Shakespeares Ale and Cider House on Gibraltar street, is the recipient of this years Sheffield CAMRA Kelham Island Tavern of the year award, in an astonishing and wholly deserved triumph. As many of you may know from an earlier post here, there were plaudits and congratulations a plenty back when it was announced, but the affirmation of that status was officially celebrated on Tuesday, and I was there.
I arrived on a high and in celebratory mood myself, following having my boiler fixed and securing some important legal paperwork, and had therefore figured it was a no brainer to head out to Sheffield's best pub to rejoice. On arriving I bumped into T_I_B, AKA Tom,. from the world of the Internet. He was down for the same reason as myself and seemingly countless others, to congratulate the team. I had a pint of the Black Iris Wit, and he the Mallinsons Epicurion, an astringently bitter but well rounded pale ale with bags of citrus hops that I drank plenty of throughout the evening.
Various luminaries arrived; KE Page from the world of writing, Where's Andy C, Rich from Blue Bee, Alan Gibbons from the CAMRA, J.B, Dave U from the world of brewing, Malc, Ally and Rob, Andy T, Robin, William the owner, Martin, Nathan "Nate Rawg" Naterawg, Closed Shop Kate, Dan Abbeydale, Josh Kelham and Dave Williams. A throng of chattering aficionados and fans amassed whilst we talked, and I made several trips to the bar to buy more pints.
And more pints still. Many more Mallinsons followed for me, plus an excellent if heavy pint of the Hop Studio XS (alas I missed their Citra). Mercifully, given my unslakable thirst, Shakespeares had kindly laid on a vast spread in the school room. There were also free beer tokens , which was a generous and warmly appreciated touch. A speech and scrum followed, before orgiastic mastication began, and more Mallinsons was supped.
There was also the chance to network and chat to people about blogs (whatever they are, disappointingly just a list of pubs visited that one may not like, and beers drunk it seems), which included some very interesting discussions. Predominantly though it was memorable as a vibrant coming together of people who appreciate the efforts of Chris, Robin, Keisha, Linda and the team, the determination of William and others, and the overall increasing excellence of Shakespeares.
As the hours went by another Mallinsons passed my lips, and finally I finished on a pint of refreshing Deception, a Shakespeares mainstay, to cleanse my palate and refresh me. Eventually, and before anyone could put a chair upside down on a table, I jumped in an ale tractor home and according to disparate and inconclusive strewn evidence, ate something.
Congratulations once again to the team at Shakespeares for their hospitality and hard work, and who knows, I may visit again some day.