Saturday, 27 September 2014

More Arms, more pints


     a few things have happened since I last wrote. Here's a sort of round up thing. You know, to tell you what they are....

A day after posting about the desire for the Wellington to reopen as a pub the signs on it, in Darnall, were changed to read "Shop to let" with suggestions for a mini supermarket or restaurant undreneath. I'm not remotely surprised but this is a shame to hear.

Despite this potential threat which I hope isn't a poorly judged political stunt, the University Arms reopened on 15 September following a refurbishment. There was a Welbeck Abbey beer on which we both had and some Kelham Island Pale Rider which I had for old times sakes. I also had a bottle of the Camden Hells since it was on offer. I read somewhere that people had fallen out with Camden as they had tried to copyright the word hello. Or something. To be honest I didn't read the details....

Refurb wise it looks a little darker and perhaps a little classier, but I understand the big changes have taken place upstairs. In my usual form, ignoring investigative vigour, I did not go upstairs. You should though.

I went to the Brothers Arms on Well Road in Heeley a couple more times, ate plenty more Onion Bhaji's and drank a frankly astonishing pint (or in fact 5) of the Blackjack Red Rye Saison, at 7.2% and selling at £3.20 a pint. Loving saison and rye as I do, that was a very enjoyable drink. There continues to be much to admire at the Arms, with the exception perhaps of the member of staff who couldn't recommend or even describe a beer I asked about...!

Recent trips to the Bath Hotel have heralded 3 amazing beers. Most notable was Wild Beer Co Sourdough kegged sour beer, which was delightful and not bad value at £3.80 a pint. The other was the matchless elegance of the Desert Sessions which was brewed at Thornbridge by Ed and Steff from behind the bar. The final is the Raven Black IPA from Thornbridge which is on good form. Drank some Deseret Sessions last Saturday with friends Clare and Gav on a rather raucous night out following pints in Shakespeares.

Of which I can report, they have greatly extended their bottled beer selection and printed a list, of which there are about 3 copies on some tables. The prices are competitive as always and the Evil Twin, Kernel and Beavertown ones are highlights. Recent good beers in here have been the Waen Knicklejacker (knuckleknocker/knickleknacker - I didn't write it down sorry) which was a very pleasing red ale, along with the excellent Liverpool Stout.

A trip to a new venue on Thursday, the Anchorage bar diner on the usually terrible for beer West One. Pricey and very much foody but having about 10 keg taps, we had two astonishing halves. Miss N had a UK cheery sour which was described by the barman as odd but instead was fantastic tasting, and I had the Alechemy Rye Rye IPA which was very easy to drink. I hear the food is also good so will have to pop in again.

We recently went to Henry's and had some decent India Ale from the recently rocky fortunes of Chantry Brewery (in so far as their beer has been disappointing in numerous venues). This was competitively priced around £2.60 a pint and after we had this we went to the Brewhouse next door. I'm determined to like this place but the flaws still keep coming up. The cask range of cloudy tasters from the non operating brewery never tempts me and there was nothing really hoppy or stoutish on the bar. In the end I bought Miss N a pint of a milk stout or similar which was OK but lackluster, and I bought a pint of punk IPA, as I've never had it on Keg. To my amazement it was over £5.00 a pint, which is, I understand, more than it costs in BrewDog bar.

It seems strange that Henry;s keep their beer well and maintain an interesting selection but the bar next door which they own falls short so often. Perhaps the brewery working in the premises will improve things?

Finally,I went to a new pub on Sunday. We popped in the Riverside on Leppings Lane for a pint of Farmers Cherry Bitter which was actually very nice, not too fruity, and sat on the terrace overlooking the Wednesday ground. From here we walked along Beeley Wood Road in sunshine and through the woods to Oughtibridge. We visited the Cock Inn which is a large traditional boozer on the road linking the two main roads.

There used to be, Miss N assures me, an unspoilt games room on the right, alas this is now a tea room, but the pub has a cosy traditional feel and sells three real ales including Bradfield Blonde. On this occasion we had a very enjoyable pint of Timothy Taylors Landlord and sat round the back. Overall this was a good boozer with much to recommend it so will maybe pop back soon.

That's all the news I have or can remember for now. Really. It actually is. Wibble.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 20 September 2014



       on Thursday 18 September 2014 in Sheffield, the persons in the CAMRA (you've seen the CAMRA) awarded a Pub of the Month, erm, a Sheffield pub. For September this was the Andrew Inns owned Three Tuns on Silver Street Head. Here are some details of what happened when we got there. At, admittedly, 21.20....

We found Mr Andrew outside and he told us we'd missed the award presentation. Apparently, Dave had not needed a microphone and had used his considerable voice to deliver the speech. With the greatest respect, I hadn't persuaded my Mum and Step Dad to drop me off in town for the chance to hear a speech. Oh no. I was here to buy beer and catch up with friends. First reason achieved.....

Myself and Miss N went to the bar and bought two pints of the Blue Bee Simcoe IPA. As you may now know, Blue Bee is owned by Andrew Inns* and their recent beers have had a very strong hop presence. Their other beers on the bar included the Light Blue, which is excellent, Inov the Black and the Nycto Black IPA, and having tried this previously I felt it, along with their red ale, had too much bittering hops in to make it enjoyable. The Simcoe IPA however seems to have the prefect balance of acerbic hops and mellowing malt to make it a cracking pint.

We were quickly directed to the food table which, to our absolute surprise, had the joyous face of Mr Cullen next to it. Phillip the chef had offered to warm up the food as the cider pig was described as excellent - it really was. We had it with cheese and the crispest salad and a sauce or chutney and retired to a table near the bar to eat it. We later found out some of the recipe, so I think I will attempt a cider pig soon!

Next we moved onto a pint each of the 7% Inov the Black imperial stout. This was on excellent form, and both it and the Simcoe ran out whilst we were there. Having caught up with Ally, and Robin, once of Shakespeares, and placed brightly coloured arty hats on pints and heads and, erm, other bits, we were now ready to move up to the ships bow seating area and to catch up with more customers and staff.

The lovely Dave was working and she was also socialising, Phillip the chef won 5 beers in the raffle, Dave W and Josh discovered a shared love of balloons, and we got talking to the resolutely sensible Mr Alex Korner and his friend (insert name of friend who is chemist - sorry man with name who is a friend who is a chemist), and Laura who recognised me from when I used to drink in Trippetts. Which must be about 4 years ago. We moved onto pints of the Reet Pale from Blue Bee and watched the crowd get a little bit more drunk and to cheer the rather odd selection of music on the Juke Box.

We finished the night on two halves of mixed Reet Pale and Nycto which was better than the Nycto if nothing else, just as the music became more dancey and people lost their inhibitions and started dancing in attempted formation.

The Three Tuns has improved immeasurably under the Andrew Inns stewardship and this was a great chance to celebrate that achievement. Well done to all involved for putting on a fantastic  spread and selling some excellent beers.


Wee Beefy

*Andrew Ins, of course, doesn't exist. However. the Reet Ale  Pubs company most likely does, and more likely owns blue Bee. That's a brewery ownership factoid. Y'r welcome.

Friday, 12 September 2014

I forgot to mention.....

Now then,

 just to quickly let you know a few bits of "news"....

The long closed Wellington pub in Darnall has had a repaint and the steels shutters removed and is To Let. No indication yet that anyone has taken it on but it has been for sale (I think) through Colliers CRE since at least 2009 so maybe this will be its best hope? It was widely tipped to become the new Doctors back in 2011 but that plan was shelved. Having never visited this local pub to me, I'd love to see it reopen, preferably of course, with real ale.

The little altered (I am told!) Old Crown Inn on London Road is to reopen on 25 September 2014 offering live bands and real ales. This is another pub which has escaped me but was one which Dave Barraharri wanted to list on our Sheffield pub crawl, an ambitious plan which never got off the ground (and which is now operated on a similar basis by Real Ale Trails). It will be interesting to see who runs the new venue and indeed which real ales will be on offer. This is especially prominent since the Bell Jar has been closed on my last three visits. According to the following website the pub currently, or rather did, sell Moonshine....

Coming to the much loved National Inventory listed local The Bath Hotel on Victoria Street in October is Sheffield Brew Fest - a curated celebration of Sheffield and further afield brews. The festival, which has a website link here has already acquired beers from Siren Craft Brew - follow them on Twitter and access the website for updates on available beers.

On West Street on 13 June this year Maida Vale opened its doors, offering, much like the Old Crown, live bands and real ales. I ventured in on the Saturday and had halves of Osset Silver King and chatted to someone behind the bar who stated that the last incarnation only stayed open for a weekend or similar. It is noticeable therefore that I'm not certain the venue is still open, but will try and find out and update you.

The Three Cranes on Queen Street also appears to be closed, or keeping very restricted hours. If anyone knows what the situation is, please let me know!

Finally, the very long closed Cannon on King Street is To Let as retail units. Closed down some time ago it seems nobody wanted to take it on as a pub. This brings into focus the extent to which the potential reopening of the Wellington at Darnall is a surprising development.

All the best

Wee Beefy

Ale for the homlidays

Hello again,
         I've been orf work this week and have used my time constructively. to the pub. Oh yes. Lots of times. And enjoyed it very much. Since my note taking and long term memory are equally poor, I thought I'd fill you in on what I got up to so far.

Monday saw me and Miss N going shopping and drinking, in town and Walkley. Miss N started her shopping at the Dove and Rainbow and bought a fetching hat, whilst I started my wander in Walkley at the Florist. Subtle internal changes have taken place since I last ventured in, namely the decor, and Bradfield Brown Cow was the only real ale. It was on decent form and £1.25 a half. Sat in the left hand bay I could see the now refurbished "Crown House" across the road, now almost unrecognisable as a  pub and as previously mentioned, sharing its fate with other Walkley locals. Good to see then, customers coming in the Florist straight from work.

Along South Road the Walkley Beer Co premises weren't open but still set up to be a temporary pub - I hear they were open August Bank Holiday. There was talk of them opening the building permanently as an off licence and then getting a temporary bar license for events and bank holidays, but am unsure what the situation is.  I understand you can only get about 10 such licences a year, and with no further bank holidays til Christmas it would be a shame to wait so long to visit the pub/shop again.

Next up I popped into the Rose House. Three handpumps in here and one beer on, a rather odd tasting Moorhouses First Cut which I recall was £1.50 a half. It was fairly busy, and although not noticeably advertising the real ales, its a good sign that they are still selling them.

Into Commonside next and I opted not to visit the Springvale and instead went to the Closed Shop which was also, for a Monday late afternoon, quite busy. I had an excellent pint of Brass Castle Cliffhanger at £2.90 a pint and went and sat in the last of the sunshine in the beer garden. Having eaten an entire packet of chorizo from the excellent Beeches shop in Walkley I opted not to eat here, apart from some expensive zebra jerky. Instead I opted to "eat" the Brass Castle Sunshine, which, despite its light colour, you virtually needed a spoon to get it down your throat.  Afterwards I nipped into the Hallamshire to see the man of Ash and sup a very enjoyable half of Thornbridge desert sessions rye IPA at 5.7%, which was probably £1.75 a half - but I didn't write that down.

I walked into Broomhill next and had a tasty smoked chicken and potato salad and half a 4.2% Summer Wine Brewery Union pale at the York. The salad was delicate and delicious but I probably would have benefited more from a bag of chips! I also visited the Broomhill Tavern for the first time this decade and had a half of  Kelham Island Easy Rider at £1.50, from a range of 2 or 3. Its difficult to get the feel of the place on such a short visit but I noticed they took the menus off the tables at 18.50....

Off into town I stopped in the Wick at Both Ends for half of the Blackjack Trial 13 at £1.60, which was an odd but tasty beer, before going to meet Miss N and drink a pint and a half of Blue Bee Lustin for Stout in the Dove and Rainbow. Here I met Mr Slaughter and we persuaded him to join us for a last one in Shakespeares before he walked home to Stannington (!) and we headed home. I can't remember what we had but Mr S had a pint of the Revolutions demo wheat beer which was  very nice, as we discovered on Wednesday....

Which is when I met Miss N outside work and we walked in the hazy evening sunshine to the Gardeners Rest. I had a pint of Fyne Ales Jarl and Miss N the Sheffield Brew Co Galena, which was stronger than the Jarl but about 80p a pint cheaper. We sat outside watching the bird life on the river and letting it get dark and the triffid like lamps light up, before we opted for more beer. This time I had a half of Kia Kaha from the Crwr Tal community brewery, and a Seven Brothers brewery IPA as well as another pint of Jarl, which came to £6.16 and was shared between us both.

It was now dark and we walked round to the Ship for a pint each of the Kelham Pale Rider which, at a guess, was likely £2.80 a pint and was as always, on top form. We then repaired to Shakespeares to drink some Hand Drawn Monkey beers, Tynebank Mosaic and the Raspberry Wheat beer from Revolutions, before realising that it was too late to get a bus and ordering a taxi home.

So, the first three days have been a success with some excellent beer in a number of equally excellent Sheffield boozers. Tomorrow, I will tell you all about yesterday and today as well.


Wee Beefy  

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Beers in the Brothers and others

Hello all,

         its not surprising that having not blogged since June I have been beaten to reviewing the newly reopened Ye Olde Shakespeares Inn on Well Road Heeley by another Sheffield blogger. Its also not a problem since I have now met one of the Two Beer Geeks and wish them all the very best in blogging about Sheffield. As "regular" readers will note, the Sheffield beer blogging scene has been somewhat quiet of late with the exception of the beer geeks duo. What better reason then to change that situation....

I'm on day three of my holiday at home and have decided today that I will not go out drinking. Having drunk every night for the past fortnight that is a sensible health and cost inspired move. This trembling,  shivering, naked splash into the icy waters of sobriety has afforded me the perfect opportunity to write about some of the drinking I've done lately, starting with last night.

I went to Archer Road Beer Stop to see my long time grind and former employer Davefromtshop. We decided to walk to the Mount Pleasant Inn and then head for the Brothers Arms. This pub used to be the Ye Olde Shakespeare as mentioned earlier and has been leased by the Everly Pregnant Brothers from Punch and refurbished. They have a Facebook page here which I hope you can access, and the Two Beer Geeks review is theer - do take a look once you have read my review.

We started at the shop and walked up Cawthorne Grove and Fraser Crescent and up Cobnar Road, which is steeper than I imagined, and out onto the main road to spot the Mount Pleasant Inn, looking very much so in the evening light. It was not sunny, but orangey and gold tinted clouds were hanging heavy over the city. Inside there were 5 beers to choose from, and we both opted for excellent Welbeck Abbey Harley, 4.2% and £3.20 a pint.

Sitting in the room on the right we talked about history - Davefromtshop is a big fan of the subject and helped us through the topic of Sir John Franklin, who died seeking the Northwest passage, and has three statues to him in the world. See, you didn't know that did you?*

Moving on we made our way to the much improved beer range at the Cross Scythes. Its worth noting that both these were first visits for Dave and both pubs serve quality real ales. Here we had half a Navigation brewery gold for Dave and I had half a Redemption porter which was excellent. I probably mentioned it before but I used to drink in the Scythes 21 years ago when I worked at nearby Scarsdale House. It was a large Tetley pub selling a decent pint of that, and we used to sit in the garden in the sunshine (it was always sunny, remember?) at lunchtime. The garden is smaller now but much nicer and the beer range is much improved. This leads us nicely on to The Brothers Arms....

Getting there took half an hour walking to Gleadless and carying on until we spotted the pub lights. The pub has kept its stone writing on the front proclaiming its former name, while the Brothers Arms signs are subtle but effective. Inside up the front steps you are immediately hit by the light - its a lot brighter than it used to be! The refurbishment is very well done, the layout appears not to have changed but the main difference is the bar, now sporting 8 handpumps including one for cider.

Dave had a pint of a Nelson Brewery pale which had a very dry finish after a noticeable Lancastrian malty body, whereas I went for a pint of the excellent Blue Bee Tangled Up IPA. This had the old Blue Bee label design and it may therefore have been brewed to the original recipe. I understand Blue Bee aren't going to change the Lustin for Stout recipe (this was also on) so maybe Tangled Up will stay the same? Either way, it was on fantastic form, and a bargain at £2.90 a pint for a 6% beer.

The pub was busy and we soon went for a second pint, this time both on the Blue Bee, and I also bought a sausage roll to soak up the alcohol. There are noticeable areas in the pub with slightly different atmospheres. The area behind us is the snug with the views across the city and that seemed very vibrant and looked very enticing. The area to our left was where the dart board was and that was being used, there is also a seating area to the right where we were and to the far left which seemed quieter.

 Its clear where the internal walls were but the fact that the pub still has different areas to sit in is a bonus, and no doubt when its sunny the outside seating areas will be very popular. I first came to The Shakespeare when it won a CAMRA pub of the month in the 90's. It was run very well by an older licensee who I think retied soon after and who kept Tetleys and and Burton and similar guests to the Red Deer at the time. The pub was packed on that night, but suffered after the licensee left, and my last visit 4 years ago saw an attempt to revive it with Tetley the sole real ale on. It will be interesting to see what impact some real competition ale wise, will have on the nearby Sheaf View.

Which was our penultimate stop. A pint of Blackjack which then ran out was mine, plus Dave had a pint of the beer brewed for the Sheaf, the name of which sadly escapes me! We found somewhere to sit and discussed this pub's past as well, before opting to finish on two halves of the Axholme Sandtoft Stout which was gloriously smooth and tasty.

We finished the night back at Archer Road Beer Stop. I know I may sound biased but Dave really has got an amazing range of UK bottled beers in at present. We tried one of the Bavarian beers, and a Mexican micro brewery beer but its fair to say I was ready for a snooze by this time so I won't attempt to guess what they were.

The main thing about the night was catching up with Dave and resitting the pubs I drank in when I first started working at the shop in 1995. The good boozers remain good and the poor boozers are now also good.

Refreshing to report a positive change of fortune for some urban Sheffield pubs.


Wee Beefy