of late I have been branching out a little in my range of pubs. Not because am fed up of my regular haunts, far from it. Instead, I wanted to try a few new places to find out if I have been missing out. Here are some details of what I found.
I went to the Museum near Orchard Square recently. They were having an Oktoberfest - with no German beers! (they may have Becks Vier....) Admittedly getting German Oktoberfest beers in bottle or on draught is probably quite expensive, but their absence, and the fact that only two English Oktoberfest style beers were on, took the edge off the event. As it was I had pints of what I assume is Greedy King Oompah, having decided I wouldn't like the Milestone Oktoberfest beer on account of it being from Milestone. I didn't try the Curry Wurst with chips and salad for £7.00, but I was tempted. I probably only go to the Museum once or twice a year and I don't see that changing, but it was a decent pint . The pub was quiet, and it is better than All Bar One and the Bessemer nearby.
Another irregular venue is the Graduate on Surrey Street. This used to be a Mansfield House and sold their range of special real ales in the 90's which, if I recall, were all named after game - alas time and lack of access to beermats rids of me of any idea of their names but one had a stag on it and may have been called Royal Game or indeed stag, and one had a boar on it and was likely called Wild Boar....
Anyhoo, I did think that September after freshers week would be a bad time to go to this student boozer so it was two weeks ago we went, and found they were also having an Oktoberfest. Better than the Museum since there were 5 keg beers including Erdinger and another from Germany - I went for a pint of the West Brewery Glasgow Oktoberfest bier which was excellent, if a little pricey. And that's the puzzle for me, since its a student pub, why are the prices so high? Jaipur was on cask at £4.10 or 4.20 a pint, which is more expensive than the Sheffield Tap!
Tash was on the Sauvignon Blanc which was a nice drop and we had gone in for food - Tash I think had a spicy bean burger and I had smothered chicken. It was meant to be a chargrilled chicken breast topped with bacon, onions, cheese and BBQ sauce. It was actually burnt on one side and had no cheese on it! To be fair they replaced it without question with a less burnt one (I know what chargrilled means before anyone says) and it was quite tasty, but there wasn't much of it for £8.45 and it was served on a tray covered with grease proof paper, making cutting it difficult. Perhaps if I go in again I will stick to booze...
Until two weeks ago I had never been in the Penny Black. And now I have. The pub serves cheap food and the beer is also inexpensive however they don't sell cask or anything in keg or in bottles I would want to drink - this was very much a brief visit! Tash had a half of cider and me and Meathouse had halves of Greedy King IPA on keg. Now, making such an underwhelming beer colder and more fizzy is a recipe for disaster, and so it turned out. The beer was anonymous and lacked flavour, apart from a hint of background malt in the cream. That said though, the pub was busy, mainly with older couples, the food selection looked OK and apart from the crackling speaker above us the pub is in good nick.
The final irregular venue is the Sworddancer at Handsworth. They had three or four real ales on, and we had Stowford Press cider for Tash, whilst Matty had Birra Moretti and I had a pint of Abbot. Am not sure if its a case of my tastebuds having changed but it lacked the qualities that Abbot used to possess in the 90's when I drank it in the Red Deer.
We sat in one of the corners near the end of the bar and there was a group of lasses having a birthday drink in the area next to us. I have been in about 5 times now and never seen the pub rammed but as I have found out its not a bad place to pop in for a quick pint. Its probably busier in the evenings when they do food as well. I had another pint of Abbot as did Meathouse this time whilst I got Tash a double Sipsmith gin and tonic for not a bad price.
In Sheffield, it seems, there are all pubs for all people. And that is one of the (many) hings that make it a great place to live. And Sheffield Beer Festival starts tonight, hopefully confirming that fact.