myself and Mr P finally got out on our Wanderians on Wednesday, the day I found out I'd got a job interview. Not quite as tankard clinking and boisterous a piece of news as getting the bugger, but reason enough to celebrate. Because, you know. Normally I lead a virtually dry Methodist existence, with alcohol only passing my lips under duress. Di blah.
I had hoped for a Commonside jaunt as The Closed Shop is rapidly becoming my new favourite pub - more to come on that subject no doubt over the next month. One thing I'll quickly say is that its testament to the hard work of Mr Stephens from the death star canteen, to access the widest possible range of beers within the terms of his lease, that he has so consistently put on exceptional beer. Not every micro brewery is good, is kind of what I'm saying.
Anyhoo, this wander started after a brisk yomp through the unpromising territory of Neepsend, and up to Rutland Street, and the Woodside Inn. Landlord Gary was on hand to dispense warm greetings and cool beer. Better still, he had the Toolmakers Razmataz on. The former Forest pub, is the nearest licensed premises to the brewery.
I was a little confused when he said they'd only been in a week; not knowing much about the rapidly changing licensing history of the pub I didn't want to seem like I knew nothing, when in reality that is the case. I thought it reopened before Christmas, sorry, I know it reopened before Christmas, but that the incumbents then were still there now. Either way it didn't matter. Because the beer was good, and it was only £2.50 a pint. Or similar....
We stopped for two in the end, I had a brief chat with Gary about ales and his intention to regularly stock Toolmakers products. He actually had two Wood Street beers on as well, and I was offered a try of the Golden Larch. It wasn't in bad condition, but it was an odd mix of sweet malt with a bitter bite in the aftertaste. Interestingly, talking to Shakespeare Martin (no relation to the pub) at Magna yesterday, he said their beers had been on top form at The Hillsborough. Perhaps I should pop down to try them. And get over myself.
Off to the Gardeners Rest next and back on familiar Wanderians territory. Here I had a pint of Mulberry Duck brewery Wildfowler Mild, alas I forget what Mr P had but it was a pleasant pale ale. The Wildfowler was, erm, interesting. It probably comes under the category twiggy, but there was no crystal malt lurking in the mix - there was just too much mix. Not unpleasant though. Far better was my half of Early Dawn from Hayrake brewery, which was very enjoyable.
Our final, Mr P's anyway, stop was the Ship. As always 3 excellent beers were on, and we both had pints of Chantry Brewery Iron and Steel, a 4.0% darkish bitter at £2.65 a pint. As always there was an enjoyable mix of catchy, fiendishly catchy and achingly uncool tunes from the past to keep us amused, and a decent number of customers to drown out my somewhat late toasts.
After Mr P had headed home I popped in the Wellington across the roundabout and had an excellent half of the Little Ale Cart Darlington and what might have been their latest single hopped ale - in fact, it was, but I cleverly deleted the text containing this information in a bid to free up space on my creakily slow phone. For precisely no benefit.
I jumped off the tram at the University next and went to the Bath Hotel for a pint of Dark Star Festival and the brilliant 1910 Porter, which I topped off with a sneaky Halcyon, possibly on cask, but am not sure (last night it was on Keykeg and cask). It was nice to get to try some new (to me) Dark Star beers, and equally enjoyable to slake some Halcyon. Talking of which, as above, I was also in last night supping a couple of pints of that fantastic haze maker. It was great to finish on such an epic beer, and to catch up with Geoff, and John, from the now disbanded Sheffield beer board. A scheme or concept that none of you know anything about, because, erm, we never set it up, and I never mentioned it...
Business ideas eh!