the title doesn't relate to a rather stomach churning film shown on Jim'll Fix it (although discerning which clips would make you gip nowadays is quite difficult), instead its a nod to the strange tumult of highs and lows I had last night.
I was meeting Fluffy after work, traipsing up to West Street in snow and slippery pavements, with all bathed in off yellow light, and snow forming a frothy head in my hair. I arrived at the Bath Hotel early, and looking like a badly poured Guinness. Luckily, there was beer to drink whilst I waited, and the whole place was coat dryingly warm.
I tried standing at the bar, as if I was in DAda, but to be fair there seems a bit more footfall in the Bath so I retired to the corner next to the radiator and got settled with my pint of the excellent Amber Ales Derbyshire Gold. They also had the Amber Jasmine IPA, but, not exactly surprisingly, this tasted of jasmine.
So when Fluff arrived I had another pint of the Derbyshire Gold, as did he and he got sat next to the lava hot radiator to get dried. I once again had one of their fantastic hot roast pork sarnies (thanks Steph!) and this filled me up perfectly for the night of drinking ahead. The only downside was the dire predictions of upcoming beers - selling 5 of my least favourite Thornbridge beers, including Kipling, Brother rabbit and Puja, it looked likely that the pendulum of popularity would swing back to DAda. These last two weeks have been a great example of soaring and falling fortunes in terms of the beer range at the Bath. Perhaps I was spoilt by Red Willow, Amber and aged Beadecas Well....
We walked to the Hop next, still in the snow, and decided to only stop for a half. There's something I just can't get on with about the Hop. I loved the green hop festival and there is always a mild on the bar, but its so transient - I always feel like I'm filling in ten minutes when I', in there - this time we literally were! Halves of Rudgate Ruby Mild fr me and Ossett Treacle Scott for Fluff, to prepare us against the snowy wind ahead.
Eschewing the charms of the Dev Cat we headed into Henry's past the promising looking frontage of the Brewery proclaiming its imminent opening. Its strange that Henry's never seems to be busy because the beer is fantastic in there, and well priced. I had a pint of sumptuous Dark Star Revelation, whilst Fluff had a half of the same, and a rather earthy Bridestones Chocolate Stout, from a range of about ten. A pub crying out for a session.
Off down to the Sheffield Tap next to be annoyed, disappointed and elated in equal measure. Initially our eyes lit up at the range, Magic Rock casks plus Human Cannonball on Keykeg, a Tiny Rebel beer, and a cask Sierra Nevada beer - Heaven! I had a half of the Cosmic Daze from S.N and a half of the Steel City Hop Cluster from the other night. And this is where it all started to go wrong...
Firstly, the tiny Rebel beer was about 4.5% and yet cost £5.00 (based on the cost two halves - note, this is according to Fluff, I didn't see the price myself). Not only that, it lacked significant noticeable flavour to overcome the carbonation and pointless coldness. It was like a shandy made with half a lager and some sparkling water. And why in the name of Christ was it £5.00 a pint?! Given that Keykeg was its most unsuitable serving style, it was galling enough to pay the infamous extra Keykeg cost at possibly a pound, but it was still £4.00 without! Is it made with gold? Mores the shame we couldn't remember the name of the brew.
The Sierra Nevada meanwhile was ace and lots easier to drink on cask than it usually is on keg or in bottle. However, the Steel City tasted of furniture polish and cucumbers. That is not how that beer should taste I assure you.
I took it back to complain and the lass behind the bar finished my sentence with the word furniture polish - so why on earth was it even on sale? She went to check with the manager if I could have it replaced with drinkable beer, a puzzle in itself, and I had a Rapture instead. To be fair they also took the beer off, but I can't begin to think what had happened to it to make it taste so bad, and however briefly, be on sale.
We cheered ourselves up with halves of Magic Rock Human Cannonball which is amazing, plus a half of the excellent Oakham JHB. The Human Cannonball was a great example of a strong beer that works well when sold on Keykeg. Joyous though this was, it just highlighted how bad the Tiny Rebel beer was.
Off to the Rutland Arms last and they also had Human Cannonball on - but, and I thought I'd never have reason to say this - at a pound more expensive than the Sheffield Tap. I love the Rutland but that's a slap too far! Luckily, they had Magic Rock Dark Arts on cask, so I had a pint of that and Fluff a rather ill advised pint of a Revolutions Christmassy spiced ale. Oh dear. What have you done to your image Revolutions Brew! Spiced ale is almost always unfailingly bad.
Luckily I bought Fluff a half of the Dark Arts, which he didn't finish as is usually the case in the last pub, so I had that, along with another pint of the absolutely excellent beer again. I love Dark Arts, and its a beer that needs to be on cask a bit more often I think. Probably the beer of the night.
So there you go, an up and down beer journey in the snow. A greatly enjoyable if frustrating way to spend Friday night - and what a great excuse for me to cancel my trip to Leeds today. A dry day inside with no costs involved is much needed I think!