as you may know, my consumption of frol has been limited severely for the time being whilst I recover from my stroke. However, so as to not miss out on social drinking in pubs altogether I have been out a few times in the last two weeks.
On Tuesday I made my way to Hillsborough to meet Tash and Matty and Tash and I went to the cafe in Wortley to sing some carols with Mumraah and Martin. Not very rock and roll I hear you say, but we did sing Fairytale of New York, although my Mum went to the loo for most of it, bless her. Arriving back in Hillsborough we were cold so although I had suggested heading for the New Barack a god ten minutes walk away, we headed instead to the Queens Ground.
This is my fourth visit, the first being about 2010 when they didn't serve real ale, and the other two in the last year or so where I have enjoyed the real fire and numerous original features. Indeed, these are detailed in the new free to download Sheffield Heritage Pubs guide from the Sheffield CAMRA website .
They currently serve four or five cask real ales and from the choice on offer I decided to have a few pints of the Bradfield Belgian Blue. I noticed its strength has dropped to 4.9, and am sure it was over 5% when it came out ten years or so ago. Its taste changed about four years ago and it has lost its deep warming notes a little, and am not sure why the strength has decreased. Five or five point five percent is standard strength for many beers theses days and I can't imagine they save that much money by brewing it weaker. No comparisons can be drawn with Whitbread reducing the strength of Tennants Gold Label and changing from gold foil to silver foil to save a few quid prior to stopping brewing it. It remains a mystery.
That said it wasn't a bad drop (I did have three pints after all) and cost about £3.10 a pint. I sat with my back to the roaring fire which they kept stoking and which remained at a good temperature throughout, and looked at the seating in the bay window where Tash was sat drinking wine. There was a shudder and rumble as the tram went past and I noticed that the Wards Wheatsheaf in the excellent Wards bay windows looked a lot like a mushroom....
We were joined by Matty and got chatting to the barmaid and one of the customers, whilst the fire kept me warm, and I went to the bar and toilets without my stick in order to build up my strength. The pub had a steady trade but was peaceful, mainly because it was about 15.30 when we got there.
The ales I have had on my recent visits have been well kept and sold at a good price and although they don't sell viciously hoppy or London opaque DIPAs like I love its still a cracking spot to nip in for a relaxing pint. Lets hope the pub continues to sell decent real ale and maintains its excellent interior features for many years to come.