Monday, 30 November 2015

Also in November.....

Now then,

          I thought,. before the memories escape me on a tide of libation forever more, I should share some with you of other drinking and visiting of pubs carried out of late, and not previously covered in my blog. After the outrageous orgy of new and long ago visited pubs the other Sunday there are few new ones am afraid, but hey, am not a pub detective! Am not sure what I am if not however.....

On a recent Monday or Tuesday myself and Tash went to the Shakespeares for a change. We had, or rather I first had, a pint and a half at least of something very tasty which I think was Blue Bee Centennial and a half of their Little and large IPA. This collab with North Riding has a distinct Sorachi Ace flavour and is a very pleasing big hoppy real ale. This event could have happened earlier in November if am honest.....

On Tuesday we headed up to grab a quick one in the Three Tuns, for drinks which will inevitably have been a Blue Bee beer again, before me and Tash visited the Three Cranes.

Having not been in since their reopening I figured it was only fair that we visited - Tash has probably not been in for a few years or so. Ignoring the dubious delights of Sharps Atlantic thingy, we both had pints of the Taylors Landlord. Not as astringently hoppy as I come to think of it don't remember, but certainly a noteworthy pint.

On the 20th we were in the Three Tuns again - joining friends including Dan, Howard, Daniel, Nick and Emma, Ian, man from work and others for end of week pints. The Little and Large IPA was on - or it might have been another Blue Bee beer - but we had the last pints and moved onto American 5 Hop for me and an oddly named single hop beer for Tash. A number of pints later we finished in Shakespeares on pints of Kernel which am confident was an IPA, and Cloudwater - the chances are it was the same.

The next night I started, well, about 16.30 I think, in the Bath Hotel. I remember the excellent Liquid Mistress has been on but am not sure that is what I had - I dunno - lets say I had a pint. Tash joined me and I know I had a pint of Hopjacker Grifter Oatmeal Stout -  a fine tasting oatmeal stout from young Edd at Dronfield. Tash had a pale or wheat beer if I remember - it was neither sorry, it was Eimbock a 2 year barrel aged Belgian beer. It was delicious....

We nipped out for some shopping and came back via BrewDog. I remember having a half of the Magic Rock Cross Collaboration as well as the excellent BrewDog Born to Die 27/11/2015 -  an 8.5% fresh hop ale. Matty meanwhile, and Tash, had Magic Rock Salty Kiss and a bottle of Oud Broun Flemish Red Brown Ale, before returning to the Bath for last ones and seeing Jules and Will (Hello!).

A final note comes regarding the last day of Shakespeares festival. On Saturday I arrived at 16.30 and left about 21.00  - by which time I was a trifle refreshed. In addition to halves of Zoo Hop and North Riding Motueka I also tried what I now know to be Abbeydale Black Mess on keg and several halves of the excellent Grapefruit IPA from Siren. I spent most of my time sat with Steve and Sonia who were great company. I was later joined by Matty, and it was also good to see Mr Szumski and friends, and Fluffy. A cracking festival.

All in all, its been a very enjoyable if overtly expensive month November....


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Shakespeares beer festival 25-29 November 2015

      later I intend to make my third visit to the event, but before doing so I wanted to give you some details of the festival so far. As you may know, most of the Kelham area pubs hold a beer festival and through appreciation and no degree of bias whatsoever, I can tell you that Shakespeares is far and away the very best one.

It started on Wednesday - just the normal downstairs bar was open, however Mr Wozewith was willing to fetch some ales from the cellar for the more enthusiastic drinkers. There was a mountain of sandwiches and an increased range of keg ales to tempt you, plus no Deception as all the pumps were used for the beer fest.

We started on halves of Alphabet Kerb Kicker, Arbor SX Bomb and Greytrees Afghan Pale. The Greytrees was unusual but had a delicious hop flavour and the Kerb Kicker was excellent - a strong (ish) hoppy pale ale. The Arbor was also very good. Matty meanwhile was on keg and had a half of Brodies London sour cherry, and a Gooseberry beer which may have been from Wild. The gooseberry was intense and earthy and the sour wasn't quite as sour as I'd expected but both were good.

I tried the Hardknott Nuclear Sunrise but was underwhelmed, not half as much as I was by the Fat Brewers Pale Ale which was awful. I had a half of the Hammerton which was a pleasant enough beer and Tash tried the Cloudwater Motueka lager. After this we moved inside and started drinking rather a lot of the Wild Walker Old Ale at 7.0% and the Rebel Cherry Mexi which was meant to be a cherry stout but tasted more of vanilla - an observation made by Nathan who I sent much of Thursday's visit in the company of.

In respect of which, Thursday saw the opening of the upstairs festival bar in the games room. The first two beers I tried from here were the best casks of the festival - Ghost Brewing Phantom Pale Ale at 5.3% and Blue Bee Revenge of the Geek Red Ale at 4.3. I got sat in the clock room to enjoy them, with Geoff and a very drunk ticker who swore and chuntered to himself all the time I was talking to Nathan. Ace....

I also rtied the very quaffable Hopcraft Deutsch Project 6 and Small World secret pale ale - bth well hopped and tasty beers at below 5%. Joined by Tash at 20.30 she was only staying for one but got chatting to Tony and Nathan and Steve and Katie and others and we ended up staying much longer. Much of this was supported by us drinking large quantities - I think I had two pints - of the absolutely excellent Siren Pompelmocello Grapefruit IPA at 6.0% and the wonderful  Wiper and True Family Tree 2 IPA at the same strength. Both were on at £5.10 a pint which is a bit steep for Shakespeares for the strength but not for the breweries, if that makes sense.

Somewhere towards the end of Thursdays visit I had a half of the Brodies Simcoe for Breakfast, an imperial stout at 10.2%. This was a very easy drinking bee for the style and certainly for its strength - a great beer to finish on at any festival. I also, after we bumped into Steff and Mark from the Bath along with Gavin - who I have known for two years, but not as Gavin, and Paul H, tried some of the Abbeydale Black Mass on keg. This was on wonderful form and tastes very different, as you might expect, the same beer on cask.

The festival runs until tomorrow, but I imagine little fest beer will be left by then so get down their quick. Maybe see you later.


Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

A sup on Sunday

Hello there,

          this coming Sunday, it being the day before pay day, I will be sipping water collected from leaves in the garden, mixed with sachets of salt and sugar procured from takeaway joints in the dizzying good times of the first week of the month, to get my sufficient nutrients. Luckily, last Sunday was a bit better than that. Here's what I did.

Myself and Tash sped across - sorry, dawdled hopelessly following retarded bus timetable changes - to Hillsborough to be picked up by Mum and Martin. Matty had very kindly lent us some cash for our meal which was to take place at the Top Red, or Old Red Lion, in Grenoside. Its fair to say that in the seventeen or eighteen years since I was last in it has changed. For starters, it now looks older than it did - I know that is logical, since its eighteen years ago, but it looks older now, like it did perhaps 100 years ago. The ageing is of course fake, and I think the bar has moved, but at least its not what I remember as an ex Whitbread/Sherwood Inns pub.

We were there for Sunday lunch - you have to book - and I can see why. Its £7.50 a go and served beautifully and the meat and accompaniments including piles of veg was delicious. I had a couple of pints of Stancil Number 7 and Tash a pint of Farmers Blonde - both were about £3.00 a pint and well kept. After a quick trip to Mum and Martin's for coffee we got a lift to Hillsborough.

Here we ventured into the Hillsborough Tap. As the sign advertised, all real ales were £1.99 a pint and there were four or five on, with just the Marstons Help for Heroes being on at £2.20. We each had our first pints of this year of Belgian Blue from Bradfield, as I visited for the very first time. The pub is still recognizably a former sports bar, but now does better beer. Its not a place to go if you don't want to watch sport, however, the seating was comfy, the clientele was mixed and the only downside was that the pork scratchings were overpriced - making up no doubt for the inexpensive beer.

Just up the road is the Queens Gruond. Having read in Beer Matters recently that it now sold real ales I decided we should pop in, having only previously been in once, when am, not even sure I had a drink. The pub retains a three room layout from an original four (I think) with an interesting entrance way, a lovely window above the bar, original looking leaded windows showing it was once Wards, and a long sturdy wood bar with three handpumps. From a range of Farmers Blonde, Belgian Blue and Strongarm we went for a pint of the Farmers Blonde for me and the Blue for Tash. The beers were, I think, about £2.60 or so a pint and were well kept. Crucially, in terms of allure, there is a real fire, and a cat called Boo with the strangest miaow. Certainly a venue I will return to.

Further still towards town and before the hulks of the Burgoyne and Cuthbert Bank loom up at you, is the Masons. Still proclaiming cask ales on its sign, which has not been the case since I first visited four or five years ago, this is an interesting and traditionally laid out pub which I actually quite like. I have only been in to drink twice before now, and each time was interesting. There are two rooms either side of the doorway which has a tiled sign on the floor - the right room is actually behind the bar which has interesting glass plates above it - it is currently closed off alas. Beyond the bar is a large opened out room with access to the outside, off which are the loos, and an original leaded windowed door entitled cloak room.

On the bar are two unused handpumps and some keg fonts. We both had a double gin and shared a tonic for our first round, and sat in the left had room to listen to Haircut 100, Ray Parker Junior and other "giants" of Eighties pop. Soon it was time for another drink and I got to choose - I went for a half of John Smiths Extra Smooth (all in the name of research....) and bought Tash a bottle of Desperado. As you can probably guess, this was an awful drinking experience, but we didn't care. It was, as Tash remarked, just like her growing up drinking days in Whitehaven. Only cleaner...

We finished our wander in the Hillsborough Hotel. The pub has been sold I think to a developer who plans to build flats upstairs and keep the pub open downstairs. The brewery has been mothballed so there is now an interesting range of cask ales to choose from. It's sad for Alison to have to give up the brewery but I was never a fan of the wildly inconsistent Wood Street beers. Instead from the five or six casks on offer we had pints of Whippet English Pale and Gadds Number 3, which we enjoyed sat near a radiator - which seemed like it was on, even though it wasn't. Clearly a cold inspired trick of the mind. Good to see an interesting range of reasonably priced real ales on offer at the Double H.

Overall then we visited five pubs, four of which sell real ale, and found all of them worth a visit and some a return visit for different reasons. By way of comparison, here is a link to my post the last time I visited the pubs in 2011. Well worth popping into any of the pubs if you get chance.


Wee Beefy

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Three weeks, one post


         as per my previous post, I will remind you once again that the last three weeks have been a bit slakey. I have an unhealthy desire for drinking beer as it is, so lets just say that the period described has been mightily refreshing and dangerously scaturient. Just how I like it. Not how I like to be when it comes to remembering ting alas. Despite this aqueous handicap, am going to try and remember some stuff from the period and write it down. Good luck to you, dear readers, in finding any actual facts uin the following....

It all started with Tickle's birthday. Me and Tash and Matt met briefly in the Tap and Tankard to wrap present and had a pint each of a flavoured beer and some Pale Rider. We ate at Agraah and I drank a keg beer which I think is brewed  in the UK and begins with B before we went to the Grapes. Excellent pints of Moonshine were had, along with the company of Mr Shumski before those remaining went to Shakespeares for last ones.

I have been to the Three Tuns twice recently as well. Both times I had excellent pints (many) of the Blue Bee Little and Large IPA. Each tome there has been a jolly chap called Nathan working behind the bar. Unfortunately I decided to have an "joke" with him last time and may have looked like a twat. Sorry Nathan....

The Bath Hotel let me down slightly on the first Monday as it was Thornbridge only on cask - Gah! Luckily they had the Cloudwater Farmhouse IPA on keg at 6.5% which is much more my strength. Earlier myself and Middlemarch had been to Shakespeares where we had enjoyed, amongst a few, halves of the sour Berliner Weiss from Siren, maybe called Calypso, and also had popped in the Ship for a couple of pints of beer.It was the quietest I've ever seen it, although it was 19.00 on a Monday.

Other Bath visits saw us drinking Jaipur and the excellent Anarchy Brew Co Sublime Chaos breakfast stout at 7% or more, as well as trying Jaipur X which is 10%. It was once again busy, which lets face it is great news. After WK had left is we headed once again to Shakespeares to enjoy some delicious keg including something from Anspatch and of course, the amazing Cloudwater Drink Fresh Special IPA on cask - one of the beers of the month by a long stretch.

A quick trip to the Closed Shop and Hallamshire House found excellent hoppy Blue Bee - I can't recall which but I think the description is most likely right - at the Shop, and a Blackjack beer at the Hallamshire House. Initially I could only afford a half of one of the Thornbridge beers but luckily the card machine was fixed in time for me to splash out.

A trip out on Bonfire night found us in the Fat Cat supping a hoppy red ale in real glasses whilst enjoying he fireworks and lovely BBQ hot dogs and burgers in the yard. One thing I will say is the Cat really know how to do bonfire night! Good to bump into Rolla Coley's friend Michaela behind the bar for her second shift - I imagine it got very busy.....

A wander round the corner saw us have a couple of pints sat in the beer garden at the KIT. I know we had something strong and hoppy, and am willing to bet it was a Blue Bee beer. Lovely place to sit and watch and listen to the fireworks, as was Shakespeares once again, where we very likely had the To Ol Final Frontier double IPA at 9.6% on keg to, erm, yer know, finish.

Two Sundays ago we went for a lovely walk in South Anston in Little Stones wood - we finished off with a pint in the Loyal Trooper. Still selling four real ales, the only disappointment is that they have refurbished it (I haven't been for at least five years...!) and the new decor seems very out of place in the grand old building.

Finally, a couple of visits to the Devpnshire Cat and the Portland House have occurred, with the Cat winning points for the excellent Instant Karma Black IPA and the Abbeydale beer of the same style (but stronger). The Portland is a decent walk form the Cat, and we have done this twice now. I like the place but am not so sure about their claim to sell three traditional Welbeck beers with the three guests providing more hoppy fare. The Waen Monkey Spanner was lovely, as was the Liquid Mistress from Siren on keg (although £5.50 for a pint is steep), however the Saltaire Hopfen was awful. Luckily, excellent Wateralls pies and lovely pickle jars compensate - its just not the Walkley Beer Co.

Apologies once more then to anyone I forgot or any places I neglected to mention. More posts are to follow I promise!


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Been too busy drinking beer to write about the beer I've been drinking.....

Hello people,

     in fact, despite the title suggesting I have been cast adrift on a sea of crapulence, there are actually three nights in the last two weeks when not a drop of alcohol has passed my lips. I have, however, been tired or worn out on those nights and am now, therefore, writing my first post of November. Half way through the month. Regulars readers will know that through the haze of alcohol, my memories, particularly of names, seem to get left in the fog. My memories of pubs seem like photos taken in the fog. So, if I have met you in the last two weeks or more, and have not mentioned you or the pub that you run in this or likely my next blog post, don't take offence.

Yesterday I was doing overtime. Afterwards Tash was not quite ready to join me and I decided to spend a couple of hours in good ole Shakespeares. I started on a pint of the lovely Blue Bee Centennial, one of my favourite hops, and a punchy bitter pale at 3.9%. I also had a packet pf pork scratchings and a rather lovely cheese and pickle sandwich - still 70p, and served on a lovely cob. Another followed, along with a half of Brodies Hoxton Special IPA at 6.6% and a half of the Blue Bee North Riding Little and large IPA, featuring delicious soorachi ace hops along with mosaic.

I met Tash and Matty and we ended up at the very busy Bath Hotel a few hours later. One feature of recent drinking sessions has been the appearance of the loudest people on earth. Am not suggesting this is linked to the recent finishing of the association football match but the pub was filled with the loudest people ever. Beer wise it was more sorachi - Craft Brewing Gloucester, I think and their Sorachi Red. We had a pint each plus a half for Matty and although the crowds eventually dispersed we were in a rush t get up to Walkley.

The Walkley Beer Co was also busy, as its small, as well as excellent. The only cask beer left was Dark Star Partridge, which is their least enticing beer alas. Also on was Magic Rock Cannonball on keg (7.4% and £4.80 a pint) and a Cloudwater "Summer IPA" (!) at 5% and £4.00 a pint. We started on a pint each of that and sat by ourselves initially, before the tall man with the short hair who writes and used to house share with J9 and who I have known for 6 years or more whose name I have forgotten called us over to sit with him and Dan and friends.

We had another pint and a half, this time of Cannonball and got chatting to Tim, Gemma, Pete, Kerry and Owen, whose name is spelled with an e, I think. It soon dawned on me that I met Kerry and "Owen" before - in the Bath Hotel, about three years ago, and I drank 6 pints of Oakham Hop Devil. Having checked my back catalogue I realise I met them in July 2013, as shown here. It was good to catch up with them again, along with Dan and Pete and the nameless man and the others.

Leaving late we caught the bus to town and headed towards the Shakespeares. Alas, a pressing need forced us briefly into the Church House - for a double Whisky and coke for Tash and a half of Robinsons Trooper for me. It always makes me amused to see so many pump clips turned round in the pub when they only ever seem to sell the same two real ales...

Shakespeares was busy when we got there and we got sat in the clock room with pints of the Little and Large IPA once again. We had hoped they might have some sarnies left so we could eat the fillings and take the cobs home for our tea (burgers) but alas they did not. To make up for this, we had another half of the Hoxton and a shot of Jungle gin with that good tonic water that Shakespeares sell. A fantastic end to the night this proved.

I will attempt to remember other facts in my next post - I have been on quite a few good nights out in November, some of which I intend to share some fragmented details of.

In the meantime, take care, don't stop supping and see you around.


Wee Beefy