it's not all festivals and epic county wide beer crawls here in the Beefosphere. Oh no. There's also, um, returning to beer festivals. And meeting folks from the far North. Near Barnsley.
The AA was in Sheffield on Saturday to come and try some ales at Shakespeares beer festival, which you may recall my mentioning previously. Like any sensible chap he intended getting food before imbibing too much and had come to know the nosh at the Closed Shop, where I met up with him. A fine range of ales was on offer from which I chose the Otley - I think it was their wheat beer (Dave? Any idea?!) ad I ordered my first shaky pint of the day to accompany my meal.
As befits his want the AA was studiously on halves - in this case of the same. So both of us failed to record the beer's name. How errant we bloggers can be...
A fantastic steak and ale pie and chips wit roasted veg was my choice (£6.95) and the AA was on an impressively large burger and chips. This was a very tasty meal which lined my stomach nicely for my festival reprise. It also helped me sup a half of the Ilkley Mary Jane IPA, far stronger than ordinary Mary Jane at 6.0%. Slightly heavy it packed a punch in terms of flavours and wasn't swamped by bitterness, although there was plenty there - a more traditional but no less enjoyable IPA.
From here we walked down to Shakespeares in a siling swirling downpour before settling down for a few beers. This time I was trying some new breweries. At least, after I had tried the Five Towns again. Now on hand pump it seemed a little drier and less enjoyable which was a shame. Meanwhile the AA was on a half of Cornish Crown 1 Hop 11 Grains. At least, that's what my beer list says, but my memory claims it was from Coastal. Either way it was very nice.
We were going to try the Geeves HIPA but it had run out since our arrival so I had a half of the Wild Boar Mad Pig, a very weak and not particularly accomplished beer, whilst the AA tried a half of the Pumpkin porter - which he liked but was adamant he wouldn't want a lot of. Ironic considering our finisher....
Our penultimate round saw me on Mithril Clocks Back and the AA a half of the Arbor Single Hop which he liked, before we both had a half of the Arbor Down Deeperst Black Saison. Suffice to say we weren't having another after this and soon the AA was heading North whilst I wandered up to DAda. Its important to clarify that, in no way is my inability to recall what I had in there, related to Arbor. It is (probably) entirely the result of my only being in for a short period before I headed off to meet Miss N and Matt in the Tap.
En route to which I ventured in the Dog and Partridge for a swift half. I spotted the Cross Bay seasonal and went for that but it was a little tired. I mentioned it to one of the staff and he offered me a free replacement which was good customer service (I had more or less finished it) - except I had to head off! In fairness they offer a try before you buy policy as far as I know so I could have done that and despite this being a third tired or off beer I've had there in a year I think that whilst a bit more checking is required, their willingness to remedy such issues is a positive feature.
Finally I arrived at the Sheffield Tap, none the worse far having downed at ;least 2 thirds of my last Arbor half in Shakespeares. It seemed only sensible to have a pint and a ha;f of the Magic Rock Dark Arts on cask, which I did. It was on impeccable form as Magic Rock beers seem to have been of late. And it also provided both the perfect end to a Sheffield pub crawl and the necessary encouragement to head home to bed.