following on from my Tuesday epiphany, I returned to abstinence on Wednesday then back to reckless abandon as I careered towards the weekend.
My indulgence started with a meal. Not my usual way of supping, usually I find that eating interferes with the process of ale consumption but, albeit after a pint, I was starting with a meal at the Rutland Arms on Brown Street.
I knew thew food here was excellent based on every time I had eaten there but that doesn't help explain my lack of foody visits, and the dearth of minutes partaking in joyous mastication at its tables. I started with a pint of Dark star Sunbeam or similar - alas Dark Star do two ales with Summer in the name, and one of them, which I don't particularly care for, has ginger or something similarly wrong in it. This was it. perfectly kept, but doing nothing for me. Humph.
Instead I went for the excellent Welbeck Abbey Brewery King Tom(?) red ale, and ordered what, from the ingredients alone, appeared to be a dream meal. Ignoring the somewhat unfortunate name (Sports Pork? I'll get me Profanisaurus) I was bowled over by the suggested parts and ordered it without a second thought. Heeley City Farm boar loin with mushroom and black pudding mash, peas, carrots and red cabbage in an excellent possibly ale gravy. And it was only £8.00. Stupendous value.
I had another Welbeck here but all too soon my companion for the night Middlemarch, was struggling and had to go home. So I went to the Sheffield Tap for a couple of halves.
Tempest Into the Light, 4.1% and an excellent Great Heck Porter were my liquid companions here, and both were fine ales, although I concede I much preferred the roasty bite of the excellent porter. Great heck are a brewery who's beers I have long enjoyed but recent offerings, especially those with the distinct pumpclips, have been rewarding.
Dada provided my finishing flourish, more excellent McConnells came my way, as did the fine company of the Jims. There was a singer on, which was mildly annoying in terms of conversational quality, but he wasn't too bad. Several pints of McConnells passed my lips before I opted for a half of the Schlenkerla, by way of comparison.
I was also forced, on pain of death, by the Jims, to sup a half of the Chiron. I accept its a punchy hoppy pale beer that's not too strong but I still had to let it stand for 20 minutes to start getting the flavours. I'm not sold on this!
I also popped in the Riverside recently. Spiro was leaving for pastures new and I joined him and his mates for a pint or two. The beer range can be very good at the Riverside, but there can be a reliance on samey Brew Company output and also much of the range is unavailable! I mentioned I hadn't seen or tried the Freedom Stout - then noticed the glass on the dispense and conceded that this situation would remain unchanged.....
Sat outside under the shelter proved very enjoyable (especially when a wall of rain fell), and I enjoyed a pint of Crouch Vale Summer Breeze. Alas this ran out after my pint so I migrated to Brew Co Summer instead, which was a decent golden pint.
Round the corner I popped in the Fat Cat. Having a funding malfunction I had cleverly arrived hungry, with enough for either a half, or a pork pie. I wanted both. I opted for a half of the Salamander Warpath 4.5% stout in the end. I didn't stop long, but loitering with intent in the hallway I spotted seminal starlets Alison and Diane, and redoubtable bar wizard Steven.
It was great catching up with all three, Diane taking time out for a chat in the corridor. It's no exaggeration to say that I cut my drinking, erm, cliche finishers in here in the nineties, especially honing my solitary supping skills whilst on the dole (my other doley mates didn't want to squander their money on an afternoon or more likely dinnertime of pints, so I often ventured in alone). That I could still wander in and find the familiar friendly faces of the team makes the Fat Cat a must visit pub, even if I accept that I go in less now tan I did when I was broke.
Shakespeares was my final call on this occasion, and I was pleased once again with the choice on the bar. A half of the Salamander (again), a pork pie and a pint of the excellent Brass Castle Bad Kitty vanilla stout secured a card payment, and I settled down to a read and a long and interesting chat with Dave in the bar about photography.
The Bad kitty is a little heavy (I only had a pint and a half) but is so luxuriously fine as to warrant savouring every last delicious drop. For the second time in a week I was in Shakespeares contemplating the practicalities of draining an entire cask of a beer by myself. Luckily I was more sensible than that and was home before 21.00.
Finally, I am going to Lancashire with WF tomorrow so need to be up early. I hope to write on Sunday about my trip to the Limeburners Arms in Nether Kellet. I have wanted to go there for about 18 months, but I am worried that whenever I want to visit an unspoilt pub, one outcome usually prevails - it shuts. Finding that the number does not exist earlier doesn't fill me with confidence.
Lets hope this isn't another unspoilt treasure that I miss.
More news soon