Sunday, 31 May 2015

A Wander in the Western Isles - Harris, Uists, Eriskay and Skye

Now then,

        here is the final part of my post trilogy about the pubs, places and scenery of the Western Isles.

We left Stornoway later than planned but WF did manage to get in the Crit for a pic which I didn't manage. Soon we were heading down towards Harris, before doing which we ended up at the Loch Eriscort Inn. This hotel, pub and restaurant is run by a bloke from Huddersfield - he sells real ale in "summer" , but no-one is sure when that is....and at other times bottles from Hebridean Brewing Co. Tash had a coffee and WF a soft drink so I shared a bottle of Hebridean Claymore with Tash,. which was o tasty and easy to drink we had another - this time the Highlander, whilst WF nipped to the loo!

We traveled down the road beyond to St Peters Port and back and then headed off to Harris. A diversion for 45 minutes to Huishnish beach was well worth t, if nothing else for the views and driving through the grounds of a castle. We were soon in Tarbet in Harris and went to the modern Isle Of Harris Inn. They had two real ales on, Deuchars and Redness from Loch Ness Brewery. Me and Tash had a pint each of that, which was £4.00 a pint. Its 4.2%. It s likely the going rate on the Islands - except, so few sell real ale.

We took teh winding coast road to the ferry and were soon on North Uist. We ate at Lochmaddy Hotel, which has two handpumps but almost always just Deuchars on - which was lovely. Alas, we went twice and ate twice and paid on card so am unsure how much real ale cost. The food was lovely.

The next day we headed out past the Westford Inn at Kirkibost. The Whatpub website has it being for sale and locals say its not been open for a year or more. When we went past, there was no longer even a sign - here is a link with a photograph. We headed down the West coast to Benbecula over a causeway and down to South Uist and eventually arrived at the Borowdale Hotel. Alas, this place also only sells real ale in the Summer so we left and headed for the Polocharr Inn at Polocharr on the coast. No real ale here either - they say they couldn't sell it and won't do so anymore, but they do sell about 8 or 9 bottles form local Scottish breweries. Sat in the cosy lounge I had a bottle of Loch Ness Brightness, whilst Tash and WF were on hot drinks.

Our trip to Eriskay was brief and took us to the pub Am Politician - this is also in the local CAMRA list of pubs selling real ale but doesn't even have  a handpump! They used to sell "bottled real ale". I did not ask what, and they had none left. Tea was once again back at the Lochmaddy Hotel, where the food was excellent once more, as was the 2 or 3 pints of Deuchars I supped.

The next day we caught the ferry in bright siunshine - Friday was the best day weather wise, although cold, it was gloriously sunny thoughout. We got to Uig and visited the remains of Duntulm Castle and the waterfall at Kilt Rock and the Quiraing, a beautiful area of the island, before driving along a long single track road to Waternish and the wonderful Stein Inn. Three real ales were on plus bottled beers and Wee Fatha treated us to two shots - the last two - of Talisker 25 year old. At £25.00 a shot. He did allow himself a small taste but we drank the rest and were and remain eternally grateful. We also had two pints of Skye Gold, which was lovely, and the Cairngorm Scapa Pale.The Stein is a wonderful pub in a fantastic setting - I really hope we can return.

Our evening meal was at Seamus bar at the Sligachan Hotel. They now have their own brewery, the Cuillin Brewery, so we tried al 4 of their ales, Skye Ale, Black Face, Eagle and Pinnacle. The Pinnacle was probably the best, the others had slightly odd but not unpleasant flavours, although they were popular in the busy bar.

Our penultimate day so us travel over the Glenelg ferry down a beautiful mountain road from Breakish where we stayed.  Once in Glenelg we went to see the brochs, but a need for the loo took us to the Glenelg Inn. Situated at the waters edge with a lovely view we didn't expect to find real ales - but they sold 3, Deuchars, London Pride and Caledonian XPA. Me and Tash had a pint of that and an absolutely brilliant soup and roll to put us on. The pub is well worth a visit, and must be lovely to sit outside in "Summer" as its called.

After seeing the brochs we drove over Mam Rattigan pass to join the road to Fort William and another obviatory need saw us return to the Eagle Barge at Laggan Locks. A pint and a half of the An Teallach were sampled and we were once again made to feel welcome in this tiny, floating pub. We soon reached our accommodation and they have a bar and restaurant that sells one real ale. This was Cairngorm Nessies Monster Mash, and itv was £3.40 a pint if I recall. We had pints of this with our evening meal before WF went to get a much needed early night and we went to the excellent Grog and Gruel.

The pub sells 6 real ales and three keykeg beers as well as bottles and is very popular with locals and visitors. There were two An Teallach ales on, so I had a pint of each, along with a Williams Giraffe pale ale, a Nimrod cask lager, an Orkney Red Mcgregor and another, as well as the Williams Ceasar Augustus hoppy lager on Key keg. To note, this is a 50% beer on Keykeg for £3.45 a pint. Suffice o say we had plenty! Me and Tash stayed later for many more drinks and whiskies, before returning to the West End Hotel around 01.00 for more real ale and whiskies. With hanks to the Night Porter for serving and chatting with us.

Sunday was our return home, but after a 9 hour train journey we ended up at the Sheffield Tap. We both went for the Delicious but astonishingly expensive 6.7% Magic Rock Villainous - it was fantastic, yes, but at £5.00 a pint easily the most expensive beer of the holiday....

Finally, our thanks and best wishes to Wee Fatha. Without his desire, knowledge and drive, in more than one sense, none of this holiday would have happened.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 30 May 2015

A Wander in the Western Isles - to Stornoway and Lewis


     woke up feeling refreshed at Benleva Hotel in Drumnadrichit, had a lovely breakfast and went to buy some bottles of Loch Ness Brewery beers for WF at the brewery shop. Soon we were heading for Dingwall - where WF had definitely imagined the George Hotel existed never mind sold real ales, and up to Fearn abbey, another premonstratensian outpost in the North East of Scotland.

We then headed back west, having not really needed to stop for lunch, and had a wander up to the magnificent Rogie falls, before the scenery flattened out and the landscape became more barren. The towns became villages, and the villages became hamlets. Before 15.00, having found that Garve was not a town but a small gathering of buildings at a road junction, we headed up to a high plateau in fantastic rugged scenery, and suddenly stopped at the Aultguish Inn.

Aultguish is not so much a place as an Inn. There were 3 or 4 doors to choose from and we went to the end which is a cafe. There was no bar visible, so I went to the counter and asked if they sold beer, specifically real ale. "Oh yes, we do, there is 1 handpump in the pub. It doesn't open until 3" was the response. Result! We could sup the beer in the cafe. The real ale was An Teallach Ale, which describes itself as a rich and malty 80 /- style with a single hop - it was delicious. I had two pints and Tash one, and the price was an indicator of what was to come - it was £3.90 a pint! By the time we left the pub had opened, and t looked warm and comfy and sold cracking real ale - they have another An Teallach beer named after a local mountain, if the ale is not on. There is a link here to their website.

Alas, after this, we did not have time, after also visiting Corrieshallock gorge, for a pint in Ullapool, so had to drive glumly past the inviting real ale oasis of the Ferry Boat Inn to join the queue for the frankly enormous ferry to Stornoway. However, on board they did sell bottles of Oban Bay Brewery beer, so I had a Skelpt Lug and a Skinny Blonde with our evening meal.  Their website describes the Skelpt as an 80/- again, but with more hops. Not as noticably astringent as Mallinsons or North Riding but still a pleasant drink, and not bad value at 500ml for £3.55. Skelpt lug, incidentally, is a Cumbrian phrase meaning clipped ear. Strange to see it on a Northern Scottish bottled beer.

In Stornoway only one place sells real ale, and that is the Carlton Lounge. The gent at the B and B advised us not to bother but we were late setting out so went instead to the Western Isles only National Inventory pub, the Criterion. This long thin pub sells no real ales but has a beautifully ornate bar back and simple fittings and was full of friendly locals, and the guy from the B and B later on. We had a pint and a half of Tennents Special and sat down to watch the TV and chat. A perfect end to a wonderful day of travel.

Breakfast was once again sensational - Isle of Lewis black pudding is a treat! To be honest all the accommodation was good. Our plan for the day was to travel to the North of the island, but went first past the airport to see the lighthouse at Tiumpan Head, the windiest place I think I've ever been. We then headed back towards Stornoway before heading up the coast to the road to the bridge to nowhere. Apparently, when Lord Lever bought Lewis and decided to set up farms and build roads all over it he wanted to link Ness on the North Coast with a coastal road. Opposition to the plan and the taking of land was rife - Lewis has several memorials to those involved in the land grab struggle - but when he got to build a bridge over a burn near Port Geiraha, he ran out of funds. The road bed, unsurfaced, is now a presumably very windy but beautiful heritage trail up the coast to join the B8015 at Port Nis.

Another feature of the North of Lewis is pubs. Or rather, not pubs. There are none! There is the Cross Inn and restaurant at Cros, and that was closed. There are a few cafes, and that is it. Luckily, we found Morven, an art gallery with a coffee shop, so had some cake and coffee for our dinner before setting off again to see the Truiseil stone (with handily placed picnic tables nearby) and eventually up to the lighthouse at the Butt of Lewis.

We also visited the Blackhouses, and Callanish 1 and 2 stone circles, which was a real highlight for me and Tash, before heading off to North Bernera. There is one road in and the same road back, and road is quite a generous term. Luckily WF is an experienced driver so took the job in his stride, and at the end of the road, the bay, cemetery and Iron age house at North Bernera were amazing. Almost other worldly. A beautiful spot which warranted driving along a footpath for 45 minutes entirely.

We ate at the world's most expensive Tandoori in Stornoway - which shuts at 21.30 so had to rush - and then as it was late headed for the Lewis Inn. We were told that it was run by a Yorkshire man who  liked his ales. I think this info may be out of date! Only Mcewans on keg, but we did each have a bottle of Tyskie for under £4.00. Alas, we never got back to the Criterion that night, and never at all to the Carlton. Will have to go again....

North Uist, Harris, Eriskay and others to follow later.


Wee Beefy

Thursday, 28 May 2015

A wander in the Western Isles


           for many years now WF has been praising, suggesting and planning a long trip away in North and lower down in Scotland. Specifically, he wanted to island hop around the Western Isles. You know, Lewis, Harris, Uist etc. After last years scare in hospital he resumed his ruminating. And me and Tash and Matt and Wee Keefy finally agreed we could go. In three posts, I will tell you how we got there, what we did whilst there, and how we got home.

The trip started well in bright sunshine - heading North for cold and wind and rain it seemed. As always, this was not neccessarily accurate - the weather was mostly fine. And even dry. Our first beer stop came in the Borders, at the Blue Bell in Annan. This is a National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors boozer whch makes it worth a visit, but also it sells 3 real ales. Deuchars is the regular with 2 guests - we had 2 and a half pints of the loallly brewed Cummertrees Pale Ale. Af ine, hoppy start to the holiday.

A trundle down country roads later and we were in Dalry. Having thought the Clachan Inn was closed we found the door further up and went in for a pint. This fabulous boozer has many old fittings and largely an unaltered layout. Two beers were on, of which me and Tash had pints of the Fyne Ales.Clachan Dubh Dark Ale and a half of Inveralmond Loch Ossian. This was a fantastic stop in a pub that seemed to be doing very well for itself - long may that continue.

Our next stop was in Maidens and a walk up to the grounds of Culzean Castle - the sight my Grandad's ashes are scattered at. You can't climb the steps up the cliff now so we ventured into Culzean Castle grounds then out on the headland to find the now much more gown over - in 20 years, promentary. WF walked the quick way back to the swan pond whilst me and Tash got lost, eventually finding WF and heading up, or not, Electric Brae and into Alloway then Ayr.

Once there we visited the Ayr Brewery Tap the Glen View Hotel for pints of their ale and a lovely meal, chicken Balmoral, stuffed with black pudding and topped with whisky sauce. Beers tried included the Ayr Scaur Doon, Leezie Lundie, Pale and Amber. Our final call of the night was down teh road from the B and B, at Geordies Byre. Here we had absolutley excellent pints of Fyne Ales Jarl at £3.00 a pint. We both enjoyed our visit to Geordies - I may have only been there 4 or 5 times in 20 years nut nothing has changed in this excellent small local boozer. A fantastic finish to an excellent first day.

The next day we headed out over Glennifer Braes and over towards Dumbarton, Gairloch Head and our first stop was the Village Inn at Arrochar. In stunning sunshine in a prime location next to the loch this is a popular restaurant but with a prominent bar on the left. I had a pint of Fyne Avalanche and Tash a pint of Houston Warlock with WF on soft drink. Soon we would be entering the huge tors and ben's of the High;ands....

Soon enough we were on Rannoch Moor and stopped in the Kings House Hotel. The bar is hidden round the back but is popular with walkers and car travelling tourists. After Tash had fed the deer we went in for a snack and pints of the excellent Trade Winds IPA from Cairngorm. Another excellent spot for a decent [pint of real ale.

We soon arrived in Fort William and headed for what we thought was a barge on Neptune's staircase. No sign was seen and we asked WF to check but he couldn't. A long walk and chance meeting with a Welsh boater made it clear the barge was 10 miles further up, and despite getting lost and turning towards our stopping place we ended up at Laggan Locks for the Eagle pub. On a barge. Sumptuously set out, with four real ales, the obvious attraction was the An Teallach Beinn Dearg ale at 3.8%. Not much over £3.00 a pint this delicious brew was really easy to sup but packed with flavours of soft Scottish malt and a subtle hop character. Topped off with a shot each of Kilchoman for me and Tash this was a fantastic stop.

Our final destination was where we stayed, a the Benleva Hotel at Drumnadrochit, Loch Ness. The Loch Ness brewery tap serves 5 or 6 real ales including their own, and lovely food - we all opte for the haggis neeps and tattoes which was served in massive portions. To be fair, my favourite beer was the Windswept APA, but the Loch Ness Redness and Lightness were also worth a try, as was the mild.

More to follow soon on getting to and being on Lewis, Harris and beyond.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Walking and drinking near Ogston Reservoir


      Recently I had the day orf. Work. It was a wet and dry sunny and cloudy day according to the weather, but would stay dry between 13.00 and 16.00. Which was good, since that was when most of our walk took place. Sheffield to Chesterfield, Chesterfield to Higham, walk to Ashover and up tp Kelstedge then bus it to who knows where. Here are some details.

I had arranged to meet Davefromtshop at the Sheffield Tap. In line with my usual level of planning and some fading memories, I hadn't thought about when it opened.Neither had  I remembered that Davefromtshop now lives in Chesterfield, our second stop. Both these subjects came up when I saw him, about 10.35, with me standing outside the locked door of the Tap. Luckily, Liz was on hand to remind me that it opens at 11.00. We stopped in the station for 20 minutes, saw a massive rainstorm then walked out in bright sunshine to the Tap.

I had been in the night before and sampled the fabulous Arbor J Bomb - so I had a pint and Dave a half. Its made with Jester hops and is the fruitiest most citriussy bitter beer I;ve had in ages. A perfect, f delayed, start to the day.

Soon we were on the train to Chesterfield, and we found CoCo bar and the White Swan shut. Luckily, Spoons opens early so we popped in there for Dave to have half a Chantrey stout and me half a Jaipur. We then walked to the bus stop and caught the Red Arrow to Higham. I knew the Crown would be shut, also the Shoulder of Mutton at Hallfieldgate, so after taking a few pics we set off. Down the track. across the field and railway and up through lush green countryside to Brackenfield.

From here we headed up a narrow green lane to Ogston Carr Woods, over a couple of small footbridges and then got lost slightly, before rejoining the path and then climbing a gate onto the road. We walked up the lovely Stonerow Lane towards Dalebank and turned off second left down to Falllgate, past the closed Miners Ar,s then along the main road into Ashover.

Luckily you come out on Butts Lane and so we went straight into the Old Poets Corner. The fires were lit and it was lovely and warm, although, after our walk we didn't really appreciate that. Dave had a pint of Dark and Delicate or similar, and me a pint of Oakham's wonderful Inferno, before we went outside to watch the clouds amass and the brewery worker toil, before heading back inside.

Our second pints saw us both on 5.5% Ashover Butts Pale Ale. Far less citrussy and astringent then the Oakham, but with a lovely body, this was the pint that saw us nearly stay for a third. Instead, we headed out and up - to find both the Crispin and Black Swan closed. We opted, as time was getting on, not to return to the Poets and instead made the short brisk walk uphill to Kelstedge, and the Kelstedge Inn. I've not been in since it was a Mansfield boozer and to be fair its now really a restaurant. They do still sell real ales though and Dave had a half of Flipside and me a half of Peak Ales Bakewell best. Both were OK. Its not somewhere I'd rush back to though.

Soon we were in Matlock and went to MoCa Bar, for Dave's first visit. The original plan was to go to Belpwer, Openwoodgate, Ripley and home but the ba was quiet,, comfortable, friendly, and selling all real ales at  £2.80 a pint. Dave had a Blue Monkey 4 Wise Monkeys and me a pint of the 5.9% Blue Monkey English Blue pale ale. It was fantastic.

After arguing that we should go to Derby and catch the late train, we splashed out on a quarter of huntsman pie and pickle, and two more pints of the delicious if strong English Blue. We left to discover a lack of busses to Chesterfield or Derby so went in the Crown for a loo stop and a half. I ordered a half of the Nutbrook mild whilst Dave went to the loo, then I did the same, to come back and find that the mild was off, and then the lady had poured us a pint of another Nutbrook beer and then became unhappy when we reminded her it was a half. Well done Wetherspoons! Although, the Nutbrook was lovely.

The bus to Belper was on time and we half an hour to wait for the TP to Derby so nipped in the nearby Lion Hotel. Not really a great boozer but they had 4 or 5 Marstons range real ales on and we both had a tasty if expensive half of Ringwood Boondoggle.

Once in Derby we caught a bus to the station and went to the Station Inn. Door wide open, little else has hanged thankfully. As is also unchanged, we both had pints of Bass from the jug and chatted and plotted where to go for our last drink - since it was only 22.30 and the last train was 2 hours 10 minutes away.

This was decided to be the Alexandra. I had a pint of, and probably Dave as well, a light Pale ale of moderate strength. Alas, I can't remember what it was but do that it was lovely. Soon, pork pies eaten, last orders was called so we sensibly opted for a plus 7% Lincoln Green Gyle blah di blah and sat and drunk that very, ve-ry, v.e.r.y....slowly.

So ended a good walk and some lovely beer in interesting pubs along the way. I will have to do it again, with Tash, maybe on a Saturday, increasing the number of pubs that would be open. Until then I will remember the English Blue as the very best beer, of a wonderful day out.


Wee Beefy  

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A North Staffordshire trio

Hello there,

           I realise, as some of you may also, that I have written a number of posts about a triumvirate of Staffordshire boozers. Well, I say Staffordshire, only the Quiet Woman and Packhorse are in Derbyshire, just. Anyhoo, whilst I realise this may indicate repetition, I like to provide details of these trips which always, apart from last time, include the Royal Cottage. Mainly, if nothing else, because no  other bloggers write about this pub.

On Saturday Wee Fatha picked me up and drove me through, and I quote him "unexpectedly busy" tea time traffic to Wee Keefy's. From here, we drove out via Rivelin to Bamford then up through Tideswell and Millers Dale over to join the A53, and down to Upper Hulme. We had booked in for food at Ye Olde Rock Inn, a 7 week early birthday celebration for me and a 3 week late one for WK.

There were three real ales on at Ye Old Rock, Bombardier, Wainwrights and Wincle Rambler. Two and  a half pints of the latter were ordered and enjoyed. We sat on the right near the fire and enjoyed sizeable portions of food -WK had lamb chops, WF a mixed grill and myself a rare 12oz steak with chips, peas and veg. To be fair, the food was lovely. Not that we wanted to sit staring at the plates we had it on for 35 minutes afterwards. Me and WK had tp and one more pints, whilst WF managed to eke his half out.

Up the A53 next and thankfully we got to visit the Royal Cottage. There was a customer already in when we arrived, which was a surprise, and we asked Cliffe why he hadn't opened back in February - he couldn't remember, but it didn't matter. We were just glad he was OK. Alas, after Keith had asked, it turned out Jessie was not, she had been put down in December. It felt bad asking Cliffe because he was obviously still missing her.

We supped bottles of Newky brown, Old Speckled Hen and J20 for Fatha, and then more regulars arrived, including a guy we had seen at Ken's last year. We talked to the guy near us whilst he and the other bloke and Cliffe discussed local history. With the exception of the I'm alright Jack politics discussed by the others, this was a fascinating conversation to listen n on.

Being stuffed from the meal meant we drank slower, but me and WK had a bottle of Manns each then shared a bottle,  whilst WF had another J20. Once more, this was a lovely visit to a pub which reminds, or at least suggests, how pubs used to be.

Arriving at Earl Sterndale at 22.59 the Quiet Woman seemed dark. Leaving the car to the chimes of the church bell, we found the pub closed. I know that bank holiday weekends are funny in terms of predicting numbers of customers, but this did seem a little strange.

Over to Hurdlow next and the Royal Oak was lit up and looked busy inside. However, on leaving the car and walking towards the pub the landlord told us he was now closed - although, when we asked, he did let us use the loos and recommended visiting our final stop.

Further up the road is Monyash and the Bulls Head. Four real ales to choose from, including Farmers Blonde, Hartington Bitter and Church End What the Fox Hat. WK had a pint of that and me the Hartington, with WF on a half of the same. In the end we stayed until gone 00.15 in the busy pub, listening in on the banter and chatting to a group from Woodhouse. The Bulls Head may not have the charm of the Quiet Woman or Royal Cottage but it opens late and serves a decent range of real ales.

So, not all 3 classic Staffordshire moorlands area pubs were tried. but this was once again a classic night out in excellent rural pubs. Will simply have to try again soon and get to see Ken.


Wee Beefy

Friday, 1 May 2015

More walkies in Walkley, and beyond


          just time to tell you about another couple of nights out in the suburban slake-holes of Sheffield. A return to two pubs not visited for a good while, and a couple of bright new things on London Road.

As promised, myself and Tash decided to visit the Palm in Walkley. As we were meeting in town first, and I was early (or rather, Tash was late), we met in the Red Deer. I had two halves initially - Flack Manor Hedge Hop and Salopian Darwin's Origin. Unfortunately, although similar, the Darwin was in fact much better - something I discovered when I bought myself and Tash two pints of the Flack Manor....

A further pint and a half of the Salopian followed before we headed across the road to catch the 95. Soon enough we were walking down Palm Street to the Palm Inn. There were two real ales on the bar - Tetley and Farmers Blonde. We both went for a pint of the latter. We settled down on chairs on the left hand side of the small front room and got chatting to a singer and cat whisperer and his companion who were visiting for the first time. The Cat, incidentally, was called Mr or Mrs P - Mr P they said, had cared for the cat when he lived across the road and when he died, the cat came to the pub, and stayed. He, or she, certainly loved the cat whisperer.

Two more pints followed of the Blonde and Tash went outside to find someone from her road waiting for a taxi - helping to confirm Sheffield, once again, as the biggest village in the world. I understand that the current tenants are to leave very soon, and the new lady behind the team taking over was chatting across from us. I get the feeling very little will change, and with real ale at £2.60 a pint that is welcome news.

Up the hill next we went to the Walkley Cottage. I haven't been in for a few years but found apart from a lack of lighting at the side entrance, that very little has changed. There are still 5 or more real ales on and I suspect they still do food. The lass behind the bar was friendly and gave us a couple of tasters of the beers and we plumped for Landlord for me and something Blonde for Tash. We then sat down in the corner and chatted and soaked up the atmosphere.

It was admittedly quiet, although it was a midweek night so maybe that's not surprising. The pub is built in 1930's roadhouse style and used to be divided into two with an entrance on each side and no way through at the front - alas its now been opened out, well, many years ago, but retains separate areas for drinking.

Last night I found myself at Heeley Green collecting something for Tash, and nipped into the Brothers Arms. Disappointingly, there was nothing hoppy on the bar at all, as the barman admitted, although a Liverpool Organic beer was coming on in 20 minutes time. Instead, I opted for a half of Nethergate Suffolk County bitter and Farmers Decade. According to their website, this is a celebration of their ten year anniversary. I have to say, it drinks very easy at 5.5% but is quite underwhelming as a celebration of ten years brewing!  The Suffolk County was a traditional lower ABV brown bitter which was a nice change - alas, a meeting on London Road and an influx of horrendously loud screaming children prompted my swift exit.

I met Tash in town and we walked slowly to the Beer Engine. No Mr V this time but as usual a good range of beers on the bar. Tash had a pint of Celt Experience Silures, and I a pint of the Raw Grey Ghost at 5.9%. We sat out in the beer garden trying to pretend it wasn't cold, and thoroughly enjoyed our beers.

Eventually, hypothermia was setting in so we headed inside to have another Grey Ghost for me and two halves, one of Marble Lagonda and one of Bad Seed India Lager on keg for Tash. We supped these slowly in what was a fairly busy pub, warmed considerably after the chill outside.

Our final stop of the night was the Albion. Its safe to say that on non football days, this is a quiet pub. We got in at 21.30 or so and were more or less the only customers until our friends joined us later. There were two  Clarks real ales and Brimstone and Deception from Abbeydale, at £3.00 a pint, so we went for a pint each of Deception, and a pile of Bombay mix for a pound. We chatted with the Irish guy behind the bar for a while before Paul came in for his friend's birthday with a few others, but they only stayed for one.

Later we were joined by Clare, Gav, Rico and Gaz for last drinks. We sat at the table slightly lower down on the left and chatted about food and booze and much more. More pints of Deception and Brimstone were supped, a fantastic way to end the night.

Another example of excellent real ale venues in sunny Sheffield!

By the way, I am becoming aware that with reduced funds,  my trips to the pub are not only becoming fewer, but also seem to concentrate on specific areas. West Street from the Bath to Shakespeares seems to be a favourite. Luckily the Heeley Triangle. Of Ale, has seen a slight change, as has the continued excellence of Crookes and as above, Walkley. However, if anyone could nominate an area more or less in Sheffield where I could find 3 or 4 real ale pubs close together I would be more than willing to try them out - either leave a comment on here or put one on Facefriend.


Wee Beefy