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.