Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Two new and three old faves


     yesterday, down exclusively to the kindness of others, I was able to complete another crawl in Sheffield featuring two bars new to me and one not visited for some time. I started at lunchtime where myself and Middlemarch were planning on going to the Bhaji Hut on Ball Street - alas they don't open lunchtimes on a Tuesday so we opted for the Stew and Oyster round the corner. As Middlemarch is a caring friend and is worried about my fragile hold on mortality she refused to buy me any bowze, so this is a short review. The stew we had was very tasty, as was the hot brownie and ice cream dessert. I will howver have to return to try some booze in there....

After meeting Matt for enquiries at the council, and a trip to Beer Central where he bought me my Christmas present, we nipped down o the Lord Nelson on Arundel Street.  Have not been in for some time, and they have had a repaint in this back street watering hole, but little else seems to have changed, and I recognise the guy behind the bar from my first visits in the late nineties/early noughties. A cracking pint of Sonnet 43 was my choice whilst Matty had a pint of Azaca from Milestone.

Next we wandered to the Rutland Arms where Matty got to espy the new bar arrangements and we had a half each - he of the Chorlton Double Sour, and I a half of the Ultje Double IPA. The DIPA was very easy to drink and had an aftertaste of goosegogs, although, my tastebuds are slightly sqewwiff at the mo so it may have been another fruit. The Double sour was immense. An exemplary proponent of the sour style.

Our next stop was a new one again. The Dorothy Pax had slipped under my radar until last year when I read about it in the sheffieldalepubs blog after the gent very kindly named me his beer blogger of the year. It had not been open full time for long and it was only yesterday that I got to visit. Its good first of all to have a pub selling good beer down at Sheffield Quays. I never went to the Tom Cobleigh pub co venue there, but heard it was pretty grim so its nice to finally have a good reason to go.

Arriving soon after he had opened we found owner Richard ( |I think) Henderson apologising for his unkempt sweaty appearance and for any mess - I have to say I had noticed neither, but was immediately drawn to the bar. Abbeydale Daily Bread, a cider, a beer I have since forgotten and, as chosen for a pint by me and Matty both, Dark Star Hophead Loral, on at £3.00 a pint. I have no idea of Fullers plans for this fabulous small brewery but I foresee changes - best then to sup it whilst its still independent and brewing good beer.

The Loral was on excellent form and we got sat near the small heater and got chatting to Mr H and some of his regulars who may have been called Chris, or one of any number of other human male name. There was also a very large dog.

I tried not to describe the bar as a micropub because as Richard said himself, its just a space which he has imposed his own ideas upon, but in many ways its micropub in style. They are currently awaiting to have a keg 6 line font on the back of the bar, but before then its three real ales, three kegs and a cider. The Loral went down very well indeed, and it will be interesting to see what types of keg beers he gets on.

I finished the night after a lengthy walk through what soon after arriving became heavy snow to the Shakespeares, my second home. Matty had gone home by now and I finished off on a fantastic pint of cask Red Willow Weightless, as recommended by Adam and Brett-Morgan. I was somehow unaware of this beer having been on so regularly and rued having not tried it earlier. A wonderful, easy drinking perfectly balanced hoppy beer that I could have drunk all night....

Instead I had two thirds of the second BBno's DDH pale at 5.6% on keg, which was also excellent - very dry and superbly bitter. The perfect end to a fabulous night - and I got home safely in the snow....


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 25 February 2018

A short Sheffield pub ctawl

Hello all,

  don't worry, this isn't a post about short Sheffield pubs, its just the details of a short trip I had on Saturday to a few places to buy a small number of drinks. Being only yesterday there is a good chance I may even recall the details of all the beers I tried....

Having met relatives for a coffee in town earlier, and popped into Beer Central to pick something up, I headed for Hop Hideout, to wish Jules and Will a happy marriage (am not sure if that is what one says, but I said it to both!) and to have a couple of small drinks. I started on a half of the The Choice is Yours Export Porter, brewed by Blackjack, the Hop Hideouters and the Black Sheep Store at Blackjack Brewery in Manchester. Despite its strength of 6.7% the porter was really easy drinking - credit to all involved for a wonderful colab brew.

I also got a third of Magic Rock and Basqueland Brother Chucker IPA, a 6.7 colab with a wonderful aroma and a very satisfying taste. From here I caught the bus up to Archer Road Beer Stop. There were two real ales on, Wet Feb from Dancing Duck, and White Rose Blonde. As you may know you can't drink in but seeing as how I know Dave he invited me in for a catch up and very kindly bought me a couple of pints of the Dancing Duck beer, which was on top form.

From here I walked along Archer Road and up the road on the left Cawthorne Grove to come out and visit the Ale House. This is my third visit since it was taken over by new management last year and once more didn't disappoint. Here I had a pint and a half of Whitby IPA. I have never tried any of their beers before and so went for my default style, and the beer was served in a Whitby branded glass.

The IPA was hoppy, although not overly so, but was very well kept, and it was an enjoyable end to my rather short crawl of three Abbeydale and Woodseats venues.

Just a final note, and that is that next time am up in the area am going to pop in the White Lion which Jon and Mandy have now been running for three years! Congratulations to them on turning the pub round and making it into a top boozer once again.


Wee Beefy

Monday, 12 February 2018

Pints from the few.....


  the title is continued by the words "pubs I have been to this month". As a direct result of financial and physical (more financial) constraints, am going out much less these days, and thus have less to report. Despite the above, here are some fragmented "memories" (guesswork) of pubs visited and ales consumed, since payday.

On payday I met up with Tash to see Matty off, and to go for a wander and buy some food items. This turned out to be thirsty work and so we ended up in "an boozer" for refreshments. That was the Sheffield Tap, where Tash had a coffee and I a pint of Alechemy pale ale, which had a name and everything. Suitably refreshed we headed for the Moor and then for coffee before I headed for the Devonshire Cat. They were having their Lines brewery tap takeover, and I was interested to try their beers.

There were five of their beers on keg and I started on a pint of the hop flux, a New England IPA at 5.1% "on oats". I didn't get to speak to the brewers so had no chance to ask for more details of what was on the different other ingredients. Am willing to accept there were oats in the beer....

I Also had a half of their DIPA which had Nelson Sauvin Citra and Mosaic in it, but it was a victory for expectation over delivery, with the hop flavour too subtle for my liking. Myself and Mr P who had joined me also tried the Lignes de Brux on Ekuanot which was a 6.1% hoppy wild yeast ale collab with Trois Dames brewery. Mr P also had a half of the Brux Trois collab with Track brewing. All were very interesting beers, but not ones I would necessarily choose over more recognised favourites given the choice.

Up next to the Bath Hotel for a pint of something which has since escaped me, in a virtually empty pub, before heading to BrewDog for a half of something hoppy and of Tiny Rebel Imperial Puft imperial marshmallow stout.B oth were excellent.

On the 1st I popped in the Tap and Tankard for the very last time (not knowingly since had planned to go Saturday) and had two pints of Don Valley Brewery Hitch Cock pale ale. Bumped into Kev and Bill who told me the pub was not going to be demolished as John Lewis has not agreed to move so the road wasn't going to be built. Research eh!  After an emergency stop for a pint of Little Critters in the Huntsman I finished in the Old Queens Head for a bowl of garlic soup and a pint of Little Critters King Crow Imperial Espresso stout. Delicious!

I also recently popped in the Three Tuns where I had a half of the Titanic Plum Porter, mainly because, alas, the Blue Bee had run out. Afterwards I headed to Shakespeares to await the arrival of Tash. I had a couple of pints of the Kernel Mandarina, Bavaria, Citra and Centennial IPA at 7% which was on wonderful form, along with a half of the Cloudwater DDH pale NZ Chinook and a third of the 2015 Buxton Tsar. All excellent potations to warm the soul.

Later I headed to the Bankers with Tash for a pint of the Little Critters Golden Pale, then to the Cavendish for two halves of Brooklyn East India Pale, and finished in the Bath Hotel with a half of the Electric Bear NZ pale.

My final jaunt was last Friday when Mr G very kindly invited me out for a few pints, knowing I had insufficient funds to buy my own. We started in Shakespeares where I had three pints of the excellent Kernel above, before some annoying people with loud voices and chips came into the Clock room, after an hour of which we decided to move on.

Bar Stewards was our destination and in here Mr G kindly bought me two pints of the excellent Verdant Bloom IPA at a price which alas was nearly £2.00 more than that of the Kernel which was stronger, across the road. As I reassured him, the beer would be beautiful - and it didn't disappoint. I also got to see Steve and Cicely or similarly/spelled named persons who I used to know years ago in Walkley. A fab night of excellent company and beers throughout.

Now begins the lengthy wait for next pay day, although I do have four cans of hoppy goodness in stock to tide me over until the money trickles back....

Your very good health!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Second stupidly delicious beers tap takeover at Shakespeares


    I was really pleased to have sufficient funds to nip out yesterday for a few halves at the title event, which was held at Shakespeares. My second home was full to bursting by 18.30 with the event itself starting at 17.00. Here are details of the beers I tried and folks wot I sore....

I started on a half of cask North brewery pale, with Mosaic and Ekuanot or maybe neither. It was a zesty refreshing opener which woke my palate up perfectly for the somewhat heavier beers ahead. The pub was already busy so I ended up with the corner table of lowness in the Clock room -remembering of course to sit sideways as I can't get my legs under its so low. People I recognise but don't know came in and slowly started taking the other chairs from the table before Dave Unpro and his friend whose surname may have begun with a C came and joined me, eventually with the other guy crammed into the corner.

I had enough money to buy a pint on card so my second was a no brainer - Cloudwater NE DIPA Citra and Mosaic at 8.5%. No surprises in terms of consistency, clarity and citrus hoppiness but the taste far outstripped what I was expecting, no doubt down to the wonderful hops used in the cloudy mix.

Having spotted Ally and Malc and the man whose name I always forget, (sorry Darren, whose name I have now remembered) I saw renowned rapper, MC and Audiologist Professor G-Thame. He said " the main thing is be sensible Beefy" as we discussed the merits versus dangers of supping keg Evil Twin Even more Jesus at 12.0%, which was one of the recent portents of doom which made me a little unsteady. The rugged patois and clanging beats of his advice rang onerously around my head as I surveyed the list, and caused me to decline a half of the 2015 Buxton Tsar at 9.5%. Luckily Wee Keefy who joined me later bought a half and I tasted some of that - it was phenomenal.

Next up, and influenced slightly by the bose choices of those sat around me, I had two more halves, both on cask. One was of the Howling Hops IPA New England Special at 6.9%, and the other was of the Lost Industry and Steel City Mojito sour, which was dry minted to improve the flavour. This was absolutely fantastic. It may have been one of the least beer like beers I ever tasted but the mint against the sourness was a perfect combo and it was obvious that this beer worked best on cask. The Howling Hops was a little disappointing alas.

As it was rumoured to be running out I had a half of Brewski Pango, a passionfruit, mango and pineapple IPA at 6%. The fruits used blended perfectly and there was a really satisfying aftertaste to this unusual but excellently produced pale ale.

By now the Cloudwater had run out and WK having been tasked with fetching it chose a sour - am not sure which it was but the Omnipollo Blanco Mango Lassi gose is as strong a contender as the Wild Blend 2017, a blend of 3 barrel aged sours. This cleared my palate perfectly but was in fact the last beer I tried as I felt I had consumed enough to head home with hops and fruits and  souring acids awake and fighting in my mouth.

Well done to Adam and Chris at Shakespeares and their team for once more providing a stellar line up of cask and keg ales to tempt the tastebuds and blow the mind. Hoping to see you all again soon.


Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Third pub victim of Sheffield Retail Quarter demolitions


      I don't want to become a Faceache beer blogger - that's my pet name for Facebook by the way, in case you had already decided faceache was a good description of my style. I say this because a post on the same is my inspiration for this article - apparently the Tap and Tankard pub is set to close in February after what may be four years in its current guise.

I have heard (also on Faceache, I kid you not) that the pub was on a short term lease, to be open only until the demolition work reached it. That can't be too far away now, since Henrys was demolished months ago and the bottom part of Cambridge street and Charles Street are now blocked off. This makes my original draught slightly wrong, since I tried to explain what might have led to the pub not making enough money to survive. That is clearly not why its closing, based on the above.

I hadn't looked at the proposals for the Retail Quarter development before, so was interested to look today at the wide reaching plans. One of the first links I found was the Hallamshire Historic Buildings website, including a section on proposed demolitions and a letter to the council from Historic England which opposed the planned scheme due to the demolition and loss of much of Sheffield's metal industry architectural heritage, shown  here. As highlighted, the protests of Historic England have been ignored, despite solid basis  including potential damage to and isolation of existing Grade 2 and Grade 2 star listed buildings on Cambridge street,  such as Leahs Yard, just up from the Tap and T. Sheffield council's previous disregard for protecting or retaining industrial era architecture in the city is well reported, so their rejection of the opposal of  Historic England comes as a sad, rueful but not remotely surprising outcome.

The plans do make mention of new cafes and bars but thus far we have lost two real ale venues (am counting Henrys and the Brewery bar as two by the way) and a brewery (albeit which never brewed) , with the Tap and Tankard going next. There are therefore three licenced premises lost to the redevelopment. The building replacing the Grosvenor Hotel is said to house HSBC staff, whom are expected to shop in town and eat and drink after working hours, but there are already less places to do that.

It is also possible that the Cutlers was never reopened as a pub given potential nearby demolition - this has now reopened as an art space and programming centre run as a not for profit community space called Dina. Am not going to say I liked the Cutlers, and I don't know why it closed, but could it not have reopened as a decent venue had it not been threatened?

The letter from Historic England to the council is included in pdf viewing format on the Hallamshire Historic Buildings website link above, and makes for interesting reading. Its well worth using the buttons in the bottom left to view the document as a whole. Much is made of the responsibility of the local council/plan submitters to consider the preservation of historic buildings in relation to their importance. Given the unbending desire to build this new and intrusive development and previous poor form regarding historic buildings, am fairly satisfied that little importance was attached to the grade 2 listed structures, and they were therefore considered with appropriate care and rigour in regards to proposals that could affect them once development had taken place. Historic England's suggestions for developing Leahs yard as a museum or heritage feature are much more appealing than being made into a tunnel of turgid , no doubt replicated eateries, as seems fearfully inevitable.

There is a link here to the list of buildings and features proposed to be demolished when Fargate is extended to become Upper Fargate. I have to say I am concerned by the scope and area of the demolition. Not least since, as previously reported, John Lewis had not agreed to their relocation when the plan was submitted, so the proposals at that point seem mainly to benefit HSBC who will have a brand new building. The only others to benefit may be the multitudinous puddle of coffee shops and takeaways that will pepper the numerous units created in this decimation.

Am sure there is the potential for this development to out perform the combined takings of the numerous trading businesses threatened by the proposed Retail Quarter. However, I can't imagine any new multi retailer development on such a grand scale being much different to any other similar sized sump of standardised shopping selections in other cities. And am similarly unconvinced that the development will afford the construction or establishing of the type of bar or traditional pub that I like to drink in. Demolishing three such venues will of course make the latter even harder to achieve.

It is of course important to be honest about the Tap and Tankard. Although there were some high points and features to savour, it is interesting for me to reflect that the period the Tap and T was open mirrors the changes to my tastebuds. I now drink less cask, much more keg and far more canned ale. One member of staff who may have worked for Kelham Island brewery did strive to get hoppy real ales on there, at my kind of strength and at a competitive price, but he didn't work there long and after a while the beer range became quite timid and disappointing. As my focus shifted to the Tuns and Shakespeares I ended up being less attracted to Kelham beers, and the less exciting guests the Tap and T had on, and drunk in the area less often.

However, against the background of knowing it was to be flattened under a new road am actually quite impressed with what Kelham did with the Tap and T. Despite my beer choice gripes this was a great example of a traditional back street boozer in the city centre, along with the Bath and Red Deer, and was a great place to go during the day to have a quiet relaxing pint and an excellent pork pie.

The pub is set to close on Saturday night February 3rd and they are inviting customers old and new to go along and have a final rink before it closes.

I will be there for a slake myself, cursing as I do the council planners and the international language of banking, in the same hoarse, bitter, breath.

In sadness

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Little Critters Brewing Co


   I think its fair to say I was underwhelmed by my first taste of Little Critters beer. I may even have referenced the "full mash" brewing style beloved of Whitbread's regiment of brewpubs in the 80's and 90s. I was pleased to see that it was well priced, but it wasn't until they brewed their Hazelnut Milk porter at 6.0% that I started to take any serious notice. This has been joined in their range by the 6.5% C Monster, which, their website tells us, features Columbus, Centennial, Chinook and Cascade hops in the mix. Regular readers my realise that this combination of hops and strength makes me a happy chap.

I may be wrong but am sure there has been more than one version of C monster with different hops - there are certainly two pumpclips. If anyone can confirm that would be much appreciated. On Saturday I was meeting Wees K and F, Tash, Mumraah, Meathouse and Martin for a birthday celebration for my Mum and Tash at long time haunt the Ball on Crookes. The C Monster was on cask at £3.40 a pint at 6.5%. I had three pints, and it was excellent.

I had found recently that every time I went into Shakespeares, with few exceptions, I had looked at the keg line up first. The last time I was in they had the Kernel pale on at 7.0% or similar for £5.40 a pint. This has been the standard Kernel price for a couple of years now and represents  good value for money. Alas I cannot recall which hops were in the mix, although there may be a piccy on Faceache..... (update, their post says Mosaic, Simcoe and Ekuanot. It was absolutely ace, I can confirm).

The point is, there are in fact excellent cask hoppy ales, but less so than on keg and in can or bottle, which does not have a k in it. Northern Monk Heathen and Neepsend Double Centennial (or century) are notable exceptions but am drawn to cask less than I used to be. This means that the C monster, with a decent level of IBU and wonderful hops list, is a reliable fall back when in pubs of um...less stature. That regards beer choice I hasten to add, before anyone gets knicker-twisty.

For years we have had many small micro and nano breweries in Sheffield but apart from Blue Bee, Steel City and Abbeydale, very hoppy strong pale ales have been hard to come by in many pubs. Recently however the scope and reach of the three previously mentioned brewers has extended, as has that of Little Critters, meaning a hophead like myself now has a choice of decent quaffable lupilous pints in many more boozers.

Lets hope this trend continues, so that I am able to go out to different pubs once in a while and still come home hop sated every time.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 13 January 2018

New Year's new beers

Good evening,

  I haven't been out that often this year so far. No Dryanuary nonsense or dark artistry at work here, just restricted by  lack of funds. I have however, tried lots of lovely new beers on those two nights out, thus.

I picked up the other half of the humongous box of beers I had bought from Beer Central last week and headed to the Rutland Arms. I hadn't gone in specifically to see their new bar fonts but I have to admit I was impressed. New bar, same pub, great pub. Despite the longer length of the keg font displayeriser I was assured that they had exactly the same number of keg beer on, but now they would be easier to spot and choose. The handpumps are also more together. No problems with the beer range either, I had halves of the Northern Monk Patrons Project something point numbery which I recall was a citra lager. Facts aside it was excellent. The other half was better still - the Buxton Centennial IPA at 7.0%. Its the first of these single hop IPA's I have seen (I think they have Simcoe on at the mo) and since I love Centennial this was understandably a fabulous hoppy pale ale. All good at the Rutland it seems.

Not too far away I went to the Old Queens Head, partly based on info they posted on Faceache about a beer they had on. It was reasonably busy and I got the last table in the back, looking at the fine Christmas tree and over to the fireplace and sat down with some crisps to enjoy my pint. Hopjacker Medved is an imperial stout with a hint of chilli and weighs in at 7% but is troublingly easy to drink. So much so that I had two pints.

As any fule kno, Medved is Czech for bear, hence the ursine beasty on the pumpclip. Matty (who with Tash share the name of the beer, although Nedved is slang for bear am led to believe) was worried about the chilli as he doesn't like it in beer but he needn't have been. The roasted malt and creamy texture were simply tickled by an underlying subtle heat, finishing this excellent beer off perfectly.

My other foray was to home number two, Shakespeares. I had arranged to meet Davefromtshop there already, so was pleased to see on Faceache that they had the excellent Deya Falling into Place DIPA at 8.3% on keg. Arriving late, and as Adam noticed at pretty good speed, I was asked at the bar by a gent I didn't know if he could buy me a pint. Being short of funds I agreed and so started on a pint of the Abbeydale Voyager IPA. I started on a cloudy hop packed beer, and continued thus. Dave was somehow persuaded to buy me a further pint of the Deya and I may have had a third before moved onto bottles.

I tried the Basqueland and Lervig Nor Jose pale ale on Adam's recommendation, and it didn't disappoint, and we finished by sharing a can of the Evil Twin Even More Jesus imperial stout at 12% or whatever sledgehammer strength it is. A fab finisher, although I would suggest the emphasis should be on finish, since the amalgam of ale and cold air combined with my unsteadiness resulted in not one but four falls onto the ground in the short distance from Shakepeares to taxi and taxi to house....

So, Tryanuary despite its restrictions is underway, and I have already tried five new beers from a total of seven consumed. Don't give up the fight pub drinkers!


Wee Beefy  

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Once a year drinkers?

Good moaning,

       in a moment of lucid mollification earlier, an event which occurred in the twenty minute fight for warmth twixt waking and rising, I realised that I have been labouring under a delusion, or had fallen into the comfortable armchair of a pub conversation trap. Not subject to any malice you understand, but I had started agreeing with the claim that the worst people to find in a pub at Christmas and New Year are the much vaunted "once a year drinkers".

Firstly, the time of year I am thinking about this phenomena occurring is between Mad Friday and New Year's Eve. The three worst days in that period are Mad Friday, Christmas Eve, and New Years Eve. Straight away therefore, the phrase "once a year drinkers" seems awry. Unless these fearful of bowze roustabouts congregate in such mass that there are sufficient in their group to individually affront us on each of the above three days?

I spoke in my last post about the unpleasant nature and behavior of large groups of imbibers near Christmas, or in what am now going to called the new year era, or new yeara. The unpleasantness unleashed mainly on bar staff but often other customers (who may or may not be reguluzz) is widely thought to stem from once a year or novice drinkers.

Now I know a fairly large number of folks from different backgrounds, and with different levels of supping experience. I can only think of one who maybe only goes out in the New Yeara. They might fall foul of over indulgence, and perhaps also bail early upon that realisation, but the deplorable characteristics displayed in this period are not theirs.

When I was 19, so had been drinking regularly for two years (this is a fact, but not a boast I should point out) I used to go on a lengthy pub crawl on Christmas and new Years eve with  my regular drinking buddies. Did we get drunk? Yes. Was this because it was Christmas or New Year? Yes. We saw it as our duty to consume an insensible amount of alcohol because of religious doctrine and public holidays. We often screang (screamed and sang that is) loudly, although mostly in tune, in pubs and on streets (sorry if you lived in Crookes in the nineties and heard someone screaming Nirvana songs in the early hours, that was me....). We talked loudly, staggered and swayed, and made unprovable claims of our abilities in numerous areas of life, including insobriety. That was, however, the limit of our trespass.

I know time makes ones memories rosier, but I don't remember us ever getting into a fight, only once being asked to leave, and never being abusive to staff. Well, there was one time in the Springfield, but that was our regular spot and this in no way mitigates our behaviour, but there were ongoing issues. What am saying is, the New Yeara made us drink differently, but we were no booze babies, we had already become insufferably thirsty folk by this point, and crucially, the excess of New Yeara alcohol didn't turn us into aggressive, confrontational, twats.

I heard that prior to this Christmas a person I wrote a song about had been physically assaulted behind the bar. Having seen friends in the industry withstand absolutely unjustifiable amounts of personal abuse from revellers enjoying the immoral freedoms they wrongly assume they are entitled to, its a mark of respect to all that they haven't lamped a number of exceptionally rude customers. The thing is, to behave in such a reprehensible manner requires practice. Therefore, the mumblous miscreants I loathe are far from once a year slakers. They are, instead, regular drinkers but also, full time aggressive simpletons.

I think once a year drinkers, should they exist, should in fact be encouraged to come out, and find out what parts of our lives they are missing. I think more importantly than that, seasoned drinkers need to remember that whilst their drinking habits can change in the New Yeara, their behaviour should comprise respect, and forethought of speech. Its one of the things I absolutely don't miss about working behind a bar, and every year swathes of rude and abusive drinkers remind me of that fact.

Here's to a new year, and a new era of calmer, less rude drinkers.

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 30 December 2017


Ey oop,

     some factions of the world that observes my musings may identify me as a singe de critique - as I do not speak French (which may be obvious) I apologise if the above says critical hairy potato in French as opposed to criticism monkey. Blame Google translate if it does. Its on those basis that I should clarify that the stick in the title is not a byword for criticism or other mumblous malcontent, instead its literally the shapen wooden thing I use to regain balance following my stroke. I don't really recommend having a stroke if am honest, but it has given me a new perspective on the lives of those with limited mobility.

Pre stroke, the idea of walking amongst the unobservant would already have boiled my piss, because I walked quite fast. Now that I have less ability to change direction or stop at short notice, streets awash with the impulsive directionless and stop start simple minded makes me even more annoyed. And thats before have even reached the pub.

 To be fair, as I drink almost exclusively in pubs where I know the owners and bar staff, most employees have been lovely and caring and worried about me, so that has been fine. And in the two places which don't fit that description my stick and sad face warranted similar concerns, and I was given longer to sit down and carry drinks. The only minor mobility issue I had was climbing the step into the Beer Engine when I first went out. I had to be almost hauled up it by Matty. Last night I found no such issue with the same, so am happy to let those people who don't improve as quickly as I have to continue to suffer.....

The main issue has been that in the scrum at the bar people pay almost, or indeed no, attention. In the Bath Hotel I was stood back from the bar to allow the two gents buying their drinks the space to get out. After 5 minutes with just the stick for support I was tiring and two lady children came in. clocked me, and barged into the space between the furthest customer back from the bar and me, almost knocking me over in the process. I did say "woah!" as they marched off but were likely listening to Joe Dolce and playing Donkey Kong in their heads, so that explains why they didn't hear me.

One issue is that am trying not to rely on my stick lest my walking style changes forever. That means I get some funny looks when walking to and from the loo. In Shakespeares I actually got abuse from a group of drinkers who assumed I was paralytic.

I had left my stick on the chair in the front bar with my coat whilst I went to get two halves. Whilst doing so a group sat in front of the table and seat so I asked if they could let me get through to sit down. It took a while to get their attention and the left arm is still not back to normal so as I tried to wobble through the beer in the glass in that hand spilt a little as it tilted. The guy I splashed said "Don't you piss yer fuckin beer all over me" as I struggled to clamber over his legs. I saw no benefit in responding and besides I was too tired to argue. Having finally reached my seat they moved to the next table and my arm started playing up again, so I had to use my right to prevent further spillage, and had to watch my left in case it spasmed outwards and knocked my drink over.

After 5 minutes of slowing down my breathing to settle my heart rate a lady in the group asked if I was alright and I said " yeah, its just have had a stroke and its affected my balance" and the whole group went ashen white and started apologising. They asked me to come and sit with them and if they could help, and apart from the unkind outburst they all turned out to be fine folks. I did make sure I used my stick to walk the short distance over to them though...

I have mischievously thought about using the stick, after I need it, at busy times to get a seat. However, I couldn't. Not for reasons of morality, but because using it would slow me down to the point where I might lose my mind.

The main impact has been on balance and resistance to alcohol so have seriously cut back and now go out less to avoid the wearying walks between pubs that I would usually undertake. On the whole, however, its been a mainly positive experience being a mobility impaired drinker in Sheffield's best pubs, which is a credit to them.

Your very best health

Wee Beefy

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Pre Christmas pints

Good evening,

     am sure regular readers will know that I don't go out that often around Christmas time, usually entirely based on outrageously drunk and crucially, rude drinkers, feeling that the time of year gives them the right to behave in any way or say anything they damn like. Obviously this revulsion has not lessened, but have been more aware of getting a seat since have got my stick, and am still getting tired walking, so pre Christmas supping has been further reduced. Luckily this period of comparative sobriety should mean some details of beers drunk and where are actually correct.

Two weeks ago I went out for the team Christmas meal to Las Iguanas. It was great to see everybody for the first time in weeks, and I had a couple of bottles of Alhambra Reserva with my meal. I had also arranged to meet Meathouse in the Bath Hotel afterwards. Alas he cancelled as I was heading up, but I decided to pop in for one anyway. I got a pint of the Thornbridge and Magic  Rock collab which may have been called Exaltation, and which was a 5.5% alt style beer. I somehow managed to get the last seat in th pub, but it was fearsomely busy so I decided to head off for pastures near.

The Three Tuns came next and mercifully there was a seat. There was a Blue Bee American 5 Hop on and I had most of a pint of that, and since it was the end of the barrel did so for free. Some of the world's loudest humans were in, but not too near, but I still opted only to stay for one, passing on my Yule best wishes on leaving.

My final stop was in Bar Stewards and they had the Verdant I played bass on that tune double dry hopped on keg, so all other beers were not in contention, despite its somewhat keen price. As I had expected, this was hoppier but just as well rounded as the none DDH version and tasted fantastic. A great opportunity to catch up with Charlie, and to sup great beer, as the bar came to closing time.

My final escapade came on the Tuesday with my good friend Mr G. Knowing how paralysingly crap the 52a had become for Christmas I gave myself a while to get there but was still 15 minutes late. I did however walk quite fast with my stick to find Mr G waiting for me outside Shakespeares. Its almost like he knew about my poor financial status...

On entering he looked for lower strength cask, since he was driving and I spotted a Cloudwater on keg. Being as it was on "the stout line" I asked Chris to confirm what it was and to my delight it was their collaboration DIPA with Dry and Bitter called Mobile Speaker. I'll have a pint of that please I stated, and was advised that it was £8.10 a pint. I thought about mentioning to Mr G that it was Christmas, and then did, but he had already agreed. We repaired with our drinks to the clock room, initially sitting at the knee breaker table before escaping to our usual spot, the long table across the back.

I have known Mr G for over ten years and its always good to catch up with him and to find out how, of late, his new job is going. He is aware that I only have a short period where I can buy us both drinks and didn't even quibble when I finished my first pint and asked for another. I fully intend taking him out at the beginning of the month in return.

The conversation ebbed and flowed naturally and he had another half, before moving onto soft drinks. On seeing my get to half of the second pint he asked if I wanted another half. I answered honestly. I wanted a third and final pint. One of the bar staff said, on discovering it was me, that I was unstoppable. "Apart from his stroke" Mr G quipped. I laughed my head off. Its the kind of joke that only good friends can have.

One of the best things about this night was that it involved just one pub, two friends and some frankly fabulous beer. It was undoubtedly the lull before the storm, but was quiet on that night, and all the better for it. In comparison to other near Christmas nights out, even at such an excellent pub, this was probably the best. Your very good health Mr G.

One thing that I intend to do if I manage ti cut down is still go to the best pubs in Sheffield, but perhaps just stick to one. Am looking forward to putting this plan into action in the doom laden weekdays of January ahead. Remember, your boozers need you.


Wee Beefy