Saturday, 24 June 2017

Shakespeares Stupidly Delicious Beer tap takeover

Now then,

     a few weeks ago posters started to appear in the Shakespeares showing a list of stupidly delicious beers that they were putting on in one night, named as per the title. The main feature of the beers on offer was their renown - many have 100 ratings on Ratebeer or other beer rating apps. They were almost all very strong and many were unique. Since I am broke, I only had enough for a few thirds. Here is what I tasted and experienced.

Arriving at 18.00 I was pleased to see that it wasn't that busy, for a tap takeover at least. Nate, Derek, young man with name, Adam and Chris were ready to serve us and soon after arriving Adam duly walked over and gave me a copy of the evening's menu. Suffice to say, even if I had been able to afford it, I wasn't going to be able to clear the whole list in one night. The challenge was to find which three I would try.

Nate recommended Star Beer, a caramel peanut and chocolate stout from Steel City, Lost Industry and Beer Ink, at 8.5%. I had heard good things about this so went for a third of that, and the Dugges and Stillwater collaboration Mango Mango Mango, a 4.5% mosaic hopped mango sour with two types of mango. Bose in hand I went to find a seat, and bumped into the Dans, Howard, Matt, David and others and sat in the shelter with my two thick, black thirds of monstrous loveliness.

I have to say that interest in and appreciation of the Star Beer is warranted. Despite its slightly sickly list of ingredients its not too sweet but is still reminiscent of the Star Bar that its named after. The Dugges and Stillwater meanwhile was a perfectly balanced blend of sour mango and hops, which was very refreshing whilst not too jaw meltingly sour.

With funds left for just one more third I was planning on having the Noa, but Nate suggested that Noa would be back on again but that Mikkeller Beer Geek Dessert would not. The Noa at 11% was £3.30 a third, and the Mikkeller, at the same strength was £4.00 a third. I decided it was worth a try despite its eye watering cost. I was right.

Its important to point out, lest anyone else wishes to inform me, that this is an expensive beer. However, Shakespeares in my opinion are a very fairly priced establishment. I don't think they would put on any beer at a ridiculous mark up and I can't see the same beer being much cheaper elsewhere. Its a keg, at 11%, from Denmark. It was beautifully balanced, wonderfully tasty and had a sumptuous mouthfeel, and took me an hour to drink. I enjoyed my £4.00 purchase tremendously.

Just before finishing this I met up with Charlie and Al Steward and their mate, who had a name and everything.   He very kindly bought me a third of the Stigbergets Amazing Haze, a Swedish Mosaic hopped IPA. By now the whole place was extremely busy and trips to the bar looked like they would take quite some time to complete.

Charlie and Al also bought me a third of this each (thanks lades!) and this was the last beer I tried. It was brilliant to sit with the three of them supping and sharing stories of comedy, trips away and beers and more. In the end, we loved the Stigbergets so much we all finished on it. The mosaic hops in the IPA were incredibly pronounced yet the beer remain perfectly balanced, making this probably my beer of the night. That said, the quality just of the four I tried was such that its difficult to decide between them.

Many of the beers will remain on for a few days so if you want to try any I recommend you go down and take a look - there is a list on their Facebook page. Well done to the staff, particularly I think Adam, for choosing such a brilliant range of exceptional and distinctive beers for this showcase.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Three Tuns, Silver Street Head, reopens

Hello all,

        I was thinking the other day how much I miss the Tuns. It had a few average beers on but always at least one, sometimes two, excellent hoppy Blue Bee beers available at my starting strength, plus some great guest ales. The wine and gin was also very good. It occurred to me that it was ideally placed between work and transport home for a pint on the way there or a meeting place for a night out. The food and ale were excellent, the staff were brilliant and the atmosphere for the most part was fantastic.

On Monday Dr J announced he was popping down to see it under its "new custodianship". I was surprised, but also very pleased. I wondered if this had been just a soft launch but decided even if it was and it wasn't open, yesterday would be a great opportunity to pop down and check the place out for myself. After all, there is a certain excellent boozer five minutes walk away....

Arriving about 20.00 the pub lights were on and the doors and some windows open. Inside were Josh and Dave, although they were just moving on, along with about eight other people. It was actually refreshingly cool inside and the pub seemed very spick and span - no doubt a positive hangover from its previous stewardship.

I went to the bar to find three handpumps in use, selling Moonshine, Castle Rock Harvest Pale and Moorhouses Blonde. Being a more regular supper of Abbeydale I went for a pint of Moonshine, which was maybe a little pricey at £3.40 a pint ( ? ) and returned to sit at the back, having said goodbye to Josh and Dave. It was well kept and on decent form. No suggestion of mucky lines or rushing the beer on which I had admittedly been worried about. Its not a range that is going to see me in there every day but its decent real ale.

Bar snacks were 50p - its quite a limited range, probably just to clear the shelves, and its still in date - even so the guy offered me two packs of pretzels for 50p which is a bloody bargain. The gent running the pub appears to be a temporary manager. Obviously I wasn't brazen or sociologically developed enough to ask his name, which he will have one of, but he has short hair. I understand having heard a conversation in Shakespeares later that he has previously run the pub this century. So its definitely him.

A few people left just before I did and there was only one table occupied when I departed but its early days and its not been particularly well advertised. I will be popping back in, for the reasons at the beginning of the post about why it was such a cracking boozer. I don't really like Spoons so if this remains open it will make a nice change.

The interesting thing is that the pub reopening reminds me just how bloody good it was under Reet Ale Pub's management. The availability of Blue Bee was a boon but the pub employed some excellent staff such as Nate, Phil, Siobhan, Dave, Mc Miker G, Mark, Ethan and others. I will miss their service a hell of a lot and also the atmosphere that they brought with it. I would never have heard so much King gizzard and the lizard wizard without Nate's influence on the music, or persuaded anyone but Ethan to play me Cathedral's Forest of Equilibrium on a frankly wonderful Monday night. I wouldn't have written the song "Mark's got a name, Siobhan's got a nickname" without them being there and wouldn't have had to explain to so many of my younger friends who Mc Miker G was if he hadn't been there too.

In the long term I hope it can return to its comfortable, friendly, excellently aled inclusivity, attracting groups from all backgrounds and walks of life and persuasions to sit on its comfortable chairs and drink their beers and other potions. That is not a criticism of the current ownership. Its more a respectful lament for the way things were.

Welcome back old friend. You have changed. We are still however, friends.

Cheers.

Wee Beefy

Monday, 19 June 2017

Sheffield crawls and pints

Hello,

   I haven't posted for a while but wanted to tell you about some drinks I have had on two local crawls in Sheffield. I may even confirm some of the excellent bottles I have had, but that will come at a later date.

The first Ambale was on Tuesday last. I started at Itchy Pig and had a half of Abbeydale Encantada, described as a Neolithic Gruit Fruit ale, and an Emmanuales Ryejoice, both on keg. The Ryejoice doesn't work as well as it does on cask alas but was a refreshing starter, the Encantada was a very interesting sweet and sour fruity mash that was refreshing and surprising in equal measure.

I stopped off at the Doctors Orders, better known (surely?) as the West End, next. I had a pint of the Little Critters C Bomb Citra at 6.5% and £3.70 a pint which is probably not a bad price for its strength. I somehow managed to squeeze between tables to get a seat and, one assumes, my hex boot frighetened off the assembled customers who went outside to eat. Nothing to do with warm sunshine!

My next stop for the first time in a considerable while was at Interval Bar. They had about 6 cask beers on at £2.90 a pint and I had two halves,  one of which was equinox pale, or similar, and a red IPA from Three Castles brewery. All were well kept and I enjoyed them sat in sunshine outside, listening in with some amusement at the oft melodramatic musings of the students sat nearby.

I skipped the Uni Arms and Bath and went next to the Harley next. They had four casks of Saltaire on and I had a half of the Onyx black IPA sat in a comfy sofa in the front. Its not a pub I go in often at all, although te food looks good.

My next stop was Harrisons 1854 where I bumped into the owners Bob and Linda and chatted to them for some time. I had a half of Bradfield Yorkshire Ale on cask which is, I understand, their rebrannding of Yorkshire bitter. Its strange to see this since other than some brewers calling their mild's dark most northern brewers would assumedly be happy to produce a bitter?

The next stop nearby was the Cavendish. A range of kegs and cask was available but nothing really tempted me so in the end, before the slew of Ingurrlearnt fans arrived, I had a quick and very enjoyable can of Elvis Juice.

The penultimate stop was the Grapes where we got sat outside in the beer garden. I met Tash and Matt in here as well as Trev and Bill and had "a number" of further pints of Abbeydale Moonshine, as always kept impeccably. The time flew by and we were there for some time before I went for a last one in the Tap and Tankard. Truth be told, I don't recall what I had to drink in here. Sorry Dylan.

The other crawl was a post overtime loosener last Sunday. I started in Shakespeares and had a half of the Time and Tide All in Jim Sorachi Ace APA on keg, as well as a pint of the hoppy North Riding and Totally Brewed A slap up North IPA on cask, and repaired as always to the clock room to consume.  The best part of overtime, apart from erm...pay, is the ales afterwards.

 I was meant to be meeting Tash and we arranged to meet at the Rutland at 17.00 so I headed off and got off behind Atkinsons to find Tash was running a little late. I decided to head to the nearby Devonshire Cat for a wee and a half. I ended up asking which was cheapest beer and got a half of Abbeydale Daily Bread on cask for £1.60. It was on good form but isn't my first choice I have to say.

From here I headed to a cash machine and then popped in the Washington. They had four cask ales on and as always, I went for a half of the Moonshine. It tasted beautiful in here. I sat in splendid isolation in the left hand bar in bright sunshine listening to an excellent selection of ska tunes. Ace.

I headed to the Beer Engine next and had a third of the Mikkeller Nuclear Hop Assault and an interesting beer whose identity has escaped me in the miasma of alcohol since. The beer as always was impeccably kept and it was good to bump into the Man of Ash - assuming I did....

From here I jetted across town to meet Tash in the Bankers, finally meeting up about 20.30 and we had a quick drink before she headed to the Dove and I went to meet Mr E down at Shakespeares to finish a rather lengthy but highly enjoyable crawl. Am not 100% clear on what we had but it possibly ended with a can or two of Cloudwater before I ran to catch the last 52 home in a refreshed state.

Two crawls showcasing a number of pubs and a wide range of different but equally enjoyable beer styles shows, once again, how lucky we are live and sup in sunny, shiny Sheffield.

Your very good health

Wee Beefy


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Tuckers Grave Inn, Faulkland, Somerset

Hello,

        inspired largely by a photo on his Friendache profile by former pub photo blogger Dimpled Mug, this post aims in sketchy detail to provide memories of my visit to the pub way back in the Noughties.

The pub, sadly, is currently closed and is on the market, at least as a going concern, for £595,000.00. At present, I definitely have £5.95 of that sum available, so maybe could arrange to purchase it over a thousand years? After all, we will soon all be living for many centuries, in space, or similar. Anyway, its more likely that someone else has that kind of money available. The only concern is whether or not they have any interest in preserving its unique character.

Myself and Wee Keefy many moons ago visited Christingpher in Bath where was studying teacherings. He became a supply teachering soon after, eventually quitting as he felt the role required him being a parent, social worker, drug councillor and then a teacher, wrapped up in delivering a curriculum in a style which interested none of his pupils.

Whilst there, and on our way home, we visited many National Inventory pubs. This was one of them.

The Tuckers Grave is, lets face it, a strange name for a pub. I understand it relates to a suicide or hanging which took place nearby of a farm worker called Tucker who is buried under the crossroads outside. It is quite an unusual looking pub as you approach and we had been spoilt in the local countryside by chocolate box country pubs. We needn't have worried.

There is a passageway as you enter with white and pink paint and lots of wood and the bar and main rooms are on the left. The bar is basically in the bay window - although there are other bar free pubs in the UK (less than ten) this is the only such arrangement I have seen. In front of the bar is a long table in a narrow room with just enough space for patrons to sit down each side on large wooden settles.

There is a further room past that to the left where me and WK sat and off the corridor is the blue room. I went in and found it smoky and painted pink, a peachy light red if am to be more accurate, and found two old guys supping cider inside. I said hello, and they asked me if I had come to take photos since I had my rather large SLR camera with me. One then said "do yer know why they corl this the fuckin blue room? Esspecially as its painted pink? Its cos this is wur we come to swear!". It seemed that the swearing of the two drinkers was not tolerated in the bar. It was cider and profanity in here. I have no reason to doubt their tale from the half an hour I was in there....

I had been served earlier by the landlord, who spotted me standing near the bar looking thirsty. Its not actually as weird a set up as you may think - there are three barrels (maybe four?) including a cider, stillaged in the window and the till is on a small table to the side, with the glasses and tankards stacked and hung up on the rafters. I had a pint of Butcombe bitter and WK a half of Cheddar Valley cider, which I later got a pint of.

The folks on the long oak table offered us some roast potatoes from a giant platter and asked where we were from - I probably talked to them for fiteen minutes before returning to WK who was finding his cider all too easy to drink.  The pub was a wonderfully welcoming and busy place serving excellent beer and cider. There is a link here to the entry on the National Inventory pub website.

Incidentally, and am not saying this is contradictory evidence, but the pub is not mentioned as closed on Whatpub and the website says it was last checked in 2017. So is it definitely shut? The BBC reported that Ivan and Glenda Swift could not find a buyer in 2011 and were intending to close it and the NI website reports it for sale. If anyone knows if this pub remains open then please let me know!

Either way, the pub left an impression on me, and I still have my numerous photos which I took whilst inside. If it has closed that is a real shame. As you can see on the NI website the pub had a fantastic and in some ways unique interior.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Time and Tide Tap takeover at Tshakespeares

Hulloo,

      I had rather forgotten about this event, what with trying not to take notice of any beery happenstances whilst still on meds. Now am back at work and on my last box of biotics I am starting to relax a little. Dave Unpro said we talked about the event on Thursday night in that self same pub. I have no reason to doubt him, I just lack the functionality to remember if what he is saying is true....

On arrival I noticed a low strength IPA on my keg line (you know, the one I own with Kernel) and so was somewhat disappointed but Adam passed me the night's reading material and I noticed that there were in fact a number of Time and Tide brewing's beers on. I started on a pint of their excellent All in Jim APA with Sorachi Ace which had a wonderful lemongrassy kick to it with very well balanced bitterness. and went awandering to find a seat. Bumped into the Dans, Howard and Rob, man from nowhere, as well as Charlie and Al Steward, and later Unpro and Mr E who very kindly joined me in the clock room.

Before I finished the Sorachi, which was a very refreshing pale ale,  I bought a half of their Domino, an imperial white stout made with tonka beans and coffee at an impressive 8.6%. This is the stoutiest white stout I have ever tasted and the tonka beans gave it a very heavy but rewardingly tasty feel. I actually spent a good 3 hours supping this in small sips, not because I disliked it but because it was such a sensational flavour bomb of a beer.

I had been intending to meet the Nodvogs and Mr G but none turned up which I was a bit miffed about but in the end the beer and those I sat with more than made up for their absence and I was able to offload a few woes onto Mr E whilst supping yet more of the offerings from Time and Tide. Who are Time and Tide brewery I hear you ask? I don't know. Hope that helps. Their brewer has facial hair, so is easy to spot.*

My next beer was Bucky, a 5.4% hogweed and sea buckthorne pale ale with both flavours present. The brewer, who had a name, was explaining when I was at the bar that hogweed is a pale almost see through set of bubbled membranes which tastes vile if you eat it - this is possibly why I only ordered a third. He did however assure us that it tasted fine in a beer and myself and Mr E agreed. Its very difficult to describe this ale since both of its feature ingredients have very unusual flavours. So there.

I finished on a pint of the Brynhilder, a 4.4% session IPA as recommended by almost everyone, and a half an Echo, which was a dry hopped bretted saison. I can't say I really liked the echo - the idea was worrying, and am not a fan of dry hopped saisons and the bretting was a bit too intense. A beer where I disliked the idea, and the product, which was a shame.

The Brynhilder on the other had was perfect. A wonderfully refreshing well rounded hoppy session ale. I like my IPA's plus 6% as you know but I could have drunk this all night. It was a perfect slaker which provided all of the hoppy quality of a strong IPA with much less of the alcohol.

At some point I saw the man from Lost Industry. You know, the one with the head. He asked me if I wanted to try something interesting and gave me a bottle full of their Banana and raspberry sour sundae ale in a glass. It was superb. I know Lost Industry like to experiment with sours (and indeed were planning on doing one with other brewers later) but I didn't expect this to taste the way it did. The man with a head also invited me to join the man with facial hair, Unpro and others to try a Time and Tide bottle of burnt honey Braggert at 11%. Just a trial brew am guessing based on its label written in pen but a really interesting flavoured beer. Twice the strength (almost) of the one I tried at the Blue Anchor in Cornwall.

I finished on a free sample of their imperial white stout before the brewer had to leave and I had to catch my last bus. This final taster rounded the night off perfectly. I got to meet new people, friends of old and a brewer or three and got to try the wares of an excellent brewery all in the same night.

Thanks to Shakespeares for organising the event, to Time and Tide for attending, and to Lost Industry for their kind free sample. Lets hope we see more Time and Tide Brewing beers in Sheffield soon.

Cheers!


Wee Beefy

*there's actually a link here to their website should you want any facts......