Its here folks.
The anniversary date of my being around, largely refreshed, and well walked, for another year. So as to maximise the enjoyment of this annual event I have spread my celebrations over two weekends. Next weekend will see me filling a small polypin with something pale and hoppy, possibly from Salamander, maybe from Abbeydale, to accompany my barbecue. Meanwhile, on Friday, I amassed a crowd of quite frankly excellent people to join in with drinking and larking about and trying to look sober.
Details of that anon, first, here's some gen about my my trial run.
Monday saw me in the University Arms. I had a lovely pint of Abbeydale Cosmology, which was very easy drinking, and a pint of their Tramlines 2 beer, which was a pleasant pint, if not particularly striking. Tramlines beers are always a bit of a tin medal - its a great honour to be chosen, but god forbid you brew something striking. or, to be fair, aimed ta the small handful of beer geeks and hop heads who drink the sort of beers I do. That said, this was an ideal accompaniment to my hugely filling meat and potato pie and chips, which more or less grounded me.
On Thursday I noticed it was sunny, so sloped off after work to the Riverside to "catch some rays" on the balcony. A pint of Abbeydale Phone Dip was ordered - in an amusing eyesight failure, I noticed a word containing the letters s and t and assume it was a stout. To be fair, the gent behind the bar didn't question my request, but poured me pale ale anyway - when I said "erm..." and picked it up to look at it he said "it will settle in a minute" thus having misunderstood my surprise at it being significantly less black that I'd expected! Never mind, it was a much needed refreshing pint.
I walked to the Wellington next and had a very agreeable pint of the LAC Harleys Galaxy, at a bargain £2.40, sat in the garden in the last of the evening sun. All too soon this had disappeared so I headed back for a recommendation from the brewer - returning to my sunny spot with a pint of William Henton Carver, still only £2.40 a point but a bit stronger. Kudos as a always to the Wellington for serving interesting beer at sensible prices.
A hop on the tram saw me to my next stop,the Bath Hotel, where Steff was dispensing wisdom and info as always, and nearly persuaded me to have a very silly pint indeed. Luckily I saw sense and restricted myself to two halves only - Hawkshead Gold and a rather strong Red Willow Shameless. Probably about 7% and packed with flavour, there may have been a smidgen too much sweetness for me but it was enjoyable all the same.
I finished the night at DAda where there was a "do" on and a slightly disappointing range of real ales. Lord Mumbles, Brother Boring, Hawkshead Red and Thornbridge Steelmakers. I found the latter woeful on Keykeg but assumed a bit of cask conditioning may improve it. Alas I was wrong. It's dire. Still, my spirits were lifted by a midweek discount and two bottles of excellent Kernel, resulting in a free bottle of Halcyon. Which was nice.
And so to last night. Two pubs, twenty people and one or two pints over nine hours. We started in the Harlequin at 16.00 and I met up with Tina, Dextrose, Rachael, Malc and Aidan. Wee Fatha arrived about 5 and by this time I was on my second pint of Revolutions Uprising. As usual with Revolutions, it was fantastic. Prior to that, as a birthday treat, I'd splurged cash on a bottle of Kernel Cascade. Which was not as good as their Simcoe, alas, but got better as it warmed up. Before we left I'd had a third Revolutions and we'd been joined by Ally, Mr Cain, erm thingy (sorry erm thingy) and Glasgow Edwardo, who despite my crap name recall, was actually called Chris...
Shakespeares beckoned and we met Miss M who had just arrived, along with Wee Keefy. Before long, Jambon, J9, Dave, Angie, Mr G, Tash, Gav and Clare, Michelle, and Carlos had all joined us, as we accidentally took over the clock room.
Beers in the Shakespeares were - reliant on my memory. Allegedly, pints in my session included Acorn UK Cascade (at least 2) Brew Company Oatmeal Stout and Ella, Kirkstall Three Swords and something in a bottle. And possibly Deception.
To be fair, this was my birthday night out - I wasn't "working" so am afraid there are areas of uncertainty over what beer was supped. Realty it didn't matter. This was one of the best nights out I've ever had. Fantastic company, excellent beer and good music in a great venue. At one stage I mooted the idea of heading off somewhere else. In the end, there seemed little point, and we were in for about 7 hours. Thanks to Shakespeares for their hospitality and my friends for making it such a great night.