I was out last night with folks from the internetesphere. Real people, in real life, who also exist online. It seems implausible I know, but there is a world outside of social media. Its just as annoying, with infuriating delays or loss of service, exposure to information and imagery you neither covet nor can necessarily stomach, idle threats, confusion and spam. It is also significantly colder, but on the plus side, the beer is more refreshing.
Meeting me at the Riverside were Clare, Gav, Jane and Neil. We no longer have to communicate in twitter identities, so am afraid the cat's out of the bag. I mean, there can't be that many people with those names, who all know other people with one of those same names, minus their own, in the Sheffield and Rotherham area...
First up was a pint of Empire True Blonde for me and Jane, a pint of Brew Co Krakken for Gav, a Budvar Dark for Neil and a pint of Beechams for Clare, who had a troublesome ailment. Nowt worse. We got ourselves a table and another round of drinks and set about ordering food. At this point the reality of eating real food in real life became less appealing.
There was a limited menu available alas, but they did have their pies which sounded delicious on the website, as well as a range of burgers ribs and similar with chips and veg or salad. Without going in to immense detail, the ribs were OK, ish, but didn't cut the mustard with rib-o-phile Neil, mine and Jane's beef and mushroom pies had ale in them which sadly, when warmed, makes the gravy taste a bit, erm, soil-y, and Clare's veggie burger was a disaster. The next 20 minutes (it felt,) was spent making honest recommendations to the guy behind the bar about what could be done to improve the food. I think I'll stick to drinks for now myself.
Off round the corner to the Fat Cat and to Clare's delight the charity pie and a pint night was on. For considerably less than what we paid earlier, she got a pint of a Kelham beer (I think) a piece of pie, marrowfat peas, tatties and gravy. It looked fab. As so often with the Cat, it quietly and reassuringly reminds you that you could have had just as much or more enjoyment eating there. Shame on us.
I was drinking the rather excellent Welbeck Abbey Calypso in here, and apart from a disappointing Dunkel from Kelham the beers seemed to be in great nick, including the Two Roses Full Nelson which Neil and Jane were on. Soon, as the beer tally mounted, the conversation took a rather alarming turn and after a charity inspired game of Eastern European bingo, Gav introduced the subject of bizarre objects recovered from humans.
In short, we got to discussing the Illinois enema bandit, and it got steadily more disturbing from there on, although, at least I now have a handy rhyme with which to remember the difference between a hamster and a rat. Now how did it go...
Having shaken a fearsome image of pugil sticks from our collective consciousness, our night finished in the ever reliable Shakespeares, where, still feeling sheepish after missing my first Shakespeares fest, I was keen to make amends by buying lots of beer. Gav had the Brooklyn erm strong dark thing, Neil a pint of their Lager, Jane a Privateer Dark Revenge, as did I, and Clare had, erm, a cold. Bless.
We started to wander off home from here although I made a sterling effort by having another cheeky pint of the excellent Privateer, after the others had gone home to the warmth and clean upstanding tone of the Internet. The Privateer beer I tried in the Gardeners was not quite what I was expecting, but the self same malty edge that made their Blonde fall short of what I wanted previously was now the leading flavour that pulled their dark beer together brilliantly. I only stopped short of another because I had to miss my bus....
More Reallife-ups are planned for the future, and who knows we may even manage something reckless like a weekend night out where we can indulge in a few more pints. For now though, it was just nice to get out with great company to sup excellent beer.
Here's to plenty more of the same.