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

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