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.