Sunday, 28 August 2016

A Sheffield crawl in August


      last week was quite a thirsty one - I mean, nowadays, all weeks are quite slakish but last week was particularly so. On Thursday I had a beer "none" crawl, supping in the Devonshire Cat all night with Mr Marsh. Strange that we both ended up on the roulette wheel of despair at the same place having initially worked in the nineties together. The beer I was drinking was delicious, as was Steve's - he on Yorkshire Blackout which is Cropton, or the Great Yorkshire Brewery, and £3.75 a pint on keg. I was on the Great Heck Yakima IPA at 7.4%. On cask. How much do you think that cost?

Well, to my astonishment, a cask beer below the HSBD limit (does that even still exist btw?) was an astonishing £4.90 a pint. Thats right. Take a step back and breathe in that price. Four chuffing pounds 90 pence. This is matching the absurdity of prices in the Sheffield Tap. It diminished an otherwise excellent night. Madness.

Wednesday myself and Mr P had a Wanderiains night. We met after work and caught the tram to Hillsborough, where we were stood for 15 minutes in logjam as two sets of lights failed. I was just about to tell Mr P how much quicker the tram was....

We got off at Leppings Lane and walked the short distance up Wadsley Lane to the Horse and Jockey. Obviously quieter than my first visit, I was now able to see what they had done with the inside. It looks very nice - a lovely long bar, hops and bottles on display, dark grey and black walls on the left and an eating area on the right (am guessing?) with a lovely old fireplace. We had pints - Mr P the Old Number 7 and myself the one that I still can't remember the name of! We sat on the right with a glass of pork scratchings for me and pack of cheese and O for Mr P, having initially sat outside in the last of the sun.

Once back inside I was recommended trying a pint of stainless so did, and Mr P bought a not too expensive bottle of Sam Smiths India Ale. Despite their often ridiculous behaviour as an employer, I do have a liking for Sams beers and the India Ale was just what I expected - flavoursome, lightly hopped and malty. Overall this was a great start to our wander - back into town.

Our next stop would have been the Riverside Bar but it was shut - am not sure they open Wednesday nights unless there#s a Wednesday match on. Instead we headed down to Penistone Road and along to the New Barrack Tavern.

The New Barrack has remained a god traditional boozer for many years and still has three separate rooms with drinking space out the back. It was, however, quiet when we went in. I think myself and Mr P had pints of the same - Castle Rock Screech Owl, a strong pale ale at 5.something percent. As we talked I looked at the beer board and noticed that the excellent Marble Lagonda IPA was on on keg at something like £4.30 a pint - remembering its a strong ale on keg that's a good price. So I ordered us a pint and a half to finish.

Up and along next to the Hillsborough Hotel. The Double H has been a feature of my drinking life since Del reopened it sometime in the late nineties - 1998? Its currently run by Tom and is a good place to stop en route to town. We had a pint each again in here - alas somehow these facts have been removed from my memory but both pints were in good nick, and we sat as always in the conservatory supping and chatting.

Our final walk took us past the now to be reopened (in October) Wellington and onto Shakespeares for me to have something expensive but excellent on keg and Mr P to have a pint of cask. He may well have had the Wild Weather United States of Whatever or the Vocation Chop and Change - both were excellent on other visits. I might have had the Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion - there again, I might not. Either or whichever way, this was a fine end to an excellent crawl of pubs.

Pub crawls - a great way to keep fit and tipsy.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 20 August 2016

The Beer Engine is the best pub in Sheffield this month

Hello readers,

          the Beer Engine at the bottom of Cemetery Road round the back of Waitrose, in Sheffield, is the Pub of the Month for August. And, might I say, rightly so. I had been going in more regularly of late after a lull and was overjoyed to drink the amazing Fyne Ales Ragnarok Imperial Jarl, among other highlights, in the last month. So when I found out that Camra had recognised their achievements and awarded them pub of the month, and after finally catching up with Tom and hearing what he had lined up, I couldn't wait for Tuesday night.

Tom made it clear that the award should be presented to his staff - the bar and cellar manager, who have names, one of which begins with L, were therefore the recipients of the award, mainly to reflect their hard work running and stocking the pub, whose beer range continues to improve and impress.

I started the evening on the Wylam Jakehead IPA at 6.3% on keg. It was lovely and hoppy, but also well balanced,  and only a percent above my usual starting strength. I saw Rich and Kath and me and Matty sat with them and Richard, AKA Martin, or Dave Pickersgill. Am assuming he found this misrememberance amusing. I hope for his sake he does! Soon Tom came out with his kitchen garb on and asked when the other CAMRA members were turning up - more on that later. He went to get changed, and Myself and Matty got more beers and the excellent food was served.

Five types of pinchos on five large platters were placed on the bar, and on Tom's advice I tried the anchovy and green chilli one with the amazing Cloudwater DIPA6 - an excellent food and beer pairing. Myself and Matty had a couple, I think, and I also tried a third of the Redrum from To Ol, a red ale at 10% matured over rum barrel chips. It was amazing, and Matty tried some of the cask including the one from Sonnet 43 which was on excellent form. I also tried the Baltic, a pineapple and passion fruit sour which was incredibly refreshing - and a fantastic looking beer in the glass. The pinchos were fantastic, especially the chorizo one and the cheese with what seemed like perfect squares of pickle, and the tangy anchovies.

Well done to the team at the Beer Engine for putting on such an amazing spread, and continuing to source such excellent ales. It just goes to show what brilliant food can be served with what is a very  diverse range of beer styles.

I have to say however, that a big let down was Camra. I don't claim to recognise all of them but at the time of the award there were probably only 5 members there, including Matty. The do had also been rearranged for that night as the chairman was at the GBBF the week before, and now she was on holiday. Nobody had agreed who would present the award - this job went to Andy Cullen, who didn't therefore have time to prepare a speech specific to the pub, and despite there being numerous regulars there, there was way too much food, prepared with skill and love by the catering staff for the event, and specifically for the Camra members to enjoy.

I talked to Tom after he took the chef home and I am sure he won't mind me telling you how disappointed, annoyed and let down he was by this. This suggests to me that CAMRA had the vote for the pub of the month and many voted for the Beer Engine, but those who did so didn't bother to turn up, and the rest stayed away. What kind of message does that give out? I realise people are busy but this poor turn out undermined what should have been a richly deserved award for the pub.

Anyway, luckily that didn't ruin the excellent food and wonderful beers we tried, and we finished the night sat in the beer garden trying the Northern Monk marmalade beer, alas the name of which now escapes me, and finishing the excellent Cloudwater DIPA6.

With my very best wishes to all at the Beer Engine for the event, and hoping to see you all again soon. Well bloody done the lot of you -  take this as recognition of your continuing hard work at the pub.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Abbey, Woodseats, reopens, and nearby pubs

Hello all,

     first post for a while - mainly as have not completely fixed the virus I now have on the tomputer  -so don't follow any links! Just a few details of the pre-launch night I went to with Matty at the Abbey pub on Woodseats on Thursday, and a couple of other pubs.

Matty had been invited as the CAMRA Sheffield young members wallah and had a plus one ticket - I was his choice. There was no expectation I would write about it, but I am anyway. The Abbey is potentially my least visited Woodseats pub - from those open in 1994. I think I have only been once and I can scarcely remember that. I did remember it has a bowling green, and it still does. And thats about it.

Arriving after 18.00 we went into the small room on the left with a small bar featuring two handpumps. From a choice of four real ales I opted for Abbeydale Moonshine and Matty Farmers Blonde. They will have two regular beers and two from the SIBA list, which I understand has some decent ales on it. The other two beers were Doom Bar and Greedy King Abbot - not an inspiring choice for myself, but I don't think O am the kind of customer they are targeting. The moonshine was well kept and on at £3.20 a pint.

The ticket entitled us to a tour with manager Wayne Morton (I hope I have remembered that right!) who showed us the three rooms, including an upstairs function room with a handpump. The room on the left retains its fireplace and is cosy and traditional in style, the right had room is much larger, likely previously having been two, and has the bar in the middle. It was in here we talked to Richard Short, a CAMRA fellow, and got to try samples of the free food.

One thing that makes the Abbey stand out from its near competitors is the food. A bit pricier than the Spoons and the Chantrey for beer, the food is of high quality and comprised excellent steak, calamari, garlic cheese mushrooms, pork pies, sweet chilli chicken and others. The staff were friendly throughout and this was an enjoyable visit. If their two guest ales become a little more adventurous I will definitely pop in again.

Down the road is Archer Road Beer Stop. They weren't selling any real ale, and,. despite being a long time friend of Dave I didn't ask him if this was a long term arrangement. Instead we had cans of Chorlton Brewing Amarello sour, Beavertown India Stout and a Fierce Panther IPA that might have been from Sonnet 43. As we know Dave we were able to sit in the back and chat with him and sample the beers, which were sold for about £2.00 each. The Beavertown is a very hoppy stout and was enjoyable, and the sour from Chorlton was OK, but the best beer was the IPA at 6.3%. An excellent visit to the ARBS as always.

From here we walked down to the Broadfield. Rammed, as it always seems to be, we had pints of Acorn Gorlovka and a Wiper and True Pale - as the barman said, the brewery were far too cool to tell them which beer it was, but it was a 5.something% pale and it was delicious. It was. Matty wanted to try the keg Gorlovka as he is a massive fan of the beer on cask - if anything, he didn't like it as much as he did on cask. Another example of why not everything that works on cask works on keg.

Our final stop was a short bus ride away at the Beer Engine. Winners of the pub of the month (award Tuesday coming) this is a place I have been going back to a lot recently. As per my last two visits I and Matty had pints of the excellent Fyne Ales Ragnarok, Imperial Jarl at 7.4%. A wonderful mellow but hoppy golden pale ale which slips down far too easily - we had another two halves before closing.

Overall all the venues visited were excellent, and as regular readers may know, there are numerous other pubs nearby worth a visit. Best of luck to the Abbey on their reopening (following a £550,000.00 makeover) and to the other premises. Four more places worth a visit in sunny, slaking, Sheffield.


Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Since I've come back.....

Now then,

       the day after Yorkshire day - that's what today is. And yesterday was brilliant. Nothing to do with the annual celebration of Gods own County, just because it was me and Tash's anniversary.  Not a lot of great beer was supped, apart from Cloudwater DIPA 4 and 5 - a separate post will follow on that. Instead of any of the above, I wanted to tell you about some of the things I have experienced since I returned from the Sudreys.

I went in Shakespeares a lot - no change there admittedly, but some of their recent keg offerings have been exceptional. As have their cask as well, recent highlights of both have included the last of the Omnipollo tap takeover including Leon, their 6.5% IPA, their Apricot Sour, and the Alesmith Double Red IPA. Also, the tremendous bite of the Wild Beer Hibernating lemons at Tramlines, along with a Cloudwater White IPA, cans of the Beavertown Bloody Ell, with the frankly excellent Abbeydale Hop Smash on cask. Numerous other highlights, alas, have slipped my mind....

I also went to the reopening of the Horse and Jockey on Wadsley Lane. Having never been there before it was a bit of a trek to reach, but well worth it when I got there. I arrived about 20.00 to find the queue for the bar out onto he street, and inside it was 6 or 7 thick. I met up with Gav and Clare and bumped briefly into Liz Askam form the Barnsleys, and immediately tried to establish what was best to drink. I opted for a pint of Sentinel on keg - the staff didn't seem to know what it was, but it tasted wheaty - and a pint of Stancill pale ale, the name of which escapes me. We sat in the beer garden til it went dark, and I had a fabulous chicken and chorizo pizza from the Nether Edge Pizza Co. It would be nice to go back when its quieter to see some of the inside but on this evidence it looks to be a very successful reopening.

I also went to the Walkley Beer Co - this, along with the Bath Hotel is the second regular haunt of mine to win a pub of the month form the CAMRA which I did not attend - Gah! Many many apologies to Stef and Kit at the two venues. It just goes to show how little I know about my favourite pubs! On my last visits to the two I had Hopjacker Ultravox Vienna IPA in the Bath, which was excellent, and Buxton Axe Edge and a pint of Tempest Long White Cloud on cask. Stellar offerings as always from both.

Other recent visits have included those to the Three Tuns and Kelham Island Tavern. I had the excellent if surprising Tempest Marmalade on keg, strong ale which tasted of...marmalade. And hops. I also had some excellent Hop Smash from Abbeydale there as well. The Three Tuns continues to impress with numerous regular appearances from Blue Bee. Their excellent 6.5% NZ IPA is on at present and has a massive hop bite with fruity citrus notes and a long dry bitter finish - an excellent beer to start and end any day.

More posts - I promise - this week.


Wee Beefy

P.S - if you see any arrows or links on this post, DO NOT follow - am having a few issues with a virus so they will be dodgy......