Sunday, 16 December 2018

Supermarket craft

Afternoons,

      I apologise for using the c word in the title of this post. Its just that I thought entitling it Supermarket cancer or Supermarket c*nts may provoke something of the wrong reaction. Worse still, I could have entitled it Supermarket Christmas. Eeeurrgh. That makes me shudder....

Anyhoo, as am bereft of funds I popped t'asda to grab some essentials and a few cans of beer. Alas they had run out of Bass but Ringwqood Razorback was on offer at 95p for 500ml so I got two of them, and then I found some beer in the "craft" (whatever that is) section which was £1.25 a 330ml can for a 5.6% West Coast Pale ale from BadCo. I don't mind their output, although its not a go to brewery, so I bought a can and took it home. Its only when I looked at the can in detail I noticed it said on the front "Brewed exclusively for Asda".

I immediately feared crystal malt. Its not a pathological fear you understand, but it is valid. I can on rare occasions, even detect it in disappointing potations, and share a dislike of it with many in the drinking and brewing circles that I rotate in.

One thing I don't know is, why would anyone add it to a "craft" (whatever that is) beer? Is it cheaper than pale ale malts? Or does it just remind less up to date drinkers of mass produced golden ales? Looking down the ingredients the beer has a decent hop line up, summit, cascade (not sure if UK or US) and chinook, but in the malt list was Light Crystal. I feared the worst.

Light crystal may explain why the beer retained its pale colour - because I have found that other supermarket own brewed, i.e in secret, pale ales, are bitter coloured. Am not sure if crystal malt is to blame, but lets assume it is. And to be fair to BadCo the hops were prominent, and I could appreciate them. And this was better than Razorback, so all is fine.....

Back in August Wee keefy, horrified at my spending £6.00 a can on Verdant and Cloudwater soups, took me to his to enjoy some supermarket own brand "craft" (whatever that is) ales. I was assured that they cost as much for 4 cans as one of those ones that I wasted my money on did. The selection was laid on mainly to prove a point, and stimulate a blog post. Alas, no point was proven, except that they in some cases, tasted five times less good than Verdant beers. The interesting thing though, was the ingredients used.

Having got them from Aldi or Lidl or Rialto, which is a shop I have made up for vaguely alliterative reasons, the four tried were Red Rye captain pale ale, a 4.6% pale with "notes of caramel and toffee", Twisted knots, a 5.5% American IPA with " a grapefruit aroma" and notes of "citrus zesty fruits", Bitter Iron IPA at 5.4% and Plunged Orange pale ale at 6.0% which was "refreshing" and featured "tangy orange sweetness".

The red rye captain was the joint worst - it was hardly pale and worse still featured what I can only guess was crystal and caramalt, to mask the pale colours, and hide any vestige of hops.  The twisted knots was better, mainly because it featured a decent line up of hops including Columbus citra and centennial (but also Dark Crystal malt), and the Bitter Iron IPA was the second joint worst, featuring as it did a more underwhelming hop load but crystal malt again. The best of the four was the Plunged orange pale ale which managed to hide some of the sweetness of the orange with Rakau and Mandarina hops, and also managed to avoid the temptation of using any type of crystal malt whatsoever.

The thing is, churning out hoppy pale ale in a factory is never going to hold the same appeal for me. And I have to admit that. And I also have to pay more for the beer that I like. Which means, funnily enough, that I also drink less beer than I used to (although its generally stronger, so am not trying to claim any health benefits).

I think the positive thing though, from this brief snapshot of supermarket own brand beers, is that things have really really improved in the last five years, and that this improvement has likely been started by the likes of Lidl and Aldi. Although am never going to seek them out, its good to know that I still have some beers to go to when funds run low.

Many thanks to WK for his generosity, and kudos where kudos is due, to the supermarkets mentioned for taking the time to work with brewers (identified, and sadly in secret) to produce decent beers at a knockdown price. Now, where's that can of Verdant and Equilibrium Keep Left....

Cheese

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Doing the Heeley run

Hullabalo,

     last Sunday I went out with my dear friend Vikkie for a short tour of pubs starting on Derbyshire Lane before making our way towards Chesterfield Road and who knows where after. Here are some details of what happened on that wander...

I started the trip by paying to catch a Stagecoach because the Wirst bus never showed up - we were catching the 18 at 12.35 in town so I left home at 11.30 and made it with 5 minutes to spare. The 18 was late after changing drivers, and then the new driver forgot the route. Chaos from the dreadful Wirst bus as always, but we got there on time.

From a range of real ales at the Mount Pleasant, our first stop, we both had pints of the Sadlers Drop Hammer at 4.1%.  This was refreshing and easy drinking starter which went down well. The Pleasant remains an excellent traditional boozer serving 5 real ales, with a lovely view from the bench out the front and a lovely unspoilt interior.

We walked down to the Cross Scythes next where Vikkie enjoyed a bottle of the Thornbridge Versa, wheat beer, and I had a pint of their Rattlesnake. Am not sure whether my tastebuds have changed since the staff at the Bath Hotel brewed this, or whether its another less hopped weaker version of formerly excellent Thornbridge beers - which ever it was it was pleasant but underwhelming. The Scythes was a little quiet, and was also the place where I spotted my first pub Christmas tree of 2018. Mutter mumble....

From here we walked down to Archer Road Beer Stop, now owned by Richard. We had planned to go to the Ale House but information on the internet, which is a person, told me it didn't open til 16.30 so we had to miss it out. We bought some cans, and had a quick chat with Richard,  before heading off down the road to the Broadfield. Here I had a half of the Brew York Hazy IPA on keg, whilst Vikkie may have had half a sour. We sat outside as the pub was boiling, but it was also packed. The Brew York beer was excellent.

We passed Hop Hideout next - ironically the windows displayed only four letters, that spelling out Hope...and then went to the Gin Bar next door. This wasn't a planned stop but it was nice to pop in for a look, and to have to halves of a beer with Shed in the name, on keg.

By now it was dark and we walked along Broadfield Road to the bridge over the river to come out on London Road - and our next stop was at Pour next to the White Lion. Here I had an excellent 8.5% DIPA from True North on keg for something like £4.20 a pint? An excellent beer, and one which accompanied our food perfectly. We both had pizza - Vikkie had the green spicy one with extra olives and I the ham mushroom and olive one.  The bases were likely hand made but the dough used made them so light and incredibly tasty, they were very much appreciated. Definitely reasons for a return visit

Our penultimate stop was in the White Lion next door where we spoke to Jon and settled down in the snug on the right with what was likely pints of Abduction - always a go to fave beer of mine, although had we been staying longer am sure we would have tried some of the others. The music in the White Lion was excellent as always.

As time was getting on we caught a taxi to our final pub, the Beer Engine. In here we had beers, served in glasses, which we drank using our mouths. The beers would have been brewed by breweries and would have had names. We also saw Adam and Lucienne, although I didn't recognise her, and me and Vikkie left them to it after drunkenly thinking he was on a hot date....

Vikkie left me here to finish my quantum of liquid, after which I popped over to the Albion for a finisher, which was a can of Lupoloid from that brewery. It was nice, but slightly reflective of a poor line up of ales on offer.

We managed to miss out Guzzle, the Ale House, Tramsheds, Brothers, Sheaf View and Jabeerwocky so we may revisit starting on Woodseats on a Saturday to get them all in - in the meantime, this was a fab wander around some fab pubs selling unequivocally fab beer.

Your very best health!

Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Shakespeares Beer festival November 2018

Hellall,

           one thing that makes me happy is a beer festival at Shakespeares, which is my second home. I mean, fair enough, a beer fest at mine would probably be better, especially if the beer was free, but its not, and this isn't where this took place.

I managed to cobble together sufficient funds to visit on Thursday night, the 29th of November. The unspeakable horror that is the day before pay day. I manged to purchase an excellent half of the Turning Point Soothsayer Cascade Pale on cask from the cellar, and went to join Ally and Malc, who as dark ale aficionados were already on with trying some of the more troublingly strong offerings from Atom and Imperial and Steel City. The Neutron Star, Rum Tiramisu and Rogue 3 offerings were very easy to eat. sorry, drink, but even just a taste of each a going to my legs.

I meanwhile was very kindly bought half a Kurios Oranj, a Mandarina hop, orange and oat IPA at 6.0% from North Brewery which was once again very easy drinking and not as sweet as it may sound. I then had a half of the Siren suspended in Citra which was excellent, followed by more Soothsayer and a half of Wilde Childe Adoption Process passionfruit IPA,  now joined by Steve and Sonya.  

I returned on Friday where I had more pints of the Soothsayer and two pints of the excellent North Brew Co Hallertau Blanc and Mosaic pale which was on excellent form, very refreshing and packed full of two types of hops that balanced the beer out perfectly. I also tried the Atom Pathfinder Mosaic pale at 4.5%, the Cloudwater AW18 DDH Pale at 5.5% (which may have been on "cask" or some such), as well as their excellent DIPA on keg, from the future.

I finished on pints of the excellent Almasty Breakfast IPA, Howling Hops Pale XX APA and North Riding Brew co Biotic Orb which was a 5.8% mango American pale, which sadly featured too much mango and too little bittering hop, but was still a nice sup.

Rodney said that he had enjoyed it but that there had been nothing that made him say "Wow" but I disagree - the North Pale, Turning Point Soothsayer and Almasty Breakfast IPA were all stunning beers which I had more than one of, and apart from the soilly taste in the Abbeydale plum sour I didn't try a bad beer all fest.  

Well done once again to Adam, Chris, Nate and the rest of the team at my second home for making this another classic beer festival, and I look forward to visiting you once more before the unspeakable horror of harassment descends upon us, that being the C word.

Huzaah!

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Shakespeares Scandinavian Tap Takeover 2

Evenin

   when my dear friend Vikkie asked me if I was going to this event, after first thinking I was a week further ahead and this was the Thursday of the beer fest, I said no. Having correctly established it's identity, I reminded her that I had already decided not to go because I knew I would be free of funds. Vikkie very kindly offered to buy me a couple, so I decided it would be a great idea to go. It was....

Arriving not long after 17.00 we were being sensible and started on halves. In fact, we stayed on halves. Some of the sensibility may have been undermined by our starting on half of the O/O Bangatan (which may have had an extra a on the clip), which was a deliciously easy drinking Nelson, Mosaic, Simcoe and Citra hopped pale at 7.5%. I really like O/O brewery beers, mainly because they seem so flawlessly produced and easy to drink. This was no exception.

Sitting in the front bar we were well placed to see a trail of people we knew amassing at the bar and enjoying numerous similarly excellent ales. Messers Marshall, Cheetham and S.o.J to name but a few, and I also saw Unpro just before he left, John, Tony and Jack. The S.o.J joined us briefly as well, also on the Bangatan, and we had a good chat about beer, beers had, and beers to try.

The next we tried was the Alefarm Standing Shallow, a 5.8% IPA hopped with Mosaic and Ekuanot. This is probably my first Alefarm brew and very enjoyable it was too. One thing I did notice about the Norwegian and Swedish beers we drank was that even their IPA's weren't pale in the same way Northern UK ones are with their number 1 and 2 malts. I wondered if this was to differentiate them from the pervasive appearance of Scandinavian lagers?

The Mikkeller Spontan Elderflower was next, a 7.7% sour beer aged in oak barrels. It was sour, but not acidic, and incredibly easy to drink. In fact, its strength was somewhat lost in the hazy refreshing mix of this excellent beer.

Vikkie stayed on her second Bangatan whilst I embarked on the Amundsen Marshmallow Psycho, a huge 12.3% barrel aged stout with a massive flavour, but which once again was worryingly easy to drink. As it was a school night this was the only one of the three 12% or above stouts which we tried, but it was well worth it.

Our final beers of the takeover were halves of the Amundsen Collective Arts Basket Case,  7.5% double dry hopped DIPA. This held on to its citrus hoppiness brilliantly, although am not sure what I think of the idea of a sub 8% DIPA - I realise the double does not refer to strength but instead hops or IBU but I want to know that I have drunk a DIPA and these days my starting strength is already 6%. Well, that's my keg starting strength any road. Cask is understandably easier to start low on...

We may have ad a second of the Basket case before heading oer't road to have a can of Verdant Photon Trails and a bottle of the Track and Verdant path of least resistance, a fruited brut DIPA, which was a very interesting and enjoyable combo of styles. I also went back the next day to try a couple of pints of the excellent Beatnix Republik session IPA which had a name, and was probably about 3.8% - a wonderful beer!

All the beers we tried at the Scandinavian Tap takeover were excellent, and its always interesting to try beers from further afield and outside the normal comfort zone of Verdant Cloudwater and Northern Monk. Well done once again to Shakespeares for putting on an excellent range of beers nor previously tried, and which told us much about the Scandinavian brewing scene.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Pour, Chesterfield Road, Sheffield

Hulloo,

      am not sure how to describe Pour. So am going to list its qualities and go from there. A Vegan beer bar, selling vegan food, with a lovely atmosphere, that is dog friendly, human friendly and comfortable, in a former Italian restaurant. They probably sell vegan wine, they probably sell spirits, and I think they sell alcohol, or virtually alcohol free, beer. Its really rather fab. Pour aims to serve only vegan beer as far as is possible, and there is a link here to their Facebook page for details of current beers, food and other info - they are also on Twitter....

Having opened on a double digit Friday there was no way I would have sufficient funds to visit on the first night but after a walk with WK on Sunday I persuaded him to take us to Pour for a beer, and our first visit. On entering I spotted Gavin at the bar, and also the inimitable Mr Entwistle behind it. Whilst WK looked for something lower gravity I was recommended the Abbeydale Voyager, possibly number 19, and featuring centennial; simcoe and mosaic or similar for its hops. "Basically my three favourite hops" said Edd, knowingly. I was sold. And WK bought me a pint of this fabulous keg IPA.

We went into the room on the right which was packed with guests, both human and doggies and sat at the back to read the bottled beer list. There was a Torrside super imperial stout on at about 11% but I think WK resisted and had a pale ale from Bad Seed. We both enjoyed our beers....

Food had finished by 19.00 I think and despite my attempts to persuade him I couldn't get WK to part with a few quid for some seasoned chips. However, we bumped into Barry Valentine as we were leaving and he shared a couple of slices of ham and mushroom pizza with us. It was just what we needed to put us on until we got home and was delicious. I: did not ask if it was vegan ham, but it could have been!

Alas as it was WK's shout and he had driven us to the Manifold Valley and back he opted to set off after our drinks, and having parked outside we were home in no time. Pour is a great place to drink great beers and if possible, with dogs. I realise that this is a short review, but I really enjoyed my albeit short visit and that's what matters! I am aiming to return on the second December with a friend for a couple of pints and really looking forward to it.

Pour is open right now, so go there! Looking forward to seeing you all there soon.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Bar Stewards is Sheffield CAMRA pub of the month for November!

Hullabaloo,

            Its been a long time since Bar Stewards evolved with an invite only, locked door personal party in its then nowhere near ready to open premises. I had been told by Rich Hough that I could join him but it sempt a bit rude and besides, I wasn't 100% sure where it was. Two weeks of guessing which of the recently reopened units followed before I spotted a sign outside. I ventured in on their second or third temporary license opening and had a choice of Blue Bee and two others on cask, served by gravity if I recall (?), or lager, but I liked the place, and soon it grew and improved.

Three visits in and I could remember which one was Charlie and which one was Al and I started to go more often. And then there was a wait for a full license before they opened in July 2017. Rich had a stint doing their quiz and I think they were sometimes joined by the brother of one of the owners (can't remember which!) behind the bar before another period of closure took place whilst they moved the bar from the left hand side to its present location, ordered some fridges and installed some keg lines. With the shackles of restrictive ranges off, the magic balloon of Bar Stewards sailed high into the sky like a soaring eagle. Or something.

Gradually, the hours were extended, Capn Space Maths started doing a quiz, the keg range matured and improved, and the fridge offerings increased in range exponentially. A typical night in the Stews now involved starting on a pint or two of good cask, then hurling myself into a DIPA on keg before finishing on a can or three. Many many nights were spent in there helping to reduce the backlog of suppable soup. Often it was only the pictures on my phone that told me how much I had drunk.....

In July they had their successful first birthday celebration where a fab range of ales including local brewery colabs was on offer, and recently Jay has joined from the Old Workshop, bringing with him a fab taste in music, a wealth of knowledge about beer, specifically beer that I like, a calm influence behind the bar and the ability to deliver his thoughts with a quiet honesty. The final piece of success lego in their castle has been the addition of bhajis and Wateralls pork pies delivered every Thursday.  Now fully fledged, the feathers of the Stews have been recognised and rewarded by Sheffield CAMRA.

I was there with a number of friends and long time acquaintances on Tuesday night. There was a stellar line up of keg cask and can as always and a new staff member called Jonathon who used to work at the Picture House Social. Even former barkeep PJ, AKA Keith, came down to say hello.

Fine free food was available and I drank more than one pint of cask and some hoppy colder soup which tickled my tastebuds perfectly. It was an excellent night with the whole, albeit small, venue absolutely packed out from about 20.00. Well done to Al and Charlie and Jay and the rest of the expanding team at the Bar Stewards for providing a genuine alternative to the busier periods at Shakespeares when its admittedly better to go somewhere else - especially now that the range and quality of ales available matches up so well to the giant goddess og glugging glory across the road.

Huzzaaah!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 10 November 2018

More Moorlands supping

Hello folks,

     as this is a beer blog am not going to allocate too much space to my Dad and his situation. Partly to protect his privacy, but also because, ostensibly, he is neither a beer, nor a pub. I may be 50% beer by now, but Wee Fatha drinks less than me. And his favourite tipple these days is Whisky anyway...

Wee Fatha's mobility is becoming restricted ever more and he goes out less. One thing he does therefore like is just that. Going out. If it hadn't been writ large on his face all night it was certainly clear in his smile in the photos we took whilst on our jolly. That and a bottle of whisky from his  untried list was the perfect birthday present.

Wee Keefy picked me up and we drove over to Wee Fatha's around 17.30 to head out to Bakewell, Monyash, Crowdecote, Longnor and finally on to Reapsmoor. WK had worried we may have arrived too early to pick up WF but we didn't leave until 18.10, and were booked in at the Butchers at 19.00. After a well driven trek across moorlands and through dales we arrived about 10 minutes late. Pulling up outside Ye Olde Butchers Arms Carl came out to welcome us, although he forgot that we were coming for WF's birthday, and closed the door behind me - luckily WF's glacial pace meant he hadn't yet reached the door....

Inside all three fires were lit and we got the big table facing the bar. Later diners sat in the room on the right, and as per previous visits, the room soon filled with smoke from the big old burner attached to the chimney - I meanwhile sat as far as I could from the raging fire next to me in case I set alight.

On the bar was one turned round pumpclip and two empty handpulls. The turned round one said Black Sheep bitter on it, but regular visitors will know that pump clips are a meaningless diversion at the Butchers. Much of the time Carl doesn't know what is on. If he does, or even if he doesn't, he doesn't share it with you. The beer was brown and bitter. It was well kept. It was £2.70 a pint, although the barman didn't know that. I had three pints.

We ordered food with Carl sat next to us - he asked WF what he wanted and was instructed that he just wanted a steak with a handful of chips and no veg or salad. I saw Carl write this down. He also said it was fine. When the meals came all three were piled high with chips, veg and salad. Carl said "thats ow we do um here mate, thats ow we alluss have". WF was not impressed but me and WK dipped into his chips and veg and Carl offered him the chance to take some home. Our meals were staggeringly large. As alluss.....

After fussing and feeding Thea and Sadie the two Alsations, WF slid off icily for a trip to the loo and me and WK got chatting to a couple nearby, and had more beer - well, I did, WK was on softs as he was driving. We didn't leave until nearly 21.30 and headed straight for the Royal Cottage. Alas the light outside wasn't on and the upstairs was so Cliff had clearly closed early. This just means that we will have to go back again...

Our final stop (I had hoped to visit the Packhorse at Crowdecote since its for sale, but that will also have to be next time) was at the Quiet Woman in Earl Sterndale. Being the first weekend of the month we figured it would be open, and it was. We found out that Ken is only two years younger than my Dad, and also some info which perhaps explained the food issue we had encountered at the Butchers earlier. There were three beers on and I had a pint of Wainwright, WK a half of Marstons Bitter and WF a half of Burton Bridge XL Mild.

I have observed before that Ken seems to be closing the pub slowly and laboriously, almost by default. He told us that Earl Sterndale had about 200 residents and they had 60 dogs. This makes his ban on dogs in the pub even less understandable. He also mentioned the lack of born and bred Earl Sterndalians in the village and suggested that many locals no longer came in. Disappointing as this obviously is, the beer already told the same story.

WF is no judge of off beer so I forgave him thinking the Mild was OK, the Bitter which is what I think Ken drinks, was fine, and the Wainwright was awful. I mean, I drank it, blending the sharp edges with the odd sweetness as if they were citrus and elderflower, but it was definitely not a good drink. I had to finish on a half of the Bitter. Did I mention it? No. I don't think there is any point. Not because Ken would contest the complaint, or refuse to replace the pint, but because I think its part of the subtle but noticable wresting free of the pub that seems to be happening, more obviously, every time we go. Am not 100% convinced I shouldn't have said something though.

Ken kindly came out with us as WF slowly and painstakingly shuffled off, his immobility and refusal to change somehow mirroring the steadfastedness of the excellent old pub. People in the village need to go in more often if the beer is to be maintained, and persons from outside of the area also need to visit more regularly. This is not going to put us off from going, not at all, it just makes us worry about the day in the not too distant future when we turn up and find the Quiet Woman quietly closed.

Next time I suggest we eat at the Packhorse, drink at Cliff's and finish in he Grapes at Longnor - maybe opening another chapter in our Moorlands supping story.

Your very good health

Wee Beefy.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

44th Sheffield Steel City beer and cider fest

Hulloomp,

      despite my dire malagrugrous prophecy in my last post, I did in fact make it to the excellent Steel City beer festival this year after all. And, true to form, am many weeks late writing about it. I had thought I might have been invited to join the tasting panel once more, but that has been scaled down this year with only local beers tasted. Luckily my ickuw barebi bruvva WK offered to give me funds for a glass and some tokens and we went on the Wednesday night.

We didn't bother asking Wee Fatha down to join us this year. Last year, you may recall, he made his own way there and having had three or four beers and met loads of people he hadn't seen for years he was bought a taxi home. He never once mentioned whether or not he had enjoyed it, and still drove to South Normanton for theirs, so it seemed too much effort to offer the same deal again.

Tokens and glass secured we headed for the marquee and I started on the absolutely wonderful North Transmission, a 6.9% pale ale. After a brief if strange chat with JB, ho complained that there was too much choice (I asked him if that wasn't surely the idea of a festival) we got more beer, me a Neepsend Appaloosa 6.0% pale, and headed to the upper hall for a sit down and a catch up with a wonderful cavalcade of Sheffield ale folk. Here I had an Abbeydale Citizen Oatshake IPA at 6.0% and on Danny's recommendation an Almasty Brut IPA at the same strength. This was the first Brut beer I had tried and was certainly attracting plenty of attention.

Keet got us some pork pie and a chorizo or black pudding scotch egg to nibble and we once again bumped into the legend that is JB, this time a little happier having tried a few beers in the last 90 minutes (but not those beers which taste of turps which I drink....it seems...) and after a brief chat with him we headed down to the keg bar where I had a Steel City and Lost Industry Stout Wars revenge of the Pith, an excellent barrel aged stout with citrus peel or zest added.

I also had some Wylam, Child in Time, a 7.2% IPA, which was on top form, and an Abbeydale Collab with that brewery with the word hand in it which was a Brut IPA at 6.5% and once again a very fine introduction to the brut ale style.

I probably finished on another of the Transmission but I forgot to mention that I also had a Blue Bee Dead Man's Town, a 6.2% NEIPA on cask, when upstairs. Just like Indy Man Beer Con, all the beer I tried at this year's fest was excellent, although I was more cautious with the choices I made. Beers of the festival for me were the Transmission, Revenge of the Pith and the two Brut IPAs I tried on cask and keg.

Congratulations on another excellent Sheffield beer festival - once more Sheffield festival committee provided an excellent celebration of ale in the super sunny Sheffield beer capital that I know and love.

Cheers!

WB

Sunday, 7 October 2018

In the Indy Man, 2018

Hulloo,

  I had to make a choice this year, between Indy Man Beer Con and Sheffield Beer Fest. Having only missed one Sheffield fest since I was old enough to attend, have sacrificed my local CAMRA fest for the remarkable wonders of Indy Man. That isn't  reflection of the Sheffield CAMRA fest, which is excellent, its more a representation of my dire finances.

I did it cheaply mind. I bought only ten tokens (which may have been the minimum, but am not sure), and caught the coach both ways, walked to the fest and back into Manchester and only stopped to purchase a couple of thirds after. This meant leaving the house at 07.00 and getting back at 21.30! It was, as ever, absolutely worth the effort.

I had seen Dave Pickersgill on the coach but he wasn't getting there til later so I walked up on my own and then wandered around once I had my tickets to hopefully see folks that I knew. I started on a Burning Sky Arise, a session IPA from a range of theirs including BA imperial stout and about 5 different saisons. From here on in, as I was having two thirds an hour, it was DIPAs and imperial stouts all the way.

Having secured a seat in the Turkish baths part next to Verdant I headed for Cloudwater. who had been very pleased to announce a direct serve cold store for their beers directly behind the taps. I must say their DIPA was very refreshing and frighteningly easy to drink, alas all I know is it was their latest DIPA as when I asked what hops were in it as I couldn't read the label the barman said "I don't work for the brewery mate, am just pouring beer". Um....thats correct. The pump clip is right in front of you however!

I went for a wander to Loka Polly next and had a DIPA of theirs which may have been DDH Citra and Mosaic, and also bumped into Jules. It was her that told me about Indy Man back in 2013 so am always grateful for that, and pleased to see her. Her and her friends headed off to another brewery stall and I went into the third room where I found Jay, Chris B, Heather, Dave Unpro,, KateDave and later Dave P, along with Sue the brew. Here I enjoyed a Whiplash DIPA which had a name and a Circle of Snakes DIPA from Black Iris. This, as Jay confirmed, was one of the most green beers I have ever had hops wise! Such a good advert for fresh beer.

If you are wondering why I can't find details of all the beer names precisely, its because my app downloadable phone has bust so I only have a 2006 Nokia, and there were no paper lists out and about when I arrived. There is therefore some guessmories involved......

The next beer I tried was Wylam Mental State, or similar, and a third of their colab with Whiplash, before I headed back to sit in the baths room with a couple who were from earth, and to have a third of Verdant Don't Tell the Ferryman Barrel Aged imperial stout at 11.0%. Suffice to say this was an excellent dark ale, perhaps the first such style I have tried from one of my favourite breweries.

I also sampled a Hawkshead beer, am guessing it was a DIPA, although am not sure they do one, and also an Almasty beer - the same descriptors apply. We went for a wander round the food village and I bumped into John Clarke who very kindly gave me a taste of his massala chips - absolutely lovely! I also had a Lervig Supersonic DIPA, which was wonderfully easy drinking, in keeping with the unnoficial theme.

My last beer, to the best of my knowledge, was a Cloudwater System Failure colab DIPA with Bragby, or similar sounding brewery. This was very well balanced and tasty, and fresh as a dasiy.

Leaving at 16.15 I met up with Dave P outside and we walked back into town in the pissing rain til we gave up and we got a bus, before undertaking a rather lengthy wander to Tarrif Street and the Northern Monk refrectory Manchester. A couple of beers each were sampled in here before we made our way to the coach station and headed on the way home.

Once more I went to Indy Man and every beer I had was excellent and outstanding and the listed Victoria Baths remain one of the best places to have a beer festival anywhere. Well done to Indy Man Beer Con and their staff and the brewers for one again putting on an impeccable show!

Cheers!

Wee Beefy  

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