four years ago on Wednesday a pub reopened in Sheffield. A worrying headline had appeared on the front page of beer matters proclaiming the imminent closure of the Rutland Arms not long before, and it all looked pretty grim. Luckily a little thinking outside the box saw the pub leased from the owner (note - myself and Mr Stephens only discuss factual pub related business stuff when beer is involved, so you might be better making your own story up...), and the pub reopened with some secrecy, and some allegedly undrinkable cider.
Mr Stephens has now moved onto the Closed Shop although he oversaw some of the year since the 3rd birthday and was there on Wednesday night to join in the celebrations. The pub probably has a manager or something now and is run by Joe. I realise that doesn't make sense since that makes him the manager, but I doubt the Rutland who is a person actually worries about such trivialities. Its open, it sells great food and excellent beer.
On Wednesday I had a cold so announced, when leaving work, that I would have to drink strong beers, yer know, since I had an impaired smell and sense of taste. I was therefore quite pleased to find several of such beers on offer at The Rutland, and a chilli stout, Blue Bee Lustin for Chilli. This was my first beer of the night, along with a half of the 12% Arbour Goo Goo G'joob Maple Imperial Stout, which was rather fantastic. I had a half of that, and mixed a little with the chilli stout to create a third even more impressive option.
I met up with Christingpher, Ade, Matt and Miss N and had a bacon sandwich (well, what else would I eat in the Rutland?) before having a pint of the rather more sensible Blue Bee Light Blue and another half of the excellent stout. I then went to the Crucible for a couple of hours, leaving a serene scene of subdued lighting, free pint tokens and music...
On my return there were balloons and streamers everywhere, jelly and ice cream on the tables, numerous edible snakes, cake, party hats, rambunctious revelry and more beer than you could shake an outdoor candle holder at . Soon, everyone migrated out the back to get the sweets from the Pinata.
This year I feel the Rutland slightly cheated by making it out of something bloody tough. It was a good half an hour, even with the efforts of some notable heavyweights (I'll count myself in this category on account of having a beer belly), before the pinata finally gave up its treasure. Absolutely bloody kilo's of sweets of all kinds, which Mr Stephens, wielding an outdoor candle holder as we had broken the first two sticks, launched into the air to shower down over the beer garden - a pleasingly reckless and silly act. Cue chaos.
Meanwhile, I had dropped down from the dizzy heights of the Arbor Imperial Stout and was now supping their Yakima IPA which is at least 7%. Don't get me wrong, I still found time to have more of the 12% stout, but I convinced myself that the IPA was akin to sensible drinking. I'm not sure if this decision shortened or lengthened our repose at the celebrations, but to be honest the beer was too damned good to care.
Later, with the crowds thinning out and Matt studiously creating a complex structure from pirate Lego beside me, I was to become a climbing frame for Josh Jepson, and was to witness some quite excellent tunes on the jukebox being replaced by the worst music imaginable in an attempt to shake off those customers who seemed to be unwilling, or unable, to go home.
Congratulations to the Rutland for a quite fabulous party, which was every bit as good as last years, and apologies to all those of you whom I might have vigorously squeezed to death in my drunken, happy, social rampage through the pub.
Roll on another 12 months at the Rutland Arms