Friday, 10 August 2012

Wee Beefy's evening pub slog

Hello all,

    I thought I'd write about my evening of slogging up hill and down dale after work on Wednesday, where an unexpected visit to pubs old and new was had, along with an equal smattering of sunshine and exhaustion.

Starting point of my aleyompics was the Broadfield Ale House, which you may recall I have mentioned previously. Sadly none of the excellent Black Iris output that often features but an admirable range including the excellent Ilkley Best Bitter, at £3.00 a pint (or is that a half surcharge? Oooooh.....). I had two halves of this (and a glass of water, for reasons that will become clear) whilst sat in the glare of the sun in the beer garden, before heading up to my next pub.

Not exactly en route but the Union is always a nice spot to stop and I had a pint of impeccably well kept Abbeydale Moonshine (£3.00 a pint) in here - I would have gone half of that, half of Absolution, but I was determined this would be rewarding physical exercise not just supping. In order to maintain sobriety and to keep myself properly hydrated I had a half of iced water here as well.

Next I took an absurd route past the Byron, then headed up Brincliffe edge and walked up through the trees along the side of the valley until I came out near Ecclesall Road South. Knowing I wanted to get across, I had to walk downhill quite a bit then up into some wiggly road through housing to Carterknowle avenue or rise or something, before popping out, by luck rather than planning, at the Cherry Tree.

This was to have been my first visit. I say was, because I already know, its shut. A handwritten sign in the window states that due to a licensing error from Enterprise (gawd luvvum) the pub has had to be closed and that this was out of licensee/manager Billy's hands. At the risk of seeming rude, although the note is not dated or faded the outside of the pub does suggest its been shut for a while. Hopefully it will reopen soon for my inaugural visit.

A quick swig of warm homemade lemon and lime drink (its just the juice of half of each, some water and a little mint) didn't really slake my thirst so I walked up Carterknowle Road to the chameleon visage of the Prince of Wales, formerly the Green Pelican or Woodstock or Plum and Marmite or other nonsense.

Inside is depressingly asinine, but I wasn't expecting antiquated careworn distinctiveness. There is some seating on the left which may be for the unlikely spectacle of drinkers but I sat at the bar since this was the only recognisable spot to sup. From a choice of York Terrier, Marstons Pedigree and Leeds Pale I had the latter, a half of, at £1.55, and a half of iced water. Its a soul destroyingly staged, wearyingly clinical interior by numbers establishment, but at least it has no pretencions of being anything other than a restaurant with a bar, and at least customers get to drink a decent if unremarkable real ale with their nosh.

Off next for serious guesswork, as I did not know the address of the next pub, only its general direction and the area it was in. Luckily taking the road towards High Storrs School I was soon at the T junction with the ancient Hammer and Pincers on the left. This long, squat building is a venerable age but many had told me it was scarcely recognisable as an old pub, and expensive. True, on entering, what would have been a small cosy low ceiling possibly beamed couple of rooms, incongruously modern in their furnishings, its hard to imagine it being more than a decade old, but the fireplace and odd layout and route to the bar belied its haphazard ancient design.

On the left is a small opening with toilets on the right leading to a large room with the right angle bar facing the garden and the end of the pub with the arch. The ceiling was low in here and it was easier to imagine what the original features might have looked like, but the main plus point was the bar.

There were 5 handpumps dispensing Tetley, something else, a Wadworth themed Olympics ale, Archers Old Gold (Who brews Archers?!) and a dark beer. Not only that, but it was the cheapest beer of the crawl at £1.45 for a half of Vale Black Beauty (and of course a customary half of iced water). And I promise I kept a straight face when, not seeing the pump clip, the barmaid said
"and this is a dark one, Black Beauty"
Me  "Is it from Vale that one"
Barmaid (looking at pump clip) "yes, valet". No doubt she didn't mind my pause and walk round, to inspect the clip and pronounce Vale correctly!

I sat outside with my well kept beer and cool water and updated my notes and thought about my route. It was busy outside as you'd expect, and though it had been remodelled and refitted nearly to extinction, I was pleasantly surprised at what I found, and the staff were friendly, so all in all a pleasant visit.

My traverse to my next stop was a triumph of guess work. I didn't carry straight on from the shops instead walking to the left past High Storrs School and following the bus route, checking the road names on the bus stop all the way down, and hoping this was Greystones Road. It soon became Greystones Drive, and joined Greystones Road, shortly after which I spotted the pub.

On the bar were 6 Thornbridge beers (none of them new-fangled guests here, not since the opening month) and I think probably the same range as back in March or April, so I had a half of Black Harry, with a glass of water, which was £1.40. Clearly as I headed downhill the price was descending with me.

Off down the steep hill to Sharrow next and the Lescar was inevitably rammed with people soaking up the warm late evening sunshine. Inside there were 6 beers to choose from, 5 of which I wanted to drink, so I ditched my precautionary water and singlr half plan  to order a selection of 4. They were, in order of strength, Ilkley Mary Jane, Sunny Republic Beach Blonde, XT Dark Roast and Hopdaemon Green Daemon, which came to £6.20. Given the relative strengths (Ilkley 3.5 and Hopdaemon 5.0) this may have been comparatively cheaper than the Prince of Wales.

I sat in the beer garden at the back, and despite deliberately sitting in a smallish space on a table made for 8, seemed to be giving the impression that only one half was mine, as I sat reading, so this remained a solitary repose. Either that or my red sweaty face and straggly beard frightened off the young folk ....

My penultimate stop came on my way into town, after popping into Spar to find nothing I wanted to eat (although the visit wasn't wasted, as I got to watch a zombie like employee push a trolley into a display, and then reverse, pulling it with him, which made me laugh) and Sainsbury's where I did (but cucumber in a chicken wrap? Eeeugh) and also, after pausing temporarily to consider entering the unappetising environs of serial student haunt the Nursery (no pun). I headed instead, and I concede I surprised myself, for the ex Pomona which is now Champs, a bar I had never visited.

Luckily I knew what to expect and to be honest this visit was inspired more by a pressing need than a desire to watch ferret tickling and amputee pinball on one of 452 large screens, but to their credit there was real ale, an odd mix of Wild Swan (I had  half, £1.35), Jaipur and er, Tetleys. And at least I got to sit outside where it was cool, and slightly less testosterone filled.

My final stop in this long slog was up the hill from Moorfoot, and into the Devonshire Cat, a pub I haven't been in this year, and mainly because I heard from The Twitter (you've seen the Twitter) that Axholme Brewery beer might be available. It was, I had a half of their Bitter, it was surprisingly inexpensive for the Dev Cat at about £2.60 a pint (?) and was a pleasant and refreshing brew with an endearing slightly earthy flavour.

All in all I was bloody exhausted but had visited some new pubs and tried some exciting new beers (and revisited old favourites) on my lengthy crawl. Now to walk over Woodseats way tomorrow for the Mount Pleasant beer festival.

Wee Beefy

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