Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Turning Point

Evernin,

       don't panic bar owners, the event of the title is not a declaration of temperance or other sobering horror. Instead its the name of an brewery. and everything. I am not about to give up luffly bose. I do after all want to retain one scintilla of pleasure from the suppurating sump of sewage that laps over my every sodden, heavied, footstep every stinking day of my life. Luffly bose kids. Luffly luffly bose....um...where was I?

Ah yes, Turning Point Brew Co. I think I first met these guys and tried their beer at the Indie Man Beer Feast in Sheffield back in March. I definitely remember trying their Disco King American Pale Ale at that event, long before becoming discombobulated and mistaking them for a brewery based in Liverpool instead of Kirbymoorside near York....

Their Tap takeover of Shakespeares was a fabulous affair, as (imaginably) previously noted, not least because I found out that I had them mixed up with an entirely different brewery. What was that brewery's name I hear you ask? I don't chufffing know. Neither did they, bless em. It was important to get it all cleared up regarding who they were at any rate...

On Friday when I was, once again, lucky enough to be in my second home, I tried a beer from Turning Point on "cask",. an old fashioned method of beer dispense. It looked like mud. It tasted like gold. Well, not in fact like gold, but it was bloody marvelous. A thick, unctuous potation, heavy with hops and dank of flavour. It was a perfect starter as well, being over 7%.

Add to that their Rainbow Road 3.0 % Citra nano IPA and their delicious Vision Quest Mosaic IPA  at 7.0% on keg, as well as their Afterglow De Molen colab, and you already have a fab line up of soup. I likes soup. Hoppy only of course. And Turning Point create chewy murky mud beers to delight and tingle all our tastebuds. I should point out that their beers are  unfined and unfiltered, for those who unwisely drink with their eyes, as per their website.

In truth I have never had a bad beer from Turning Point (and I must mention their mango and mint sour with Lost Industry, or whatever ingredients they put in it, which was exemplary). Its unusual to try so many styles of beer from a newish brewery and be resolutely impressed every time. The nano IPA was an absolutely fabulous low gravity session ale bursting to the gunwales with marvelous Citra goodness.

Here's hoping that Turning Point continue on their upward curve of product excellence for years to come, meaning I can enjoy their excellent beers on many more occasions in the future.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Three Tuns closes again, Star Pubs await new sacrificial lamb

Hello readers,

     am a bit late with this as always but I am sad to announce that once again the Three Tuns on Silver Street Head in Sheffield has closed down, awaiting a new manager to be driven nearly to madness and financial ruin by pushing the boulder of pub management up the hill of unavoidable failure.

I heard about this from my friend Reason who said he had witnessed Ed's resignation speech, in which he *may have claimed that Star and Heineken still made profit from the failing pub through tax rebates and write offs and other details I have since forgotten, whilst managers struggled under the yoke of pubco imperialism.

Am so sorry for Ed, and his staff, who took on the unworkable task of running this pub out of love and devotion to regulars only to see the exercise for the unwieldy deception that it is. I genuinely thought that through his and his staff's hard wok the Tuns may return to its glory days under Reet Ale Pubs but alas that is very unlikely to happen ever again. Pubco's don't want to run pubs, except for the absolute star performers. The others are just flat or house conversions waiting to happen.

 I had an interesting chat, possibly with Reason, but maybe with another human with a name, about how one could succeed running a pub or bar or venue for a pubco. The replying orator confirmed that they had chatted to a long term pub manager who advised that the best way to succeed was to not. As demonstrated by the Dog and Partridge under the stewardship of the Flynns, for whom I understand running a successful pubco pub was rewarded only with an increase in rent or other liabilities. The trick, my friend was told,  is to run the pub at about even or at a minor loss, keeping you under the pubco radar so that no increases in payments are generated. In effect, assuming that is true, its actually impossible to make a good living running a pubco house. Does that not strike anyone as madness?

Of course its much less like madness if one remembers the Star Inns how to theme a pub guide which I found online when researching the Church House in 2012. Unattributable stereotypical nonsense dreamed up in a tower in la-la land by robots who have never visited earth, or met real people. Am fairly sure the link is no longer active but searching Star Inns & Bars Three Tuns Sheffield brings up a link to their page about the pub and their "Is it for me" PDf guide to running a pub with them. Well worth a look, if you can forgive there being no mention of the costs of buying all drinks through them (Ed once told me he could buy Blue Bee beers through the pubco, but only at twice the price he could from the brewery, which he was not allowed to do).

I sincerely hope somebody does take on the Three Tuns and reopens it once again as a quality boozer, so that I have somewhere to go before the Shakespeares and Bar Stewards, Dougie has somewhere permanent to do his quiz, I have somewhere I can meet A-ray, Paul-Ray, Mr Bancroft and the Professor, and so that drinkers once more have a traditional centre of town boozer to relax in and socialise.

In reality however, given its four or five closures since I started drinking there, am expecting to be writing something similar in 6 to 12 months time.

Como siempre.

Beeficus the black



*am not certain of the details of the speech. My memories tell me this was said, so you can imagine how much verisimilitude that holds.....

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Beef and Charlie's South Sheffield saunter

Hellall,

    after last week's wander around Walkley, Crookes and Commonside on the Saturday, I met up with Charlie, formerly the beer blogger Ale Ambler, at the Sheffield Tap for a quick pint and an amble around Woodseats and Heeley on the Sunday. The weather was warm and sunny and the bus was due not long after we met up so we started on two halves of low alcohol, and I mean around 4% by that, beers for Charlie, and a slightly stronger one for me, being a pint of Vocation Chop and Change.

I had spotted two free tables in the sunshine a few minutes earlier, but a group of 3 had decided to take one of them whilst waiting for someone to fetch their drinks from the bar. Am not rude enough to do that, but if I had been we would have had a prime seat in the sun. Instead we sat near the doorway and supped our beers before heading to the bus station to catch the 18.

Despite being a Sunday and them deciding to change drivers the bus was 6 or 7 minutes late, and in no rush to set off. There was a delay in Herdings which had made the driver late, but the replacement saw no reason to try and make up time. We set off and headed on the puzzling route towards Woodseats and up Scarsdale Road before alighting at the stop before the Mount pleasant on Derbyshire Lane. The Mount Pleasant is a small traditional pub set just back from the road with two small traditional rooms and about five real ales. We each bought a pint of Moonshine and went to sit in the beer garden, soaking up the sun and carrying on our catch up. Charlie told me that he and his co-writers had discontinued their blog aswiftone when the founder died last year. He is still on Twitter and still loves photographing wildlife and said that not documenting his every drink had actually allowed him to enjoy his pub trips more. I assured him that I still very much enjoyed drinking, and that recording details, as regular readers will know, remained of secondary importance....

The moonshine went down well and we were soon setting off back towards Scarsdale Road. This was Charlie's second new pub, the Cross Scythes. I had a pint of Jaipur on cask whilst he had halves of Jesamine on cask and their Koln style (or Munchen?) lager on keg. We sat in the garden at the back soaking up the hops and the sunshine.  All the beers were on good form.

We headed for Chesterfield road next down the steep path, and were soon in the Tramshed, the third new pub for AA. One of the three thirds he wanted wasn't ready but he tried one from Brew York and a third of the BBnos Pale at 6.5% that I had a pint of. We sat in my usual spot and discovered that there is a small area out the back where people were getting some fresh air. We had a taster of the Brew York Tonkoko cream stout before we left as well.

Our penultimate stop came at the White Lion just down the road. I had recommended we sit in the snug on the left and I had a pint of the Hopscotch IPA and Charlie had the same. It was very enjoyable but you had to get used to the slight sour notes to it. It isn't described as a sour IPA but it wasn't offputtingly so either, on oddly enjoyable beer. I know Jon chatted to Charlie for a while, and both of us about his new venture in the building next door with Edd from Hopjacker - good things will be happening in Heeley soon!

Our final stop was the Rutland, where the AA has been a few times since Dave and Chris took over. He bought me a half of what might have been called Dane IPA from Puhaste but may equally likely have been called something different. He didn't get a drink as he had a lengthy train journey home to outside Barnsley.

After he left for the station I went up to The Blake to meet Steve and bumped into Reason and Dan, and supped a couple of pints of the Neepsend Demeter Spelt IPA which I thought was a cracking pint. The perfect end to our travels and a perfect end to the first weekend of the pay month! Once more I was able to show Charlie a raft of new pubs, all of which served excellent beer on cask and keg here in super sunny Sheffield!

Your very best health

Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Vikkie and Wee's Walkley wander

Hello,

    on Saturday, the day after payday assuring me of having funds, myself and my fab chum Vikkie went for a wander, billed as Crookes and Walkley, but mainly Walkley, and including Commonside. Co-incidentally, I did mostly the same crawl with Ale Ambler Charlie about 5 years ago, and I met with him Sunday, but details of that are to come in my next post.

I was meant to meet Vikkie at 12.00 in town so left the house at 11.15. The 52a, which runs every ten minutes, when it can be bothered, arrived 30 minutes after I arrived at the bus stop. Things could only get better. After the bus swapped drivers I found Vikkie on High Street and we both boarded the bus I had been on and got off on the top of Crookes. Our first job was to look at how the new micropub was progressing. A neb through the window suggests its potential name may be the builders yard....

Our first stop was the Princess Royal. From a range of four or five ales I started on a pint of Blue Bee Jester and Vikkie on a half of Welbeck Harley, and we sat round the side in the sunshine admiring the views and the wildlife, along with our beers. From here we walked down to gawp at the former Olde Heavygate, R.I.P old friend, and then headed down to Commonside to pop in the Closed Shop. Those of you who know me well will have heard me say numerous times that I would NEVER set foot in this pub whilst Stancil had it, but, you can't judge without visiting. So Vikkie had a half of Saltaire something or other on keg and me a half of full of Dank on cask, and we sat in the sunshine in the beer garden. The beer was OK. It wasn't very busy. Maybe the locals have taken a harder stance than myself.....

Across the road to the Hallamshire House and we sat in their beer garden with a pint of Hacksaw pale for me and a pint of Tangarine lager or ale for Vikkie. Both beers were well kept and we planned our route for the rest of the crawl. Ironically, heading up School Road we bumped into none other than the man of Ash, former manager at the HH. It was great to hear that his tenure at the Beer Engine was going well, and he provided some advice about our later destinations.

Up to the Cobden View next and being mid afternoon the pub was very quiet. After a somewhat lengthy wait we ordered a pint of Deuchars for me and a pint of Farmers for Vikkie and went and sat in their wonderful beer garden, enjoying the hot sunshine. After a quick scrump of some pears we headed down the path at the back onto Western Road then up past Binghams and back down to Commonside, then along to the Rose House.

When myself and Charlie had been they had two real ales on, and it still advertises that in paint on the wall but am not sure thy have served cask for two or three years now. We sat in the garden with halves of Guinness St James' Gold, which was on sale at a decent £2.60 a pint. After listening in on an urban soap opera, we headed on to the Palm on Palm Street.

Two real ales on here, and we both went for halves of Farmers Blonde and went and sat in their  beer garden. The location was lovely, especially in the hot sun, but the beer alas was on its very last legs. We chatted to the landlady for some time about Punch but forgot to mention that it was time for her Farmers to retire. A quick visit next to the Florist, which no longer sells real ale so we had halves of Magnet in their beer garden, before we visited the Blind Monkey. Probably a pint each of Heathen in here, and once again enjoyed in the hot sunshine in their wonderful........beer garden!

A quick hoik up Carr Road followed and we settled down to our best beer of the day in the Walkley Beer Co. I had a pint of IPA at 6.8% that had been brewed at a brewery and had a name, and finished on a can of Cloudwater Citra DIPA. Vikkie also had drinks, which were imbibed from a glass.

We were to have popped in the Blake, once again utilising their beer garden, but were fair famished so headed straight for the Hillsborough Hotel for food. Unfortunately they weren't serving food, so we had crisps and enjoyed our pints of beer coloured liquids in the beer garden. Obviously.

Sup finished I know I got on a bus and there is every chance that I got home, so it was a case of mission accomplished. The Walkley Beer Co was the best pub of the day but the Hallamshire House and Cobden also stood out amongst many. Many reasons to make a visit to some or all of the pubs yourselves whilst the weather is still good!

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Beef and Dave's new bar tour

Afternoon,

  three weeks or more ago (continuing a theme of reporting tarriance) myself and Davefromtshop met up to do a crawl featuring new venues to him. Dave has lived outside Chezvegas now for years and there have been many new openings in the time since. Meeting at 18.00 as we were it wasn't possible to try them all so we started at Bar Stewards, and headed for the Blind Monkey, and saw how we did for time as we went along.

I arrived prior to Dave and had been drinking already - including the sumptuous and amazing Morning Lemon lemon lactose ale at Hop Hideout from Glen Affric brewery, based in Liverpool, not in the wonderful glen or at the top of Mam Sodhail, as you wouldn't expect. I started on a can of "Sprite", which was sufficiently alcohol free but not as good as the Morning Lemon. Soon Dave joined me and I went on to a pint of the Blue Bee Solo Geek Story which was brewed for the Bar Stewards first birthday, and laden with mosaic hops. It was expectedly excellent.

From here we headed to the Old Workshop. Dave was immediately impressed by the decor, I was immediately smitten by the beer range. We had three beers in all, one of which was Scottish, and identifiable by a a name and evidence of whom brewed it. I think it was Cromarty actually. Memories eh? What are they? Guesses. Get over it.

From here we headed along Burton Road and over the Don to Church. They had a Cloudwater on keg, but it was 6.5% and £8.00 a pint. Dave went for a half a Black Iris Endless Summer which was also over a pound a percent, but less noticeable, and I had the last of a pint of Hopjacker, which is unfined. A fact which completely eluded the barman who warned me that it was near the end of the barrel because it was cloudy. Erm.....

Once again the architecture and design wowed but there appears to be a significant gap in beer knowledge between Church and the Old Workshop. Next was a lengthier walk to the Double H. Not a new pub as a such but when Dave had last visited it was owned by Wood Street brewery. We definitely had two pints of a pale beer in here, and they were sensibly priced and well kept. Identities thereof have as yet to filter through the haze of misrememberance which is my memory. I think they were both the Yorkshire Pale from Helmsley brewery. Or something similar.....

A stout yomp up the hill brought us to the Blind Monkey. Dave hadn't been to its former guise as the Firwood Cottage since the 1980s so the transformation was even more stunning to him. We both had pints of heathen on keg. Well, at least, I did. We sat out in the crowded beer garden supping and taking pictures. One thing the Blind Monkey is doing really well is attracting a local crowd, all of whom seem to love it. Sterling work on their part.

Further up the hill alas the Walkley Beer Co is back to its Thursday opening so as this was a Wednesday it was shut, so we jumped on the bus to town and went for a last one in the Sheffield Tap, just because it was nearer Dave's train. Am not going to even try and guess what we had. I know I had a pint and a half though, as I stayed behind after Dave had left.

There is an Ecclesall Road, Beer Engine Clubhouse and then 95 to Walkley section of the crawl to do next time, and by then one would hope the micropub on Crookes may have opened. As ever, drinking venue options in Sheffield ebb and flow and ultimately increase with every coming season, keeping us all on our libationary toes!

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 11 August 2018

A Fine, Friday, Sheffield crawl

Hellall,

      not yesterday, as am always a week behind, but the first Friday in August, I arranged to meet Christingpher at the Portland House on Ecclesall Road. Given that he had never been there, and we hadn't seen each other for five months, he agreed. I left my appointment nearby around 14.00 and having been unable to find any opening times was surprised to see C standing uncomfortably outside the closed pub. Christingpher still hasn't been to the Portland House. Does anybody know if its still open?

We headed instead to the Ecclesall Ale Club and found Dylan behind the bar, and soon had a pint and a half of Bad Seed Juice Box on keg. I had thought of trying the Burnt Mill beer but was offered a taste of the Bad Seed and it was a perfect juicy IPA. I sat outside with C supping and chatting before he decided to head off after a half - he was driving.

My next stop was the Garden Room, which was offering a beer called Cheers at £2.00 a pint. It was a keg pale and brewed by Thwaites. It was a decent drop, and between 17 and 19.00 they have cask on at £2.50 a pint, this time including Jaipur. Alas I couldn't stay around but may pop back. I like the Garden Room, in a weird way. Its like a Brit owned Spanish bar in Yorkshire. If they don't do roast beef and Yorkie puds I will be very disappointed.  

The Beer Engine came next and the pub is currently being managed by the Man of Ash. As always there was an excellent range of beers, and I had halves of BBno's session IPA and a sour, which was also brewed at a brewery.  I also had a small plate to put me on til later. It was ham and manchego and Dijon mustard potato croquettas. They were fab.

A rarer stop for me next at the Clubhouse. Having ordered a tasty pale ale I was disappointed to find a five pound limit on the card machine, but stumped together over £3.00 in loose change and got the pint a little cheaper. I did think about having more snap but was conscious of time as I was headed for my second home. The beer was well kept and refreshing.

I walked to the Railway on Bramall Lane next. I may only ever have been in winter because this was the first time I had sat in their beer garden. A pint of pale cask was accompanied by a pint of Abbeydale Heathen on keg, and some snacks. A fine stop once again. I did hope to visit the Cricketers, but it was closed, and have been told by those in the know that he only opens matchdays now.

A wander onwards found me at the Lord Nelson, also a first visit for some time. I had a pint of pale ale on cask which was served in a glass, and which entered my throat through my mouth. Am just trying to provide an absurf and unnecessary level of detail in order to pretend that I have clear memories of this event. The beer was very nice as always, and I paid on card.

From here I walked to Shakespeares where I finished on other glass housed liquids. As I was too poorly organised to take any photos am not sure what I had but Friendache tells me it was Boon Kriek. So that will have been a pint then. Evidence of photos in my garden the next day also tells me that I got home, which is where I continue to live. This also what I mostly managed to achieve on Saturday and Sunday...

Its always nice to revisit pubs that one hasn't been to for some time, and with such a massive range of good quality boozers here in Sheffield that is often the case. A big three cheers to all the pubs visited for the continuing efforts to water and feed the thirsty drinkers of Sheffield.

Huzaah!

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Remember when beer was bottle conditioned?

Evenin,

     I wondered if many of the readers of this blog under the age of 30 know of or less likely still have tried, and even less likely still, have enjoyed, a bottle conditioned ale?

I had a chat back in March with one of the brewers from Northern Monk (it may have been April) about putting bottle conditioned beers in the fridge to reduce its liveliness, and then opening it cold and allowing it to return to room temperature. He seemed concerned. What bottle conditioned beer are you drinking nowadays? I had to think.....Durham Temptation I replied. He seemed to think that was the only one likely to be any good. He is probably right. And its three years since I last had one. I may have met them in May. These are just months after all....

In 1995 I started working at Archer Road Beer Stop, Sheffield's first real ale off license, then just changed from Small Beer, as Davefromtshop had taken over. In 1995 I believed that bottle conditioning was the future of beer. I know. Don't judge me. And this was despite a horror show of evidence to the contrary. If putting live yeast in a cask and expecting strangers in multiple venues to know how to keep it and to avoid multitudinous naturally occurring happenstances that may ruin a beer is risky, then doing the same with a bottle is surely madness.

Then there were the rules. Chill it first, open it col.d Certain beers, such as Burton Bridge Empire Pale Ale, needed chilling for a day, and then to be poured into two steins to hold the froth. Much beer had issues with the yeast used (who chooses to put yeast in a beer that you can't drink?) which would either die, go rank through other issues such as light or temperature, and then needed to be poured away. Usually with the rest of the contents of the bottle. Apart from King and Barnes and Marstons, and the ever so lively Burton Bridge, oh, and Durham, most bottle conditioned ale, or BCA, was to be avoided at all costs.

Although the Belgians seem to know what they are doing with it.....

This realisation of the pooernes of BCA in part prompted me to write the following post here. All the way back in 2012. Having thought carefully about it I reckon there may only have been a handful of bottled beers, all aged, and very few purchased, that were BCAs, thereafter. And that isn't all down to the horrors of the Corvedale or Litton brewery bottled beers, all of which were senselessly bad.

Its mainly because, as of 2014 or 2015 when I first tried "modern" beer in a can, I have recognised that the type of beer I like to drink tastes better in a can. Nobody wants a BCA soupy IPA. Some such beers are bottled but very clearly implore you to drink fresh - spot on advice. I want to drink the freshest beer with the hops at their prime. And the likes of Citra, Mosaic and Centennial do seem to have extra citrus bitterness when freshly mashed. So gerrit supped!

I do still have  couple of old beers that I intend to drink, and some that, unlike most of my collection, may in fact be worth something so won't be opened, although that is a narrow market am sure. My 1994 Thomas Hardy Ale is reaching maturity next year and will be shared. The difference there is, the style is suited to ageing, and the yeast also. Its a work of art. It may not have a whole bagful of zesty hops but it will still be an interesting and hopefully enjoyable drop.

Apart from Durham, am struggling to think of breweries whose beers I like that I know still produce BCAs. Are BCAs dead? No. And for different reasons, not all positive. They don't however end up in my monthly beer shop nowadays, with far far better potations on offer in can.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy.
  

Monday, 30 July 2018

Antisocial co-dependence

Hiya Kids! Welcome to the funfair of despair......

            Obviously, those who know me know that the above is my pet name for work. so its unlikely you will visit said park. Its just that having chosen the title of this amble through ideas I realised it may not sound like a tremendous spasm of fun to read. I mean, its not, but I have tweaked it in my head since meaning to write it four months ago when I first espied the two characters described in the title. On reflection, it no longer seems appropriate to jest....

The above caveat is somewhat undermined by my wanting to describe the couple as the old man who dresses like he is 29 in the seventies and the incredible shitting woman. In fact, its a socially oblivious man in his mid fifties dragging his elderly incontinent and usually incoherent Mother around pubs in Kelham Island until she wants to go home. Usually about ten minutes after they arrive. A chance discussion last week using the ISW descriptor resulted in a comment that made me think about the underlying dark tones of this unusual pub relationship, when someone said it wasn't  her fault, it was her son taking her out in no fit state so he can get drunk. Am afraid that is right. Please bear that in mind whilst reading, lest you think I may be enjoying this description of events. Its really a cautionary tale of what happens when a relationship becomes skewed in one half's favour, and the pub is the only place the stronger feels safe.

I was sat in my second home and a man wandered to the bar with an elderly woman. She was wearing slippers, a woolly pullover and loose fitting jogging bottoms. There was an odour. He was wearing a 1970s baseball cap, a shirt, wide legged trousers hoist over his belly with a tight belt and gola trainers. He ordered his Mother a glass of cordial or a tea, I can't remember which, and himself a pint of Stancill, and sat down in earshot. I took a long swig of my cloudy post 8% hoppy soup. Its like I knew.

A man still at the bar, probably older than the bloke, was on his mobile phone. This prompted our  societal orator to bemoan the reliance on mobile communications by "the young". The switch had now been flipped.  His Mother shifted uncomfortably at the table....

His next treatise was on expensive modern beers, and how the Stancill was expensive at £2.60 a pint, and how the young had no idea what they were doing wit their money. Ripe for an argument, I willed him to ask me how much my drink cost. He didn't. Instead he bemoaned the flavour of Stancill, before ordering a far more traditional pint. Of keg cider. Which he quickly despatched. Two pints down, and we were ten minutes in.

His Mother made a bid for freedom under the guise of heading for the toilets. On her return he berated her about modern life choices and philosophies, particularly those of the young. Jealousy is a very poor character trait,  although, sometimes its obvious where its seeds have been sown. "I want to go ome" his Mother said. "Not yet dear, am just going t get another pint" Do you want another drink? "No". Cue chuntering. And another five minute pint. And another rant about the poor quality flavours in modern beer. If only it were 1956. Instead of him just looking like he was still there....

After another pint, he declared he was getting a further one, and I decided to leave the odd show of social awkwardness and co-dependent ambiguity. It wasn't possible to determine if his Mother was being antisocial I should point out. She was just ungladdened to be out. He was trollied. His espousals were even less considered. He was certainly being antisocial.

Seeking refuge over the road in Bar Stewards I had purchased a can of hoppy soup. To my dismay, the odd coagulation of dystopian relationships shambled in. A strange discourse took place between the young wishing old guy and a member of staff. In the end Colin, as I had called him in my head, had another pint of cider. His Mother had a soft drink, later followed by amoebic dysentery. I had left by this stage.

I saw them twice more in the next month, at Shakespeares once again, no doubt bemoaning the cost of the Stancill, and at the Wellington, no doubt bemoaning the arrival of the 1970s. Colin was definitely in charge, and the trespass against his Mother's needs became ever more apparent. Looking back now I can see this melodrama for what it is. A man struggling to look after his semi continent Mother and longing to get hammered in front of other people, who may see the quagmire of his failures and scoop him and his Mother free of them.

I realise this is only slightly about beer and pubs but I do think that it reflects the role that the pub can play in some people's lives. For half the cost and much less mess he could care for his Mother at their home and get far more hammered at much less cost to her dignity and wellbeing. That his need to display this unequal arrangement of care and his bubbling disquiet in the pub says much about the fact that pubs are simultaneously places to meet and drink with friends, as well as a refuge for people with serious and oft overwhelming needs. A strangely impersonal shoulder to cry on.

I dearly hope that somebody who knows them has reported their concerns to social services, assuming they still exist, and that some action has been taken or support offered to meet both their differing needs without the compulsion to cry for help through the lengthy scenes on this maudlin tapestry of regret.

I haven't seen either of them for three months or more. Deep cleans of all Kelham Island's pub's toilets have taken place. There are still symphonies of nonsense, but none upon which so much hangs. I do hope they have found some respite in the midst of their struggles.

Beef

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Bar Stewards turns one year old

Hullabaloo,

      although Al and Charlie have been open to the public for longer, its was a year ago yesterday that they got their full license at Bar Stewards on Gibraltar Street, opposite Shakespeares. To celebrate, a marvelous line up of ales on cask and keg and in bottle and can were amassed, live music was performed, three seasons of weather took place and crowds of thirsty wellwishers drank in the pub and beer garden.

The lads had been busy brewing a couple of special beers, including Solo - a geek story, a 6.6% pale brewed at Blue Bee, and a hazy 6.9% IPA brewed at Lost Industry called Ingenious Bar Stewards. Am not sure I tried that, but arriving at 14.30 I started on the Solo on cask as soon as I arrived. It was a wonderfully hoppy ale, and ticked all the boxes for what I wanted and expected.

Given the mad rain and thunder in the Friday morning the air was cooler and more rain was forecast, so I had to wear a short over my Tee Shirt. In fact, it was already starting to rain when I arrived, and some of the flags in the front window blew down early on, giving some notice of the weird weather that awaited us. Initially I sat inside but once joined by Vikkie and Matt we went outside where the strong sunshine had dried the seating and the number of visitors increased quickly. Although, four older gents came across the road from Shakespeares earlier and were horrified to discover that the weakest of the three casks was 5%. They left. I know they may have been on an all dayer but they could have had halves, silly old fuffers.....

I had half a Deya next, another cloudy golden swig of hops from Cheltenham's finest, before I persuaded Vikkie to buy me a pint of Verdant Even planets twinkle, or similar, a fabulous murky DIPA at 8.5%. It was, unsurprisingly, wonderful. Although I didn't dare look at how much it cost.....

A couple of cans followed, one of which was a Loka Polly DIPA featuring some of my favourite but thus far unremembered hops, and I had another half of the Verdant, and possibly shared a can of Verdant Neal gets things done. Or possibly not. I think the mini beer tasting I had Friday night and three consecutive nights drinking prior to that may have muddled my brain a little, resulting in  a modicum of misrememberance....

A couple of heavy showers fizzed over us, sending some scarpering inside as if made of sugar, but we simply stayed put and got wet, and as the crowds got ever bigger Stumbling Andy played blues guitar, whilst we and others petted his dog. Rich and Kath turned up, as did clan Seaton and Unpro, and there were numerous other well known members of the scene including Pete, and Andy Morton. It seemed as if everyone wanted to wish the Stewards the very best, and Vikkie and Matt even got them a birthday card featuring some of Matt's finger on window handiwork!

According to texts I sent to Tash I was home by half 8 so probably left bout 19.50 after just over five hours supping. Since the Solo at 6.6% was probably the weakest beer I drank all day its hardly surprising that I neither remember getting home, nor cooking and eating my tea. I did though, so there.

New micropubs continue to open in Sheffield with a number since Bar Stewards started out in early 2017. It seems the demand for small independent places to drink free of tie remains unabated, with proposed new venues in Hillsborough and Crookes on the cards. Through dedication, hard work and a genuine love of beer the Bar Stewards have built their reputation and created a reputable and reliable place to drink, meet and chat with similar minded folks.

Heres wishing them many more years of growth and excellence ahead.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Sheffield gets another new bar.....

Hello readers,

     some of you may read into the title of the post. that I don't see any need, maybe any justification, for another new drinking venue in fab sunny Sheffield. That isn't the case at all. In fact, its a little word trap that I have set, and now entirely dismantled. And as you will see, I happen to rather like this new venue.

I say venue because Church, Temple of Fun is not just a bar by any stretch of the imagination. The building itself, on Rutland Road, houses a clothing store called drop dead and the bar features along with a frankly excellent range of bose, a vegan menu from make no bones, and there are retro video games to play, along with quirky seating (too much so for me, I didn't want to have to be rescued, although once I regain some mobility I will try out the hexagonal "tubes" which you can sit in....) The main highlight on my first and thus far only visit was the music.

The Osborn factory, or more likely Osborn woks, have terrifically high ceilings. This affords a cool atmosphere, and some frankly excellent acoustics, and the choice of music played then, mainly dub reggae and a sprinkle of ska, was perfectly suited to the surroundings. When not shopping, dancing or walking around in awe of the vast cathedralesque qualities of the venue, there is a small outside drinking area positioned over the river Don from where one can espy the fabulous Gardeners Rest beer garden.

But what of the bose? I hear you cry....

There are two handpulls, one for cider and one for Dark Star Hophead on my visit, and possibly six keg fonts. selling high quality beers such as Black Iris endless summer session IPA, Highwire Grapefruit, and the first beer I had there, which may have had a name, and been Lervig Tasty Juice. Or not. I looked at the wine list as well and it sounded fantastic, although on this occasion it was strictly a beer visit. The staff recommendation board features Cloudwater in cans, maybe as a collab, so the can and bottle selection is pretty good too. I have been told by friends Helen and Chele and also judging by the pics on their website, that they are rather good at cocktails. As an unreformed death metaller, the idea of putting activated charcoal into a drink to make it black sounds like an excellent idea!

A quick search on Google lead me to an article in the Sheffield Star, whose website I cant access except for in cache. I found out from that the person behind the bar is Sheffield musician Oli Sykes from the band Bring me the Horizon. Yep. Me too. Now am in my dotage I know very little about current Sheffield popular beat combos. There is a link here to the bar's website, and you can find them on Friendache....

I also discovered the name of the architect who designed the original works, William John Hale. There is also a link here to an article about Hale and listing his Sheffield buildings. As a former Crookes resident its interesting to see how I have followed his architecture to near where I live now. Or not.....

I will be returning to Church, a great name for any pub as used by many a person as a euphemism for the pub or club, in August and am looking forward to encountering more excellent music and more wonderful beers. In the meantime I highly recommend a visit.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Monday, 16 July 2018

A very wet week in sunny Sheffield

Hulloo,

       just an advisory note readers, the following tome contains multiple references to and details of EXCESSIVE consumption of luffly bose. And not just ordinary bose. Naeow. Proppah bose. I digress, of course, but here are some details of what some of my dear friends told me happened during that mad week last month.....

Last month, and the period thereafter, has been hot. So eagle eyed readers will notice what I have done. Its an joge. A play on words if yer like. because the weather....was not wet. Its just that my actions were primarily aqueous.....

It began....in Shakespeares. As, indeed, did everything. When the first wriggling atoms of life splashed free into the furthest pool of life's construction, that, was in Shakespeares. Absurd, admittedly, but you can see where my allegiances lie. Its not my second home for nothing. Its all Earth's lifes second home.

Adam had put on North Brewery Transmission American pale at 6.9% on cask, one of the world's best beers, on. I arrived for my crapulent downfall at 15.07 with S.o.J, soon joined by Helen and Chris and Malc, and had a pint. And then another. Other than the first I paid for none. And still the 568mls of joy came unabated. Carried away on a tide of friends kindness and nobody knowing who the delicious pints were for, I probably had six. Or seven. Or more...

One surprising side effect of this bibulus undertaking is that I became hammered. So much so that I "briefly" nodded off. Indeed, am still hearing about persons who turned up at or around 20.30 whom I have no recollection of seeing. Steve took me to the loo. And I dare not report what WK had to explain away about my trousers as I tried to leave for the taxi.

The next day, having somehow not died, I awoke earlyish to find Matty strimming the lawn in drizzle, and friends and WF started to congregate to board a minibus driven by Paddington. Having been too destroyed to read my Faceache messages I hadn't realised we were meeting on the main road. WF was not impressed. Although, WK offered to drive his car to him, pick him up. drop him at the bus and then drive back, park the car and run back. WF was having none of it. We left 40 minutes late.

Arriving at the Ye Olde Rock Inne at Upper Hulme at 13.00 we soon ordered food and all had fabulous meals and mainly numerous pints of Wincle Sir Phillip. Excellent snap, even if the mobile phone bound lass behind the bar never collected our plates in the hour following our meal. Heading through excellent countryside back to Sheffield, we stopped at Tescos Abbeydale, where me and Davefomtshop walked there for me to buy bose and WF embarked on a tri-millennial dawdle to the loos. We arrived back home late, with WF half asleep, to find that Tash and Matt had done a wonderful job cleaning the house and finishing the garden. Much supping, burgers and music then occurred, til I finally went to bed about 01.30.

The main part of the weeks libations transpired to be my actual birthday, where after a half of Mad Clown in the Rutland we headed to Shakespeares. Here, the Transmission pump was inhabited by a 6.9% Howling Hops IPA, which I had several pints of. Perhaps seven, maybe six. Carlos very kindly drove me home, and having watched me open the gate, clamber down the steps, open the  door and enter the house, I texted him half an hour later, to tell him I was home...

All in all I had a wonderful birthday week, although I have to zay, a wz veh, veh drank.

Your very envious health!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Why did I Bother Understanding IBU?

Good arternoo,

     a few years ago, maybe five, perhaps six, or four, or any other number, I had a chat in my second home with Dave Unpro of Steel City Brewing. I was asking his advice on what IBU, apart from International Bitterness (or ing) Units, actually meant. I have had a drink since then, and so can't really remember much of the outcome of this discourse but I think it was similar to wind chill in that the bitterness measured in IBUs is how you perceive its level but is different to the actual level. Or it could be none of these. These are guessesmories after all. And I have had a drink since then. Did I mention I'd had a drink sine then?

Back in 2012 Unpro and Arbor Ales had collaborated to brew a 666 IBU beer at 6.66%. I even wrote about it, here. I was very impressed by the beer and pleases at how easy it was to drink. I also mentioned that BrewDog Hardcore IPA had an IBU of 150 but Punk IPA, which I had loved when I first tried it, was only 40. This may be where my reliance on IBU as a sign of quality started to waiver.

Earlier this year I tried Northern Monk Infinity Vortex, a 6.4% or similar IPA which I absolutely loved. Checking their (or another's)  website I was surprised to note that the IBU of this beer was only 25. Since the beer was double dry hopped I couldn't work out why it hadn't been higher, and also why I had still loved the brew. Did IBU still matter to me?

The answer to the question in the title incidentally is simply that it seemed to be a good indicator of good beer. And as the below highlights that is not necessarily the case.

Evidence it doesn't equate also came from my love of Verdant beers. I saw an interview with them earlier this year where they said the biggest surprise to them had been just how sweet people liked their beer. Pah! I retorted. I don't like sweet beer, yuk! But actually, having last night tried even sharks need water from the same, it was described more like a can of sweets than an IPA, and once more I glugged it down like it was...well, manna from heaven is a slightly unfortunate comparison, but certainly it was a fab concoction. Incidentally, I can't find details of this beer's IBU. And Untapped states No IBU.....

Its interesting to see how my tastes have developed over time, I now prefer a colder cloudier beer than I did 5 years or more ago, and am much less interested in hop bite, although that always tickles my tonsils when its a feature. I don't actually think that the reduced prominence of IBU in beer is a sign of taste changing however, instead its as much a miscomprehension on my part, the idea that high IBU equaled high enjoyment.

In looking at the details of the malts and yeasts used in Cloudwater Verdant and Northern Monk beers I am more clear now on what I think are the many parts that make a good beer. Flaked oats and London Ale yeast are just two ingredients that feature regularly in beers I love and contribute to a smoother and easier drinking beer. I don't think this reduces the hop or bitterness tastes in the beers, I just think it makes the palate more open to subtleties otherwise unnoticed in the beer.

Ironically therefore, am not considering the level of IBU in a beer but loving the dry hopping rate. So if anything IBU as a measurement is just a distraction from my primary consideration of whether or not I like a beer or not, that being just exactly that. IPAs have a lot t answer for it seems!

Cheers

Wee Beefy


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Man drinks clear, sub 5% beer. Rubber-neckers gridlock traffic.

Good evig,

  shocking and scarcely calculable news has emerged of a man drinking a clear beer, at sub 5% in a popular Sheffield establishment. The man, known online and in Maidens Ayrshire as Wee Beefy, consumed said potation on Saturday, occasioning not only an International visa payment crisis, but also the spectacle of hoardes of onlookers whom gridlocked the road outside his den of iniquity, trying to "cop a butchers".

Beefy, as he is known, did not even forewarn road users or passers by before beginning this heinous undertaking, leading directly to the automotive carnage outside. Whilst blog and Friendache readers reacted with disbelief, thronged on the highway trying to espy the near clear liquid were hundreds of discombobulated bystanders.

Onlookers, conjoined in a group hum of wretched contemplation, even mentioned that the beer, as well as being below his usual 7% starting strength, "didn't even have a capital I in it". The elderly spontaneously combusted at this vile revelation, whilst pitchfork waving crowds thronged the pavements in shared ire.

As the harsh sun of expectation denial aflamed the slow moving outside, Beefy ignorantly chugged down his effervescent tincture inside, with scarcely any consideration of his action's impact. "ee dint simt care" shrieked Graham and Grahametta Schjok, a cretinous couple who had jack-knifed their camper van across both sides of the road to witness the seemingly unimaginable act transpire. "ee juss drank it, like ee dint gee a shit " said Norman Colon, a passing drunk with scrofula " ee dint sim to care a jot the bast" he mumbled incoherently.

On social media the pages of despair were afire with accusations of some kind of publicity seeking scam or contrivance on Beefy's part, perhaps, in some ways, trying to claw back a fall in stats on his woeful "blog" site. No agreement or contrivance has been received from Beefy, lapping up the sun in the Algarve as he is.

"aee luff you, yer fuggin suberstarp" he drawled aimlessly. I fuggin do yer top basta"."Am back ont clear suff narr an its shent me daff". No other response could be found.

Other hues of ale are available.

The Beefmeister

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Cannonball Run 2018

Hello,

      many pubs in Sheffield, and, no doubt Huddersfield and elsewhere, did the Cannonball Run this year. I certainly tried the new Neo in Hop Hideout and I know the Rutland also ran the three if not all four.

In case you are lost, the Cannonball Run is having all four, or in this case the three stronger, Magic Rock Cannonball beers. I don't think there is an order, or prescribed quantity. Its just a way of enjoying the Magic of the Rock and their excellent but boozy beers Cannonball, which I recall is a 7.4% American IPA, Human Cannonball, which is a 9.3% DIPA, Neo-human Cannonball which may also be 9.3% and a New England DIPA and the big sick daddy monster of them all, which is Unhuman Cannonball, a TIPA at 11.0%. This may at least explain the lack of insistence on quantity.....

On Saturday I got to Shakespeares, my second home, about 15.00 and bought a third. Not of Magic Rock mind. Of Cloudwater Citra DIPA at 8.5%. It was very very easy to drink, and its soupy orange hue looked wonderful against the dark green succulents (not sure of name) in the pot in the garden, splashed in glorious sunshine.

Next I took advice on my second beer - and had a third of the Cloudwater and Veil Brewing Chubbles TIPA. Although not doing so well at the Cannonball Run thus far, Chubbles is a simply fantastic beer. As I relaxed in the hot sun, waiting for the couple on the bench on which I must sit to get the last two hours of sunshine to leave, Vikkie turned up with a half of Human Cannonball, and soon bought me the same. So began a lengthy and fabulous run of frankly insensibly strong beers.

On my recommendation she had half a Chubbles next and myself half a Neo Human, followed by a half each of the absurdly quaffable Unhuman. The beer got louder, redder, and stronger, and the rays got hotter as we chased the sun to its final resting place on the wall on the left, and had another two halves, of unspecified potation.

We lost the sun soon after and headed for more ....sun, at Bar Stewards. V had a half of beer (am sorry, I can't remember what) and I had a half of the Lervig IPA at 7.something. We sat in the yard in the last of the bright sunshine and talked beer and barbecues and then went to purchase a can of Verdant DIPA Howl to share.

This features a few lines from her fave poet Allan Ginsberg (or one of many other human poets) and their poem Howl. As expected, Verdant had pulled out all the stops in making this a fabulous and stupendously easy drinking hoppy DIPA which went down far too easily.

We wandered back to Shakespeares not long after where we had halves of the Unhuman, or the Neo, or indeed any one of the beers we had already consumed. It was 20.00. We were sunned and tired. And we were thirsty. After a period of time the winged warrior arrived to magically spirit me away home and the next thing I knew I was getting up to do overtime......

For many reasons May has been a good month, notably the hot sunny weather, which has baked me nicely, the compny, which has treated me so well, but mostly the ale, which has stewed me similarly. The Cannonball Run is an excellent idea, and when accompanied by the quality of beer on offer at Shakespeares and Bar Stewards over last weekend, its quite impossible to resist.

Huzaah!

Wee Beefy

Monday, 28 May 2018

Verdant and Cloudwater do colab. World can now end.

Hello,

      I worry that the title of this post may identify me as a Cloudwater or Verdant "fan boy". I recognise that by the associations of ideas and things I like, that I may have fallen into a category amongst some readers whereby I am not to be trusted on some more patina heavy issues due to my perhaps foolish love of "modern" and worse still "craft" beers. To which, I would say - what is Craft exactly? As many have found, its a liquid word. Its meaning changes per utterance. Am not a crafty darling. I just know what I like. And I don't like the term Craft.

So, having got all that out of the way, lets talk beer. At the beginning of May 2018, or other dates, a collaboration DIPA was released having been brewed by Verdant and Cloudwater Breweries. Naturally, regular readers will have correctly assessed that I had to have this. And I just have. Although it took a long time getting hold of a can....many thanks to Dave from Archer Road Beer Stop for my early birthday present!

The first thing I have to mention is Expectation versus delivery. Being a fan (not boy) of both breweries, I naturally assumed that this would rewrite the story of beer. That was my expectation. Luckily that was tempered. Expectation versus delivery always ends in disappointment I find. It was time to expect to be underwhelmed.

My other fear was that they would do something completely off kilter, and that I wouldn't like it. A marmite gose. an aubergine Hungarian IPA, a caviar stout. Luckily, and the reason that I rejoiced, they stuck to type and did an excellent DIPA. And that made me very, very happy. Because it was like all I love bout their two breweries output but slightly better. And that is all I wanted....

The label implied that the beer had been brewed at the Verdant brewery, and their signature sweet hoppy taste, maybe from the London Ale yeast they use, was prominent throughout. Despite obvious soupy orange and yellow hued comparisons in appearance, their beers are very different in how they are constructed. Verdant are sweeter, and less hoppy compared to Cloudwater. A tribute then that both of these characteristics featured strongly in Swifts or Swallows?, which is the name of the colab.

Having just drunk it I can report a lingering bitterness but also that lightly malt sweetness that frames their beers. They used Citrea and Columbus hops which may have added a lemony hint to the bitterness, along with Cloudwater standards of flaked oat and Dextrin, which are no doubt contributors to it being so easy to drink.

So two of my favourite breweries have made a highly acceptable soupy DIPA. And that makes me very satisfied. End of.

Goodbye!

Cheers

Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Infinity Vortex

Don't worry kids,

      my blog hasn't been hacked by Sci-fi nerds, or film buffs who love Star Wars. The title is actually the name of a beer of which I consumed quite a lot the other Tuesday at Bar Stewards.

I had started the evening across the road at my second home Shakespeares. I had a pint of Vocation Chop and Change featuring English hop Jester, which was a cracking pint, with a surprisingly citrus zest, followed by a half of Cromarty White Out session IPA at 3.something, which was an excellent palate cleanser with plenty of bite. Tastebuds awoken, I headed across the road to Bar Stewards.

I had heard about the Infinity Vortex beer from Sean at Beer Central who described it as the best IPA of the year. According to the board at Bar Stewards its 7.9%. Verdant DIPAs are usually 8% and Cloudwater's only .5% stronger so is this an I or DI PA? To be fair it doesn't matter. It was a chuffing glorious beer. Yet another significant notch on the headboard of the Patrons Project for the crew at Northern Monk.

Checking the tinterweb am satisfied that I may have misread that, as its 7.4%, and thus perfect IPA strength. Its Patrons Project 13.01, a DDH IPA with Citra, El Dorada, and, it sez, Cashmere tank petrol? brewed by Northern Monk, Other Half and Equilibrium breweries. I know I probably like my soupy hoppy IPAs a little too much but any beer over 6% that drinks like juice is a winner for me. And even though I don't know what Petrol tank or Cashmere petrol tank maybe in terms of an ingredient, something in that glorious mix made Infinity Vortex an absolute winner.

I had three, maybe three and a half pints of this superstar and may have finished on a can of the Cloudwater Chubbles TIPA. This in part may explain why I don't recall getting home. I absolutely don't regret this splurge of lupulin. It was the best....um...amount of money I have spent this year!

I remember when Northern Monk came out about five years or so ago and I didn't recall being particularly taken by their beers, but in the last two years their renown and my appreciation for their output has grown considerably. The Northern Monk tap takeover during Sheffield Beer Week at Bar Stewards helped cement that in my outlook, and last Friday I had three pints of the Northern Monk New World IPA on cask at my second home, an incomparable citrussy easy drinking hop bomb that was one of the most balanced beers I have had in years. Mind you, the beer is only 60 IBU (I think) so the balance must be what carries off the hops perfectly - a theme for a future post might be how I have come to not notice bitterness but fruity hoppiness in beer, possibly rendering IBU a meaningless measurement?

Well done to Northern Monk for once again making my drinking week with this excellent IPA, and to Bar Stewards for putting it on sale. I didn't get a can from Sean's but if he gets any more in I may get one as a birthday treat.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 19 May 2018

V3 Vs V3.1

Hullabaloo,

        finding myself with a surprise bank note in my wallet last weekend I was very pleased to also note that Cloudwater had re-brewed their V3 DIPA and released a new version, version 3.1. I had heard they were going to redo V3 and after a morning and afternoon of overtime I was more than happy to pop to Shakespeares, my second home, to have a third of each.

So which was best I hear you ask? Well, for me it was the V3.1. The reasons for that are set out below. Although am more interested in how I reached, rather than that, conclusion.

I can't remember. clearly, what Cloudwater DIPA V3 tasted like. It was released in March 2016 I think, and I have had a huge amount of beer since then, and the only appreciable difference from looking at the font clips was the strength, now 8.5%. Its not possible therefore to make a direct comparison. Apart from the minor strength adjustment, the only difference I was sure of was it seemed to taste sweeter than I remembered? This is interesting, because a chat with Sam behind the bar revealed that he hadn't tried v3 the first time, but preferred it of the two this time, despite its sweetness.

Chris meanwhile suggested V3.1 was a reflection of changes in brewing styles and processes in the last two years. This was a convincing explanation. V3.1 was hoppier, and far soupier. It also had a more mellow balanced mouthfeel and flavours. It was on par with the juicy DIPAs I love and consume. I was sat in the beer garden in bright hot sunshine supping two finely crafted yellow-orange hued strong pale ales and I was chuffed to bits.

The other thing that stuck in my mind was the fact that along with many others, I had ended up becoming slightly bored with the Cloudwater DIPA series. It had been ahead of its time in terms of pricing and the minute variances in each number had made me think my cash wasn't being well spent. Since then, their DDH pale series, small IPAs, TIPAs and wonderful missing piece IPA with the Pilcrow pub have proved that actually, a widening of their output has let Cloudwater brew some excellent beers, with flaked oats and Lallemand New England yeast taking centre stage in making their brews so much more easy drinking, and the double dry hopping hsowcasing the hops brilliantly.

On that basis, despite leaping for joy on hearing them announce the rebrew of version 3, there was actually little point in brewing it, unless it was to showcase the class and excellence f version 3.1.

That said, a comparator or not, it was still a very enjoyable drop, and the version 3.1 was a better drop again. I went over to Bar Stewards afterwards and enjoyed a can of Loka Polly Citra DIPA and a can of their IPA as well - how things have changed even since Cloudwater started brewing, that I now look at the casks, the kegs and the cans and bottles when I go drinking after work!

Long may the development and exploration of the DIPA style continue, and longer still may Cloudwater be matched and followed by excellent brewers striving to create the best and the better in terms of beer, in all its formats.

Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Back to where it all began

Hello,

  on Saturday, which is officially less than a whole week ago, I was at the Sheffield SU's Beer Festival 2018 in the student union, Interval Bar and Interval gardens. It was the first time I have been for many years, especially since the last time I had tried to go they had ran out of beer on something like Friday night. No such problems this time however. And this, back in 1994, which is in the past, was the venue for my first ever beer festival, aged less.

Its a sign of how little I knew about beer that almost all the breweries were new to me then, and also that there was only one beer which I really wanted to try. Having previously been out locally and drank quite a lot of Wards, Kimberley, Stones, and sometimes Websters, apart from fledgling trips to the Fat Cat and the Cask and Cutler my beer exploration was pretty restricted. This lengthy caveat supports my suggestion to Geoff Macdonald or Dave Daykin behind the bar that I should start on a half of the strongest beer at the festival. Despite their attempts to warn me otherwise, I ignored them and went ahead having a half of Orkney Skullsplitter. At 8 point whatever it is. Followed by a half of Arkells 2B. I had a lot to  learn....

Funnily enough this year I also started on a plus 8% ale. Weird Beard Cardinal Wolf (I keep thinking it needs an e....) was an 8.4% DIPA served on keg, where hops are best, and was rather bloody delicious. Having bumped into club Lycett and Ally and Malc, I wandered up into the bright sunshine to join Clan Cawthorne and their birthday celebrations for Richard. Or another male human name with an A in it. The sun was baking, the company was ace, I hadn't needed to piss away any of my meagre funds on a festival glass so had enough for a few beers, and I was happy as a puppy with two cocks.

Up next came another Cardinal, and further sunning whilst I chatted to the assembled throng of folk and soaked it all up. I then decided to have a break from DIPA and went for some Neepsend and Regather Tilamook IPA at 6.2% on cask, which luckily was a little chilled. This also proved to be a good way of restraining myself from plunging into hapless inebriation.

I may have moved onto a half of the Tiny Rebel Can you smell what the Bock is cooking, a gloriously hoppy beer which I can remember the taste of but not the purchasing. I then moved onto Abbeydale Lost Souls 2017 stout at 10% on keg. Drinking Bearded Lady Rum barrel on keg in the Tap was what first woke me up to the idea that keg had merit and value and the same criteria applied here -  on cask, even lightly chilled, this beer would have warmed up far too much by the time you had sat in the sun supping it for an hour. On this occasion it was perfectly easy drinking, and the warmth of the sun merely served to release some of the more balanced and smooth characteristics.

I may have slipped in a further Cardinal but finished on a half of the Abbeydale Nelson Sauvin DIPA at 9% on cask. Far hoppier than their other cask DIPA, the only thing that let this down was a slight alcoholic sweetness. Mind you that perhaps necessarily buffeted you against the sledgehammer hit of the sauvin hops.

Now sober I realise there were far many other beers that I could have tried but actually, whilst the beer I tried was exceptional, this fest for me was about the excellent company of friends, baking in hot sun and feeling almost knowledgable about beer and what to taste. The whole experience wasn't even let down by the bizarre claim that I couldn't get money back for my unused tokens unless someone in the queue wanted to buy the same number. Luckily they did, but isn't that ever so slightly retarded?

I finished the night in the University Arms with the Clan Cawthorne and a pint of Abbeydale Black Mass, at 6.6%  nearly the weakest beer I drank all day. I liked the SU beer fest, especially the weather, but also the lack of rigmarole and restriction on what I wanted and how I wanted to buy it. I returned my plastic glass when I left and felt happy that I had spent the afternoon with some fine folks. And also a trifle refreshed....

Cheers!

Wee Beefy  

Thursday, 3 May 2018

The Blind Monkey Whitehouse Lane Walkley

Hello,

  on Friday 27 April 2018 the Blind Monkey finally opened its doors after what seemed an age of refurbishment work and very high quality refitting. Following replacing the roof and sourcing an extensive range of antique fixtures and fittings, the 1930's style speakeasy/gastropub reopened, and I went in on Tuesday for a look.

Its time first of all to witter on mumbulousy about its former guise. I used to live on Tennyson Road nearby, and in 1999 I visited all the pubs in Walkley and Lower Walkley, to see what was available beers wise. There were a lot of pubs in the area then, but very few of which sold real ale. The Palm, famously, even had a handwritten sign in the doorway stating they "do NOT sell real ale". Although I picked the sadly long demolished Freedom View as my favourite, and never summoned the desire to visit the Belle Vue, I did go in the Firwood Cottage. It sold cask Tetley at a good price, and had TV screens blaring out sport to almost nobody, and it appeared over the next year to have a new landlord every month, with the people barred by the previous returning every time to be barred all over again. I did visit twice more, and the last time it was run by a couple who may now run the Walkley Cottage. No real ale but it was a cracking atmosphere. Am fairly sure the pub closed not long after.

Arriving in bright sunshine the first thing I noticed was the intricacy of detail in the interior. Its very busy, but not jumbled, and fitted out to a very high spec. There are two rooms either side of the entrance with a bar counter in the on on the right, and then the main bar area is on the right beyond. There are 4 or 5 handpulls (these are just numbers after all) featuring on my visit Don Valley Gongoozler porter, Bradfield Ale and Timothy Taylors Landlord. Beyond is the kitchen and am guessing the wood fired pizza oven, with a third room on the left, the loos and the access to the yard.

A couple of friends on Faceache asked me what the pub was like after I posted a few pics on there showing some of the interior. One mentioned that he had heard the beer range was poor, which would be disappointing. I think the range is less exciting than I had expected.  In terms of regular Walkley haunts the Beer Co and the Blake the range is disappointing, but that presupposes that they are trying to compete. I would like to think not. The Blind Monkey does food (it sounds very nice as well) and is done out in a 1900's to 1930s theme. Neither of the other two do this. I would suggest a crawl could start at the Blake, up to the Walkley Beer Co and finish at the Blind Monkey for some snap. Although I didn't eat there....

Beers wise I had a pint of Abbeydale Heathen on keg, at £4.00 a pint. That is about right.  The beer was well presented and I have always liked Heathen, but this was only after I had asked for cans or bottles - the keg taps are behind the front of the bar with the handpumps and the range of keg beers of interest was just one. The bottled beer range is similarly restricted. I did have a pint of the Don Valley later and it was a very well kept porter, and WK enjoyed the Bradfield Ale.

Their website states they are a "New Age pub with an old fashioned heart" and in some ways that sums up their beer range. I don't think they could have reopened this former cask and then Magnet and Tetley smoothflow pub selling a wall of highly hopped keg IPAs and sours along with hazy cask ales. I think the rather restrained choice of ale suits the pub situation and locality very nicely. The only issue for me is that, whilst I love the decor and am tempted by the scran, my limited funds don't stretch to regularly visiting a pub with a mediocre range of ales.

That said, the pub was certainly busy. For 17.00 on a Tuesday it was nearly full. In some ways this vindicates their ale choice, and it seemed to be full of people who had come on foot as well. If they could get some excellent cans or bottles like Shakespeares or Bar Stewards I would be much more tempted to visit more regularly.

The pub is on Faceache and Twitter and have a website address, here. It may not yet be finished, as the beer and food menus are coming soon, but its worth a look. This also suggests that they haven't yet finished drawing up their beer or food selection, so am duty bound to go in again next month to see what has changed.

The pubs name, incidentally, reflects the name of Speakeasys during prohibition, according to the review in Vibe magazine, which include Blind Tiger and Blind Pig. So now you know!

So, here is to the Blind Monkey. Wishing them all the best in becoming established on the Walkley beer scene over the coming months.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Shakespeares Spring Beer Festival 2018

Hellall,

  in a very lucky turn of events I was given the opportunity to help someone with some BSc research - ironically, it was regarding poverty in full time work. As someone choosing to pay off all my debts in three years, although therefore self induced, that is an area I have some experience of. Two pints and £10.00 cash later, I was in a position to use the last of my funds and to attend the above event the next day.

Whats more, given that this was an exclusively "cask" beer festival, the prices were a little lower, so my meagre crumbs of finance stretched that little bit further. Mind you, I had to drink cask. Oooh, Evil cask, Evil cask. Get you with yer evil cask. Why doesn't that cost £5.00 a half then yer cheapskate? With yer filthy clear beer with hideous natural features such as yeast, hop debris and fish guts. Pfft. Spending a more reasonable sum of money on fun. What next?

You see? This type of nonsense is just that, whichever angle you come from......

Back to matters festular and Adam had once again used his knowledge and influence to persuade brewers to brew previously keg and can only beers on cask. And they were absolutely fantastic. I started with a half of the Howling Hops All about the mosaic. In a moment of insensibility I had thought the beer featured 50kg of dry hopped mosaic! Since that is more than half my weight am guessing it would make a rather thick beer. Instead, the Howling Hops brew was very easy to drink and packed with a massive, although more reasonable 500g, of mosaic dry hops. Mosaic is a firm lupuloid favourite of mine and this beer started the night off perfectly.

I was sat with Steve and Sonya, who was on the Beer Ink Berry superstitious mixed berry sour, which was a vibrant pink red in colour and incredibly well balanced. Steve meanwhile was on the Rad Beets, a Lost Industry and Shakespeares staff colab featuring horseradish and beetroot in a 6.4% porter. It was very interesting, but I didn't try a half myself (so am hoping its still on Monday when I get paid...)

My next beer was the best of the night by a country mile. I had previously tried and enjoyed North Brew Co Transmission, a 6.9% pale ale in can and on keg. In cask it was frankly exceptional. Obviously with all that hop it looked like soup but it was super fresh and incredibly well balanced. At £4.50 a pint  I could have had three pints and gone home, but other beers required trying and enjoying. Although I did get a second half....

Next up the double dry hopped Almasty IPA at 6% came straight from the cellar. It was wonderfully juicy, and lovely and fresh straight from the cask. I joined S.O.J and his friends Pete and the man with a head and I managed to have a half of the Steel City and Hopjacker High IBU dry hopped New Zealand New England IPA at 6.5%. This did not disappoint, and the New England style fitted the peppery spice of the New Zealand hops perfectly.

My penultimate beer was a pint of the excellent Transmission, soaring away as perhaps the best cask beer of the year, and I also got to try some of Steve's Steel City The Blood, the wine, the roses, a sumptuously tasty red wine barrel aged stout. As the conversation in the school room became more involved I was able to secure a final pint, of the Transmission once again, which I finished off with S.O.J and his friends with my hair down, a sure sign I was a trifle refreshed.

Assuming there is still some beer left the festival runs until Sunday, and in total there are thirty festival beers plus others that have been available to try.

A big well done to Adam, Chris and the rest of the staff at Shakespeares for another wonderful selection of stellar local and national beers during which jamboree of choice I was not once tempted to choose a beer on keg. Although that will all change on Monday....one must drink Evil to be good, after all....

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Monday, 23 April 2018

Shakespeares's 4th IPA tap takeover

Hello,

      following a theme, i.e being 9 days late, here is my review of the post titled event, held on Saturday 14th April 2018 at my second home.

I had contrived to somehow misremember and mix up both the date and start time of this event. A brief chat with Chris or Adam (these are just names) the night before got me the right day (changed to avoid clashing with the Hop Hideout goodbye to Axe Edge) but I still thought it started at 17.00. In fact it started at 15.00. As I noticed at 15.10. I got there at 16.10, still a trifle refreshed from the Verdantious guzzling of the night before....

As a maniac I started on a half of the Northern Monk Double Heathen at 10% on keg. Surprisingly given their recent accolades, this was one of the weaker beers I tried, at least in terms o excellence. Doubling any established brand is always a risk, and rarely delivers. This was too heavy, and lacked balance. A shame, but before I finished my last slice I moved onto the frankly sumptuous O/O 50/50 Citra Chinook, a sublime and stupidly easy drinking keg pale at 6.5%. For info, all the beers I tried were on keg. And all the beers available for the IPA takeover were also on keg. And rightly so.

After a quick chat with Rodney who was also in the clock room I bought half of the beer of the takeover, the Deya and Glasshouse momentary bliss at 8%. This super pale extra easy drinking IPA was bliss in a glass, so much so in fact that I had at least three halves.

Returning to my seat with the second half I encountered some Camroids. Since many of my friends are members of CAMRA and I was once, in times of poorer judgement in the past, I am perhaps attuned to some of their quirky behaviours and odd idiosyncrasies. That's probably for the best, drinking as I was exclusively keg beers. Its notable that the reaction of one of the Leicester area CAMRA members to my choice of slake would probably have warranted a polite fuck off or worse still a punch in the chops from anyone not possessing my restraint.

After a good few minutes of comments about evil keg and surprise at how cloudy a drinkable beer could be (its 1985 once again Ladies and gentlemen) a more moderate and slightly more sane member of the group suggested that he had drunk some "craft" keg beer recently and had actually enjoyed it. Am guessing he has now been tarred and feathered, but in being honest, I was more drawn to chatting with him, as it turned out, about my almost exclusively cask only beer crawl in Derbyshire. Once their on theme prejudices had dissolved all were clearly reasonable folk with a passion for real ale. Its such a shame that you had to wade through gallons of nonsense to paddle in this puddle of comparative normality.

By now I had been joined by Reason, which is both a pun and literal description, and he had bought a half of the Magic Rock Hedonistic Escalation, which I have to admit I disliked, and I a half of the Neonraptor Very naughty luggage DIPA, which was far better. Missur Rich didn't stay too long but having pointed the CAMRA folk towards the Wellington, with its horrifying mix of beer dispense methods, I went outside to soak up the sunshine and chat with Rich and Kath.

Once in the fine sunshine two more halves of the frankly excellent Deya Momentary bliss were supped, and roundly enjoyed. It was agreed by some staff in the days following that this had been the beer of the festival, with which I wholly agree. I did also try the Interboro DDH Mad fat Mofo at 8% but despite its excellent NY credentials, the Deya won by some distance.

Once again Adam and the Shakespeares team excelled themselves in a brilliant choice of keg hoppy IPAs which I relished trying, and in the case of the Deya, devouring. Its so fitting a scenario that this IPA fest co-incided with the start of the hottest week of the year so far!

Yours in refreshment

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Two fat Fridays

....does not make 88.

It does however describe the last two Fridays and how they have panned out for me. Thus:

The last week was my fourth full time week back at work, the first two comprising, funnily enough due to leave and bank holidays, of just two days each. The amalgamated effort and requisite tiredness which ensued from ten full days made me really rather thirsty. Luckily for me, one of the joys of working in such a large organisation, and having such an excellent and kind group of friends, is that I have numerous who will take me out for a treat every now and then.

Friday the 13th was one such. I did a long day and left around 18.30 and headed for Shakespeares, my second home. There was a frankly excellent Almasty IPA on cask at 6.5% and so I felt obliged to buy a pint of that and sat with my friend, brewing legend Rich, who was planning his escape. We both loved the hoppy murky cask ale and supped it sat together at the back, but both had other plans. After finishing mine, I headed across the road to Bar Stewards as I heard they had the Verdant DIPA from Hop City available in cans. They did. Utopia!

WK shook his head in dismay when I told him the price and name of the Verdant DIPA, which was chugged back at Hop City like lemonade. Fruit car sight exhibition makes no sense to me, but had an appealing yellow label and an outstanding aroma and soupish appearance. I had earlier in the month supped a can of their Quiet Charge, a 4.5% pale ale which they had also brewed for Hop City. Interestingly, on the back it warned visitors to the same not to fall into the trap of drinking nothing but DIPAs all day, suggesting they had brewed Quiet Charge to avoid that. The latter may be true, but brewing the best DIPA I have ever tasted slightly undermines their position...

As I tried not to down my amazing spectacle of hoppiness (and it was very hoppy, which was a bonus, even if not a surprise) I invited my friend V down to join me. She arrived just as I was about to finish the can, and bought two more. She, likewise, was very smitten. We bought another, before branching out into the Wylam Night train to Byker TIPA, which was not really all that good alas, and the Verdant and Magic Rock we've met before IPA, which was excellent. Rumour has it I went to Shakespeares afterwards, but that is rumour and rumour only....

This last Friday my friend the musician David Howard messaged me and asked if I wanted to join him and others for a few after work drinks at my second home. I said I would love to, but advised that he would have to buy me a drink since it was so late in the month. He agreed.

I arrived about 18.00 at Shakespeares and bumped into a plethora of chums, opting to sit with Cis and Steve from the past, friends recently rediscovered whom to my surprise drink in Shakespeares fairly often. How had I missed them? (answers on a post card). I sat with them awaiting Dave's arrival before joining him at the bar to select a pint of the Pomona Island Pale on cask at a very respectable 3.8%. I have tried two of their hoppy pales now and loved them both. I went back to sitting with Cis and Steve whilst Dave mingled before they left and I got another pint of the same and joined him with his friends. Soon he was joined by Emily and I moved succinctly onto a pint of the excellent O/O 50/50 Citra chinook on keg. Far too easy too drink I have to admit......

Myself and Dave and Emily chatted for a long time, and Dave very kindly bought me a pint of the very boozy Abbeydale Deliverance DIPA on cask at 9%. For reason unclear Dave whispererd his order to someone behind the bar who asked him if the person he was buying for was drunk! Perhaps best he didn't mention it was for me, even though they had seen us at the bar, sober, an hour earlier....

Asking me how I thought I was getting home I told them I was walking to Waingate and they offered to get a taxi to the bus stop so that I didn't have to walk to catch the bus. Having seen me a trifle refreshed they instead got me another half of the excellent O/O and gave me the funds for  taxi home. A wonderful gift from fab friends!

So ended a second booze filled Friday, with a very different plethora of equally exquisite,  wonderful well kept beers on both occasions. And if I can sell some internal organs or the land my house is built on I will be able to afford to finish the month at Shakespeares Spring Beer festival as well, starting Thursday!

Cheers

Wee Beefy




Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Dankers

Helloo,

      is it not bonkers that I love a beer style with the description dank, murky, and soupy? When did I stop caring about pristine clear beer? And does beer have to be clear to be good?

Well, the answer to the last is a clear no. Of course not. Some styles, such as hefeweizen, dunkelweisse, saison and others are almost exclusively cloudy. And lets not forget unfiltered beers, or ales so heavily dry hopped that the hop residue never settles. The key is, I am talking about beer. All beer. In all climates, themes, styles and circumstances. Ever had a can conditioned can? Yes. It pours cloudy. And it should. The answer to the first question, ironically, is not as clear...

This is partly because I have been interested by a debate that has ignited itself on Faceache recently about DIPAs, and laterally, TIPAs. My good chum Danny started this off by saying that he was "over" DIPAs. For reasons unclear this really bothered me. But why? Am not a brewer after all. And surely, as it remains, one of the unending joys of beer is that there are so many styles, and so many different people who love different of them. When did I start to lose sight of that?

Sean at Beer Central also recently admitted concerns about the D and Tipa scene, and its products. Danny reiterated his position, and said that his issue with the style was that they all tasted the same. And that was it. I was now in a proper conundrum.

Had I accepted that all beer should taste like Wards, Stones, Tetley or Marstons, as it seemed to when I started drinking in 1990 (ish), then I wouldn't have undertaken the frankly marvelous, multifaceted, joyous journey of exploration that has underpinned my beer drinking life.  So it is definitely a bad thing that all beers of a certain style taste the same.

Well.....in some ways no. As with all alepinion, it depends entirely where you stand. I, as a person who is always more than willing to try new styles, or old styles on cask or keg not previously,   would still say that choice is the elixir. The choice to have a Fantome saison or a Buxton single hop IPA or a Black Sheep Bitter is inherently important, in fact crucial, to our freedom to enjoy the unending myriad of beers and styles available in the world today.

As it may be obvious to some of you, I absolutely love soupy, murky, dank IPas and DIPAs. Its one of the ironic facts of my battle with over consumption that I have "fallen" for a style where easy drinking characteristics are prized. As I said to a mate recently, its strange I should love a strong ale that is easy to drink. For reason of health and affordability, my best beer should be like near set concrete......

To me then, all D and Tipas tasting the same, which is a pervasive theme, if not literal fact, is actually fine. Its like finding my favourite Iberico chorizo, and then slowly discovering that all other styles of chorizo taste virtually the same, and there-everafter being able to enjoy this porcine prize. The downside of this dream is that there isn't actually the possibility for agricultural, geographical, cultural and financial reasons, that this could ever happen. And even if it were, the issue would be the elimination of every other chorizo style (and humongous, unmanagable herds of pigs in Iberican oak forests). The difference with the assimilation of style and to some extent tastes in the beer scene, is marked.

The gamut of choice on the beer smorgasboard is immense. There are too many styles to list here, and whilst through the ages some styles have dominated, the affect of that domination has been vibrant spring shoots of change. Remember when almost all beer except lager was brown? I do. And I knew nothing else until Kelham Island Pale Rider and Abbeydale Moonshine arrived,  some twenty years or more ago. Can you still get brown bitter? Yes. You may have to go to a specific type of boozer to find it but it remains well loved, and well drunk by those who love it. Did you have to seek out Kelham Island and Abbeydale in specialist guest ale bars when they started? Yes. And you have to do the same to find cloudy dank I and DIpas now.

Our beer universes, irrespective of personal preferences, are in fact very small. This does not for a second disprove the claim that all D and Tipas taste the same, it simply reassures us that other types and styles of beer are not only available, but are also being developed and released all the time. Am not suggesting dankness is a fad or short lived peak on the heart monitor of a dying industry. Am just saying that the same vibrancy that gave us dank, cloudy DIPAs and soupy IPAs loaded with hops is the same part that will, if we do get bored of them, save us once again from that self same repetition of style, format, product and taste by pioneering new styles.

The future's bright. The beer is cloudy orange.

Am now off to drink a soupy DIPA.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 8 April 2018

A wander from Openwoodgate

Hellall,

    on Wednesday last I undertook my first post stroke wander round  Derbyshire and its pubs. I had done a very similar crawl five years before, as is shown in my post here . One thing I notice about this post from the past is there is certainly no coveting of blindingly hoppy keg ales.... actually that forms part of the theme for this visit, with at least two pints straight from the cask. Did I mention I still love Bass from the jug?

I caught the train to Derby, and then walked very quickly round to the bus station, arriving a few minutes before the 6.4. This takes you quickly to Belper, then waits before taking a tour of local housing estates before arriving at Openwoodgate at just gone midday. Noticing the Hop Inn wasn't open, and since I had come here specifically for the Black Bulls Head I headed in about 12.05 to find an unfortunate but luckily not lingering aroma of bleach. That it didn't linger, and that the pub is incredibly clean and tidy are both positives. As was my first pint, Oakham Citra, which I supped in about 8 minutes.

After having a wander round and listening to some interesting tunes, I had time to appreciate a pint of Oakham Green Devil, also on cask. Two excellent, well kept pints of cask beer served in excellent nick and at the prefect temperature. Having got directions for Bargate, I headed off two pints heavier after 35 minutes. An excellent start!

Up Sandbed Lane you reach Bargate, and the White Hart. Alas being mid week this pub doesn't open til 17.00 so I wandered on past in the fleeting rain. Soon I was in Holbrook and in the Dead Poets Inn. Still a wonderful boozer, and the Moonshine had recently run out to be replaced by Blue Monkey BG Sips. Nothing against the shine, but BG is my favourite Blue Monkey beer.

I supped that sat in the lending library near the bar. Alas the cellar steps had just been painted so there was no ale from the jug, so I had another half of the BG Sips before heading off down to the Spotted Cow on Town Street.

I have been coming to Holbrook for approaching 20 years and had never been to the Spotted Cow. Its a lovely old pub set back from the road which had been closed for a number of years. Its now  community owned and serves a range of about six real ales, with one or two available on pump as well as straight fom the cask. I went for a pint of Pedigree, straight from the cask, accompanied by a plate of black pudding and greens, and sat near the bar and the roaring fire drying off. A very pleasant stop.

Heading back up the hill I visited the Wheel Inn. I have visited about four times now and for whatever reason, I have never really liked it. Why is this? I don't know, since there have always been a selection of well kept real ales on, and a real fire. This time, whilst the beer was very nice, my gripe was the incessant chirping of a small bird in a large white cage in the room on the right. Shrill, and never ending, its charm quickly wore off, and in the end I was happy to be heading off for the excellent Holly Bush in nearby Makeney.

Its a bit of a walk by road from Holbrook - due to my unsteadiness, and having had about 5 pints, I opted not to follow the path through the fields which comes out opposite the pub, but instead risked my life walking down the narrow road to the junction just down from the pub.

The Holly Bush is rightfully on the National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors, has three rooms including the impressive snug behind the bar, serves excellent ale and food, has real fires. and recently has expanded its considerable range into keg beers. I had a half of the Blue Monkey anniversary beer on cask and a half of Easy answers IPA from Burning Sky on keg. This was to help wash down a giant black pudding pork pie. Absolute manna from heaven!

Whilst still chomping my way through it, and after taking many photographs of the stunning interior I went for a pint of Pedigree from the jug. I also finished, on a third of the Black Iris Lacerated Sky, a 9% Imperial Red on keg. It was very easy to drink, worryingly, although by now I was sufficiently lined by the huge pork pie.

I walked down the hill and alongside the fat rage of the River Derwent until I reached the King William Real Ale  Free House at Milford. Here, finally, I was able to get a pint of Bass from the jug. A glorious, easy drinking, flat, reddish ale which I supped slowly sat near the fire. Excellent.

A quick walk over the river and round the corner, found me catching the bus next to the now closed and fenced off Strutt Arms. About six or seven years ago this pub was selling Bass from the jug and a few guests, but now looks set to become important, critically needed, expensive apartments. Sad news.

My penultimate stop was in the Town Street Tap micropub in Duffield. Never having been in before I was surprised on entering to be unable to find the bar, until a customer pointed out that there isn't one. You simply sit down and a bloke comes over and takes your order. Although more modern and perhaps continental in style, this is the same arrangement as my friend Dimpled Mug's Grocers micropoub in Cadishead. My only complaint was I was sat where I couldn't see the beers written on the beam directly above me. I ordered from a list of about six beers, a lovely pale pint of....beer. Alas, the amalgam of bose has made me forget what it was I had....

Back in Derby I walked slowly from the bus station to the train station and popped in the Alexandra. This has changed hands since my last visit, or at least managers, but the furore and reported horror on Faceache when the new management had just opened, complaining about a lack of pies and waiting ages to be served, seems over-exaggerated. The beer was excellent, one keg and once cask, with "names" and the cheap crisps and black pudding pork scratchings filled me up perfectly, whilst continuing a vaguely porcine theme.

This trip was a perfect reintroduction to a walking crawling and supping expedition, and featured some fabulous pubs, including two new to me, and some frankly sparklingly perfect ales en route.

I look forward to venturing out further over the coming months!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Week Beefy, Sheffield 2018

Hello Lazerngennulmern,

    the title is an entirely fictitious event that I have invented in order to tell you about a period in which I have drunk almost every day, and which is in no way based on any recent similar sounding beer themed events in sunny Sheffield.

On Monday last I was heading home when I got a call from Matty asking if I wanted to join him and his beautiful Mother for a few drinks. Since I was only just on the bus I got off on the Wicker and walked back to meet them on Exchange Street. They had gone to the Dorothy Pax, which alas doesn't open on a Monday. Despite my suggestion that we go Tarlequin, we ended up in The Bankers, where I had some Conwy Black IPA and a can of Elvis Juice, before we went to the Dove for me to have a pint of Little Critters stout.

On Tuesday I secured some funds and went on a mini pub crawl with them. I started in Shakespeares with a half of the macchiato stout which was on cask and quite strong at about 8%. It was delicious, but I only stopped for one, and headed next to the Gardeners Rest. They still had a couple of Welsh beers on from their recent festival and I had a pint of what may have been a Cwrw Lal beer called Trog, but equally may not have been. It was only £2.00 a pint and went down very well. I had another half of that before heading to the Forest up the hill.

I only had a half in here, of a Toolmakers beer which I had misremembered as being pale and hoppy but was in fact a ruby red brown colour with little bitterness. It was only £2.70 a pint though so that was fine.

My penultimate stop was at the Wellington where I had a pint of Neepsend Pale and a pack of crisps and spent a relaxing hour sat in the room on the right supping it before heading to Bar Stewards. Here I had a half of the Wild beer of some description on cask, and a half of the excellent Verdant Pulp on keg. A fab end to a good night.

I had a break from beer on Wednesday and then met my Mum in town at dinner on payday for a coffee.  Walking down to the Rutland I bumped into Mr Cain and he joined me for a few pints in there. I started on a pint of the Hop City DIPA which was dankly cloudy and fruitily hoppy, just how I like it. I tasted a sample of the To Ol dangerously close to guava which was getting a little low, but on agreeing with the title I went for a pint of the DDH IPA from Evil Twin called something like these days I like IPAs more than people. Its not going to be a remit of mine but it was a very tasty IPA with wonderfully complex bitterness in its flavour. I finished on another pint of the Hop City brfore catching up with Chris and Jodie before I left.

I stopped off for a half in the Old Queens Head - alas I can't recall what it was, and then got a taxi to Bar Stewards to pay off a tab and to have a can of the Clouidwater and Half Acre collaboration Triple IPA at 10%. It was worryinfgly easy t drink, despite its strength, and made me feel a little lightheaded.

Surprising then that I headed to Shakespeares afterwards to buy an drink. Its safe to say that as yet, I have not managed to recall what it was. I just remember sitting in the school room and chatting with Steve Lycett. I also don't remember what about!

Details of the rest of the Week Beefy week of Beefy drinking in Sheffield will follow in my next post.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy