Saturday, 8 August 2015

Leeds and York and nearer home


         this is a post about me and Tash's celebrations of our second anniversary. To the imbibe-minded this may be a worrying proposition, but don't worry, most of our celebrations, since we met and got together in a pub, were drink related. Or sodden.

On Friday it was Erika's birthday celebration. We headed off to the Harlequin for 16.00 and I had several pints of the excellent Exit 33 Stateside Pale Ale at 5.0%. I was joined by Tash, Lorraine, Lou and Gary and after 4 pints in 3 hours, we all disbanded, and me and Tash went to stalwart Shakespeares.

Here I had at least 4 pints of Buxton Bitter Recognise, on cask, a darkish 6.7% hoppy collaboration which was one of the star kegs at the recent Sun fest. Joined by Wee Keefy, and having caught up with Vicky C, WK bought us a bottle of De Molen Moord and Brand, a 10% plus Bourbon barrel aged stout which poured like tar but tasted like black gold. We had another beer after this as well, I am told.

The day itself saw us potter around and leave at tea time for a luxurious coffee before heading to the Bath Hotel. I can't remember what pints we had at first but they might have been Bristol Beer Factory. Or Arbor. Or neither. Afterwards we shared 3 halves of Cloudwater IPA at 6.7%. It was a fantastic cloudy IPA that went down far too easily - described accurately by Steff as fantastic and expensive. It was very much both.

From here we caught the bus up to the Walkley Beer Co. They had run out of cask but had Victory Hop Devil at 6.7% on keg at £4.20 a pint. Despite the strength, we had two pints each, and took a bottle of lemon saison home. We finished the night drinking Lebanese beer and wine in a nearby restaurant. All I can say is, the wine was OK!

On Sunday we raced or rather, the bus dawdled, into town to catch the 11.21 train to York. We got on the platform as it pulled away. With bus replacement services on almost all trains we opted t have a coffee and decided to go to Leeds, and maybe onto York from there. Our first and as it turned out only stop in Leodis was at Friends of Ham. Now twice the size, with ample seating up and downstairs and a larger bar, this is still a fantastic, if expensive, place to start a day out.

We caught up with Emily, now free from the unfair pay structure at Thornbridge, and ordered 3 tapas dishes each and two pints, both pale ales from Alechemy in Scotland. This 8 piece cost us £30.00. Luckily, the quality of the meat and cheese and pickle and ale is so good, I didn't mind. Three cheeses included Welsh sheep cheese and a delicious blue, along with laardo chorizo and others, was our snap, and every last lingering mouthful was superb. We also had two halves of keg, one Alechemy Double IPA  at 9.1%, and 1 of Hawkshead NZ IPA at 6.5, an astringently biting bitter pale ale with bags of hops.

Soon we were on a rather expensive return journey to York. Our first stop was a shop, but better was to follow as we visited the House of Trembling Madness. Following the signs upstairs to the pub, we found an incredibly old building with a tiny bar and limited seating which was heaving. We both got pints of the excellent Bad Seed Brewery Eldorado Pale before halves of the Mad Hatters Toxteth IPA. We got sat down at a table and soaked up the atmosphere, conversation, and noticeably, the warmth. The shop down stairs is also well worth a visit for bottled beers.

We walkd to Fossgate next but decided against visiting the Blue Bell - the road was closed and people were sat on tables outside in huge numbers. We didn't fancy the scrum so walked on down to the bottom and turned back up towards Parliament street and then towards the river. A short relaxing stroll followed before we sat down in the shade, then headed over what might be Skendergate Bridge to the Swan at Clementhorpe.

This beautiful National Inventory listed corner pub has a drinking corridor, possibly known as a West Yorkshire drinking corridor, and a compact lounge on the right of the bar, with wonderful tiled floors and a fantastic beer garden. We sat outside with a half of Moonshine for Tash and a half of Prescott Simmer for me, and caught the last rays of sunshine near a covered area where grapes were growing. We went back for two more halves of the Prescott, before heading to Cromwell Street and the Golden Ball.

This is another unspoilt National Inventory pub, with a tiny snug on the bar rights and three larger, basic rooms including the bar. As it was a hot day we sat outside and supped some of the many beers on  tap. This included one from Ainsty Ales and Kettle Drum best bitter from Treboom brewery. We sat in the sunshine then shade for a while before taking up residency in the bar, and eating a ramekin of chilli and honey peanuts. Locals played dominoes and chatted quietly in the basic bar room, and we could easily have stayed all day. The Golden Ball is community owned and is an excellent example of such an arrangement.

Our penultimate stop was in the Maltings, now boosting an outside seating area. We had pints of a Roosters hoppy beer and a half of the excellent Magic Rock Grapefruit, then sat outside and got chatting to a couple form Chester Le Street. The Maltings certainly needed some extra space and this is just another string to ots bow.

Our final stop was in the York Tap. About 14 cask ales to choose from, I think we had halves of a Magic Rock or Waen beer, but this was a short stop as we had to catch the train back to Sheffield using our two sets of tickets.

All in all, an amazing three days of impeccable beer in three excellent Yorkshire locations. A lovely way to celebrate our anniversary!


Wee Beefy

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