Monday, 28 December 2015



         in the 1980's and 90's people really seemed to like canned beers. Almost all breweries canned their beers, from Multinationals to regional family brewers and even some new, up and coming microbreweries. Cans were available in corner shops and supermarkets and were inexpensive. My first party age, where canned drink was bought, was memorable as much for the antics of the guests as the number of cans and PET bottles that I disposed of the next day.

At Hagueys on Crookes you could buy cans of beer with widgets in - Castle Eden, John Smiths, Guinness, Trophy being ones I remember. These produce a silky smooth, film-like, jet of foamy beer which had almost no taste apart from a slight malt and bitter aftertaste - sometimes a lingering pharmaceutical aftertaste. Probably as bad as smoothflow beers are now.

As soon as I got into real ale aged 18 (ish) I started drinking less cans and moved onto pints and bottles - most notable when I started going to Archer Road Beer stop. Pretty soon I stopped drinking crap cans of bowze. I mean, why would I?

In the US of A, am fairly certain that breweries producing hoppy, excellent quality beers, Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn and Anchor spring to mind in this respect, have been producing their wares in cans for a long time. However, its probably only five years ago in the UK, likely with London based Microbreweries, that high quality hoppy tasting UK beers have started to appear in cans - most noticeably, in my experience, in the last eighteen months.

Given the above memories, and the often sky high cost of such products, I immediately turned my nose up - just like I did with keykeg, before I understood what it actually was. Earlier this year I tasted  a couple of UK cans, I think from CamdinBev and Roosters at Sheffield beer week, and really enjoyed them, And then later, Tom, or Barry Valentine at the Beer Engine, kindly gave me and Tash a can of Roosters baby faced assassin to try. I was amazed at how hoppy and distinctive it was. Granted, the beer itself is a hoppy easy drinking strong pale ale, so right up my street, but it tasted superb. What on earth was going on?

I have since tried Beavertown cans, and Magic Rock and think that as long as they are sold at a sensible price, the can is, or rather can be, a valuable means of dispense. A case in point is Magic Rock Grapefruit High Wire. Bought from Archer Road Beer Stop for £2.00 a can, which is a sensible price given its cost on keg, I was immediately struck by just how grapefruity the beer smelled and tasted. I have had this beer on keykeg, which I expected to love, (expectation versus delivery, I know...) and found it disappointing - the grapefruit was no more than a subtle hint in the background, perhaps overwhelmed by the carbonation?

In the can, the grapefruit is a complimentary but strong flavour at the forefront and again in the aftertaste. Supping a can last night I found it was refreshing and fruity and hoppy, as well as excellent value. Is this an example of the can being the best dispense method for a particular type pf beer?

Well, alas I can't say - I have not had the beer in a bottle or on cask so its not a fair comparison. What is a fair comparison is that cans from forward thinking innovative microbreweries now seem far better than the widget weary smooth foam of the nineties. If those selling such a product could be more realistic about pricing then I may start drinking more canned beers. And cans are after all, recyclable.

I would always prefer to drink real ale though, in case anyone is worried...!

Psssht click

Wee Beefy


Sunday, 27 December 2015

A Monday night in the bath. Hotel.

Now then,

           less than a week ago I met Tash in town after work. It was a Monday night, and Christmas was fast approaching. The previous night we had been in the Rutland til late drinking and moshing after seeing a fillum at the picture house. Tonight we were meeting to enjoy a coffee. I didn't meet Tash until gone 19.00 and we'd both had a hard day. No prizes for guessing which decision we made then, about where to go...

I mean, am sure the Bath Hotel could have done us a coffee, but we didn't really want one. And when we got in Sheffield's only National Inventory pub and saw a Cloudwater Extra Special IPA on cask on the bar, it frankly seemed silly to have a hot drink. The Cloudwater IPA was 7.2% and on at what is a very reasonable for the Bath £4.20 a pint. I set up a tab, got us a seat and ordered two pints. We then spent a short time drinking and catching up with the staff. Followed by another short time....

Mark was working and possibly Paul. We sat at a table near the drinking corridor where Scott and Stef and Sean were chatting, next to what I imagine is one of the Bath's first Christmas trees  - a bloke came in a taxi and said he had a spare one to give away so they accepted it and dressed it, naturally, in pump clips and baubles and tinsel. We wrote a card to the staff (at least, all those whose name we could remember) and handed it over before Scott came over and Stef, Scott mainly to wish us a very happy Christmas and New Year (you too mate). More pints of the excellent Cloudwater IPA were bought and supped. This was an outstanding IPA, and devilishly easy to drink despite its strength. Perhaps one of the beers of the year.

Tash had another chat with Stef and we were joined by Sean (other Sean) and Matty fresh from Meadowhell. He had bought bags of reduced price sandwiches and was doling them out amongst the four of us. He bought us more pints of Cloudwater IPA and we continued socialising. At some point, I lost one of my sarnies and some fish cakes - I understand they weren't found in the Bath so are probably rotting somewhere between the road and our front garden!

As time went on more IPA was bought and we were joined first by Pete Green who seemed a trifle refreshed, but was his usual friendly charming self, and also by Kat. More sarnies were doled out and the pub started to slowly empty whilst we ordered more pints of Cloudwater and Matty bought  a number of people halves.

A final round of IPA's came our way before we bought shots of Lagavulin to finish on - I think actually Tash may have migrated to another drink by this stage but I finished on the Cloudwater IPA, over four hours after I started, and six pints down. What an amazing night. What an amazing pint!

Many thanks to Matty for his generosity and him, Tash, Stef, Sean, Pete and Kat for their company. Although I was, unsurprisingly, slightly zombified the next day at work, this was the best nights out all Christmas.

And in case am not back in again until 2016, I would like to wish all the staff at the Bath Hotel a very merry New Year. Here's to a prosperous 2016.


Wee Beefy

The Cobden View and the White Lion

Hello readers,

        firstly, I would like to say that I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas, and to wish you a very merry new year, and a prosperous 2016. I was lucky enough to wake up on Christmas Day in the arms of Tash for the first time, and spent the day with her, then the Wee men at Wee Fatha's. Before all that however, blogging was temporarily suspended due to imbibing. Over the next few days, I hope to recall some of that.

On Saturday 19th December I met Wee's Fatha and Keefy, Mumrah and Martin and Matty and Tash at Crosspool for our Christmas meal out. Afterwards we went to the Punch Bowl and then were heading off to the Closed Shop and Hallamshire House to finish. More details of the first two pubs will follow. En route to School Road we were on Cobden View Road and Tash had a pressing need. Since it wasn't too late I agreed we popped in the Cobden View for a half and an obviate. In the end, we stayed all night.

The Cobden View, or the Cobden as its usually known, to me at least, is a back street boozer. Its on Cobden View Road, with houses or flats on either side and the back of Western Road houses overlooking it - there is even a jennel from the beer garden to Western Road. I first went in when I was seventeen - I used to drink Newcastle Brown in bottles, and bought and poured one hastily, causing it to be half head. Being so young, I mistakenly thought this was a Southern head, and went to see some such folks from Church (I know...) and loudly laughed at them and it. I made myself look like a tit to be honest. That never, luckily, stopped me going in.

Matty had never been in the Cobden. I told him, in a casual but believable sounding Beefy lie, that it was named after the industrialist Richard Cobden, as opposed to the guy who had a short-lived brewery and Nightclub in Stockport in the nineties. To my surprise, I found a poster in the loos confirming this was (virtually) the case. Richard Cobden was a commercial traveler then businessman, setting up near Clitheroe and then in Manchester a Calico printing factory. He later became a member of the Anti Corn Law league and a peace campaigner and campaigned for Free Trade, described as the "greatest classical-liberal thinker of International affairs". He wasn't just an industrialist, in fact his views meant he wasn't at all. Its nice to make up something which is virtually true however...!

We had halves of Belgian Blue for Tash, Hobgoblin for Matty and Copper Dragon Best for me. We sat in the room on the left and noticed a huge jug of mulled wine was nearby with mince pies. When I returned from the loo Matty and Tash were tucking into roast chestnuts. I've never had them, so joined in. The occasion? The 150th anniversary of the licensing of the Cobden View in 1865 (originally as the Cobden Tavern). There were carol singers, who sing only in pubs on request (and the woman singer leading had an incredible voice), a huge pot of stew, and regulars and newcomers alike.

We talked to the managers Andrew and Laura (am not sure, sorry!) who was a university student from Stoke. They were keen on promoting the pub and making it an inclusive part of the community - in my opinion this has been pulled off perfectly. There is an excellent mix of local students and local born residents, a former boxer who is unsteady on his feet who collects the glasses, friendly bar staff and a proper community spirit. We had stew and mulled wine and mince pies (we were encouraged to!) and carried on drinking pints of Farmers Belgian Blue and Blonde, and chatted to other punters.

One of the most amazing things about the night was that I went to the bar to ask if I could pay on card, telling the man serving me, who may have been called Chris (sorry!) that I needed the change for the taxi. "Where you going to?" he asked. "Handsworth via Arbourthorne " I replied. He said it would be fine to take us - even though, when I asked him where he lived he said it was just round the corner. When we pressed him for an explanation later he said " well, just think of it as a Christmas present". What a lovely kind gesture that was. His generosity nicely summed up the spirit of the pub and the friendliness we had been shown. For more information and news, here is a link to their Facebook page .

A short mention next about the White Lion on London Road Heeley bottom. Its short because I was only in shortly the other day. It is no lesser a pub!

Earlier this year the pub was taken over by my friends Jon and Mandy. I was surprised to say the least, because even though they were long time regulars in there, I didn't think either of them had any experience of running a pub. Going in soon after they opened, I found out this was the case. Despite that, more than 6 months on they are still there, making money, showcasing live music and have put their own individual stamp on a pub which had become a little predictable in its beer range prior to them taking over.

Initially Jon told me that he wanted to introduce his own prices as he felt the current were too high, and to make changes to the beer range. The first few times we came in that hadn't been possible, and it took a fortnight to get a card machine, but one thing that shone though was the quality of the beer - I understand the cellar is immaculately clean. However, other than seeing him run a bar at Tramlines (selling excellent Wild and Siren beer) I don't think I've been in the pub since.

On Wednesday I was up at Manhattan's Motorcycles buying a present and popped in the Sheaf View for a half of Geeves fully laden IPA - on my way to Davefromtshop's shop, I decided to pop in - and found that as promised, the prices were much reduced, and the beer range was incredible. As I was pushed for time I only tried a half - of Waen Snowball, a 7.0% chocolate, coconut and vanilla porter - a bargain, given its strength, at £3.50 a pint. Other beers on offer included Dancing Duck Hoppy Christmas, a beer from Coastal, one from XT and many more. For more info, see their Facebook page here.

Its great to see the changes that Jon and Mandy have introduced, and I wish them all the very best. I will have to start adding this to my Brothers and Sheaf View crawl from now on. Once again, Sheffield presents two excellent community pubs hosting live music, and selling excellent real ale at sensible prices. God bless the Steel City!


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 13 December 2015

An Ale Amble round the edges of Sheffield centre


         yesterday I was pleased to meet up with Charlie, AKA renowned beer blogger from the aswiftone beer blog Ale Ambler. We had not met up for a couple of years and we decided to meet in the Sheffield Tap to start a short pub the grey, darkening streets of sodden Sheffield

The days tarted well I had arranged to meet Charlie the night before -desit having been a trifle refreshed at the time, and despite having lost my phone, I remembered that I was meeting the AA at
12.30. I hadn't however, remembered to get ready for 11.45. I was burning my bacon at that point. And trying to contact the AA via Facebook. Luckily I found his Twitter account and messaged him. I found my dead phone 10 minutes before I left, and met the AA at 13.08. Luckily things improved form here on.

In the Sheffield Tap it was busy and I spotted the AA at the bar. He had a half of Arbor Oz Bomb and me a First Chop AVA. We repaired to the brewery room where the smell f brewing hung in the air, and I sat and gently shook whilst Double A made notes. I was still mildly drunk from the night before you see. Both beers were lovely. Especially the Arbor.

Coats and scarves done up we walked out of the Tap into a wall of water and struggled along Brown Street, Sidney Street and up onto Arundel Street. Double A is fond of street art - as opposed to graffiti (the difference between which is different to many) and we stopped off at a wall near the pub to look at some.

The Lord Nelson is a small, back street, corner local, owned by Greedy King, but still retaining its character and selling a good range of real ales and bottles  - and black pudding pork scratchings. I also noticed bottles of West Brewing St Mungo's lager in the fridge - not something I have seen anywhere for a while.

We had a pint and a half of Pennine Happy New Year 2016 - maybe a little early but it isn't how I would expect a celebration ale to taste. That said. it was beautiful. Very quaffable with a balanced bitterness and very easy to drink. The AA also had a half of Bradfield Belgian Blue. This was as I predicted - poorly balanced and sweet (and with no identifiable blue). Absolutely nothing with how it was kept I should point out. It was in here as well that I decided to recharge my phone. Alas, two minutes in, the lead fell out and I didn't notice. It would be two pubs later before I got my phone charged!

The AA liked the lord Nelson - now with I love Fanny's T-shirts to order, for those confident that people would realise the pub was known as that. He liked what they had done with the space and the fact that there were four separate drinking areas still. Definitely a pub we will revisit.

Along back streets and through Decathlon car park we were soon in the underpass and heading for the Beer Engine. Sadly Tol Barry was not around - he would be in later. The AA will have to return to Sheffield to meet him.

On the bar was a great selection of real ales and kegs - sadly rather too many dark ones for me but the Siren Oatmeal Pale Undercurrent was on at £3.40 a pint so I had a half of that and the keg four Hopmen of the Hopocalypse. The AA meanwhile had a half o the Wild Beer Millionaire, a salted caramel chocolate ale which we were warned was quite sweet. It was an immensely strong flavoured beer at 4.7%, and although I preferred my delicious Oatmeal Pale and Hopmen, the AA found it quite easy to drink.

As usual there was an interesting range of music on and trade was steady, if not busy. One thing I will point out about the Beer Engine is the toilets - soft loo roll, heating, handwash and a hand dryer and hot water. None of which are difficult to provide, but usually only two of which are available in other pubs. Its nowhere near as important as the quality of the beers however. Since they are also excellent and well thought through, this makes the Beer Engine a fab place for a pint.

Up Eccy road next and we arrived from the continuing downpour at the Portland House. On the bar there were four Welbeck and Leeds best and a Celt Experience beer called something an Brett. The guy behind the bar asked of we were here to try it, and given the choice we were. The AA was not aware of brettanomyces - part of the Saccharomycetaceae family of myacies, for ease of reference! The only reference I could muster at the time was that they featured in Imperial Russian Stouts, and that breweries were now trying them out for the unique unusual flavour. The beer was certainly in possession of that - it was an unusual but possibly over-bretted beer, but definitely one that challenged our taste buds. The other thing here was that I managed to charge my phone o 26%.

We caught a bus back into town and went to collect the AA's haul of shopping from Wateralls and a cheese specialist - where I also purchased some Brampton Impy Dark Derby cheese. After a quick chat with Sean from Beer Central we headed up to the Devonshire Cat. The AA got a half of Shiny Sorachi and I the Hop Studio Obsidian Black IPA. We sat in my usual place and found that we couldn't use the sockets to charge my phone....

 Never the less, we enjoyed our beers, but me rather more than the AA whose Sorachi flavoured beer was overpowering! We also bumped into new manager Liz formerly of the Sheffield Tap. December, it seems, is s busy time of year to start your new job...

Up the road next for me and The AA's final pub the Bath Hotel. I got a pint of Harbour Pale and he a half of Jaipur on keg. We sat in the back and watched the fire very slowly fail to get going and then be drowned by more coal. A shame, since we were soaked. I had a further pint of Jaipur and Matty joined us whilst we waited for Tash, but the AA admitted he had reached his limit and we soon left for him to get his train. Thanks so much for your company Ale Ambler! Glad to have introduced you to a new Sheffield pub or two.

I headed off to BrewDog next to wait for Tash - as the crawl was finished we could now drink beer in the cntre. We shared a bottle of the Fantome Saison.  The bar was quite packed and the music was fantastic as it so often is. We also had two halves of the Aberdeen BrewDog Ghost Writer and the Prototype Black IPA, along with a venison pie and mash and gravy - which was very tasty, but really needed to have come on a plate as opposed to in a box.

Our final stop of the night was in the Tap and Tankard where we had two halves of the Green Jack gone fishing and a half of Double Top Shanghai. I also bought Tash a double gin and tonic as she was feeling a little unwell. The music changes from being rock and dub to awful pop later one - a deliberate ploy no doubt to persuade customers to leave. It worked, and we left about midnight.

This was another fantastic pub crawl in Sheffield featuring a mix of different pub styles and beer styles. Great to catch up with the Ale Ambler, and this day out proves that there are plenty of other Sheffield crawls for us both, and indeed us three, to do in the future.


Wee Beefy

Thursday, 10 December 2015



         on Saturday I popped in the pub after overtime. I had earned some extra cash and decided to spend it about 7 weeks in advance. In the end, due to events far North in Cumbria, Tash was quite late joining me. Very quite late. Luckily, in the meantime, I decided to sup in the pub. And virtually remained sober. Here are the details of those twelve hours....

I got to Shakespeares at 14.15 and had a pint of the excellent, biting hopped Arbor Triple Hop at 4.0%. I supped this very slowly as it turned out, joined briefly by Paul and his family, before I spotted T_i_B from the internet. Having got his attention (he does not answer to Tib) I chatted with him for a good hour or two. He started on the super strong Brodies Simcoe for Breakfast whilst I moved onto a 7.2% Red IPA from Buxton - just a half of course. Tom (for it is he) then moved down to the Arbor and I joined him for a last couple of halves of the same, before heading for food nearby.

The Three Tuns was busy, as it often is thankfully, and I managed to get a seat at the right near the bow end of the pub. I had a half of Blue Bee Motueka and ordered a chip butty with blue cheese and bacon. The menu is reduced since this time last year and this was actually quite a small butty, but it still did the trick. I spoke to Tash and she was still trying to find out details of the flooding in Cumbria so I quickly got myself another half of Motueka and sat back down.

I walked very slowly (deliberately) around 19.00 up to the Bath Hotel - this was also rammed, and  initially I had to stand at one end of the bar. I bumped into Nick out with some mates and supped a pint of the excellent Hopjacker Kansas City Shuffle, a 5.5% pale ale brewed at the Dronfield Arms. This was an excellent pint, and I eventually got sat down and ordered a half a pork pie and a glass of water. The pub was emptying a little now, around 20.00 and I moved on to a half of Jaipur on keg. Heading to the bar for more water,  I was spotted by Clare and Gav.

They were in enjoying drinks having been out walking their dog Jezza and I was allowed by the same to join them. They were also on keg Jaipur (which I think is a good price at £3.90, or rather about 50p only, more expensive than the cask) and I stopped on my dwindling supplies until Tash turned up about 22.00. She was really stressed about the flooding since her Mum and Brother live in Carlisle - by Sunday morning they had been evacuated. In an attempt to distract her I bought her and myself a pint of Hopjacker each and we chatted to Clare and Gav.

About 23.00 we were joined by Emma, Matty's friend. She arrived quite late but just in time for a glass of wine and persuaded Matty to get out of bed to join us. I bought me and Tash another pint each of the excellent Hopjacker and Matty turned up just after last orders.

From here we secured funds and caught a taxi to Shakespeares. In all honesty I can only say for definite what I had for the last rather than the first round. I know Matty had a pint of Abbeydale Marshmallow Meltdown, a 7.0% stout brewed with Hop Hideout, and am guessing I sensibly went for a pint of the Triple Hop. We were joined by Katie and Lee and sat in both the clock room and outside in the yard catching up and putting the world to rights. I finished on a half of the Simcoe for breakfast, the 10.2% Brodies breakfast stout before we caught a taxi about 02.40.

Notwithstanding the ride home, when Tash was treated terribly by the taxi driver for reasons that I on't share on here, this was a great day of (mostly) restrained drinking of excellent real ales and keg beers in three different fabulous pubs. I may have had nine or ten pints in all but I wasn't that drunk and crucially I really enjoyed every one of them. Even if I forgot one of them....

With thanks to Tom, Gav, Clare, Emma Katie and Lee and of course Matty and Tash for their company on a wonderful long short pub crawl.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Wanderians November 2015

Once upon a time,

            long long ago, in a far away place called Sheffield, there was a man of Beef. The man went into public houses, and micro-public houses, and bars, and inside delighted (usually) in sampling drinks. Beer drinks. This made the Beefy man beefier, happier, more tired and less well off. It also gave him something to write about. Hence....

This month's Wanderians was a little longer than normal. Mr P seems less worried about restriction - or rather, potentially has less restrictions,on the amount of beer he consumes. This was demonstrated fully on Wednesday night. Our plan was to go to The Portland House so I suggested we started at the Bath Hotel. After waiting just 25 minutes for an every 10 minute 52a, we were less than soon starting our evening's voyage.

Being two days after payday meant I had real money on me. Just as well since the card machine at the Bath Hotel was not working. Mr P had a pint of (possibly) Real Deal from Blackjack and I had the 6% Arbor beer which was an IPA. We sat at the large table, mainly because a leak meant we couldn't sit anywhere else, and talked, and planned our route.

Brood is a bar at Art collective Roco nearby. Well, I say that, Roco doesn't appear open. There were lights on upstairs but the doors were locked (despite its opening November banner) and I on't care how artistic it may seem,. breaking and entering is not my scene. So we headed off down the ring road towards Eccy Road. En route I mentioned to Mr P that I'd never been in the Hanover. He had, in the early 70's, and all of a sudden we were on Hanover Street and the pub was there. Inside we went in the dark games room on the right. There were three handpumps but no evidence of any real ale being on. I asked what bottles they had and from a very limited range we opted for a can of Guinness each. We took our drinks round the back of the bar to sit in the "best room" on the left.

The Hanover used to be a Wards pub, or am sure it sold Wards. Inside it has two rooms and was perhaps originally three, and there is exposed brickwork on the left wall and a nice open fire, and an old telly on the beam in front of us showing Murder She Wrote. The loos are across some decking outside and this is to my knowledge the only Sheffield pub that I know of with this arrangement. There were a handful of locals, a bloke who looked, if this is possible, like a theatre producer, and people were chatting and socialising at the bar. I like the Hanover. Its not pretensions, and it appears to serve its local community. It would be great if it sold real ale of course, but it doesn't, and is sill trading. Good for them.

Down through the flats and out on to Eccy Road we were soon at the Portland House. We both had pints of Townhouse Green Bullet and I had a Wateralls pork pie. We chatted and soaked up the atmosphere and noticed tat actually there were a few spare handpumps. Mr P also noticed a mis-spelling on the chalk board (Wensledale...?). Hardly the end of life as we know it, but a couple of little niggles. The pub now sells food as promised and seems to have regulars, so the outlook is good.

Off next to the Beer Engine via a chat with quiz bound Mr Hough, and once again an impeccable range o ales was on offer. Mr P had something dark on cask and I had a pint of the Almasty Mango IPA - less Mango-y than I expected but still a cracking beer. The pub was a little quieter than I expected but still turns over an excellent range of bottled and cask and keg beers - hoping to get back there to eat very soon.

Our penultimate stop was at the Hermitage. Last time I went in this was called something else and didn't sell real ale - I went to see a guy about a job working for his 3d photographic company. The Hermitage now sells four or five real ales including Clubhouse ones from Milestone - Mr P had a pint of their strong mild and I a pint of the Saltaire Cascade. It was awkward to find somewhere to sit as a party of rugby players were on their way but the staff were friendly and the beer was well kept - and the pork scratchings were lovely.

Our final stop was at the Lord Nelson on Arundel Street (or Lane..). Mr P had a pint of Belhaven Porter and I a pint of the Pennine Real Blonde from a choice of four. We went and sat in the room on the left and watched some football on the telly, before Mr P shared some of his Twitter poetry with me. As I have said before, I like the Lord Nelson, and this was another enjoyable visit - although, I did leave my wallet there. This is something I found out whilst buying my tea at the checkout. Credit to them though, they found it and kept hold of it until I returned after work the next day - to have two excellent pints of the Real Blonde and a packet of Black pudding pork scratching.

Once again hen, a small area of Sheffield provides 6 very different styles of pub with a range of real ales available in all but one. Thus proving, if proof were needed, that Sheffield is  a great place for a pub crawl.


Wee Beefy