sitting in a great pub. Or sitting outside a great pub in the sunshine. Drinking a really good pint of beer, with good company. I was doing just that yesterday, listing the above whilst describing to Christingpher what constituted the perfect reasons, and situation, for a session. At the same time we were, sub consciously, starting one.
We'd walked in sunshine along Loxley Road to the Nags Head at Stacey Bank. There was still places to sit outside, and it seemed like a very good idea - because even if it hadn't been sunny, it was peculiarly warm in the pub. Christingpher opted for a pint of the Bradfield Wimbull-don, which he claimed head a hint of fruit flavour to it, I went for my absolute favourite Bradfield beer - Pale Ale at 5.0%. As its Bradfield Brewery's tap (perhaps not officially) the beer is remarkably good value here at £2.00 a pint, irrespective of strength.
We sat on the decking with the farm carrying on its business just yards away, with the sun beating down, and a steady but varied flow of people joining the throng - hikers, cyclists, dog walkers, people out for a countryside drive, locals having a catch up. It was inevitable that we wouldn't want to leave. Indeed, it was 5 hours, and 7 perfectly kept pints of glorious beer before we did.
Friday I'd been in Shakespeares with Wee Keefy and Jambon and friends, and once again the perfect combination of factors was in place. This time it was the Hop Studio Brew 100, a lovely citrus bitter with a hint of cluster and a surprisingly robust malt background. It was a perfect combination of a dry traditional Yorkshire bitter and something altogether more exotic. It was 5.1% and £2.90 a pint and despite not being an ideal; sessionable strength it kept me and my companions firmly entrenched in Shakespeares for hours.
The Ship at Shalesmoor is a pub you may know from my frequent write ups. It has a fantastic Tomlinsons Brewery tiled frontage and inside is a formerly multi-roomed layout, last refurbished in the 1980's. The extent to which the decor fails to match the age or outward appearance of this fine old pub is part of its charm. Its steadfastly rooted to the time it was upholstered and fitted and its reassuringly similar to the decor at the Old Heavygate in Crookes. The three well kept inexpensive real ales are the final piece in the jigsaw.
I was in chatting to JB on Friday and drinking the excellent if slightly heavy Harthill village Brewery Dark Hart, but last night, having stopped for a few hours of recuperation and eating, I managed to squeeze in a few hours supping the excellent Barlow Heath Robinson, 3.8% and £2.50 a pint, whilst chatting with Col, Sue, Fluffy, Sarah, Gone John and Lynn. I could have migrated to something stronger but the Barlow was exactly what I wanted so I stayed on that. In the end it was only the late hour and need for sleep which cut short our slaking.
So rounds up three slightly ill-advised but hugely enjoyable sessions - the perfect combination of location, company and beer. Well worth leaving the house for.