

After another pint, he declared he was getting a further one, and I decided to leave the odd show of social awkwardness and co-dependent ambiguity. It wasn't possible to determine if his Mother was being antisocial I should point out. She was just ungladdened to be out. He was trollied. His espousals were even less considered. He was certainly being antisocial.

Seeking refuge over the road in Bar Stewards I had purchased a can of hoppy soup. To my dismay, the odd coagulation of dystopian relationships shambled in. A strange discourse took place between the young wishing old guy and a member of staff. In the end Colin, as I had called him in my head, had another pint of cider. His Mother had a soft drink, later followed by amoebic dysentery. I had left by this stage.

I saw them twice more in the next month, at Shakespeares once again, no doubt bemoaning the cost of the Stancill, and at the Wellington, no doubt bemoaning the arrival of the 1970s. Colin was definitely in charge, and the trespass against his Mother's needs became ever more apparent. Looking back now I can see this melodrama for what it is. A man struggling to look after his semi continent Mother and longing to get hammered in front of other people, who may see the quagmire of his failures and scoop him and his Mother free of them.

I realise this is only slightly about beer and pubs but I do think that it reflects the role that the pub can play in some people's lives. For half the cost and much less mess he could care for his Mother at their home and get far more hammered at much less cost to her dignity and wellbeing. That his need to display this unequal arrangement of care and his bubbling disquiet in the pub says much about the fact that pubs are simultaneously places to meet and drink with friends, as well as a refuge for people with serious and oft overwhelming needs. A strangely impersonal shoulder to cry on.

I dearly hope that somebody who knows them has reported their concerns to social services, assuming they still exist, and that some action has been taken or support offered to meet both their differing needs without the compulsion to cry for help through the lengthy scenes on this maudlin tapestry of regret.

I haven't seen either of them for three months or more. Deep cleans of all Kelham Island's pub's toilets have taken place. There are still symphonies of nonsense, but none upon which so much hangs. I do hope they have found some respite in the midst of their struggles.


Sunday, 29 July 2018

Bar Stewards turns one year old


      although Al and Charlie have been open to the public for longer, its was a year ago yesterday that they got their full license at Bar Stewards on Gibraltar Street, opposite Shakespeares. To celebrate, a marvelous line up of ales on cask and keg and in bottle and can were amassed, live music was performed, three seasons of weather took place and crowds of thirsty wellwishers drank in the pub and beer garden.

The lads had been busy brewing a couple of special beers, including Solo - a geek story, a 6.6% pale brewed at Blue Bee, and a hazy 6.9% IPA brewed at Lost Industry called Ingenious Bar Stewards. Am not sure I tried that, but arriving at 14.30 I started on the Solo on cask as soon as I arrived. It was a wonderfully hoppy ale, and ticked all the boxes for what I wanted and expected.

Given the mad rain and thunder in the Friday morning the air was cooler and more rain was forecast, so I had to wear a short over my Tee Shirt. In fact, it was already starting to rain when I arrived, and some of the flags in the front window blew down early on, giving some notice of the weird weather that awaited us. Initially I sat inside but once joined by Vikkie and Matt we went outside where the strong sunshine had dried the seating and the number of visitors increased quickly. Although, four older gents came across the road from Shakespeares earlier and were horrified to discover that the weakest of the three casks was 5%. They left. I know they may have been on an all dayer but they could have had halves, silly old fuffers.....

I had half a Deya next, another cloudy golden swig of hops from Cheltenham's finest, before I persuaded Vikkie to buy me a pint of Verdant Even planets twinkle, or similar, a fabulous murky DIPA at 8.5%. It was, unsurprisingly, wonderful. Although I didn't dare look at how much it cost.....

A couple of cans followed, one of which was a Loka Polly DIPA featuring some of my favourite but thus far unremembered hops, and I had another half of the Verdant, and possibly shared a can of Verdant Neal gets things done. Or possibly not. I think the mini beer tasting I had Friday night and three consecutive nights drinking prior to that may have muddled my brain a little, resulting in  a modicum of misrememberance....

A couple of heavy showers fizzed over us, sending some scarpering inside as if made of sugar, but we simply stayed put and got wet, and as the crowds got ever bigger Stumbling Andy played blues guitar, whilst we and others petted his dog. Rich and Kath turned up, as did clan Seaton and Unpro, and there were numerous other well known members of the scene including Pete, and Andy Morton. It seemed as if everyone wanted to wish the Stewards the very best, and Vikkie and Matt even got them a birthday card featuring some of Matt's finger on window handiwork!

According to texts I sent to Tash I was home by half 8 so probably left bout 19.50 after just over five hours supping. Since the Solo at 6.6% was probably the weakest beer I drank all day its hardly surprising that I neither remember getting home, nor cooking and eating my tea. I did though, so there.

New micropubs continue to open in Sheffield with a number since Bar Stewards started out in early 2017. It seems the demand for small independent places to drink free of tie remains unabated, with proposed new venues in Hillsborough and Crookes on the cards. Through dedication, hard work and a genuine love of beer the Bar Stewards have built their reputation and created a reputable and reliable place to drink, meet and chat with similar minded folks.

Heres wishing them many more years of growth and excellence ahead.


Wee Beefy