with the hectic month hardly started, here's a round up of beer and pubs encountered over the last week.
A goodly selection of ales to choose from including First Porter from True North/Welbeck, but I plumped for the Abbeydale Dog Star having missed it at Sun fest. This beer, with an amount of each pint being donated to rain rescue, was a really satisfying well balanced fruity hoppy ale which went down well. I also tried a bottle of Saison Silly. Points go to the House for having a branded glass for this, but alas this was the most disappointing saison I've tried so far - far too sweet and hardly refreshing.
Wick at Both Ends
Just the Farmers Blonde on when I visited, and unfortunately their world bottled beer festival was in Asia, so nothing tempted me from the bottles either. Regrettably I had just missed the European leg - most unfortunate! The music was excellent though, so that was a plus point.
A recent trip in with Mr P heralded another stonking range of new brews plus the output from Sheffield Brewing Co. I started with a pint of Bowness Tern Mild and Mr P the Radnorshire Whimbledon. The Radnorshire was, putting it politely, very grim. Slightly jarring with an odd malt flavour and a bewildering hop taste that defied description. It wasn't off, just awful. Luckily the smoky crispness of the Tern was far better.
We also tried pints of the Hackney Best for Mr P and Blackjack Stout for myself, whilst enjoying the calm before the storm sat in the beer garden. The stout was a perfect roasted, dry bitter beer which did everything it should. The Hackney was nice, with a slight caramel taste and good earthy hops.
We would have stood outside waiting to get in the Ship but it was hammering it down, luckily by the time they opened it had brightened up. Kelham and Abbeydale ruled the bar this time and I had a pint of the Abbeydale Brimstone, the same as Mr P. It was good to take some time out and relax in the pub watching the weather change from sun to downpour and back again outside.
Silly saison at the Wellington.
I persuaded Mr P our last one should be in the Wellington, a pub he had previously avoided due to a dislike of one of the members of staff. Realising that this was probably a long time ago I insisted we should go, espcially since their own brewed beer was so good. I got a pint of the Kimbolton Castle again, which was fantastic, and Mr P a mild which could have been called Light Grey. I should know by now to write these things down....
When it was the Cask Neil used to keep a fairly impressive range of Belgian beers so having sunk my pint I thought I'd try and find out if they stocked a saison. Having discovered they didn't, I also found out that this incredible departure from normality had attracted the attention of the grumpy man who runs the place. He asked what saison was, but as it turned out wasn't actually interested to find out the answer. Now I'm no saison fanboy, but me and the gent stood next to me did try to describe it, while his followers mumped and grumbled amongst themselves about the beer which it was suggested was a"new fangled thing". Alas the opportunity to improve this discourse with an answer was drowned out and the conversation then moved onto Rodenbach Grand Cru, one assumes not because its similar, since that's a well known Belgian sour ale (that he did not like either) as any fule kno.
I opted for another pint of Kimbolton because it was very good, and sat back down wondering why given an apparent lack of knowledge about beer styles, no-one seemed interested in learning anything, like erm, what the beer they had likely never tried was, for example. Had this been Shakespeares, never mind that they do stock one, and are probably quite knowledgeable (and polite), had they not known what it was they would have been interested to find out.
Nicely segued from the above I was in Shakespeares twice, once to have a half and once to have a pint, of the excellent Steel City Brewing A slight case of over-hopping 14 (according to the barman), which had to be secretly fetched from the cellar like some illicit product. It certainly ticked all the right boxes for me, and wasn't too strong either, so this was an excellent beer. I also think it was actually called a Hopfenweiss.
Interestingly, Steel City are going to brew a saison - alas, with it having ginger in it (and something else incongruous), I think I'll probably dislike it as much as Dave himself! Which means I'll be looking forward to the next slight case of over-hopping instalment instead.
At long last I got back to the Blake with the excellent company of my good friend Middlemarch. She was off fruit beer for the evening so opted for a pale lightly hopped bitter, which was provided by Allgates, and named after a Pagan goddess. meanwhile, as well as the obligatory pork pies, I had a good few pints of the Bobs Yakima Pale, which was a brilliant session beer, along with a pint of Fortl Kolsch, (please note, I am sure that is wrong, can anyone tell me what brand the Kolsch in the Blake is at the moment?) which was a new one on me. This was another great reminder of how enjoyable it is to spend an hour or four sat in the Blake enjoying the simple pleasure of supping ale. Excellent.
That's all for now, hopefully I will have some more info over the next few weeks.