alas the above is not a musical reference, just an indication that this week, I have been mostly in.... Shakespeares. And why not? Lots of people rightly recognise it as a fantastic pub. Heres a few fine details that support that theory.
Friday after work I was in need of a cheer up. I had been suffering with dropsy and malaria, and was desperate to go out on the ran tan, as absolutely no-one says anymore. Tempted as I was by a trundle to Commonside, the option of walking for just 5 minutes to a pub won me over, and I slipped away to Shakespeares.
It was fairly busy and there was an impressive array of beers on. I started with a pint of Blackjack Double Bluee, a gloriously tasty, well balanced bitter beer that demanded two goes. I have heard great things about Blackjack but not always tasted great things. This was a brilliant example of a night beer. A beer that defines, and is drunk throughout the whole of the, night. However, other delights would tempt me.
I bought a pint of Ascot Anastasia stout next, which I loved at the Kelham Decade fest but which was surprisingly smokey and not that well balanced - which was a shame. So I decided to "go cellar" and was rewarded by a very enjoyable pint of Hopcraft Abrek black IPA. I think. The things is, even having kindly been passed the pump clip, my mind wasn't willing to accept that the beer wasn't called something easy like Jeff, or brick or cat. So please forgive me if I get the name wrong. Whatever it was called it was an enjoyably bitter and hoppy (they're different, see) black IPA that did everything I expected. My first Hopcraft beer, and one that makes me think I'll try more if spotted.
Another Bluee followed (not a fit, but a pint of beer) before I ambled up to DAda to get the whole bottled beer offer wrong (it even bloody says on my bottle club card "Monday to Thursday" but in my optimism I bought one on a Friday. Dumpling). I also had a very enjoyable half of Acer from Bristol Beer factory but this was overshadowed by my regretting the purchase of the bottle and basically wanting to go home. Alas I didn't get back to sample the Brizzle bur. Curses.
My next Shakespeares session was preceded by a trip to the Gardeners Rest with J9. An almost pleasant walk through the Don's adjoining industrial wastelands brought us into, and then outside of, the Gardeners, me with a pint of Chantry Saxonia, J9 with a half of St Loius Kriek. Sat in gale force winds, I tried to make out it was springily warm by sitting there in a T-shirt whilst our crisps and my jacket blew onto the floor. By pint 2, a chunky and not unhelpfully cloudy Monster IPA from Celt Experience, the jacket was back on.
A second amble had us arrive at Shakespeares and looking forward to cooling back down in the sheltered beer garden. I had a pint of the excellent North Riding Aspiration Nation - feel free to laugh, but my phone says I drank Patanpo! A lovely refreshing bitter at under 4%, this really hit the spot, and I had two pints just to make sure. J9 meanwhile was on the Kriek. That's not an ailment.
After this a minor blot appeared on the Shakespeares copy book. They had run out of saison! Ye Gads! I instantly thought about decamping to the Wellington to sort out this situation but luckily renowned saison fan Dave U was on hand to direct me to his Steel City Brewing Metal Fatigue beer, brewed, in, erm, celebration of Maggie Thatcher. 'sdeath. This was very very nice and I had several glasses of it, before I became unable to type anything legible. Luckily I remember J9 had a bottle of Orval. And no doubt, Scasa means something, to somebody, somewhere...
I am sure it was sensibly priced and very tasty as well.
So ended our Shakespeares sojourn, and we walked into town for J9 to wend her way home, although we had to decamp from the bus stop in the face of a worrying crying man. Once we reached the Rutland Arms, which you may remember from being the pub of the month, I bade my drinking companion farewell, then popped in for a very delicious bacon butty, plus a pint of Arbor Snuffy Jam, and, one hopes, only a half of heir superb Yakima IPA.
All we need now is for Shakespeares to organise another of their excellent beer fests and their name could be synonymous with superlatives evermore.