this time last week I still hadn't sobered up from two nights of lovely ales and socialising - two nights which were part of Sheffield Beer Week 2016. I realise am a bit late posting this but have been otherwise engaged ever since. Here are some fragmented memories of both events.
Thursday 17th March is a well known date in Ireland. Its also a night when people in the UK drink Guinness in tents and realise they cannot handle their alcohol, whilst wearing outsize hats. Dear God. What a travesty. The Twat in the Hat night is one of my least favourite of the year but luckily this was when the Bath Hotel had their beer tasting of Thornbridge Hall bottles.
The night started well - I saw Jules in the back and told her I wasn't "here for the First pour, I don't want to try yet another disappointing Thornbridge beer". I was then telling her this was ironic, since I was here to sample their bottled fare, when she told me the other people on the table were the Thornbridge brewing team and owners. I told her I would not be changing my opinion.
Meeting with Matty and Mr Grant we sat down in a corner with a guy from Finland called Arnaut. Or similar. We were joined by Jules, and sampled a range of excellent aged bottled beers. We started with the Double Scotch Ale, at 8.5% and whisky barrel aged, which I didn't remember. This was an excellent Scottish style beer, and we followed this with the small bottled Russian Imperial Stout. This I do remember, and it was still in excellent condition. We also tried the Sour Brown, a soured American Brown Ale at 7% which in 2013 was a little before I started to appreciate sour beers - I now can, and enjoyed it.
We continued next with a collaboration with St Eriks Brewery, a 10% Imperial Raspberry Stout which wasn't really to my liking, before finishing on the Bracia, bottled at 10% but now potentially a lot stronger. A wonderfully rounded, heavy, but tasty beer to finish on.
Friday was hazy but luckily I was off. I meet Tash and Mumrah in town for coffee and then headed to Shakespeares for a warm up to their Buxton Tap Takeover later. I had a half of the Buxton Bomba Generation bretted stout at 10% on keg, and a pint of Axe Edge on cask. In fact, I probably only had a third of the bomba, an intensely bretted, but wonderfully rich imperial stout.
After a quick pop to the newly opened West Street Ale House, and for some food, I bumped into Nate from Lost Industry Brewery and joined him and his friends back at Shakespeares at 17.15. The event started at 17.00. I queued to get in.
I started on another pint of Axe Edge and a half of Yellow Belly Imperial Stout on cask, based on claims it was about to run out - Chris tells me it sold in 52 minutes. This is a mighty 11% peanut butter biscuit stout (which is claimed to feature none of the above) and is the only time it has ever been sold on cask. I had a half to be on the safe side. Suffice to say, the beer was amazing!
I got sat down with Laura and Richard and Kirsty and talked and supped beer before spotting Buxton Brewer Chris who told us the other brewers would be coming to sit with us shortly. Colin and a man possibly called Rory came and sat with us, I talked to the man PCR for a while, as did my fellow drinkers. What a friendly, knowledgeable bunch they were.
Other beers tried on this night of exemplary Buxton brews were the matured Far Skyline Berliner Weiss which now tasted of white wine, the Wild boar and High Tor India Red on cask and the Belgian IPA on keg. By this time I had also bumped into Stef, Jules, Tony, Matt C and Nate again, and continued trying beers including another pint of High Tor on cask and a pint and a half of the Cloudberry Ice Cream IPA on keg, which was a far tastier and more beery beer than it sounds.
Alas I soon had to go catch the last First bus so left just as Katie and Lee turned up, but this was a fantastic penultimate event at Sheffield Beer Week for me.
I can't wait to start the ball rolling again next year.