Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Monday night ale tour


    what with a bit of leave at my disposal and my mate Christingpher being back from the far East (near Hull) it seemed like a great idea to go out for a few beers. Here are the details of that escapade.

We met early afternoon in the Sheffield Tap, and despite him having an early blip by accidentally buying a cider (A Gwynt Yr Draig Dog Dancer, not that bad I thought) we quickly got on to the fantastic beers, and sat outside in the sunshine.
We both had a few pints of the excellent Tempest Brewery Cresta Black 4 grain oat stout. This 4.1% stout packed in loads of flavour, and despite concerns about the potential price (their previous beer in the Tap was really pricey) it was £3.00, which isn't that bad really. "Unfortunately" we had to have many pints of this because it was so damned tasty. We did also however try a couple of key kegs, and the price of these didn't frighten us either.
By now ensconced inside, Christingpher had half of the Camden Dark Lager and me the Brew Dog Growler. I understand the BrewDog was either rare/limited release, or exclusive to the Tap, either way it was enjoyable, if not amazing. The Camden packed a lot of flavour in just like the Cresta, and was reminiscent of, well, I was going to say a Schwartzbier, but then isn't that essentially what it is?
All too soon however it was time to move on so we took the natural step of walking to the Rutland Arms. Here it was quite packed what with the association football teams upcoming fixture, and on the bar it was Blue Bee a go go. I had intended to snaffle one of their fab butties but there was nowhere to sit apart from perching in the window near the bar. There were also, crisis piled upon crisis, some reserved tables. Rigorous scientific fact finding comprising of asking a man in the toilets why the seats were reserved offered up no explanation for this blot on their copy books. Turns out it was some sort of film society. Below right is a picture which singularly fails to demonstrate how busy the pub was. So well done me.....
Anyway we started on the very palatable and delicious Blue Bee Turned out Mild, a robustly flavoured mild, if that's not an oxymoron, and sensibly priced at £2.60 a pint. The pub was showing no signs of getting quieter and I admit that after thoroughly enjoying my mild I was itching to go somewhere quiet, but Christingpher insisted we stay. This inevitably meant further libation was required, so we had a pint  each of the also excellent Raw Brewery Dark Peak Stout which was 4.5%, £2.80 a pint and surprisingly easy to drink. 
We retired to our corner encampment and set about trying to subtly and carefully enjoy the myriad of roasted malt and bitter hoppy flavours, however instead we ended up blazing through the pint far quicker than it was entirely necessary to, which elongated preamble forms the basis of my excuse for remembering precisely nothing else about it.
Window on the World
Next stop was current CAMRA squeeze Henry's Cafe bar. From the usual wide range of ales on offer we had halves of Roosters Y.B and Hopback Odyssey. The Hopback had a flavour not to my friend's liking so I ended up with more of it than planned along with the very quaffable Roosters beer, which I thought had a few less hops than normal.
We undertook this experience looking out of one of the huge windows at the junction of Cambridge Street and Cross Burgess Street. There is nothing finer than sitting at the window edge of your table watching the world in their glad rags wandering by, self consciously trying to ignore the gaping space of the viewing gallery on their way past. That Henry's sells such great beer and at such a good price nicely and indeed perfectly tops off the experience of the drinker.
Next we headed to Betty's for some much needed fuel (fishcake butties, what else?) and then onto the Bath Hotel. The last time me and Christingpher were in the pub it was not long after Brian had restored it and we sat in the back room, as we did now, witnessing a really quite frightening event. A man with obvious behavioural problems was in with what I would have to describe as his carer. They were having a polite conversation which suddenly and inexplicably turned violent, with the huge man punching his warder and then hurling abuse and glasses around the room.
This event shook off the younger ones across from us, but either through gall or stupidity, when asked by the staff  if we were staying, we said we were. We picked the broken shards of glass out of our pints and off the table and seats and waited for all to return to normal. All did not in the end, and we had to leave, not before a ninja like member of staff ran in and grabbed the empty pint pots virtually from our hands even before they had touched the table. Brian must have been wondering what he'd let himself in for.
The details of our 2012 reprise, a much safer visit, are summarised in my post from yesterday.
Surprise Supplies
Back to 2012 and a walk to our last pub occasioned a visit to Harrisons 1854. I am sure Bob and Linda must have mentioned to me many times that Harrisons opens on a Monday, albeit late on, if the band are practising upstairs. Presumably, much like Bart in the Simpsons when he can't listen to anyone talk for more than a minute, I must have filed this info as blah. Sorry Harrisons!
Still, this gave us a chance to partake of a half of Deception and have a quick chat whilst Christingpher fretted (on behalf of his Dad he claimed) over the footy score, and Bob and Linda studiously filled the shelves fridges and crisp basket with stock. I really must try and remember that its open Mondays in future.....
Our final stop was in the, ahem "refined exclusivity" (i.e it was empty) of Dada. Here I had a pint of the excellent Beadecas Well and Chris the delicious "not written down" which may have transpired to be Marples. I don't know, basically. We settled down in the comfy leather chairs and had a long enjoyable chat about plans, hopes and concerns and generally set straight the ills of the world as best we could through a disorientating miasma of drunken steam.
That's making it sound grim to be honest - it wasn't at all. Instead it was a fab end to a tremendous night out. The only thing left to do was plan to go out again Tuesday, lest the magic be lost in the passing of time.
Wee Beefy 

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