on Friday it was Tash's birthday. We both booked the day off work and had many plans to celebrate. We met up with a handful of friends in a number of pubs to sample glorious ales. I can remember what Tash's age is, but it would be rude to let that be known. I can also, however, remember most of what we drank with whom, and where.....
After work on Thursday, having left quite late, we headed across the river to the Harlequin. Matty was already there with Chris and we found the pub packed. Half an hour before we had arrived a retirement do turned up - a scrum was fought through to get to the bar and we were lucky to find somewhere to sit. Matty was on the 7% or more Speyside stout from Exit 33 and recommended the Club 33 from the same brewery. In the end, I bought him another pint of that and me and Tash a pint of the Five Towns beer. The four of us then sat down to watch the crowd enlarge and the noise level raise higher. Great for the pubs coffers am sure, but we didn't fancy staying.
We walked round to Tesco to get supplies and headed for Shakespeares where we met Tony. I bought a pint of Tempest Amber ale for me and halves of the excellent Cloudwater IPA at 8% for Tash and Matty and we sat in the clock room for a catch up. Another round of Cloudwater followed for all of us. halves of course, and we started discussing plans for Tash's birthday, and my Mum' at the end of the month.
We finished the night in the Three Tuns drinking the excellent, hoppy, Blue Bee Rakau pale ale. It has an initially citrus slightly fruity bitterness and then finishes with an incredible dry bitter aftertaste. Matty had gone home by now and after another piont each and a chat with Unpro and his German brewer friends Mark and Sebastien we headed home.
Friday saw us up and out later than planned but it was nice to get a lie in! We quickly went to a couple of shops and got to the Sheffield Tap about 17.30. Oakham Inferno was the beer for me Matty and Tash at an eye watering £10.80 for 3 pints (its 4.0%!) and we got some stools round a table and sat down to await Rachael and Wee Keefy.
After they arrived, further pints of the Inferno followed before WK decided to buy three strong bottled beers to try. Having dissuaded him away from buying a strong USA sharing bottle at £23.00 we opted for a Trappist Rochefort Double at 7.1% for him, a can of Magic Rock Cannonball at 7.4% for Tash and a fantastic bottle of Loch Ness Prince of Tranquility Barrel aged imperial stout at 10.1% for me. WK liked his Trappist I think, everyone liked the astounding clean hoppiness of the Cannonball and all of us were blown away by the alcohol and smooth balance of flavours in the Loch Ness. An excellent beer from Drumnadrochit.
From here we headed up to the Dove and Rainbow, me via a snack after my hefty beer, and I had a pint of the Blue Bee Tempest (or maybe Hambleton Nightmare, or maybe neither!) and Tash as she was a mature regular, was given a bottle of Chaumet perry to drink for her birthday. Needles to zay, Matty dispensed with this. From here most people went home and me and Tash went down to the Shakespeares to finish.
Shakespeares had alas run out of the Cloudwater but I bought Tash a pint of the excellent Kernel Centennial pale ale on keg and me a pint of another Tempest red ale I think, on cask. We met up with Tony once again and he very kindly gave Tash a bottle of the 8% Cloudwater Winter IPA for her birthday - which is now in my fridge awaiting tasting by Tash. A further pint each of the Kernel followed plus we got chatting to the lovely Katie, and also spotted Dave, who admired my Tweed jacket - big hugs to Tash for this gift! A late taxi home, followed by pizza at 03.00 rounded off the night nicely.
Yesterday was a much more relaxing day - we opened the Pinot Noir and supped a couple of small glasses each around 19.00 before leaving the house in the snow about 22.00. We got to the Bath Hotel at 22.40 and found excellent Hopjacker Kansas City Shuffle and Anarchy Brew Co Quiet Riot on cask, both at 5.5%. We started on a pint each of those two followed by a pint for me and a half for Tash of the Hopjacker. When Matty arrived we had a pint each again, and a final pint and a half before catching a taxi about 01.00. Great as always to see Stef and despite some of the loudest people on earth drinking in their it was still a great two hours supping.
Looking forward to enjoying more excellent ales in the coming weeks, and to celebrating two more friends birthdays in January.