you might be forgiven for thinking what with the tone of recent posts that my Sheffield drinking life is an endless Merry-go-round of new breweries and new pubs. Well, I occasionally go to pubs and drink beer that I have been too and tried before! This new fangled trend for not drinking only unheard of brews and visiting pubs over and over again will surely never catch on, but if it does, I've already coined a handy phrase to encapsulate the idiosyncrasies of the phenomenon - "just going out for a pint". You heard it here first...
Friday was just such an example. Although we did attend the, ahem, "launch" of the Church House, we first met up with people from the slave mill in Lloyds No.1 in town. Not perhaps a venue to set the pulse racing but there were 5 handpumps for real ale and one for real cider, and every one was utilised.
Highlights included Bradfield Belgian Blue, Cotleigh Kookaburra and Avery brewing from Boulder Colorado's 3.5% session beer, brewed in the UK. I had a pint of the Cotleigh at £2.09 and a half of the Avery. This was a really enjoyable American hoppy ale, probably brewed in a Burton regional (?) based on a light sulphury edge, and packing in a lot of hoppy flavour for its low strength. Perhaps this explains why I don't get on with the stronger American IPA's - the stronger they are the more the odd ascorbic dryness and ill suited Belgian sweetness seem prominent. Either way it was very good.
Off to the Old House next for the first time in ages. From a range of Moonshine, Kelham Bitter and two from the Fulstow Brewery, who's beers am not keen on, I went for a pint of the True North First Blonde. Given that its probably still brewed at Welbeck, it did seem faintly reminiscent, in flavour at least, of their Bay Middleton. And was thus very quaffable. Its good to get reacquainted with the Old House having been mysteriously absent over the last few months.
After our Church House assessment we went onto DAda. The music was good, Ems and Annie were manning the bar, and I was feeling a little reckless. So much so that after having a delicious pint of Evenlode Porter (becoming one of my beers of 2012) I splashed out an eye watering and obscene amount of cash on the Mikkeller Beer Geek breakfast. Chala then also lost her mind and bought a pile of food and we had a sumptuous and ostentatious feast in convivial surroundings, before leaving to get the bus (and returning for my scarf, the second thing I had left behind in one night!).
Yesterday, I set out in the afternoon to try and sample the Blue Bee/Real Ale Society beer that I'd heard so much about. The Rutland Arms, who is a person, had stated that it was on the bar there so I thought I'd pop out and try it. Except, I got to town near the end of the Football Association cup fixture so decided to head down later. Instead I popped in the Church House, which now no longer counts as a new pub, thus fitting in with the theme of this post.
I can provide you with a few minor clarifications whilst were here. Firstly, the Caledonian Double Dark which I had on this visit is only £2.85 a pint. A good price for any real ale in the centre these days where the norm is £3.00 for average strength, and this is about 4.6% I think. Also, the food menu comprises one side of actual meals, standard pub fare but sensibly priced. The tapas element I had remembered is actually called the Deli section and comprises various cold platters that you can combine yourself, again at a decent price.
Finally, with thanks to the keen eye of the writer K E Page, the impressive circular windows in the entrance show evidence that the pub did used to be called the Ferret and Trouserleg. So anything has to be an improvement! I also noted on the back of their menu that they have a website - of sorts. In keeping with their mysterious unfindable business theme, the website address is for a host site/blog(?) called barbook, and can be found here. The only thing that inks to the pub in Sheffield is the spiel about the food which is that which appears on the pubs menu's, and also the sign on the front of said pamphlets. The whole thing is incredibly light on detail, much like their Facebook page! You can probably find more out by visiting the pub...
I popped into DAda next and straight away started supping pints of the Evenlode which, unbelievably, still hadn't run out. It was good catching up again with Ems and Jamie, but I had other sights in mind so kidnapped Ems and we trooped off up to Harrisons 1854, which I don't go to as often as I used to. Here, as promised, the Belgian Blue was available on cask, so I had a pint, Ems sensibly a half. However, my one gripe was the price! A whopping £3.80 a pint, making it 60p a pint more expensive than the far stronger Evenlode back at DAda. Had I been more cogent and in less of a rush I would have asked Bob why the beer was quite so expensive, but on this occasion I concentrated on enjoying it. It is, after all, a very tasty beer.
Off to the Bath next where there was beer. Ems went for the General Sherman because she's hardcore, I went for something else entirely. Unfortunately, its identity escapes me. I was already unsettled by a desire for food and obviously wasn't paying attention.
Finally we were off to the Rutland hoping to eat (for me) and try the Blue Bee beer I mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, the stupid bus broke down on West Street, and this extra delay in getting to the pub meant I arrived at 20.58 (but not by the clock in the pub, humph). Racked by hunger I pleaded to be fed but the stone cold face of the mighty Rutland was unmoved. So not only did I not get to try the beer but I also had to rush back home before the supermarket shut - if I had stopped for a half, I would have missed the shops as well. Damn you the progression of time! Most annoying (and slightly embarrassing given my desperation).
So that wraps up a couple of trips around some of Sheffield's better and for me less frequently visited outlets. No doubt December will find me in many more venues that get overlooked the rest of the year.