Wednesday, 16 September 2020

National Inventory Pubs closed, reopened or not reopening

 So, here I am blogging on Noo Blogaaah for the first time, using my more modern laptop, since my original one uses Windows Vista, upon which it is impossible to write a blog post Apologies in advance for any spelling errors - not that i usually offer that, having re-read numerous posts! Incidentally, the full stop does not appear to wor on this eyboard, so am going to have to be inventive

Oh, and the letter cay dot dot dot dot

The other night I was chatting to Wee Fatha about the Royal Cottage in the Staffordshire moorlands reopening $ Probably only a local inventory addition, it is nevertheless a stunning isolated boozer, and I have nown for many years that Cliff doesn't run it for profit - he runs it in order to ceep in touch with his friends$ Having been closed since March, am not sure if he will have managed, neither wanted, to read the 82 pages of govt guidance for pubs to reopen, and am not sure if he would be willing to use a bac entrance for you to leave via, assuming of course there even is one$ Bearing in mind his very restricted hours, and lac of a phone number, am not convinced that he will be willing to open again at all - Fingers crossed on that

Next up is the New Inn at Hadlow Down near Uxbridge, or similar% Regular readers may recall my reporting planned changes to the pub and its transformation into a hotel - when searching the tinterweb earlier I came across a blog post from two years ago by RetiredMartin, telling of his visit there in June 2018$ Nothing appears to have changed, and when checcing on the oft unreliable Whatpub website there was much good news about its ongoing trading

I was recently at the Barley Mow in Kirk Ireton, (copied from labels!)  and they appear to have made no changes apart from requiring you to sign in, and also  introducing a card machine - this remains a craccing and entirely unspoilt place for a pint

The last pub I wanted to mention, not least because am getting fed up of the unusability of two letters, is the former Dun Cow at Old White Lea, Billy Row, Crooc, County Durham  

I found a pic I have of it when I visited just after it had closed bacc in 2007 or thereabouts$ I struggled initially to remember its full name and address but when I googled it using the term closed National Inventory pub, I noticed my blog came up as well as a few times when searching for photos, prompting me to search my stash of the same

This included the then open but now only hired out by the local Camra branch Seven Stars at Halfway House, and the also now closed hotel in where I thought was Whittingham in Northumberland - the something bridge

Am aware that a lot of pubs are not going to reopen possibly forever here in Sheffield which is when I started thincing about those I new of in more out of the way places in the country

Meanwhile am going now - I would seriously hope that in the meantime I can get this chuffing ceyboard sorted!

Your very best of health


Wee Beefy


Saturday, 5 September 2020

Derbyshire dawdle

Eefnin,

        yesterday myself and the lovely Tash took a train and a bus to Derby and back and out into the Ecclesbourne valley for a wander. Here are some details of the boozers we tried and the beers and other drinks we supped en route.

I got to the station early on to purchase a Derbyshire Wayfarer - I hoped they were still available and also that you could pay in cash at the ticket office because although I had some cash in my wallet I had next to none available in my account. Luckily both were true and by 09.55 I had the ticket and 35 mins to wait for the train to Derby. Having met up with Tash and said goodbye to Matty we got on board wearing face masks and were soon in Derby. After a lengthy escape route on an underpass we stopped in some public gardens for a coffee and then headed to the bus station where we got the 6.1 to just past Idridgehay - luckily the bus has a system which names every stop so as soon as we had passed the stop for the Black Swan in Idridgehay we were told the next stop was Wood Lane where we got off.  

Its a while since I have been into Kirk Ireton and last time we caught a bus there from Ashbourne which seems not to exist these days. And although me and Tash walked down the same hill and along the road into Idridgehay back in 2013 we had clearly both forgotten just how steep a walk it was up into the village. We got off the bus at 12.40 and by 13.05 we were sitting outside the Barley Mow. I was on a pint of Hartington IPA on gravity and Tash a bottle of Fentimens Victorian lemonade and we sat outside the door on a bench enjoying the scene and the fellow visitors. Our first sups did not last long.

Soon I was back indoors and on my second pint of IPA and I bought a pack of crisps for Tash along with a half of cloudy cider. After I had nipped to the loo I noticed that the pub now advertised a contactless payment machine for bank cards since the Covid outbreak - alas I don't have a contactless card, and besides which the man serving told me that was fine as the machine was currently upstairs. I also mentioned to him that I was glad they still didn't have a till - instead just a wooden drawer behind the counter. Apart from everyone signing a sheet when they came in, it seems that absolutely nothing else has changed - well, apart from the fact that the barrels are no longer behind the counter but am not sure when that took place. I thought the other day that it may have been 1993 when I first visited this pub and it's still a cracking boozer. Another pint of Hartington for me came at 13.50 and 5 minutes later he came out to call last orders.....

We sat in the churchyard on a  bench next to get some dinner before setting off along Wirksworth Road, which then becomes Whapantake Lane before becoming Dark Lane and heading into Millers Green before coming out in Wirksworth, or Wuzza. A swift wander up the hill and down the other side allowed us to spot the tiny micropub which was our next stop around 16.00.

The Feather Star is situated on both floors of a tiny former antique shop on the main road, serving 4 or 5 casks from the past and 5 glorious kegs. Straight away I got Tash a pint of cider and myself a lovely pint of Cloudwater on keg and we wandered up the ginnel next door to a seating area in front of the church. We got sat in the last of the sunshine and marveled at both our surroundings as well as our drinks along with a large number of dogs who were accompanying the customers. When I nipped back indoors I found they were playing the marvelous Pigs Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs, Pigs on the record player, and after a chat with the lass behind the bar I chose a can of Shiny IPA at 6% or more and got another pint of cider for Tash. After seeing the lass from the Barley Mow at Bonsall (where I haven't been for a good while alas) and having got chatting to all the other people sitting outside, we went for a wander round the church and then up to the nearby Royal Oak.  

Me and Tash had last visited in 2013 as well and this time I was once again on a pint of Whim Flower Power and Tash was this time on a pint of Cider. We were both sat at a large table in the room on the left and after signing in and Tash nipping for a smoke I got us both the same again, this time served in a splendid Burton Bridge glass. I finished this stop on a can of Verdant IPA at 6.5% from their supply and thoroughly enjoyed it! Regrettably all too soon it was 20.00 and the bus was due about 20.30 so we headed out back onto the high street and walked down the road to catch the bus back into Derby.

Once back in Derby we had an hour to wait until the train so having walked back up towards the station we nipped for a quick one in the Alexandra. I was once again on an IPA this time on cask but am not sure what Tash was on. After enjoying our drinks along with understanding the system for getting to the obviatorium (..?!) we left about 20.10 to walk back to the station to get the train home to fine, sunny, Sheffield.

Overall we visited 4 excellent pubs, one of which was a first for me and Tash, and all of which were serving excellent quality ales and crucially, allowed us to pay in good old cash! Although we probably only walked 4 miles in total the exercise was well received and the whole day was perfectly enjoyable.

I shall look forward to doing another such trip next month!

Your very best of health

Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Weekend wanders

Artanoo yall,

        the last two weekends have been a great opportunity to try new places to sup, including Chester, and Nottinghamshire - here are a few scarcely remembered details from the last two weeks....

Last Saturday I joined the lovely Vikkie along with Jill and Rich at the Industry Tap. Sadly I never got when it was owned and run by Lost Industry but they still supply a lot of the excellent beers there and despite the gusting wind it was a glorious place to sit outside in the bright sunshine. I started on a can of excellent Clamp from Sheffield's St Mars and finished on a half of the equally excellent Abbeydale Deliverance DIPA.

From here we walked to the Rutland for my first post lockdown visit and we sat on the last available bench in the beer garden where I definitely had a half of IPA......it was simultaneously busy and well managed and everyone enjoyed the drinks. From here we got two taxi for the four of us to the Crow Inn where I had at least one half, maybe two, of the excellent  BBNO IPA which was on excellent form. Lovely to sit in the garden there for the first time in ages, and to see Paul and Lisa, who may have other names......

We went to Bar Stewards next where I may have had a pint of Cask from the Past, and got a few cans to take out, and we once again enjoyed our drinks sat in the beer garden. We finished our crawl in the mighty Shakespeares where I  had a pint of something whose name sadly escapes me.

On Sunday me and WK went for a walk around Newstead and the related pit sight where there was lots to see, but also alas a lot of rain - and I hadn't bought a coat. Before heading back to Sheffield I popped in the Pit Micropub in the sports hall and had a choice of three real ales, all from Magpie, as well as a keg of Northern Monk. Sadly as I was soaking wet and short of time I didn't tell them the 5.2% Magpie summer ale was at best very tired - and at worst off. So I am both an awful customer and a dreadful blogger. Am surprised nobody else had noticed it but am well aware I should have said something.

Back in fine sunny Sheffield and me and WK popped in the White Lion - although I almost always go for Dancing Duck both me and WK had pints of a Salopian 3.6% session ale which the barman recommended. Am always a fan of their brews and this did not disappoint. We sat in the small room on the right and although we had to get off after just one we enjoyed our sup along with the excellent new exit down the passage at the side.

This weekend me and WK took a surprise trip to Chester - a place which I last went to aged 17 to watch a play with the janitor from Grange Hill in it which was by Shakespeare, but was also a place I have never been drinking in. Having booked last minute accommodation at a hotel about 20 minutes or less walk from the centre we arrived at 1500 and by 16.00 we had wandered into town. Seeing the crowd outside the Lodge on the way down I thought I had wandered into Crosspool, with some well rehearsed toffy-nosedness on display, but then having passed a few outdoor cider enthusiasts I thought I was back in Sheffield city centre - that aside though Chester has an amazing centre and we started our trip at the Old Hawkers Arms by the canal.

From an excellent range of beers I started on a pint of Abbeydale Aftershave at about 4.2%, and followed this with a pint of Hobsons stout - a brewery whose beer I haven't had for years! Whilst here we found out about micropubs and similar places to visit and headed with a mix of success to the 18.00 closing Beer Heroes where we had arranged a table for 17.30. The combination of Google maps and some confusion over the name of separate venues meant wqe got a little lost but Soon found it and WK was on a pint of session ale and I was on a pint of excellent Shindigger, sat on a small table inside. Sadly we only had time to stop for one as we had to leave just after six but from here it was a leisurely walk up  Northgate and just out of the centre to what turned out to be the best pub of the trip.

Goat and Munch was a micropub selling about 5 kegs as well as two local cask beers and we sat in the back room along with regulars and a dog called Rory, with WK on half a Marble stout and myself on a fabulous pint of Kernel IPA at 6.8%. Rory was very well behaved and loved by the customers and the atmosphere was relaxing, warm and friendly. After having got some directions we headed to the Brewery Tap next which I think may have been in a former Linen hall - 6 Cask from the Past by Spitting Feathers along with a couple of keg - I had a pint of the strongest pale on cask and finished on an excellent half of Hacker Pschoor!

After this WK went for some scran whilst I headed own the road to the  Bear and Billet where having given my details I quickly got a pint of Adnams whilst awaiting WK before getting him a pint of Weetwood Eastgate and myself a pint of Okells - another brewery whose output I haven't tried for ages.

Our last stop was the Cellar Bar where WK had a cloudy half of something refreshing and I had a fabulous pint of excellent Manchester Lagonda IPA in a venue where we initially sat outside but were later allowed back in. Excellent end to the night!

Yesterday although we nipped to the Oakwood pub next door for breakfast, we only made one pub stop - we nipped in the Lockkeepers next to the canal and WK was on tea as he was driving and I had a rather dire pint of BrewDog Punk IPA. The staff were nice but overall the visit was quite disappointing, since as well as the garbage selection of beers they also didn't offer the 50% off discount having only opened a week earlier.  We nipped into henious Co-op en route back to pick up the car to get some local take out, and made it back to fine sunny Sheffield in good time - where I had a can of a Northern Monk collab IPA at 7.2% with Alpha Delta and Pomona Island and others which was absolutely delicious!

Overall I continue to enjoy my lockdown drinking and am looking forward to finding some new places this week as am off. And Chester was a fabulous place to go for both cask and keg and scran, along with excellent architecture.

Your very best of health!

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Oldies and Newbies

Hellall,

      apart from my Derbyshire based sojourn recently I really haven't been out as many times as normal. But this month I have at least tried some venues that are new to me, whilst also trying out some old faves from the past. Here are some memories of such visits that have somehow filtered through.......

Starting on the 30th July (just to undo my previous statement), and myself and my friend Mr G went out for a few boohars starting at the Nags Head at Stacey Bank.  I first went for beer here when I recall it was still a Kimberley's pub when me and our lass were on a CAMRA pub of the month trip to none other than the Three Stags Heads at Wardlow Mires. The Three Stags was as always wonderful, but I don't recall being that impressed with the Nags. Nowadays it does a range of about six beers from Bradfield, sadly including their lower gravity and awful fruit nonsense, but noticably and crucially their excellent Farmers Pale and the Sixer. Once I had provided my details (I think....) I had two pints of the Pale and Mr G a beer shandy followed by a soft drink. We sat outside in the sunshine and chatted lengthily, enjoying our rural location. I then suggested we went somewhere new....

Using a mixture of knowledge and Nav suggestions we soon found our way out of Stannigton and it wasn't long before we dropped into Bakewell. We immediately found the Joiners Arms pub and parked in the yard outside. It was initially busy when we went in but soon quietened down and Mr G had a soft drink and I a pint of Abbeydale Heathen on keg from the future. Once we had acquired a seat at a table we relaxed and spent a good couple of hours in the pub on what was both our first visit's. We got chatting to the lass behind the bar, and found the atmosphere was enjoyable, and crucially they had installed an in one end out the other system along with markings on the floor to keep people apart. I went for a pint of the 6% Peak Ales  IPA on Cask from the Past, and despite being surprised by it's high cost am well aware that Bakewell is an expensive place to rent - and of course, they had been shut for nearly 4 months so needed to recoup some costs. Overall this was a highly enjoyable first visit.  And we still had time to be seated and table served at the excellent Shakespeares in Sheffield en route home, where I had beers, which had names, and everything......

Earlier this month I met up with the excellent Robert J Ward and his mate Mr Pickles in Bar Stewards before we headed for a pop up pub in Neepsend. I started on a pint of Abbeydale Heathen on cftp and then had a can of the excellent North Kveik IPA before we set off. Ace boohars as always here. After walking past the K.i.T and then the Ball Street Bridge bars and the Gardeners we eventually found Heist Craft Brewery's pop up bar set in a car park further along Neepsend lane. Sadly by the time we got there around 19.00 or so they had run out of much of their beers, sadly including their one featuring the wonderful Kveik, but their All Together beer industry IPA was still available in cans, so we had a can each of this whilst sat in the far corner watching people come and go, including a group of six who simply grabbed take out food from the burger van and escaped by taxi! Having never made it Heist's place in Clowne, am really looking forward to them opening their multi kegged tap room next door to the Gardeners in the next year.

Speaking of which, we couldn't get in the Gardeners as it was filled up so we wandered up the hill to the Forest for a pint each, somewhere elese I haven't been for a while. There were three Tool Makers ales on and I had a red one and the other two a pale before we got sat down in the back for a natter and a sup. Robert J Ward (for that is his name) had never been here before but quickly realised its a good friendly boozer.

From here the three of us sat in the Kelham Island Tavern in the back room, after a minor hassle getting in, where I was on a couple of pints of  the Blue bee Confusion Black IPA which was delicious, as we thoroughly enjoyed our Yorkshire Day supping!

The last place I have been for the first time is the Early Bar on Crookes. I had heard a micropub had opened in the former butchers shop at the top of School Road just before lockdown but having closed on 20th March I was worried it may never open again. Luckily, owner Joe reopened quite soon in July and I have now been there twice, including stopping for a couple of pints with WK after our walk up Rushup edge and down into Edale. I was on pints of Abbeydale Orion on cftp, and a keg American IPA whose name sadly escapes me. Before we left we managed to get a seat on the tables outside and sat there watching the last of the day's sunshine. Here's hoping this place stays open and thrives as restrictions are slowly reduced.

The last two gasps from the past were the Old Queens Head, where I went on Friday and enjoyed half a bottle of wine along with three excellent pints of Abbeydale Orion once more - and I hear they are still doing their excellent Garlic soup so it's somewhere I intend to revisit. And the last was the recently reopened Three Tuns on Silver Street Head. My friend Peter Hudson had been in that day and had a pint of Old Peculier on cask for £3.00 a pint, and although it's not as good as it used to be I had a pint of that last night and it was excellent. The pub was busy and playing some excellent music and rumour has it that they may start serving food again so that is somewhere to keep an eye on!

Overall I have really enjoyed my pub visits, and am glad to see that all those visited have installed their own regulations and sensible restrictions in order to try and reduce the spread of Covid-19 whilst allowing safe supping.

Your very best of health!

Wee Beefy  

Thursday, 13 August 2020

DEYA

An unforseen future, nestled somewhere in time,
Unsuspecting victims no warnings, no signs,
 Judgement day the second coming arrives,
Before you see the light, you must die!

Ah, whoops. Have got DEYA, a Cheltenham based brewery, mixed up with Tom Araya's excellent thrash master's Slayer. Soz....

Back to boohar, and over Loockdown, and largely via my chums at Bar Stewards, DEYA have produced some of the frankly finest pints. Prior to writing this I had a quick check of my previous posts and noticed that in 2018 and onwards I had already recognised the excellent quality of their soups - and had written about it a number of times previously, thereby proving me right. Tonight I had the first of three cans of theirs which I picked up from Bar Stewards, and found it unsurprisingly excellent.......

Over the past four months their Steady Rolling Man, an excellent 5.2% IPA, is probably the beer, of many, that I have drunk most often. Its a great quality, vegan friendly, unfiltered and unpasteurised IPA which drinks like babbeh milk with an excellent hoppiness in the background. This was well received and enjoyed, and in fact most of their best beers have been 5.2 - 6.9%, but they did also do a fabulous DIPA collab with Left Handed Giant in Brizzle. Despite some disappointing brown colours this once again was excellent.

One of the things I like about DEYA is that as well as them producing big cans, therefore supplying a whole and wholly enjoyable 500ml, they also state that the beer was produced "in our house style". Am well aware that this is neither a soul changing nor spine snapping revelation, but I do think it perfectly sums up their output.  Tonight I enjoyed a 6.5% "Glue IPA" and it was outstanding. Perfectly pale, utterly clouded, hoppy and fruity in the aftertaste and displaying an excellent overall mouth feel. Although it sadly does not list the HOPS used, it's noticable that they are of good quality, perfectly balanced, and the overall taste is so good that I can forgive that lack of information.

Have never had chance to travel down to Cheltenham to pop into, as well as what I hear are some excellent pubs, their brewery tap. It is however something that I would love to do. Not least because, its actually very rare to find a brewery whose every output you desire, simultaneously doesn't disappoint. and which leaves you craving some more....

So although this is a short post I would like to thank DEYA for their marvelous output, and to hope to see then in keg or can, or who knows, perhaps even Cask from the Past, at sometime soon.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 9 August 2020

One fine summer's day....

Hello,

       I have gotten on to the old version of Blogger because the new version, which am guessing they consider is the future, will not allow me to write anything below the red line underneath the title. Apparently I can only use this version for a further few weeks so this maybe one of my last posts. Unless I can somehow change to blogging on my ultra modern laptop in future, which should work....

So a couple of weeks ago a friend and I decided we would like to go on a days tour of pubs in far away Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Having previously done some of the route, and also checked up with every possible venue that they were still open, we set off around 11.00 on Friday. Having got to Chezvegas, and used the satnav (sorry) to find a quicker route to the road past Walton Hospital, which we did, we headed over the Two Dales Road into Darley Dale and soon enough having viewed the delights of Wensley and the mad road up through Winster we arrived at the Miners Standard at the top of the village. Have not been in for a while but they had a range of four real ales on, or rather three plus Greedy King, including two from Aldwark Artisan Ales. I had a pint of their Pale IPA at 4.8%. It was delicious, especially sat outside in the hot sunshine.

From here we drove over Bonsall Moor and then into Upper Town of Bonsall, before taking that mad road near the bus stop to the corner near the footpath to Ible, in the Dale. Sadly we had already found out that the excellent Barley Mow would be closed but it was worth showing my friend Bonsall, the Barley Mow and the absurd road. From here we headed up to Grangemill and then over the moors and through the woods to the turning of the A515 down to Milldale and then up to Stanhope and then in the glorious sunshine to Ilam, up to Throwley (including opening a gate en route) before heading down to Waterhouses and then up to our next stop in Waterfall, the Red Lion.

Four cask ales again, including the excellent Bass plus a few others, with me starting on Wainwrights before having another pint, this time of Bass. Sat outside in the hot sunshine we could very easily have stayed here all day - the place, beer and atmosphere was excellent. Instead we headed off for Leek, and parked nearly outside the Hideout.

First visit for me, and we once again sat outside overlooking the square in very hot sunshine - they usually have two casks and ten Kegs from the future but were sadly down only to five kegs - despite this I bought myself a whole pint of Drop Project DIPA at just 8%, which I supped outside in the sun with my mate who was on soft drinks, both wanting a snack. Love the Hideout as I do (it was ace) I would rather have purchased some crisps from them, so after just  one pint we headed off (and I will return) using satnav (and very effectively) to find the turn for Onecote.

The Jervis Arms is somewhere have not been for a while - last time they had about five different cask ales as well as food. Now, although we enjoyed our tipples, its basically just a restaurant that serves bowze. We had much needed crisps each with what for me was an OK pint of Taylors.

Further up the road and off we made what for me, unless I popped in with WF when I was a child, was my first visit to the Black Lion at Butterton. We sat out the back in the last of the sunshine and my friend chose a half of Bass and I a rather tired but definitely not off pint of Storm - (which the barman warned me was near it's end) am guessing Silk of Amnesia, but am not sure. All was well organised and the pub was busy, and am sure it's somewhere we would consider visiting again.

Our final stop was an old favourite,the Pack Horse at Crowdecote. Again all was well organised, and we stood waiting at the bottom entrance to get to the bar - there were four beers on and I have to admit as with usual trecks, am not sure what it was that I had, but it was delicious. We sat up at the back in the Beer garden and awaited our scran and it was well cooked when it arrived, although am not sure my mate loved his burger. It was a shame not to see the usual landlord but am guessing he may have been off - either way this remained an excellent finisher.

We went back via Monyash listening to excellent Cathedral which I rather worryingly sang along to, and by 22.30 I was back home and safe. Thanks once again to my wonderful friend for an absolutely fabulous day out, and also to the different pubs visited for their speed and kindness in responding so quickly to our requests for info. Your very best of health.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy


Monday, 13 July 2020

Verdant back on track....

Hello,

           quite a few years ago now I purchased a can of Pulp by Verdant from Beer Central in Sheffield. I loved it - despite it's far away origins down in Cornwall the beer was fabulously fruity and hoppy and well balanced - I may even recall that it used London Fog yeast, a strain which I believe leads to a particular quality of cloudiness. Soon after I tried some of their Maybe One More PSI, which was fantastic, along with some "I played Bass on that tune" on keg, which was similarly excellent. I also tried their Even Sharks need water DIPA. Once again the quality was there - simultaneously fruity and citrussy but with excellently balanced hoppiness. Both Sharks and Pulp became strong favourites of mine, and remain so, but at the start of lockdown I purchased a few other of their beers and.....I became somewhat, underwhelmed......

In line with almost all my posts I must admit that I have sadly not kept a record of the names of those psrticular beers, but I can confirm that the strength, often a feature of my faves, was not the issue. Perhaps it could be a reflection of the incredibly wide selection of other beers, not least the excellent output of both North Brewing and Wylam, that made them promise more than that background could deliver. I should also point out that I very rarely keep even my favourite cans these days, which forms part of an excuse for not recalling the brews in question.

In my latest delivery I got another can each of my two favourites along with a DIPA called Pavement Licker. Am aware that purchasing a can from a range based on name alone is not acceptable, but it was a DIPA and also similarly named to Window Licker, an excellent track by Aphex Twin. On opening it the other night, I straight away recognised a high quality and notably hoppy balanced brew. It was delicious.

Now I realise that I have probably said before that I perhaps love hops too much, and also pointed out that my starting strength is usually 6% or thereabouts, which perhaps explains my love of DIPAs. And I have to admit that I was very impressed with the ingredients listed - not least the ever more enjoyable Sabro, along with Ekuanot, Amarillo, Galaxy, Simcoe and Idaho 7.  I had always previously thought that Verdant beers used two or three hops maximum so this alone was surprising. And it could be that lengthy list that provided some truly excellent hoppy taste, sat at the back of the flavour, atop their renowned balance.

For info, Pavement Licker is, incidentally, an underground art magazine - to be fair the can and their website states "zine" but as the oldest man on earth I have to insist on using the older descriptor. There's a link here
 to their website featuring information on the artist of the image on the can front and the folks who set up the undertaking. Well worth a look I have to say.

So although I am a bit short on further details of the beer (which I possibly imagined used London Fog yeast now I have looked into it) I am however happy to confirm that in my opinion this latest Verdant brew suggests an increase in the quality of their previously excellent output, which promises much for the future. Lets hope I can get hold of another can soon to enjoy.

Meanwhile, your very good health!

Wee Beefy

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Libations during Lockdown

Hellall,

          am not going to tell you about each one of the cans and bottles I have consumed whilst self isolating, as I am aware that I have already mentioned a few. I wanted instead to focus on the Fourth of July here in England, a date on which, for the most part, every public house in England which met the stringent arrangements and requirements set out poorly by the government, could once again open their doors. I would be interested to know how your own independent experiences were, dear readers - I heard a lot of talk of misbehaviour and trouble and other details of rambunctiousness in areas such as West Street in Sheffield, a place where one might go if desiring a mob rule, slavvering sump of stupidity, but also that behaviour across Sheffield had mostly been quite good. Here is what I encountered......

So whilst not celebrating independence day from 1776 in the US, I left the house about 14.15 and got straight on a bus to town. Having seen my friend JB starting his day at the Tap House on Alma Street, and realising it was near the two people whom I was meeting later, I went in there first of all. It appears that sending a text message to a new number is neither my quickest or most enjoyable practice, but once done, and inside, I viewed the cask from the past on the bar and decided to sit outside. After a small niggle with the cash machine requiring the whole card number of my non contactless card to pay, I started on a pint of Elland 1872 porter. It was perfectly served, and very tasty - and 6.5%. Nearly finished, I spotted Matty whom had spoken to Diane at the Fat Cat earlier, so I decided to nip in there next, not least because I have known her since 1994. The Tap House is an interesting venue - although they did serve a range of basic keg beers they did state that they were going to concentrate on cask. There was a choice of about five, and on this basis they were well kept. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

I had to sign into a book to get in the Fat Cat - and saw a man I have known for years called Ian, as well as JB. I chose a hoppy pale from somewhere in London which has sadly escaped me, and went and sat at a table by myself in the beer garden. After a quick chat with Diane and a trip to the obviatorium I quickly left, meeting up with Vikkie and Matt outside and heading to a private do at Bar Stewards.....

 So far behaviours had been excellent and this proved to be a feature here, and of the rest of the night. People had reserved seating and were served until 19.00 on tables outside. I started on a can of the excellent Festoon NEIPA from the excellent St Mars of the Desert, featuring grapefruit zest and excellent hops. I then moved onto a marvelous can of Chione from Alpha Delta in faraway Newcastle. It was about 7% and described as a Kveik IPA. It was cloudy yellow and absolutely delicious. As well as finally getting to meet the excellent Robert J Ward, and of course of seeing many regulars and the wonderful Al and Charlie, the main highlight of the three hours was the excellent range of beers. Next up was a can of the excellent Northern Monk OFS004, a Kveik DDH DIPA - and this was amazing. After a can of Pressure Drop Tambourine Mountain sour however my memories became unclear.....I know I ended up with tea at Vikkie and Matt's and slept there.  It was then time to go out again......

Sunday I awoke with a sore neck - and a not that good head - and had a few cups of tea and an egg sandwich before we all headed out for a walk after midday to Gaard coffee hide. Due to their small size once ordered we had to sit outside, but the coffee I had - and the excellent sausage roll, were very enjoyable in the bright hot sunshine in their yard. I also saw and forgot the name of Matijas Kapstien, a name I still cannot properly spell. Finishing our treats we headed to the Gardeners Rest. Matty had been on IPAs the day before and wasn't feeling up to more beer but Vikkie joined me for a half and me a pint of 4.6% West Coast Pale ale. Sat in the beer garden having filled in a form with our details, there were a few others present, and after Vikkie had gone I got chatting to an older couple from Harthill along with a man from Hillsborough who may have been called John, and a youngster from Ull who may have been called Matty.....

Several pints of this and an Empire something beast 5% pale ale were had, along with pickled eggs from the past, before I attempted a frustrating and incredible long winded trip home on the Stagecoach 52 - a very unsatisfactory and expensive undertaking.

Finally, yesterday I traveled up to Crookes after meeting up with Mumraah, and had a couple of beers - the first was a pint of Deception from a reduced range at the otherwise ace Ball Inn, where I once again had to text my details, and the second was a half of a strong pale on keg from Shindigger in Manchester I think, at the never previously visited Early Bar at the top of School road.  It was a lovely place to pop in for a quick half and very friendly - given that they initially opened about two weeks before lockdown forced them to close, I would hope that their reopening creates a surge in much needed trade and profit.

Once in town by the altered 52 route I walked to the Crow Inn on Scotland Street and started on a pint of North Tunnels of La West Coast IPA and then a half of the excellent Verdant pulp DIPA on keg from a choice of 7 or 8 keg and three hand pulled. Alas I had to quickly run to the nearest cash machine to pay for both as their new, and soon to be replaced, card reader, would not accept non contactless payments - this, and the rip off no change on a Stenchcrotch earlier in the month makes me think I may need to ask for a contactless card.....

I met up with good mate Robert J Ward and he had amongst other things a half of the 11% barrel aged sour which was immense, whilst I opted for a half of saison at 5% or thereabouts. Chatting to Ian and vicky (not certain if this is her correct spelling, but to point out hat it was not Vikkie) I also managed to get a pint of Atom stout at a similar strength on cask. We then all left for the Kelham Island Tavern and the wonderful Ed was working and saw us out to covered seating in the garden. Am fairly certain I started on North and finished with two separate halves of the excellent Buxton at 6.8%.  A fabulous day of supping in all four venues.

Overall I have really enjoyed my experiences in the recently reopened pubs in fine sunny Sheffield.  There were a few loud people leaving the Kelham later but overall behaviour and keeping within the rules has been perfect throughout. Lets hope that this continues as more and more pubs manage to reopen their doors whilst the awful pandemic lingers on.

Your very good health

Cheers!

Wee Beefy    

Monday, 29 June 2020

Pomona Island Brew Co

Afternooo.

     a few years ago I first tasted some Pomona Island on cask from the past. I had never heard of them before and didn't know where they came from apart from "somewhere near Manchester" as an informant told me. I noticed that my friend Martin who runs the Grocers Micropub in Cadishead in Salford was starting to have their beers on regularly, and he confirmed that, as am sure I would know if lived in Salford, this was where they were from - am fairly confident that Pomona Island is an area of Salford, and everything.....

Doing a modicum of checks before today's espousal I found not only their website here - about cans.... but also that they were originally set up by two chaps called Nick and Ryan, whom started the excellent Gas Lamp bar just over the river in Manchester, along with Gaz from Marble and James from Tempest Brewery. Since I have always liked Marble and Tempest output, and also the Gas Lamp bar, its perhaps unsurprising that I found that I liked their beers. But I have to pay tribute to the excellent balance and quality of their brews.

Today am on a can of their My Toe Hurts Betty, a 5.6% starter Pale ale double dry hopped with Cyro Mosaic, Bru-1 and Amarillo. Regular readers aware of my quite worrying level of hopsession may assume this is a hop fest of overwhelming bitterness, but as I said, their beers are so balanced that this isn't the case. The beer is gloriously orangey, fruity, bitter, hoppy, and oaty. And reflecting another regular feature - it is also very easy to sup.

Earlier in the month I also tried a can of their TIPA at 10% called An Overwhelming Surplus of Diggity. Am always a little concerned that I may be underwhelmed by a TIPA since the extra hops and alcohol may create an unwanted sweetness that overrides, but although there was sweet fruitiness in the flavour the brew was once again balanced for that kind of strength, and wonderfully palatable.

They continue to produce beers in both cask and keg and also occasionally in bottles and regularly in the future of beers which is in can. I often like to start my sessions in Shakespeares on a pint of cask Pomona if its on, especially their delectable APA or indeed anything they have thus far produced. They have a core range of five casks (details also available on their website) but am certain their overall range is extended in all formats - usefully their website states that many listed beers are one offs and not always produced but which may be produced again. Last night I enjoyed their Style Control Damage Aggression which was a delicious 6.5% IPA which finished my night's supping off perfectly. And one of the many advantages of buying beer from four or more different suppliers is that its often possible to go back to beers that I have really enjoyed.

Thus far that description applies to everything I have tried by Pomona island Brew Co. Long may their excellence continue.

Your very best of health

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Brettanarchist

Hellall,

     the wonderful Vikkie bought me, amongst other delights, a large bottle of beer for my birthday. I was intending to share it with Davefromtshop when he came over on the day itself, and he did say he liked "Brett" beers because they weren't resultantly, if perhaps otherwise, sour, but in the end we didn't try it. I opened it whilst sat in the baking sunshine on Friday, leaving a small amount for Matty to try yesterday, and it was good enough to warrant a post.....

The beer in question was, as the title informs, Brettanarchist, and as the label suggests, it was a Triple IPA dry hopped with Citra, aged in a Foeder and fermented 100% in Brettanomyces. It was a mere 12% and I kept it in the fridge for over a week before opening. It was produced by the Overworks wing of BrewDog, and when I called Vikkie on Thursday to thank her once again for the presents, especially this, she advised that she had encountered different experiences of the Overworks output. As a fan of sour beers she had found one or two of them underwhelming, but I was happy to assure her that this did not disappoint. And myself and Matty had tried a couple of their sours - both Raspberry, earlier in the week, and had found them excellent.

Its worth pointing out that Brettanomyce is a type of yeast, non spore forming, in the family of saccharomycetaceae, also known as Brett and sometimes as Dekkera. I mean, that's what it says on the tinterweb at least.....

I first came across it in references to the previous excellence of a similarly strong London stout called Imperial Russian Stout by Courage. I know they re-brewed it in 2013 or 2014 but am fairly sure they, or indeed anybody else, haven't done since or for many years prior. When I first worked at Archer Road Beer Stop in  the 1990s,  bottles of the same at 10% or thereabouts were £1.25 each. Apart from buying a bottle of the rerelease, this time by the huge brewery which was Youngs, the last time I bought it was in a pub down a long single track lane in kent which had some fairly old bottles still for sale in the noughties.    

The thing I immediately liked about the Brettanarchist was its lack of sweetness despite its rather high strength. And the first taste showed a good amount of wonderful hops in the background, not necessarily the Citra but a mixture holding its own either way. Having only tried one bretted pale previously, possibly by Welbeck Abbey, I didn't think it worked as an additional flavour, but this was not the case. And sat outside in the 28 degrees of sunshine I have to say I found it worryingly easy to drink - and had been on squash for three hours prior so it wasn't thirst....

Interestingly the aroma had a lingering almost sherry or other fruited alcohol to it, which if anything made the strength of the hops a great feature. It smelled of fruity alcohol but tasted of a well balanced hoppiness and some fruit - was this perhaps because of the Foeder? The excellent Saint Mars of the Dessert here in sunny Sheffield have certainly produced beers using a Foeder (and also the excellent Koolships) which I have always found incredibly refreshing and easy drinking. Whichever of the many aspects of the brewing stood out, it made this overall a very pleasurable and easy drinking strong IPA.

Well done to the folk at BrewDog for allowing us to taste a truly fabulous brew - lets hope we see many more beers like this, as well as the excellent output from St Mars and the Funk Dungeon series from Abbeydale, in the very near future.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy