Saturday, 26 September 2015

Ship, Shalesmoor, Sheffield, reopens

Hello all,

        apologies for avoiding an all too obvious tabloid pun here, but I won't mention that the ship is in anyway connected to water or not sinking. Well, apart from I just have. I mean thereafter. Last night, a night after the soft launch, I was there for the public reopening of the Ship Inn on Shalesmoor which closed due to financial problems of the previous landlord in January 2015.

As you may know, on Wednesday night I was at the reopening of the Red House on Solly Street. I mentioned that, as well as there only being six customers, the pub hadn't publicised its reopening. Interestingly, I quoted from the previous landlord of the Ship regarding the lack of local trade. Given that this scenario hasn't changed, and I struggled to find much social media coverage of the reopening, perhaps have a guess at how busy the Ship was last night....

It was rammed. Absolutely chock-a-block with persons of all ages and outlooks and drinking preferences. We arrived around 20.00 and when we had been served our drinks were lucky to find a spot to sit, in the area near the side door, with Saxbob Swift. We actually started the night on keg beers - mainly because it was very warm inside the pub, we were very thirsty, and the only enticing real ale was Old Moor Porter. I had a pint of Schiehallion, the Harviestoun lager beer, Tash a pint of BrewDog Punk IPA and Matty a Charles Wells DBA.

It was striking to see how many people I recognised, mainly because some. I'm sure, we had seen in the Ship before. Local drinkers there may be few but if their regulars used to travel across the city to drink there, they appear to still be doing. It was good to catch up with Bob and he seemed to get on well with Matty, and it was also good to spot Chris Bamford and others from Shakespeares enjoying the atmosphere and the beers.

We went cask next - and all had pints of the Acorn Old Moor Porter. The other casks on offer were Acorn Blonde (which changed to that from something else!) Greedy King Old Golden Hen and Kelham Island Easy Rider. I appreciate that the keg beers give the pub a different angle for drinkers, but I have to say the cask choice was better before - always local ales, always sold at a bargain price and always something hoppy. Punk IPA is probably the hoppiest beer there and there was nothing on cask last night that matched it in that respect.

Now, the pub has an impeccable tiled Tomlinsons Brewery frontage, and this, obviously, has been retained. However, inside they have exposed tiling around the windows which looks fantastic. The end room where the pool table used to be now houses a large bottled beer fridge and a single round table and the access to the loos is the same, from that room. I didn't, alas, due to how busy the pub was, get to see what happened to its fabulous original 1970's jukebox. I think it may have been lost.

A couple of windows were broken whilst the pub was shut and they along with another large one from the front have been removed. The plain glass widows allow much more light in and the pub is brighter lit so its stands out more. Inside the decor is more modern, but not in a way that distracts, but its difficult to make that assessment on a night where the pub was so busy.

Out of the three pubs that have reopened in Sheffield in the last week this was far and away the busiest I have seen. It will be interesting to see if this now becomes part of the Don Valley real ale trail, specially as so many CAMRA members never seemed to drink in the Ship, despite it selling 4 local real ales for years.

One last thing to note is the food - I imagine they probably stop serving at 20.00 or 21.00 but Matty was there before then and saw only on person eating. The Ship never previously did food, apart from crisps and nuts (it now does pork crackles from a jar and they are gorgeous by the way!) and nobody seemed interesting in eating. This, in some ways, suggests the pub's past as a down to earth drinking venue maybe at least partially retained. Sheffield needs more real ale boozers where food either isn't served or is equal to the provision of real ales. The Blake in Walkley is a great example of the first.

Am hoping to revisit next week after payday, including the Red House and the Punchbowl on Crookes. Its always interesting to see how a pub fares after its reopening night. To repeat what I previously said, I wish all three licencees the very best in their pub ventures, and look forward to helping them enjoy success.


Wee Beefy

Friday, 25 September 2015

Oktoberfest Social beer tasting

Now then,

                     last night I attended an event at the Archer Road Beer Stop and Hop Hideout specialist off licenses in Sheffield. Dave at Archer Road and Jules at Hop Hideout were co-hosting a tasting event with three German  Oktoberfest Marzens and two American German style Oktoberfest beers.

The event started at Archer Road Beer Stop at 20.00. Jules explained to the guests that she had wanted the Archer Road Beer Stop to be involved as it was Sheffield's longest established specialist real ale off license - that said, Dave himself was not sure if it opened in 1981 or 1982. Either way, it was a co-hosted event between one of Sheffield's new off licenses and its first.

I was joined by Spence, who I met at the Three Valleys and SIBA beer festivals, Skippy, or Mike as he is actually known, Laura who is involved with Sheffield CAMRA and a couple who I think knew Jules. Dave had cleaned up the back room behind the shop (to the extent that it echoed!) and had 6 chairs around a somewhat rickety plasterers table with a beer stein, water biscuits and beer mats on it. Soon we were tasting our first beer.

Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Marzen was the weakest of the German beers at 5.8%. Dave told us some of the history of the brewery, which originally was two rival brewing families. When one brewery was bombed during the second world war the other let them brew on their plant a couple of days a week until in 1974 they became Hacker-Pshcorr. This was a traditional Oktoberfest Marzen style since it was a chestnut brown in colour. It was slightly sweet and malty with a hint of orange in the mix, a caramel and burnt sugar aftertaste and was incredibly easy to drink.

Next up was one from Munich's oldest brewery Spaten. Their Oktoberfestbeir is 5.9% but much paler in colour. It was suggested that they had changed the colour due to the populariyu of pale lager like beers to meet custoer demand. This had much more of a lager style taste, and was once again very easy drinking. Whilst we did so Dave provided details about the Oktoberfest itself. Apparrently, 75% of those attending are Bavarians,with Americans, Australians and the British in 4th. Despite many of our misconceptions about levels of drunken revellery, on average guests only drink 1 litre of ale. Dave also explained about the tapping ceremony performed by the Mayor and showed us a web cam shot of the festival.

Our final German beer was the one which was receiving the most points on rating sites, that being the Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier at 6.0%. This was lighter still and much less malty, very much a lighter tasting strong lager than the original Marzen that we tried. Not everyone appreciated this beer, some feeling it lacked the distinction of the traditional recipe, but Laura really appreciated it - as the youngest person there, it was interesting to see which beers she preferred.

We walked down to Hop Hideout next to find Will waiting for us and to sit down with glasses and more water biscuits, and a beer contained full of water, to have Jules talk us through the two beers there. The first was the Brooklyn Oktoberfest, brewed in the US but with wholly German ingredients. The malts, Bavarian Heirloom, Munich and Pilsner, were apparently malted especially for the brewery in Bamberg in Germany, and the hops used were Hallertauer Perle and Hallertauer Mittelfrueh. The beer was more rounded than I expected, and not overly carbonated. It was 5.5% so the weakest so far but held its own well against the Germans beers.

Our final tipple was the Flying Dog Dogtoberfest. This was brewed to 5.6% and featured artwork inspired by Hunter S Thompson who apparently lived near the brewery when it started up. The malts used were Light Munich, Munich 90 Munich 100 and Vienna. This was Laura's favourite beer of the 5 and was once again a good beer compared to those brewed in Germany, but I thought the spiciness described on the label detracted from its authenticity, and it was somehow, despite using all German ingredients, noticeably American!

After the event finished we all had a further drink, myself a bottle of the Cantillon Gueze, and Jules, whose birthday it was, drank an amazing sour beer which I think was from Brooklyn. Or maybe Buxton! Whilst we drank Jules showed us original 1950's Pathe news footage of the Oktoberfests, which was amusing and fascinating at the same time.

The event was well run and very informative, and it was great to meet up with fellow drinkers to share the drinking and tasting experience. Well don to both Dave and Jules for their hard work and research and for delivering an excellent, joint-run Oktoberfest Social.


Wee Beefy

Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Red House 168 Solly Street Sheffield


             on Tuesday I sat in a quiet Three Tuns awaiting the chance to visit the Red House, which was reopening, on Solly Street. I was surprised that I hadn't heard anything about its reopening apart from a note on the door, and a mention in the Inn Brief section of Sheffield CAMRA's Beer Matters. So I put a note on Facebook asking for an update. In the end, Mr Cullen confirmed the furniture had only just arrived and they would now reopen tomorrow. So last night, once again sat in the Three Tuns supping Blue Bee Attack of the Geek, now far busier, I joined Matty and Tash to visit the Red House.

When I got in the couple running the pub were sat in the room on the left with Mr Cullen. He had been there about 20 minutes we found out later, and this would have been about 20.45, so depending on when they unlocked the doors there was only 1 customer in after an hour or two, or more, of opening.

The pub is leased from Punch Taverns and the couple are trying to get onto the SIBA list instead of Punch finest cask. This would give them acces to a wider range of real ales. The three real ales on were Castle Rock Harvest Pale, York Guzzler and Abbeydale Moonshine. Matty and Tash had a pint of that and I a pint of the Castle Rock. The beer was clear and tasted OK apart from a slight aftertaste - a bit like the line at the Closed Shop where they had the dark beers prior to refurbishment. After this, we moved onto pints of Moonshine for all three of us, which was in decent form.

The keg lines are mainly continental lager including Budvar and I understand there are some decent bottled beers available as well. Food will be served sooner or later, as will coffee, however neither are as yet available.

There is a young Police dog puppy called Parker there - he is being housed by Craig and Marie who are running the pub. Its good to see a dog friendly boozer in what is more or less the city centre, and for soft spots like me Matty and Tash the dog was a hit. 

The decor is quite modern, which is a shame. Every time in the last 10 years I went in the pub it was dark - so I have no idea if when it was closed in 2005 or 2006 the original wood paneling was robbed or ripped out, or had been by previous landlords. I first visited in 1994 and supped Wards bitter and ate some dinner. Then,  It was a very well presented traditional back street boozer. I understand the previous incarnation as a venue is not what the pub intends to be, however, what I am not sure of is what the pub is intending to be.....

More to the point, what is the pub's targeat market? Its notoriously difficult to find Solly Street from up near Brook Hill roundabout, easier if you come off Tenter Street, but its surrounded by flats housing mostly overseas students. The Ship on Shalesmoor is in the same situation, although easier to find or spot, and the landlord there once told me that the pub was busy with regulars from all over the city, as there were no locals to visit the pub. I can't see the Red House attracting overses students, so if musicians and lovers of live music aren't to be tempted back, who will be?

I ask this question only because I am chuffed that the pub hasn't closed down, and that they continue to sell real ale, and that there is still a lovely balcony to sit on at the back along with a pleasant room next to the loos to relax in, but I worry that it will struggle to attract sufficient trade.

You may think this is a bit of a doom and gloom review for what is a recently reopened pub - less than 24 hours - but its reopening was not announced anywhere other than in Beer Matters and on the door, and its postponement was not mentioned anywhere apart from on my Facebook page. On that site, as well, the Red House page is still the one which was maintained by the previous tenants. I think they need to promote the pub more!

After Parker had been consigned to the back, two gents came in a stood chatting at the bar and we left about 23.00 and walked down to Shakespeares. I like the fact that its a quiet place to have a pint of real ale and a chat. I just don't know if there are sufficient numbers of drinkers in Sheffield who know, or want, the same. I do, however, wish Craig and Marie all the very best.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Two weeks of supping in Sheffield


           as my bank account clearly attests, the last two weeks have been quite refreshing. There have of course been events to attend, but mostly me and Tash have split our time around different pubs and sampled numerous excellent beers in doing so. Here are some details of that, along with news of some reopenings.

We start, as always, in Shakespeares. I recently had several pints f the excellent Buxton Axe Edge at 6.9%, sold on cask at £3.90 a pint. This is  whopping IPA with bags of hop flavour but is well balanced and easy, too easy, to drink. Last night I was in with Tash supping the Steel City collaboration strong ale - Hoppy Barley Wine. Its 9.4% and actually very well balanced - tons of hops but lots of malt in the background help to keep the beer and the tastes together nicely. The collaboration is between Steel City, Raw and Waen breweries, and costs, reasonably for it's strength, £4.80 a pint. Myself and Tash had a pint last night, whilst warding off the attentions of a drunken racist who was determined to share his absurd and frankly pointless prejudiced opinions with us.

We also had a pint of Mallinsons Baton Rouge red ale, and some delicious Buxton Far Skyline Berliner Weiss. I was in the night before as well with Matty, and sampled the keg saison Zinnebier and the Baton Rouge again, as well as the Citra on keg and the Alechemy Koala T. a bizarre but refreshing orange and lemon pale ale. Once again, Shakespeares serves up a wide range of different beer styles.

A couple of trips to the Bath Hotel recently saw us on keg once again, the last weekend we played cards against humanity there with Matty and "Rando" (who won, by being funnier than us by our pulling cards at random from the answers pile) and we supped pints of the Wiper and True Ella, which I may have previously told you is a fantastic beer. On our next visit we tried the Belgian version of Halcyon, also on keg, and possibly stronger - I can't say I like it as much as normal Halcyon, but it was worth trying, along with a half of Melba IPA on cask.

Last night I was in the Walkley Beer Co and was shocked to find all 3 casks and 1 keg still available! I had a delicious pint of Arbor NZ Bomb with Dan and Rob who I'd seen at the Punchbowl reopening, along with an exceptional half of Kernel Mosaic on keg - bursting with flavour and perfectly showcasing the flavours of Mosaic hops.

Two recent visits to the Andrew Inns Three Tuns have seen impeccable ale choices - the first time I had a pint of the 3.9% Comet pale ale from Blue Bee which was a dead heat choice with Mallinsons Citra - I chose the Comet as its a less regularly encountered hop. It was punchy and bitter and very refreshing. Last night I had a fantastic pint, as did Tash of the excellent Return of the Geek Mosaic Pale at 6.0%, also from Blue Bee. This was bursting with flavours, but was a very different beer from the Kernel earlier, not last because it was on cask.

Prior to this me and Tash popped in the Church House. Now no longer maligned by the absurd marketing segmentation of Scottish and Newcastle (as was) the pub has carved itself a niche as a rock pub, with bands and DJ's and, alas karaoke. I was disappointed to find so many pump clips turned round, especially on a Saturday night, but in fact the Robisons Trooper was on good form. I had a pint and a half and Tash two double whisky and coke whilst we listened to some long unheard tunes.

We recently visited the Gardeners Rest after a walk and had pints of the Sheffield Brewing Company Stonecutter IPA, as well as a red ale from Pin up Brewing. We sat in the beer garden initially, listening to the pagoda amplify our voices as we raised our heads - a logical but surprising event!

News now of upcoming events. Firstly, signs are that work is well underway at the Ship on Shalesmoor. No idea of a reopening date yet but the company behind it is Artisan beers - their website suggests it will retain its name as the Ship but operate as the Artisan Tap. Information is hard to come by apart from it appears to have been bought by them from Greedy King - since I doubt anyone would be able to arrange the deal the previous landlord did with them, this is potentially a positive development. If anyone has been to one of their ther three pubs in the UK, please let me know.

Also, on the 22nd September the Red House on Solly street is set to reopen - it promises to sell local real ales and craft beers (whatever that means!). I first went in the Red House in 1993 and drank Wards Bitter on cask and had something to eat at lunch. It was a friendly, paneled local pub then, but gradually changed into more of a venue, with, if memory serves, pretty terrible beer! It will be good to see some decent beer on, but am not sure what will happen to the facilities for bands to play.

More info on the above two openings and other news, as soon as I get it.


Wee Beefy

Friday, 18 September 2015

The Punchbowl, Crookes, reopens!


         I was in the Punchbowl last night, on Crookes here in sunny Sheffield. It reopens to the public on Saturday but in the meantime people were invited to try out the free food last night, and some to the VIP event tonight. This is the work of Andy Stephens and his Reet Ale Pubs company here in Sheffield. They took on the Punchbowl on Bank Holiday Monday and have refurbished it in under three weeks. So what is it like?

Well, the first thing is, its size. The three pubs already run by Andrew Inns, which is what I call them, are quite small in comparison - the Rutland is largest in terms of building size, but the seating areas are virtually the same  - the Punchbowl is much larger. There are three different seating areas, one near the pizza oven, one on the left, and one split area near the back.

The pub is set out in a mix of traditional and modern styles - as a lover of pub architecture, I don't mind what has been done - the bar remains in the same place and following extensive brutal and clumsy remodeling previously, nothing remains of the 1930's roadhouse design other than the frontage. The bar has a simple tile floor in front of it and to the right is the pizza oven and preparation section - near this is further seating and, I understand, the opportunity to watch the pizzas being made. The raised section at the back is plain but comfortable and there are views from here over Sheffield. The rest of the furniture is a mix of high and low tables and chairs.

The food menu is mostly pizzas - and as last night was a free tasting night me and Tash had one each. She had Yorkshire Goats Cheese with beetroot and mushrooms and olives, and I had the pulled pork in cider pizza. It was, I have to say, delicious - I would happily pay £9.95 to eat that any day of the week. As long as that day was at the beginning of the month of course...

Beer wise there are 8 handpumps and 5 keg lines. There are also a number of interesting bottled ales from Kernel and Mikkeller and others. Last night I started on a pint of Shankar IPA from Great Heck, whilst Tash had the excellent Blue Bee Ginger Beer - after this, we both moved on to having pints of that. This was followed by a pint each of the Magic Rock Grapefruit High Wire on keg. Its 5.5% and £4.50 a pint - so basically a pound more than on cask. Which is what I would expect. We finished on a half of the excellent, hoppy, Shankar to share between us.

It will be interesting to see what the regulars make of the pub. It had a very long and sorry period as a Mr Q's. during which time I never went in, and then reopened following a refurbishment as a slightly more traditional pub with a couple of real ales. Tash thought it was a brave move - opening a pub relying so strongly on its pizza, across the road from a pizza shop, but that doesn't sell real ale and is fr take out. I don't think they will compete with each other (and I suspect the Punchbowl pizzas are better...?).

The pub also forms part of a slightly longer Crookes Valley Crawl - encompassing the Closed Shop, and depending on the route you take, potentially finishing at the Three Tuns.

Tonight is a VIP night by invite only and the pub reopens to the public fully on Saturday. I don't know if they have a website or FB page yet but am sure one will appear soon. Meanwhile, I wish Andy and his staff all the best for their latest pub venture in Sheffield.


Wee Beefy 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

The Wee Men in Cheshire and beyond


     last Saturday me and Wee's Fatha. Keefy and Myself (note - my new moniker is not Wee Myself...!) set off in the car to visit Cheshire. Here are some details of the pubs we visited.

We left early - WF had anticipated a massive queue out of Glossop to join the motorway. It did not materialise. At 10.58 we were 10 minutes form our first pub - which opened at 12.00. Luckily, some motorway traffic jams and a good 10 minute walk to the pub meant we ended up there at just 12.00. It probably opens at 11.30 anyway....

The Railway at Broadheath is on CAMRA and English Heritage's National Inventory of historic pub Interiors. Its easy to see why. Five separate rooms, lovely tiled floors, three access points to the bar, low bench seating around the walls of the bar room, all features which contribute to the pubs listing. It was here by the way that I first met Martin, AKA Dimpled Mug. We were both there to photograph the interior - we did. He isn't working on his blog so much these days, mainly as he has opened his own Micropub, the Grocers at Cadishead. More on that later.

We had a pint of Holts Bitter for me and halves of the Mild for Wee Keefy and Fatha. WK swapped with me later as he didn't like the Mild - I thought it tasted fine. I took some photos and we chatted, before heading off into Cheshire, since, as far as I know, Broadheath is in Greater Manhestershire.....

The first stop in Cheshire was marked;y different. The Axe and Cleaver near Dunham Massey is a large , old nut ostensibly food orientated pub full of wedding guests. The pub and its outlook were dispiriting, but they do sell Dunham Massey beer - this time Summer Meadow Pale ale, so we all had halves and went to sit outside away from the hooray Henry guests inside.

Next we parked in Lymm for our lunch and then tried to get to the Ferry Tavern at Penketh. Having failed last time, this time we found the car park which is still a decent walk from the pub for WF, was full and we'd have to park further away. Apparently there was a concert on behind the pub. We decided not to. Instead we went to the Fiddle ith Bag Inn at Winwick.

This is a traditional old pub full of wartime RAF memorabilia and a mixture of artifacts and oddities that attract the attention. On the bar were 3 beers, WF had some of a half of the Harts Lancashire Bitter and me and WK halves of the Merlin Wizard Ale. This was on good form, and the pub is always worth a visit.

Next we mad the journey to Cadishead. I had never been but WF#s Manchester and Cheshire upbringing meant he knew exactly where it was. There was a bit of a problem parking but it turns out there is a public car park for the community nearby and we could have parked in there. As it was we were ip a street under the railway bridge.

The Grocers Micro Pub is the brainchild and now livelihood of Dimpled Mug. Its at 152A Liverpool Road between 2 pubs and sells real ales and ciders. There is no bar, which was the first surprise for me as I walked in. There is also, in the single room, only seating and tables. Like Martin said, there's barely enough space as it is, so the beer is kept on stillage in a back room. Its a very traditional version of a micropub, is the grocers.

We had quite a bit to drink in here. I had 2 or 3 pints of the excellent 7 Brothers IPA at 5.0% which I think is £2.80 a pint (I think all beers are the same price) and Koof had a pint and maybe a second of the Wilson Potter Rum in the Black Porter. WF was on Fentimans curiosity cola nad a few mouthfuls of the Prospect beer.

Its great to sit at a table drinking well priced and well kept cask ale surrounded only by the sound of conversation. There are 3 boards advertising the wares and numerous old posters on the rest of the surfaces and traditional style Grocers micropub windows keeping the outside world just that. Its an oasis in what I believe is a staunchly no cask area. Congratulations to Martin for a fine boozer.

Our penultimate stop was at the Lymm Brewery Tap. I had a Dunham Massey Cheshire IPA and WK two halves of their amazing Porter, whilst WF had some of the Lymm Bitter.  The pub was rammed but comfortable and the beer range was in excellent condition. A perfect next to last stop.

Our final drinks came with our tea at the Treacle Tap in Macclesfield. I have no idea what I drank in here but I remember it was a local beer so perhaps Red Willow? Either way, it, and the pies we ate, was a prfect way to round off a day in Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

Pubs of the day for me were the Railway at Broadheath and the Grocers, but to be honest they all had something to offer. Beer of the day was the 7 Brothers IPA - which went down far too easily, and also the Dunham Massey Porter, which didn't, but was still lovely.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Shakespeares's is Sheffield Septermber pub of the month


     its a bit late I know but have been "otherwise engaged" since the Tuesday night when the event happened, so apologies for anyone reading this as old news.

This year I was quite grumpy at the suggestion that Shakespeares's was only Sheffield's 5th best pub. Partly because of some of the candidates above it, mostly because no-one could give a clear reason apart from the toilets and a lack of settees and Chesterfields to lounge in. Some people agreed, many were shocked, but since then, I assume many changes have taken place to assuage the doubters. I mean, they have, right?

I think any regular readers will know that I love Shakespeares. its my favourite Sheffield boozer. Fabulous cask and keg and bottled beers, from traditional milds and bitters right through to pale ales, strong IPA's porters, stouts siasons, sours,wheat beers - everything to tempt the palate. It has a fantastic beer garden, some comfirtable and yes, some less comfortable seats, value sandwiches and snacks, and a fantastic team of staff.

One of the things Mr Bamford said in response to asking what had gone wrong with Shakespeares since 2013 was that the issue with the slightly pongy toilets was not a quick fix. They have however seemed to have taken steps to reduce the aroma since then, and although basic, the toilets are no worse than others in Sheffield pubs, including those in the top 4. And, unless I missed something, that is all that has changed (oh, and sadly, Kaisha K has left, and been replaced). So perhaps this award recognises that the pub was simply brilliant all along?

Anyway, whatever the reason behind it, the award is richly deserved. And, very well celebrated.

We started in the beer garden supping pints of Red Willow Directionless, a tasty well hopped but balanced bitter, and Siren Dinner for eight, a very tasty and well rounded Vienna lager pale ale from Siren Craft Brewery - to note - I think the Dinner for seven was similar......? Both beers were well kept and served from the cask.

As Chris B said with a wry smile, being a CAMRA pub of the month award, he had put on extra keg beers fr the masses to enjoy. And chuff me - we did! The first up was the exceptional Kernel Citra Mosaic pale at 5.5% - a fantastic mosaic flavour predominates but with the Citra sitting nicely in the background. This was an exceptional drink. Next up, and what we in fact drank for the rest of the night was a Steel City Mango IPA. Wow.

It looked like Mango juice. It tasted of IPA, hoppy, very hoppy in fact and dry, but with Mango juice added. It was a soft drink at 7%. It was heaven in a glass. And another glass. And another glass. We met up with Mrs Giant in the clock room and joined him for at east 2 maybe 3 more pints, including as I forgot earlier, another of Directionless for Tash - which considering she was off and I was at work the next day was strange....

The award was presented and food was served as is always the way at such events, and people continued to drink and celebrate and wish Shakespeares well for their achievement. No comfy chairs. Same types of beer. More or less the same staff. Same loos. Always the best pub in Sheffield for me.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Four days several pubs - AKA the bank holiday


           have been quite refreshed recently so have posted slightly less than usual. Well, slightly less than in 2012 and 2013.... Anyhoo, here are some details of a "never tried the same pub twice" four days pub crawl which I did over the bank holiday weekend, I'm told.

Friday started in the Harlequin with folks from work. I was on a couple of pints of the Exit 33 Mosaic pale ale, which is ace, not least because it has mosaic hops in it. I also tried it on keg (note, this is £3.70 a pint on keg. I.e. its a pound dearer, and that is all...). To be honest, whilst it should be better on keg, it was in fact better on cask. #science

Over to Shakespeares next to see Saara and Adele and others and to be joined by Tash and Matty. I definitely had a Blackjack beer, possibly 50 Dollar Chip, and maybe some of the Track and Squawk mango and marmalade gose. Which I made up. We finished the night in the Dove and Rainbow where, despite my age, and in celebration of Rachael's birthday, I moshed for about 3 hours. My neck and shoulders hurt for the next 3 days. Despite that, I enjoyed the do, and the company, and the Hambleton nightmare beer.

Saturday me and Tash headed for the Bath Hotel. If memory serves me right (rarely!) there were only 4 cask beers on and although the Blackjack tasted OK, the keg beers were once again the star offerings. Cloudwater had their English lager on, made with lager malts and seasonal English hops to give a refreshing, crisp and none too bitter pale lager ale. Th real star of the show however was the amazing Wiper and True Ella. A red copper colour almost, the fabulous flavours of the Ella hops and potentially red malt were stunning. Despite these being expensive beers, we both had two pints each along with some Karkli to eat. Its a shame in some ways to not find much worth drinking on cask but am sure this is a temporary blip. Either way, the Ella was amazing.

We finished the bight in BrewDog. I started on a half of Hardcore IPA, which seems a little less rounded and hoppy than the amazing version I had on cask at the Coach and Horses years ago, and Tash had 2/3rds of a Mad Hatter beer, the name of which escapes me fore a change. We finished on another of the same for Tash (!) and a mango Gose and Pineapple Berliner Weiss for me. Am not usually a fan of fruit beers but both were amazing - refreshing and sour and not too fruity. An excellent end to the night.

Sunday saw us in town shopping, before we headed for the Devonshire Cat for a change. We had pints of Abbeydale Alchemy (it had an |A in it...) which was a lower strength ale that tasted of grapefruit, an excellent and refreshing beer. I also tried a Monty's stout on keg which was perfect, along with some breadcrumb coated fried brie wedges.

We walked down next to the Beer Engine. We were just in time to catch Tom but he was soon away and we sat outside in the sun and the rain supping a range of Bad Seed Brewery cask and keg beers. I particularly liked trying their Cascade pale on both types of dispense -  I think there was little difference in quality, but they tasted very different. The Espresso stout was also lovely, as was their saison. As usual, a stellar range of beers was available.

We finished the night in the Albion across the road, having a  half of Camden Ink on keg and a pint of Sheffield brew Co Five Rivers on cask. An interesting mix of beers in three very different pubs on Sunday.

Bank Holiday Monday arrived, as did the rain. Luckily, when it rains, it keeps the large majority of pricks out of Bakewell. So we were able to go and have 4 hours of prickless entertainment in a refreshingly quiet Bakewell. We started in the Red Lion, and I had a pint of Chatsworth Gold and Tash, gawd luvver, a cup of tea. It came to a fiver, which is still expensive, but not for Bakerwell based on certain nearby establishments.

We went for a walk down the river and poppped in a couple of shops before retiring to the Manners for several pints of the Robinsons Hop beer - which the staff claimed wasn't as hoppy as the Blonde. Alas, I really don't get on with Robbies blonde so stuck to the Hop ale for three pints, whilst Tash had one and another of the Wizard Amber. Cracking beer and pork scratchings made this an enjoyable visit.

We finished our visit in the Castle. A depressing range of Greedy King beers awaited us (although I think they had a guest comping on) and we had halves of the Greedy King extra IPA at 5.6% or similar. The pub is probably quite old but loses a lot of its character to its food service and lack of original features. The beer was actually OK though....

We finished the quartet of quaffing in the Sheffield Tap where we had beer. I'm not even going to try and remember what I had, it was beer and it was very tasty thank you. Alas we had to leave about 22.30 for me to get the bus home and Tash to get back to hers but this had once again been a good day of travel and drinking.

So, overall, we visited 12 pubs in 4 days and had numerous delicious and completely varied types of ale in wonderful surroundings. Another, potentially not required, reminder of the merits of boozing in the Steel City and nearby.

With Cheers

Wee Beefy