last night I was attending the celebrations of the first birthday (are they sure? seems much longer...) of Blue Bee Brewery, which, now I think on, is probably a celebration of the opening of the "Hive". Here's some gen about the event, visitors and most crucially the beers.
I bumped into erstwhile beer scribe John on the way to the Rutland and was greeted by Rich and Kath, the powerhouse brewing team, at the bar. I should point out that prior to this I had taken a leisurely wander to the Sheffield Tap for a starter or two. Pleasing halves of Gadds Dr sunshine wheat and Black pearl oyster stout were tried outside in the sunshine - great to see outside facilities back, and the beers were nice, although there was too little wheat in er, the wheat, and the black pearl tasted too much of erm, oysters. A confounding puzzle of contradictions it seems...
First beer of the night at the steamy hot Rutland was a pint of the collaboration with Ashover brewery, a 3.9% hoppy bitter called Bee-gyled. Not strictly a collaboration in full since it was I understand hopped by the worker bees, so it was actually a recognisable Ashover style brew with a hoppy twist. Enjoyable though.
Next came the quaffable and slightly darker than before Light Blue, accompanied by a delicious meal from the excellent Rutland kitchen of lamb and garlic pie with chips and veg (I could have had mash, but hey, it was hardly going to be a night of dietary advance). This was just the right size and a great compliment to the Light Blue, and only £6.95.
Next up came a pint of the Birthday Bee, (Blue Bee Birthday, 5.1%) an initially astringent IPA with assertive hops that mellowed slightly and complimented the body of the beer better and better as you drank. A second half pint of this indicated it was a contender for my beer of the night.
That accolade however went to the scrumptious Listin for Port, an unsubtle pun on Lustin for Stout, so named based on the addition of a bottle of port to the brew. Some suggested there wasn't enough but I considered it a good balance - too much port and it becomes sharp and heavy. This was a very satisfying pint.
Whilst all this went on, CAMRA members came and went from an upstairs committee meeting, and the cake arrived, which was a very nice chocolate affair with the addition of the Blue Bee stout. This was shared out between everyone, as the pub garden and pub started to fill up with beer glitterati (there was even a beer named that, which I think may have been another collaboration with the Sheffield Roller Girls) including the Axholme Brewery team, Tom from On The Edge, Dave U from Steel City and many friends from the world of beer like young Mr Williams, Geoff and Sarah and Malc and Allie.
|Note the branded Blue Bee glass - snazzy advertising...|
After a quick half of the aforementioned glitterati mash up (described by the brewer himself, no less, as "legendary"), it was back to halves of the Listin for Port and Birthday Bee to finish off an excellent night of great company and great beer, with all Blue Bee beers sold at £2.00 a pint all night.
Here's to many more Bee birthdays to come.