Saturday, 30 April 2016

The oldest and newest - a pub crawl in Sheffield


       last night I went on a slightly different pub crawl with Tash. I have been resolutely dedicated to drinking in Shakespeares - as is always the case, and the Three Tuns recently. I thought, therefore,  that it might be enjoyable to venture to some less often visited boozers after work.

I started by myself in the Fat Cat. It was busy, and I had to wait to get a seat, but was soon sitting down with a Wateralls pork pie and a pint of Bobs Brewing Yakima Chief. I quite like Bobs stuff and this was a perfect beer to start on at 5.0%. I went back for another half as well, whilst waiting for Tash, and bought some very very crispy hard pork scratchings. The scene was set.

Meeting Tash we decided to go somewhere near work and so popped in to the Harlequin. Here we both had pints of the Exit 33 Stateside Pale, also at or about 5%. This beer has a beautiful bitter aftertaste which creeps up on you, but has a very clean finish and of course bags of hops. By the time we left about 20.00 there was a band setting up in the back and the pub was very busy.

We walked through Hancock and Lant and stopped to see if there was anything happening with the proposal by Red Sky Inns to convert the toilets on Blonk Street into a bar. It seems implausible to look at the structure, it seems far too small, but there does appear to be room downstairs at river level and am guessing it goes back further under the road. Will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens on this plot.

Our next stop was the Old Queens Head, probably the oldest pub in Sheffield (I can't remember the name of the one near Graves Park which sells no real ale). The pub was also busy and still appears to be run by Czechs, with Czech food available on Monday nights, written in English and Czech. Tash's Dad was Czech and she can read a little but its a difficult language to master. I had a pint of Thwaites Nutty Black, a drop in ABV to 3.3%, and Tash a pint of Prospect Whatever, around 3.8% which was a slightly hoppy amber ale. I don't go in this pub very often so it was nice to see it popular, and still  selling four real ales including a guest.

Our next stop was Sheffield's newest pub. The Centennial Brewpub is now open on Shoreham Street and features cask, keg and bottled beers. The brewery is enormous, and pleasingly gleamy bright, and there is seating down the side and a long bar with fresh snacks on the end. We both had a half of the Northern Monk True Pale on cask and a half of the EU IPA on keg at about £1million. It was good to see Louis who recently left Shakespeares, and the staff were friendly and knowledgeable.

Sitting towards the back we found the Northern Monk a little flat but Tash loved the EU IPA. Granted, we both agreed its overpriced at £6.00 a pint - that's virtually a pound a percent, but it was well rounded and tasty. Alas the snacks are also expensive - a scotch egg is £3.25, so we decided to miss out on food and have another half of the IPA and a half of their delicious Kolsch lager. The bar is now growing into its carpet warehouse home and is a nice place to visit for a few halves.

We finished the night in the Sheffield Tap. There was a Wild beers sour on keg called Sleeping Lemons which was delicious, so Tash had a pint of that, and we met Matty n here who had a quick half. I tried a half of the Thornbridge Ravenhaf, (am sure it wasn't called just Raven) described as a Black IPA. It had  an overpowering taste of perfume. To be fair the staff swapped it for another of the Sleeping Lemons but claimed they could not taste perfume - even though it smelled and tasted perfumed. I have no idea what could be in the beer to make it taste like this.  The Sleeping Lemons was lovely however.

So ended an alternative Friday night session, with a selection of different pubs providing mainly excellent ales in cask and keg, and in different styles.  It was good to see so many pubs so busy, and will be interesting to see how the Senteniel bar develops over time.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Recent sessions

Good day,

      I wanted to cobble together some half remembers facts about recent sessions and other visitations  to local pubs. As always, facts are at best interpretative and often guessed at, some details will be plain erroneous, but the opinions expressed are genuine. After all, I don't have to remember opinions...

I have recently spent quite some time in the Three Tuns - indeed, this is where, whilst drinking with Tash, Matty and Richard at the beginning of the month, I discovered I had run out of funds...ha ha! The joy. We had been drinking the excellent Blue Bee Mango Number 5, a naturally hazy Mango IPA at 5%, which was on sparkling form. Other sessions here included one drinking West Pier by Brighton Bier Co, which was once again brilliantly hoppy, Blue Bee Oceanic Red, and their American Five Hop beer, numbered between 11 and 15684.

My last visit was en route to Shakespeares, and having seen Nate and Siobhan and the lovely Dave behind the bar, I was relaxing in the right hand part with Matty waiting for Tash to arrive, when who should turn up but the Ale Ambler. It was good to see the AA, and to briefly meet Tara and another lady from Mallinsons brewery, along with a young man with an A in his name from Huddersfield. Thanks for the pints AA!

Last night I had a proper session in the Bath Hotel. The wonderful Hopjacker Spanish Prisoners, a 5.9% Amber ale with Spanish marmalade in it, was on sale, and it seemed silly not to have five or six pints. So I did. The walk up West Street had featured numerous groups of entirely hammered men shouting abuse at one another and other random people so the Bath was a haven of almost tranquility. The excellent Hops and Dreams from Brew Foundation was also on on keg, although I did not try it.

In the past month I have been in the Hillsborough Hotel a few times. Once was with Matty after work when he was off and we had a good couple of pints of excellent but difficult to remember the name of beer, probably pale and hoppy, and very likely brewed locally. My next visit saw me pop in on a lovely sunny evening after work. There were only a few of us in and I supped another similarly obfuscately named beer which I enjoyed. Its a lovely place to relax in an evening and the beers are competitively priced as well. My last visit was last weekend with Tash en route to town where we sat outside, and then in as the sun went down, supping a beer which was made with beer. There is no point my even attempting to recall what it was alas.

A couple of weeks ago I met up with Fluffy and John in the Tap and Tankard after Fluff had run the Sheffield half marathon. The Brew Foundation hops and dreams was on as a guest and in excellent form, so  I had two pints in a short period of time. Afterwards we went to the Tuns for pints of Blue Bee before the Shakespeares and the Kelham Island Tavern.

This is somewhere I have been a few times recently as well. I remember going in with Matty and he had a pint of the 6.5% North Riding Anniversary beer and I a half of the Mikkeler Nuclear Hop at 8.0% on keg. Both beers were in impeccable condition, as were those that me and Tash tried recently, including pints of another North Riding beer and a Kernel beer on keg.

After which we went somewhere I have been in a tremendous lot this month - Shakespeares's. They have recently featured three or more Kernel beers, Simcoe, Cascade and a stupendous one with four hops in it, Ella, Simcoe, Centennial and Citra if memory serves. Other favourites have included the Cloudwater Black IPA on cask at 6.5% or similar, which was incredibly mellow but still a hoppy IPA at its heart, and the amazing Buxton Trolltunga Gooseberry sour pale ale on keg. Not sour enough if you love sour or hoppy enough if you are a hophead, instead a mesmerising blend of sour and bitter refreshment which went down superbly.

I went in with Dave H from work recently and we started sensibly on pints of Blackjack Devils's something, a 5ish percent pale, then slowly moved onto slightly less sensible options, including the last bottle of Schlenkerla dubbel rauchbier, a Cloudwater DIPA3, a Trappist Rochefort 10 as well as one of the Kernel pales on keg. A very enjoyable night was had by all, including Emily, who joined us half way through at a quite thirsty stage.

I will be paid on Friday so the week after next should be refreshing, in the meantime am having to cut back as have no more furniture to sell to fund supping. Drinking eh - what does it mean?. Like memories, we'll never know.



Wee Beefy

Saturday, 23 April 2016

A new Sheffield pub, and old favourites


          I am. as usual, about a month late with this announcement, but I would like to tell you about a new venue that has opened on West Street. Despite their Facebook page map showing Chesterfield or elsewhere in Derbyshire, the West Street Ale House is based on West Street. In Sheffield. Right at the bottom near the corner of Holly Street, round the corner from the horror of Maggie Mays.

It inhabits the remnants of the Icons nightclub, which I am willing to admit I visited - I only noticed on my way out that they had a handpump at the end of the bar. Now there are four or five handpumps (these are just numbers) and six or seven or so keg lines, four of which, or less, or more, are guest lines. Rigorous research there.

They have some of their cask lines tied to Coors so are restricted to what guests they can sell on those, but I think this may be looked into. They also sell a wonderful range of bottles including many from Hitachino Nest the Japanese brewery. The last few times I have visited I have had a bottle of their Red Rice Ale, a glorious red rye amber ale with bags of flavour.

Other regular features are guests from Adnams, so I had Ghost Ship which is a very pleasant hoppy ale, and the superb Torpedo strong pale from Sierra Nevada on keg. This is my go to pint, at somewhere around 7%. Guest cask and kegs change regularly, with the excellent Brew Foundation Hops and Dreams being a very refreshing, and well balanced ale. The bar is owned by the American guy called Adrian, or indeed,one of thousands of other potential male human names. who is involved with the  Cremorne and the former Hermitage on London Road.

The other pubs I wanted to mention are two I visited last week, so ths is much more up to date. The Cow and Calf on Skew Hill Lane in Grenoside is a traditional Sam Smiths pub selling their single real ale, a range of kegs and their bottles - as we said last time, alas not the excellent Yorkshire Stingo which I had at Christmas. On this visit to Mumrah's nearby I only visited once, but enjoyed a pint and a half sat on a tiny chair with a table next to the fireplace in the bar. Its interesting to see the sort of people who come in to drink in an afternoon, and enjoyable to sup a beer at £1.80 a pint. Long may their success continue.

Finally, I must mention the Railway at Wadsley bridge. A fine, largely unspoilt but extended boozer on Halifax road where it stops being Penistone Road. We were in there late afternoon and the pub was quiet, with sun streaming in through the windows and comfy seating in the room to the right as you enter, with a lovely old fireplace. There was a group of older gents in when we arrived but when we went to sit down they had left, as it took us a while to get our beers. The Bradfield Blonde ran out whilst the guy was pouring our second pint. He went down to the cellar but announced what we had was all ere was, so I had a pint of that and a free third, and Tash had a pint of the Brown Cow.

We sat in the same spot for over an hour, identifying the sightly eclectic mix of tracks playing in the background, warmed by the sunshine, and happy, relaxed and calm, watching people come and go. We had enough funds for a further pint, and shared this and thoroughly enjoyed our visit.  Am guessing the pub is still run by Jean, and am sure I know Ian the barman from somewhere, but I haven't seen Jean on my last two visits. Whether it is or it isn't, well doe to the owners for saving and revitalising this pub.

So, there you have it - for every new pub that opens in Sheffield there are still two old unspoilt boozers to also visit. Maybe, Sheffield really is the real ale (and excellent pub) capital of the UK.

Your very good health

Wee Beefy  

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Where has all the money gone?


          the above title is an oft used question. Industries and places and organisations and individuals have been, for years, uttering the above. It really is a puzzle - where has the money gone? In this case, despite hinting at some resonance of journalistic endeavour, the person posing this questions is myself, specifically about my funds. Intuitive, indeed regular readers, may therefore be able to quickly surmise where, in fact, my money has gone. Its gone to the bloody pub, that's where. I am keeping the beer and pub industry alive it seems. What a good bibulanthropist I am...

Since this is  a blog about beer, oft remembered, oft forgotten and guessed at, sometimes made up, I thought I would provide a few details of how I reached this stage of having no money so early in the month. Yes there were bills, birthdays and saving up for holidays. And there was also.....

Shakespeares. Gawd luvvum, always providing the drinker with an excellent range of real ales, kegs and bottles. Some of their recent offerings have included the Devil Made me Brew It, a rather excellent stout brewed by the lads at Arbor. There have been a few single hopped pale ales as well, including, possibly, Mosaic, and the excellent Fyne Ales Superior IPA at 6.9% or similar. We had a number of pints of this, and it were lovely. They also sold the excellent Hyperion IPA from Lost Industry on keg at 8%. An ideal starter for me.

On Saturday I visited friends Chris, Kelly, or another female name with an E in it, sorry....and their baby. I met them in Spoons and we wandered together down to the Harlequin. Only to be told at 15.05 as I was ordering our beers that they couldn't have kids in after 15.00. This seems surprisingly early, although I am biased since its my friend's sprog and its the quietest bairn ever. So we upped sticks and went to Shakespeares, who have no such issues. As I popped in to ask if this was OK, Chris Wozzurth was pointing at a pump clip. I told him I couldn't read it but said I would have some when I came back. Minutes later, I had bought myself and Tash a pint. Each. Of Cloudwater DIPA V3 at 9.0%. Being my Brothers birthday do later that night, I wasn't, of course, drinking.....

Another pint soon followed of the magic orange liquid, half for Tash, before I went home to eat. The marvelous, hoppy, mellow-malted, yellow-orange cloudy ale was a delight. Later me and Tash headed up to the Ball on Crookes where I was on Tapped Brew Co Mojo all night to celebrate Wee Keefy's birthday  - there were a couple of other beers that I might have tried but the Mojo was probably the best bet, not least having had two 9% pints earlier.

I returned to Shakespeares the next day for the last pint of the Cloudwater, which I shared with Fluff and his Dad, before popping to the KIT and then returning again, later to be blown away once more. The replacement for the Cloudwater was Kernel four hop IPA, a 7.0% beer which featured Ella, Chinook, Citra and Centennial hops and was fantastic. Probably the tastiest, easiest drinking and most well balanced hoppy IPA I have ever had. Congratulations once again to Shakespeares for their beer range and quality.

The Saturday before we met for a meal in the Ball and had a rather disappointing pint of Treboom Hop Britannia. I had really enjoyed it at the Hillsborough Hotel previously but this was not as good alas. Afterwards we headed down to the Walkley Beer Co. They had Cromarty Happy Chappy on cask plus another and Beavertown Blood Orange IPA and Burning Sky Saison Pertemps on keg. The saison was £4.20 a pint and the Bloody Ell IPA was £5.20 a pint at 6.9%. This was on fine form and was a delight to drink, so much so that I had two pints. It was good as well to catch up with Scott and Sarah, and of course to sup saison and IPA in the WBC.

Afterwards we headed into town and went to the Beer Engine's first birthday. A day late. I convinced myself, despite seeing the ad on Facebook, that it couldn't be on April Fools day. More "fool" me (!) as we turned up with the staff suffering, um, exhaustion, and no DJ set. Luckily, there was a pint of Cloudwater Hopfenweiss on keg to have along with a delicious pale on cask which was Moor Empire Pale Ale. This, as was the weiss, was on top form. Tash then had a pint of the Empire and I, foolishly or courageously, ordered a pint of Evil Twin Yin Imperial Stout at god knows what strength (its actually 10% according to their website ).

It was pricey, being Danish, and strong, at £9.00 a go. And I was told I was the first person to buy an entire pint. I can see why, except, I can also fully agree with my reasons for, and the amount I enjoyed, drinking it. This was such a perfectly balanced imperial stout which did not taste its strength. Sorry to have missed the birthday party kids - I will be there for next years though. And, um, of course, ...before.

So, there it is. The questions is answered. Where has all the money gone is explained to a large extent by the above. And I enjoyed every last bloody drop of it.


Wee Beefy