Friday and Saturday (well, mainly Saturday) saw me dip my toe in the waters of Tramlines, the ever increasingly large Sheffield free music festival. As I mentioned earlier in the month, one of the advantages of the venues chosen was that a good deal of them served real ale, and of course there was the Snow Lane CADS blues and ale event which had its own bar. Against that backdrop, here's the details of some of the beers I managed to drink to accompany my Tramlines 2012 experience....
Friday - Shakespeares
I started before any bands were on at my regular haunt, not intentionally, I just blundered out of work after a crap day and headed pubwards. Here I had a pint of the excellent and uncompromising Kirkstall Dissolution IPA and a bottle of the Dupont saison. I figured if I was going t get my head round this style I ought to try a few, and although beer seeker T_I_B had suggested it was a bit strong (so presumably not a typical saison) I figured it would make a good start.
The brash hop bitterness of the Kirkstall probably suited the Dupont, which was strong enough to hold its own, and was a really nice drink, the cost of both being £6.40, which is not bad for half a night's drinking. Alas, given the Tramlines theme, I can't really claim to have seen any bands on Friday - I did stop around to see DJ unpeeled get set up and heard a track, but in the end I left just as the first band, who sounded OK, got started upstairs.
Tramlines geeks might point out that there was no bands on here, and they'd be right - I only popped in for a half, this the excellent Welbeck Abbey Cavendish. However, I was fortunate enought to bump into Mr J so joined he and his friends for what turned out to be a number of Cavendish, and then some Blue Bee Lustin for Stout, whilst the DJ played a number of tracks that we wouldn't be hearing at Tramlines....
Shakespeares again, Saturday
This time I made a determined effort and started where and when bands were on. A combo, possibly called the rag tags, but possibly not, played outside in the smokers garage, and that seemed to be a very popular act. Having said that, it was rammed beyond belief, which was to be a feature of the whole event. Abbeydale Deception in here, before I had an appointment at Dada.
Dada Trippets Lane - Slow Moves gig
I met up with friends at Dada, which was also heaving with punters sat outside the pub and across the road outside the Grapes and the Dog and Partridge. Plastic glasses here alas, presumably a decision borne out of a mixture of practical concerns and licensing laws, but the beer was good. Whim Hartington Bitter was still more hoppy than I recall, but a decent drop, and it was nice seeing James, Emily and Jamie manning the bar at my (other) second home.
The Slow Moves set was brilliant and enjoyed by all, during which, as well as taking video and photo's, I was supping a pint of Keykeg Thornbridge Halcyon, and I don't mind admitting, it was really rather nice, if not a mite too cold. Christingpher very kindly bought me a pint and it was a good choice, especially as it gave me time to catch the sun outside after Slow Moves and listen to a bit of another band.
Red Deer - band setting up!
I popped in the Red Deer for some of the excellent Whittlebury London ale which I had tried on Wednesday, and the Beartown 2012, alas from a bands point of view there was someone just setting up, although the Red Deer gets extra marks for me being able to get a table.
I stormed off down the hill next to the Rutland where food and good ale was imperative - I had a fantastic bacon sandwhich as per always, and a delicious pint of Blue Bee Light Blue, whilst fraternising with luminaries from the world of music, which is neither an accurate nor sarcastic description. Unfortunately all this schmoozing and troughing needed to end all too soon as I had to be up in town at he new music stage.
No booze here (although I could have taken my own) but I had a very enjoyable hour watching Future of The Left before meeting up with Wee Keefy, Carlos and Paddington, and whilst Cads was mooted I wanted to head back to Shakespeares for more excellent ales.
Shakespeares part 3.
Of course, all that banging my head and screaming had made me forget that it was 10 deep at the bar here and a queue to get in so arriving with anti-queue Carlos was a debatable move. Not only that, but the beer range had been decimated, with only 4 beers left on when I arrived. I fancied more Deception but that was long gone, and wary of Clarke's offering I went with the excellent Kirkstall Black Band porter, due to inevitable glass shortages served in a Budvar and Becks glass respectively to me and Carlos.
At this juncture, waiting for the band the Crookes to come on, Wee Keefy had to call it a night and Paddington went with him, so me and Carlos went back to fight at the bar and watch beers going off before our eyes. Kirkstall Three Swords made an appearance so I had that and Carlos more Black Band, but in the time it took me to drink my pint and return to the bar the Three Swords had also gone!
Mayhem ensued whilst trying to get to see the Crookes - despite my having been brought up in Crookes and Carlos living there all his life, so we were clearly part of the entourage, the only way we were getting in any time soon was if several people died and had to be removed, so we let the waiting line increase and went and stood on the steps listening in and drinking.
A few more rounds of Black Band passed before last orders was called at near 02.00 so having sent Carlos off for a taxi I bade my time before heading off to catch the N52 night bus, and got home before 3AM.
Not maybe a classic Tramlines then in terms of the bands, but one enhanced by several commendable ales and many excellent venues which made for a very enjoyable day.
Here's to next year!