Saturday, 31 January 2015

Tap and Tankard starting to find its feet

Now then,

           I have written before about my experiences in the Kelham Island pub the Tap and Tankard, formerly the Sportsman on Cambridge Street. Initial visits were promising but there was an issue with the Pedigree and the guest beers seemed OK, but not exciting. I considered there was work to do, and that they needed to find their feet. My experiences in the last fortnight persuade me they have.

On Thursday I started out in the Three Tuns with a delicious pint and a half of Tigertops roast walnut stout. Always a pleasure to see the Tigertops beers especially sine they don;t seem to appear in Sheffield that often. This was a lovely rounded stout which started the night off well.

After meeting Tash I asked if she fancied trying the Tap and Tankard. On entering, along with beers from Harthill and Atom breweries, was a delight to behold - Buxton Axe Edge IPA. When I first tried this many years ago my palate and interest in beers was different, and I found it a little overwhelming. I mention my palate then, since it has obviously changed, and I was now confident I would like it. The barman described it very well - as a powerful IPA with the most grapefruity flavour - I love grapefruit. But I love Buxton Axe Edge even more!

The beer is 6.8% and £3.80 a pint and it is worryingly easy to drink. Its brimful of grapefruit flavours and fruity and bittering hops with a lovely long dry finish. Its perhaps one of the top 3 beers of this young year. Its delightful! I got chatting with the staff and the young guy behind the bar claimed he was always looking to put a very hoppy beer on - which is good news to supplement what, in terms of Kelham produce, is usually a low hop range. Three pints of Axe Edge each was enough, however, and we finished on pints of Moonshine listening to some singers in the Grapes. A perfect end to a fabulous nights drinking.

Yesterday I met Tash and Matty in Wetherspoons having been quickly to the Riverside for a leaving do. I had a pint and a half in there of a lower gravity hoppy beer from Great Heck Brewery. My addled brain tells me this beer was called shocker but that, I know, is wrong and it wasn't. Alas the Great Heck website also cannot tell me what it was! In Spoons I tried some of Matty's O Hanlons Port Stout which was delicious, but alas this had run out so I opted for a slightly lacklustre half of Kelham Island Pale Rider. I then walked on ahead to find a seat in the Tap and Tankard, and to start once again on the wonderful Axe Edge IPA.

The pub was really busy on a Friday night but I got us a cluster of seats and found the IPA was still on so had two pints - one for me and one for Matty who promised he liked strong hoppy beers, despite almost always buying a stout. The Axe Edge was once again on impeccable form, and went down very well, and alarmingly quickly.

Tash and Matty turned up and the Axe Edge continued to be drunk. In all I had three and a half pints of it. Each sip fizzed with citrus and fruity hops and was a delight to drink. If I am out later, which I undoubtedly will be, I hope to be back in supping the last of this wonderful cask beer. And I will return anon to find out what this improving city centre pub has to offer.


Wee Beefy

Monday, 26 January 2015

Real ale? Try London Road... not the sort of thing I would expect to hear, especially not when I first started drinking in Sheffield, and not recently either. However, Fluffy went the weekend befpre last and despite not hearing details, Faceache showed me he had lived through it. So on Wednesday last, myself and Mr P went to check out what was on offer.

We started at the previously mentioned Albion real ale free house. I had visited a few times in its guise as the Bell Jar, but never when it was the original Albion. With the Bell Jar having seemingly given up the ghost about the time the Old Crown was being refurbished, I was pleased to notice the banner advertising its reopening, and this was my first chance to try it out.

Inside its very much the same - there is a small room down some steps on the left, the loos are also on the left, the beer garden is straight ahead and the rest of the space has chairs and tables. Simple, straightforward, and ideal for drinkers. That said, and it was snowy I admit, there was me and Mr P and a guy at the bar.

There are 5 handpumps on the bar, on this occasion all dispensing real ales from Abbeydale Brewery. The pub has only been open a few weeks so this may be a convenient arrangement but its also the best choice of Abbeydale real ales outside of their two pubs that I know of. The Deception had run out but of the 4 remaining I had a pint of Absolution (see, straight for the strongest) and Mr P a pint of Daily Bread. Mark the barman (Mark - you may be called Andy. Apologies Mark who may be called Andy) asked us what we wanted to listen to - we said blues, and got Jeff Healey. A real blast from the past. We then settled down to chat and sup.

There is a link to their Faceache page here. I am told there is a beer launch and music nght coming up in March where Emmanuales beer will be available from a singer. That's all I can remember to be honest, but I expect there are more details online. This was our first real ale stop and boded well for the evening ahead.

As an aside, I found out at the Albion that Delaneys had shut during the summer. At Tramlines 2013 they had two decent real; ales on but admittedly I hadn't been in since. It is rumoured to be reopening with real ales on, quite a few. Will look out for news on this and report.

Further up London Road is the Old Crown. We were recommended to try the snug which we did, and it was a lovely old room with a magnificent clock on display. Beers wise they had three real ales, Black Sheep, Farmers Blonde and Kelham Easy Rider - we both went for the Bradfield.

The guy behind the bar was chatty but once again the pub was deserted. I think this has been open a few months longer than the Albion but I also know they get full on matchdays. The rest of the pub retains a few old features and towards the back has been opened out am told. The beer was well kept and a sensible price, so this is another pub I will hopefully revisit soon.

Our final stop was the Cremorne. In the good old days (pick em - they started yesterday and go back forever) I used to go in now and again, but never regularly. I did have a couple of good nights there, and me and Tash visited in the summer and really enjoyed it. Perhaps its long standing repute as an ale house and place for gigs made a difference as this was the busiest pub of the night.

Theer were about 6 real ales on and we opted for the Withens Pale from Little Valley brewery. We found a space to sit and tasted our beer. I wasn't put off by its cloudy appearance - Anarchy brew Co often produce exceptionally tasty unfined beer for example - but the pint smelled sour. When I took them back, bearing in mind they also tasted sour, the guy helpfully suggested that the beer was meant to taste like that because it was unfined. This, of course, is not true. Its also counter-productive for example, in helping people get over any prejudices they may have over unfined beer.

He did however offer to swap them,  and we had two pints of Pictish instead, which were on good form and were a refreshing end to our night. Had we more time, we could have ventured to the Brothers Arms, Sheaf, White Lion or Broadfield, but that will have to wait.

For now, London Road is suddenly a viable place to drink real ale in Sheffield for he first time in .....well, dare I say the first time? Long may it continue.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Comments welcome....


   just a very quick post - to inform you of, and to ask for help with, an issue with Blogger.

For reasons that have not become clear, I can't comment on my own blog. I have three comments that I wanted to answer from Paul Bailey, Curmudgeon and the Two Beer Geeks and I can't - it seems I no longer have a Wee Beefy profile to choose from.

I even tried setting up a new account for comments using my blog name an URL but this also failed.

I know I can email blogger, and I have previously, but does anyone have any ideas why I can't put comments on, and tips I might follow before emailing the Bloggahz? Remembering I can't, yet, reply of course.....

Any assistance would be most welcome.

Finally, to make this an actual blog post, I must tell you I was drinking excellent pints of Mallinsons Simcoe at Shakespeares, and the 7% Farmhouse IPA from Blackjack beers in the Bath Hotel. Both are excellent. Go drink them!



Saturday, 17 January 2015

Show of force in Sheffield pubs


          I used to go to DaDa a lot, and I used to also go to Harrisons 1854. I loved the Rutland, Closed Shop and Hallamshire House. Recently, my go-to favourite pubs have changed slightly. I'm almost always in either the Three Tuns, Bath Hotel or, as has been the case for a few years, at Shakespeares. There is no failure on the part of the earlier mentioned pubs, just changing circumstances.

By way of illustration, here, as experienced on Tash's birthday, are a number of reasons to drink in the current top 3......

I was meeting Tash, having got the day off specially, at 12.00. We eventually plumped to meet at 15.00. Arriving at 15.10, I called Tash to explain I was there - to be told to "get inside and keep warm" as she was only just about to leave. Following this advice I nipped in the Tap and Tankard on Cambridge Street. Sill finding its feet I think , but the pint and a half of Hand Drawn Monkey IPA at 5.0% shows much promise.

Me and Tash met up and did some birthday shopping before heading up to the Bath Hotel. I always like going in before 17.00 because its quiet (although in a change from what I put in my Exposed article there is music), there's few people in and ts warm and relaxing . Perfect. There was excellent Crouch Vale Brewers Gold on cask (amongst others!) and the unusual Rouge Red Ale from Summer Wine Brewery on keg. As it was Tash's birthday, and this was a pricey pint, I bought us a pint and a half of this.

We sat on a large table behind the screen, opening cards, seeing The Child of Ash and Beccy, supping our unusual but beautiful red ale, and enjoying the surroundings. A great start.

Next we walked down in the howling wind to the Three Tuns. We met Matty in here and he was already on his traditional dark pint, which alas my memory has hidden the name of. Stand out casks here were from Blue Bee, their Natural, a hoppy 3.5% session pale ale, and their slightly stronger Reet Pale. Me and Tash had a couple of pints of that, Matty another dark offering, and we ordered food. Being a greedy guts and 1.5 pints ahead, I had the baked belly pork with mash to myself, and they opted to share a cider pig sandwich and chips. All the food was, as is now the case, matchless, as was the Reet Pale.

Off down the hill we made a terrible discovery - it appears that legendary curry supplier West Bar Tandoori has closed down. Speaking to Dave Unpro, it trans[ired the rent they were paying was extortionate, which is a bit harsh for a block of shops with only one now open, and they had to sell something like 60 curries a day just to make ends meet. Their excellent food - especially the Biryani and Saag dishes we used to get, will be sorely missed.

The only thing that could cheer us up was some good beer - and in Shakespeares, by eck three was plenty. I think the Brewsmith 6% IPA was the starter for me and Tash, and Matty had the unhoppy but quite burnt roasted milk stout from HopCraft. We had something else next - and I have to admit that by this time details were becoming slightly less important than keeping up with the conversation with Tony and Matty, so I can't remember what it was, but it was no doubt enjoyable.

This lack of detail however pales into insignificance against the important next beer - a pint of the Weird Bear Holy Hoppin Hell, an astonishingly tasty Double IPA at 9.2%. And worth every penny at £5.10 (or lightly less or more to the power of 20p) a pint. This admittedly, slowed me down. I did however soon regain my thought processes sufficiently to buy another two halves to share with Tash on her birthday. Holy Hopping Hell is easily the best beer I have had in the last few years. Its...amazing - well balanced, gloriously hoppy, bitter but with citrus  and orange notes to balance. Impeccable.

I then discovered that in the cellar was the Beavertown, Siren and Magic Rock Rule of Thirds! I was now, officially, in hop heaven. Although on Thursday this was cloudy in the cellar, it should be clear soon and hopefully on the bar soon as well. Chris made an interesting observation by the way - that none of the three beers used to make rule of thirds is more than (I think) 5.6% - so how odes it get to be 6.4%? I suspect there is an explanation, but we did not arrive at it.

By the way, Chris is apparently going to write  a beer blog - Mr Bamford, would you share the address? The other, keener and more important observation, is that it will sell for £4.00 a pint. Significantly, I am sorry to say, less expensive than at the Bath.

So, above is a taster of the quality brews encounter in just one day in January in Sheffield. A tale of hoppy crapulence to warm even the chilliest soul in this wintry 2015.


Wee Beefy

Monday, 12 January 2015

Latest libations

Ay up,

    I wrote earlier about not having an anhydrous January - please note, I realise that anhydrous relates principally to chemicals or crystalised salts - but in this respect is a reference to having no beer or other alcoholic drinks in a pub. I'm quite keen on the standpoint of drinking in January and as you will have seen last week, the Bath Hotel assisted in this respect by offering the stunning Rule of Thirds from Magic Rock, Beavertown and Siren Craft breweries. Here is what and where else I have been maintaining my position.

The Three Tuns continues to offer excellent food cooked by Phil and now another person, and I recently saw Mr Stephens, MD of Andrew Inns, a company I made up, in his own pub. Dave continues to run things behind the bar and recently they have sold the excellent Amarillo IPA from Blue Bee, their Reet Pale Ale and the Brass Castle Brewery Sunshine at 5.7%. Habit dictates that I had rather a lot of that!

I also went in DaDa the other day, twice in fact recently. I first found an unusual milk stout - not actually white in colour but very pale. Seemingly very clever but alas it didn't taste like stout. Instead I plumped for the Celt Experience Latene, which I tried and loved, but was very surprised to pay £4.20 a pint for. My initial question was "oh, is this really strong?" but it turned out to be 3.5%. To be fair the manager came over and explained why it was so expensive, and amends were made, but I still think that if you are going to sell a beer at that price you should tell people - especially considering the almost twice as strong Thornbridge Jaipur was right next to it at £3.40 a pint. I also went in Saturday and had  a half of Pale but alas did not record the name or price....

Friday saw us back in the Bath Hotel drinking the Rule of thirds and  Thornbridge's English hopped IPA Coritani at 7.4%. This was a surprisingly easy to drink beer and went down very easily. We followed this with a trip to BrewDog where we were once again overjoyed to find they had large bottles of Fantome saison in - this time their Hiver winter saison, at £10.00 a bottle.

Alas BrewDog close before midnight so we upped and left and went instead to Bungalows and Bears. Not exactly a haven of real ale it does still sell at least 2 and I had something which I was told was an American Pale Ale. Being in a busy bar I didn't bother asking who brewed it but it was an acceptable if not overtly hoppy offering - Tash drank a bottle of Redchurch Camden Gold which was also very easy to drink.

Saturday saw us down at Shakespeares and along with a pint of the excellent Welbeck Abbey Santa's IPA (or similar...) I had a pint of something from Hopcraft. or that might have been the night earlier in the week. Essentially, I am not fully back into recording of beers mode so apologise for my lack of detail. I can confirm however, tat I enjoyed our beers in the Shakespeares.

Details soon of some of the festive bottled beers that I have supped over the last 3 weeks.


Wee Beefy

Keeping it moist

Hello there,

       it may seem an unusual position to adopt, given my attempted (and almost entirely failed) "Dryvember" experiment, and the fact that we are nearly half way through the month, but I wanted to write today about the campaign for people to not drink alcohol in January. What I want to say is: "don't". Or possibly "do". Let me explain.......

Dry January is a campaign run in the UK by Alcohol Concern. For those rebels among you, here is a link to their registration page, and other sections including a list of corporate supporters. Dryathlon is slightly more hip in it's approach, and is undoubtedly* going to stop babies and kittens dying of cancer since its run by otherwise admirable organisation Cancer Research UK, as shown here. All the newspapers have written articles about "going dry" this January, (although using my usual rigorous level of research I haven't read any) and as always, there is much medical opinion flying around to support it. So who can resist?

Well, I can for one. Why? Because I used to work in a real ale off license. December was far and away our most profitable month, whilst in January it was hardly worth being open. So as to restrict the level of impact on sales figures it was often necessary to combine, for our own records at least, the earnings of both and divide them in half. January was the only month we ever had a week where we didn't sell a single pint of real ale. January was a millstone round our necks.

This phenomena continues to exist outside of pressures on pub attendance such as the smoking ban, drinkers preferring to stay at home, and previous vast increases in the price of beer. January now even more so, haunts pubs like a jaundiced spectre of temperance led regret, that seeks to undermine the hard work of the year before, and start the new year off on a low.

A friend of mine recently said he was giving up alcohol for January. He wasn't doing it as part of a charity campaign, but he noticed his friends were doing it and wanted to join in. I'm not for a second suggesting that my pub and bus stop learnt medical acumen stretches to doubting the benefits of a dry month, but I do know that January is not the month to do it. Someone who works in one of Sheffield's numerous real ale pubs said he had friends who'd made the same threat, sorry, promise. His response had been "well, I wonder if there's some way I can go and fuck up your business in January as well". He was joking, of course. Sort of.

No-one is suggesting you should, say, drink to excess at Christmas and then carry on a booze fueled orgy of over indulgence into January. What I am saying is, do continue to go to the pub, and keep money running through the tills of the places you would expect to drink in, or outside of, when the summer sun comes.

Last year we had the counter campaign of Drinkuary, this year possibly something like Tryuary or Dampuary exists. In truth, all we need to do is drink in January as we would at any other time.


Wee Beefy

*this is an example of exaggeration. And you are more likely to contribute to closing a pub where a cancer patient drinks by not drinking in it.....

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Bath Hotel, Victoria Street, Sheffield


              its time, I think, to celebrate the pub stock that we love. To be precise, with the recent hopeful;;y temporary closure of the Red Lion at Ampney St Peter, its time to celebrate the unspoilt stock of UK pubs. Tonight, Sheffield's only full entry on the National Inventory of Unspoilt pub Interiors is the Bath Hotel.

I first went in the Bath Hotel when I was on the beer festival planning team in the nineties. The dark Tetley mild was off for the summer as the students were away so there we a choice of two real ales, Tetley, ad the Tetley rebadged "Bath Hotel Bitter" or similar. It seemed strange, I admit, to have a weaker version of Tetleys on. It was, after all, weak enough...

 A handful of visits followed before I heard about its refurbishment by Brian. Regulars, and regular readers, will remember that Brian was a significant player in a group of people who brought the pub to the attention of the Pub Heritage Group, and ultimately, affected its inclusion. His work restored damaged furniture and revealed original features and he reopened in 2008. Or 2007. Or 2004. Or 2005. I don't know.....

Soon after he reopened me and Christingpher went in late one night and experienced a carer looking after his large local chip shop employed care receiver. At some point the carer mentioned something about when his ward ought to attend the chip shop and the guy went, if you'll excuse my French, fucking ape shit. He punched the carer full in the face, repeated the phrase "y fuggin Basta" and threw glasses around, including at me and Christingpher.

Afterwards staff offered safe exit to drinkers but me and Christingpher remained, although I have never seen our glasses collected so quickly......

In 2012 Brian leased the pub to Thornbridge, and I was worried. I genuinely didn't trust them to make  careful job of looking after the interior - see my post from May that year re concerns. In the end, I slowly came to appreciate the work done (but sull not the dark grey paint!) and with Edd and Steff in charge, now Steff, fell in love with a reliable source of excellent ales and, for a while, Edd's homemade sausage rolls.

Recently, as you know, Edd has left and taken up residence in the Dronfield Arms, meanwhile Steff has taken over the role permanently, although she does not yet have a contract. And recently, over the last two nights. I have been in twice, exclusively drinking one of THE cask pints of the year. Rule of Thirds comprises Magic Rock High Wire, Beavertown Gamma Ray IPA and one from Siren Craft Brew. Its 6.4% and is frankly astonishing. Last night, my first pint only took 10 minutes to drink! I strongly urge you to go and get a taste, and hopefully several pints.

Throughout this period, which started in the late 90's, the interior has, in fact, improved, and Brian's work remains virtually unchanged. The Bath is a reliably good, comfortable, friendly and vibrant boozer which has a beautiful, stunning unspoilt interior. I hope that we can all continue to enjoy the pub for what it is now, for many decades to come.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Drinking beer in 2015


                this post is not, as you may perhaps expect, an assay of the factors involved in drinking in this sparkling new year, instead it is a detailed reporting of beers I have supped so far. In 2015. Self explanatory really....

New Years day I finished off the last 5 or 6 pints of Abbeydale Absolution in my polypin which I had saved for me and Tash. I poured most of into the fantastic Shepherd Neame glazed beer jug she had given me for Christmas in 2013 and placed that in the fridge then drank the rest. Being an unfiltered polypin it was now nearly 10 days old and a little cloudy at the end, which is perhaps the fault of my polypin, but tasted fine, now with an extra hint of nuttiness. It washed down our very extensive meal very well.

Later we opened a bottle of Bad Seed Brewing Saison which I bought from Hop Hideout back in September. This bottle conditioned beer was on fine form but the saison really came into its own when the yeast at the end was added. What a sensationally refreshing ale! It met all my expectations, which is not something that happens very often, and was a perfect accompaniment to our evening listening to the Damned and Tom Waits.

Yesterday I met up with Carlos in Crookes. We started our beer tour in the Ball Ale House, where I had a very enjoyable pint of Belgian Blue from Bradfield. Had I stayed for another I could perhaps have found out how the Dukeries Sno wonder should have tasted, since the bottled version was vile and much was tipped down the sink - alas we did not stay for another, but did bump into Dan Baxter, who was there for beer. Good choice!

Down the hill next we made our way to the Cobden View. The Belgian blue was my choice again and it tasted superb. Carlos mentioned that lots of people had been mentioning it and trying it recently - perhaps they have brewed more this year? As always the atmosphere was great and there were plenty of families out enjoying a beer in this traditional back street local.

Next to the Closed Shop on Commonside. As usual a good range of real ales was on and I opted for the Blue Bee Amarillo IPA, which was on fine form. We also had much needed food in here - a cheesy chip butty for me and southern fried chicken for Carlos. Wee Keefy joined us and  had a delicious rib eye steak at £12.00 which he loved. He also loved his pints of Ringwood xxxx porter. We stayed here to meet Tash and Matty and I had three or four pints of the Amarillo, and Keith and Matty the 4x, and Tash joining me on the Amarillo.

Carlos and WK didn't fancy walking to the Bath so we went across the road to the Hallamshire House pub for our last beers of the night. Me and Tash had pints of Jaipur and alas it escapes me what WK and Matty had but Keith kindly bought us thirds of the excellent General Sherman from Thornbridge, which I think was aged, at 8.4%.

It was great to catch up with Keith, and Carlos especially, and Tash and Matty, and also to find great real ale in 4 pubs only a few minutes walk away from each other. Lets hope 2015 continues in the same vain!

Wee Beefy

Friday, 2 January 2015

What I learnt about beer, last year.

Happy new year!

             I was going to write this post on new years eve, as a kind of self justifying look back at my libations and other slaking exploits, and to throw in some observations about beer and its styles, methods of dispense and price. However, alas, beer got in the way (as did iced pavements but that's another story) so tis is a slightly late review of beer.....

Beer styles eh? Tchh. Who'd av um? Dark this, light that, this with wheat, that with lemon, this aged in marmalade casks, dry hopped with enchanted bark. Its a long running ball ache to keep up. Luckily for me, I know what I like, and know what I would like to try.

This year I found out I still really like saison, the beer you can't buy in the Wellington at Shalesmoor. BrewDog bar opened in Sheffield and sold the excellent Fantome saison, in three flavours, at what in terms of price in the shops is good vakue - £10.00 a bottle. What with their ambitious beer range I was quite often found in BrewDog riking a saison. I was also impressed by the Radler from Burning Sky Brewery. Given that Mark Tranter helped me fall in love with saison when he was at Dark Star, he seems to be leading the way once again.

I also found out I like beers from newer breweries. Siren Craft Brew continue to impress, as do Northern Monk, Sonnet 43, Fuggle Bunny here in Sheffield, Squawk, Burning Sky, First Chop brewing, and Weird Beard Brewing. All supplemented by Magic Rock, Kernel, Cromarty, Abbeydale, Blue Bee, Wild, and many more.

Meanwhile, more specifically, I have developed an insatiable desire to drink beer with rye in it. The Ryesing Tides 7.4% IPA was one of my beers of the festival at Shakespeares and noticing rye as an ingredient, mainly in IPA's, is always a good indication I will like it - brewery notwithstanding that is.

Which leads me on to strength. I am sure my difficult year has played a part but I seem to be much fonder of stronger beers now. In the good old days when we all had polio or something, almost all strong beers were dark and incredibly difficult to drink. Now, that is no longer the case, which costs me money, and sometimes consciousness.....I think I was into double figures for nod-offs in 2014!

The number of shops I can get a decent range of interesting UK bottled beers has also increased, I learnt, with Beer Central, Beeches and Hop Hideout being stand out examples. Despite this, and my obvious bias, the beer range at Archer Road Beer Stop remains exceptional.

My final "learning" (?!) is about desire for beer. Different from the types of UK beers when I started drinking 23 years ago, the sheer and vast range of UK beers, real ale, bottled or kegged, is astonishing. The appeal of these products is, perhaps unsurprisingly, increasing. With still over a 100 breweries opening each year and different venues offering a range of high quality, tasty, uncompromising and enjoyable beers, its now very easy to satisfy that, in my case seemingly never-ending, appetite for real ale, and now, keg and bottled offerings.

I'm sure this increase in demand will be mostly maintained in 2015. However, I am wary of the threat to our dwindling number of National Inventory pubs.

I read on Dimpled Mug's blog today that the exceptional Red Lion at Ampney St Peter in Gloucestershire was shut after the death of the landlord. This is tragic and very sad news and brings into sharp focus another aspect of drinking beer in the UK - where we do so. Last time I visited, with closing time fast approaching, I went to get another pint with a good third in my glass on the table. "You've already got some" said the landlord. I agreed, but assured him I wouldn't dawdle, to be met with the response "You can have one in the wood then" meaning he would bring it over once I had finished my current one, but it would remain in the barrel until then.

I think any post about beer should include the places we drink it in and the traditions and peculiarities that are attached to those places. I hope therefore, that in 2015 we don't see any more historic unspoilt pubs close, and maybe some reopen - but I have little faith that will happen.

Whatever does, I wish you a prosperous and thirst quenching year ahead, with lovely beer in lovely venues that suit your needs.


Wee Beefy