Saturday, 22 November 2014

Upcoming beer festivals!


        just a quick note about upcoming events which, in now dampvember, I will be attending.

First of all, from yesterday until Sunday ts the Cropton beer festival at the New Inn in Cropton in North Yorkshire. Me and Wee Keefy are driving up today and camping overnight - so lets hops it stays dry! Here is a link to their website for more info. Not sure about the beer range but 2012 and 2011 was a good mix of established and new smaller breweries, and their own Cropton and Great Yorkshire beers will also be available.

Last year Wee Fatha was taken into hospital the day before so we didn't go, so will ring him this morning and have, at least, a pint for him whilst am there.

Next week, starting Wednesday 26th November, is the Shakespeares Autumn beer festival here in sunny Sheff. There is a link here to their Facebook page which I assume is public. Having viewed the early list of beers available it looks stunning as always, with plenty of new and rare breweries I've never heard of on the bar.

Won't probably make it until Friday (payday!) but I highly recommend a visit, to both festivals mentioned.


Wee Beefy

Thursday, 13 November 2014

November nidorousness (so far)


        having set myself up to drink now and again in November this allows me the opportunity to record some actual nights out and supping and stuff. Here am that....

On 31st October I started my drinking at Dada with a fantastic but somewhat hastily dispatched pint of the Dark Star American Pale Ale on keg for something like £3.50 a pint. I was in a rush as meeting Miss N in Boots but she was delayed, allowing me extra time to sup this fantastic tipple. We later met folks in the Sheffield Tap and had pints of Magic Rock. Or similar. Or not....and at Chandlers in Chesterfield where we went to celebrate Halloween, there was no real ale. But the Erdinger was good.

On Sunday we went to the Polish beer tent at the continental market. Two draught beers were on but I'd had them before, Zywiec and Lech, so we had bottles - I had Kaszetelan Nierpasteryzowane unfiltered lager, and Miss N had Tatra, as one of er cats used to be named that. Matty joined us and he and then we moved onto, bottles of Warka Strong, a nutty darker lager at 6.5%. My work colleagues however recommended the 7.0%  Debowe Mocne which is brewed by Tyskie and tastes of nuts. Well, it takes all sorts!

From here we walked down to the Rutland to enjoy Blue Bee Nycto Black IPA and Oyster Stout and too much High Wire. The jukebox was temporarily ours (so little recent stuff) and we soon settled down to a night of relaxation. One interesting note was that a 6.2% Siren Craft Brew Porter, served by cask, was on at £6.20 a pint. That is correct. Probably. Matty was told they added 40% to the cost they bought the beer at to get that price - am not sure if that is a lot but either way it must be very overpriced in the first place. Suffice to say I didn't buy any, on principal. The High Wire on keg was nearly £2.50 less a pint so we supped that instead. It was matchless by the way.

A last one followed at the Sheffield Tap which was about to close for refurbishment - it should have reopened fully today if not last night.

Other recent visits have included the Red Deer - recently they also had the excellent Nycto from Blue Bee on, which is a good development for those of us with a love of very hoppy beer. We went there to meet Matty and got ourselves a quiet table in the corner to write a birthday card for our friend Double M and supped the beer by the fire.

The Bath Hotel tonight had at least 4 excellent beers on - Summer Wine Brewery Diablo at 6% and Thornbridge Pollards, both on cask, and Buxton Axe Edge Pale (6.8%) and Far Skyline on keg. Tonight we stuck firmly to Fentimans Victorian Lemonade and Dandelion and Burdock but the other night we tried both the Diablo and the Axe Edge - both were on excellent form.

Finally, a bit of bad Bath news - I found out tonight (though I hear its been on Twitter already) that Edd is to leave the Bath Hotel. This is a shock for me and a real shame to see such a great member of staff leave the pub, which has become a firm favourite of mine under Edd and Steff's stewardship. No news yet on who will take over but its a shame to lose such a high caliber member of staff.

More news soon!

Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The 40th Steel City Beer and Cider Festival

Now then,

              all good things come to those who wait. Someone said. About something, once. Well, those words maybe at least, half true, if you await a Beefy blog post - because time was being called on the first public night of the above a fortnight ago. So I'm fairly certain that every other local blogger will have given their thoughts before me.

Despite that, and having not read any (sorry all) I will try and remember what happened at the festival that is as old as me.....

It took me a few years to work out the Wednesday night session was open to all. I have the feeling I went on Wednesday to the 39th but am not entirely sure, but this year I damn well specifically planned, at 16.30, to attend on Wednesday. I met Miss N after work and we walked to Kelham Island to face a £10.00 entry to the free festival - this did however include a programme, a rented glass and £7.00 worth of tickets. Which is fine, except I had intended to go with just a fiver each and see how it went - luckily we had sufficient funds.

The first issue was finding Wee Keefy. We had been led up the stairs to the upper hall and when asked where the pub was were told it was across the bridge - it wasn't, of course, that was the upper hall. Our disappointment was quickly removed by spotting cheeses and black pudding (the ideal non low calorie snack combo) and meeting up with lots of people we know, including Saul, who recommended I try a Waen Snowball. It was 7% so a bit keen to start on but ended up being one of my favorites, along with the beer I started on, the Hopcraft Citraic. It was excellent.

After a few chats we went downstairs and found our way to the tent and the Millowners Arms pub and thus Wee Keefy. We were interviewed by Sheffield live, and met up with Thornbridge staff and persons from Sheffield breweries. The ale flowed and we got sat upstairs to enjoy much more of it, including some excellent smoked porter and some On the Edge beer that wasn't what I expected.

Thursday night Miss N very kindly fetched some funds for me and I met up with Jules and Will to collect a free ticket - although it was only a pound entry, and then had a delicious but expensive pint and  a half of Brew by Numbers saison on keg in the Tap before the festival. The deal on the sponsor tickets was, admittedly, misunderstood - one person claimed his free entry and beer tickets and got the token back which he exchanged at the bar for a free pint. I got tickets for a free 3rd, and a glass. I used this to good effect though, buying a 3rd of Yeovil Posh IPA at 5.4%.

We once again ventured upstairs and also spent time in the pub, which had about 6 handpumps and featured much brewery and pub history of Sheffield. I also found some cheese (I know, it sounds grim) and ate it whilst enjoying some of the excellent  Ratwieller from Rat Brewery.

Friday I was drinking non real ale in Chesterfield but came back Saturday afternoon to meet Terry and Helen and Nat and Jeff, talk cider, and drink very very hazy but ultimately very tasty Magic Rock High Wire to finish. Here is a list of other beers I supped :

Blue Bee Nycto Black IPA/could have been Galaxy IPA!
Brampton Winter Bock
Cerdon Citralicious
Dark Star NHA
Fuggle Bunny 24 Carat
Fuggle Bunny Deadly Nightshade
Hopcraft Iceberg Theory
Hopcraft Citraic
Hopcraft who's been sleeping in my brain?
Hopcraft Proffits of doom
Imperial Chocolate chilli cherry stout
Little Ale Cart Galactic Calypso
Magic Rock High Wire
On The Edge New Romance
Rat Ratweiller
Skys Edge Citra Smash
Thornbridge Rattlesnake
Thornbridge Murmansk
Tiger Tops Dark Age
Waen Snowball

Overall I tried a decent number, though many in thirds so its not as bad as it looks. However, despite the snowball and Hopcraft Citraic and Magic Rock High Wire being favourites, there were fewer beers than last year which stood out. Admittedly I finished on three pints of High Wire but those were my last festival drinks.

That aside however I thought this was an excellent choice of venue and one which delivered on most  fronts. There was no trouble that I saw, not much queuing, plenty of choice, especially food wise, and almost enough seating. A better festival than last yea and one which I will, as always, attend next year.


Wee Beefy

Monday, 10 November 2014

Dryvember. Sort of.....


                     this month Miss N is attempting to not drink alcohol in November. This is half of the word Dryvember you see. I have expertly taken two parts of both words to create an entirely new one. It turns out, this is the most successful part of Dryvember thus far....

The challenge came about when Matty, Miss N's son, and Miss N, agreed to pick a month in 2014 when one of them would not drink. Matty chose July, when I saw him drink at least 3 times, and Miss N November. Straight away that impacted on Wee Fatha's birthday celebrations so the challenge was altered to be dry, apart from 4 occasions. I decided that I should join in this undertaking in support.

You may argue that drinking on 4 occasions in one moth isn't a dry month. You would be correct. You may also read the next statement - that we have only reduced our imbibing to every other day so far - and think we have failed. But you would be wrong. We had, previously, drunk every day but 2 in the last 4 months. That is excessive and expensive! So, in fact, Dryvember has already been a comparative success.  

Last night it was suggested that drinking only every other day was in itself a form of moderation. Such has been the excess of our, more so my, consumption this year, our tolerance levels and speed of drinking have dropped. Therefore, we are drinking significantly less than we did in say, July. I hope this doesn't come across as a cry for recognition, its nothing of the sort, just a short musing on the challenges faced and tackled by us in reducing the amount we drink.

I think I will manage a whole week, or maybe even from now until 22nd November when I am going to Cropton beer festival. Even if I don't I will still save money and reduce pressure on my bladder, and, ahem, other affected areas....

Luckily, drinking once every other day does of course still allow indulgence that can be written about - this is therefore also an advert for upcoming reviews of beer festivals, beer tents and pubs visited in the last fortnight.

And in anticipation of such, expect my Sheffield 40th beer festival review later!


Wee Beefy