recently I have had a cold. But wait...there's more. Some of Sheffield's finer pubs have, also recently, managed to offer me pints that I could actually taste through the film of lung butter and various mucas that inhabited my throat and mouth. Yum.....
It all started about a fortnight ago in Shakespeares. Myself and Tash had already been in the Three Tuns supping Sunny Republic Hop Dog, a 5.5% IPA, and afterwards we headed the short distance to Shakespeares. And there it was. Buxton Wyoming Sheep Ranch Double IPA at 8.4%. Wow. Goodness in a glass. Class in a pot. Love in a dimpled mug.
The Buxton, having been brewed by them and being a whole percent above the HSBD level, was a trifle expensive. However, it was also a trifle strong, as I said. And it tasted superb. Some of you I know will balk at this, but I didn't mind paying £4.80 a pint for what was an impeccable, and worryingly suppable IPA. It was packed with hops but no overwhelmingly bitter, had smooth malt in the background and a sensational, lingering, bitter finish.
Later that week myself and Tash found ourselves in the Bath. Hotel. On the bar was a delightful Anarchy Brew Co Blonde at a sessionable strength. As my nose streamed and voice fought not to disappear, I was drinking the Blonde in readiness for a pint of Bad Seed IPA at 7%. Being a Thornbridge pub, the Bath is a little less able to offer beer cheaply, so this was £4.60 a pint. However, once again, it was well worth it. The IPA was also, very easy, in fact far easier than the Buxton, to drink.
According to their website the beer features Cascade, Columbus and Chinook hops. Not being that good at picking out those, except maybe Cascade, what I can confirm is hat the blend is so eloquent as to render them as one, a tumult of oily, fragrant citrussy hoppiness to tingle your taste buds. We had several pints, of course, just to make sure.
The Rutland Arms is somewhere I don;t visit as often as I used to. There is no particular reason, its just how it is. Two recent trips towards the end of my sniffling revealed exceptional Blue Bee Into the Abyss, a hulking but subtle (if that makes sense) Black IPA at 6.0%. The malt used must be quite soft , by which I mean it allows the beer to slide easily down your throat but without being the worst of beer styles, creamy. The hops are punchy as they should be, and as a Black IPA its noticably, erm, stoutish, which is a good thing. Accompanied by excellent Magic Rock High Wire NZ , the Rutland has reawakened my leaden tastebuds successfully.
The final cold baffler came once again, on Thursday night, in Shakespeares. We only went in for 1 - we only had 1 Although it came in two rounds of halves. On the keg section, was an oft favourite brewery Beavertown, and their Blood Orange IPA called Bloody Ell.
Any points lost for subtlety of name were regained with the exquisite blood orange flavours complementing and sitting with the hops so perfectly. As the only keg beer of the bunch this was also the most expensive at £5.50 a pint but once again its flavour and sensational aroma made it stand out. I understand from fellow "blogger" (clears throat) Mr Bamford, that they had sold half the keg by Thursday - so am afraid I doubt there will be any left! Even so you should definitely head along there today and try and get some.
All the above beers have been excellently hoppy but vastly different in style. They have been strong, sometimes expensive, but always of impeccable quality. What a fantastic advert for the cellar work and beer choosing skills of some of Sheffield's finest boozers.