Monday, 16 July 2018

A very wet week in sunny Sheffield


       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 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!


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


      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.


Wee Beefy

Monday, 28 May 2018

Verdant and Cloudwater do colab. World can now end.


      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.



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 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.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 19 May 2018

V3 Vs V3.1


        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


  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....


Wee Beefy  

Thursday, 3 May 2018

The Blind Monkey Whitehouse Lane Walkley


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Shakespeares Spring Beer Festival 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wee Beefy

Monday, 23 April 2018

Shakespeares's 4th IPA tap takeover


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours in refreshment

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Two fat Fridays

....does not make 88.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 10 April 2018



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

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

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

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

Had I accepted that all beer should taste like Wards, Stones, Tetley or Marstons, as it seemed to when I started drinking in 1990 (ish), then I wouldn't have undertaken the frankly marvelous, multifaceted, joyous journey of exploration that has underpinned my beer drinking life.  So it is definitely a bad thing that all beers of a certain style taste the same. some ways no. As with all alepinion, it depends entirely where you stand. I, as a person who is always more than willing to try new styles, or old styles on cask or keg not previously,   would still say that choice is the elixir. The choice to have a Fantome saison or a Buxton single hop IPA or a Black Sheep Bitter is inherently important, in fact crucial, to our freedom to enjoy the unending myriad of beers and styles available in the world today.

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

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

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

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

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

Am now off to drink a soupy DIPA.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 8 April 2018

A wander from Openwoodgate


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Week Beefy, Sheffield 2018

Hello Lazerngennulmern,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

I'm a silent partner by the way.....

..........said the weirdo.

Beefy! I hear some of you cry, that is so judgmental!

Well, only literally. I did judge that he was mental, after all....

If you had been in the Rutland about 16.00 on the 08 March you may also have heard this or similar words uttered by this very odd man. Here's how my "chat" happened.

There I was, enjoying my second half of he frankly excellent Partizan Dank IPA at 6.7%, and a man with dark hair  and a studious look said "is it OK if I join you?" Noting that he didn't have a knife, gun, or worse, a bible, I decided to accept this seemingly harmless offer. We sat at the table for what seemed an age before he spoke.

"Is there anything that you need doing for you in your life at the moment then?" he asked. I said "No, am fine, thanks" and he shifted in his seat, failing to hold the gaze I was unwilling to give him. "Ah, OK so you are completely self sufficient in your life at the moment then?" he replied.

I wasn't quite sure what to say, but I had already started to become concerned by the oddness of these two responses. This was an awkward exchange, but not one that appeared to have a destination. I replied "Yeah". I looked away so that he couldn't clamber into my soul through my eyes. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

" Just to let you know, I am a silent partner, by the way" he continued. There was a pause whilst I thought how I might get rid of him, and also, about what on earth it might be that he was hoping to achieve.

"That's nice" I said, with only the very slightest modicum of sarcasm. In reality I wanted to ask him what he was a silent partner in, but feared that this may unlock a torrent of misguided ill thought through ramblings. I returned to my far off gaze.

The man sighed, stared at the table and grumpily said under his breath "well I can see am going to get nothing here" and said goodbye, also grumpily before approaching the bar, where he said something unintelligible to the barman, who when enquiring what he had said or meant was ignored, as the fruit loop said he was going outside for a smoke.

Once outside a man sat behind me came up and said "Did he tell you he was a silent partner as well?" and I confirmed he had, and we both shared details of our assessment by Lord Moron of Incommunicable Castle. It transpired that he had been in for some time and had spoken to about three sets of people. On going out to check what was going on the barman reported that he had left. I got another Partizan Dank, a pint this time. It was delicious.

I have started to realise, perhaps admit, that I spend a little too much time in the pub for my own good. And during that time I have listened in on and joined in many conversations, far reaching and varying from the heartfelt to the passionately absurd. The pub is, after all, a warm building where the mildly deranged often shelter. Its not surprising therefore that it oft attracts a certain calibre of crazy. One thing I do know is that I am reasonably good at communicating with folks, and hopefully, never make anyone feel as uneasy as this man did me.

I never did find out what he was a silent partner in....

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Sheffield Beer Week 2018


     late as always, here are my thoughts on the fourth explosion at a Sheffield beer factory that is Sheffield Beer Week. I did my usual number of events, and enjoyed every one immensely. Here are details of those events, and highlights.

Following a chance discussion in Hop Hideout I was able to get a couple of ticket to the Indie Beer Feast on the opening Saturday March the 10th. It started early and I managed to get in before 12.00 with my friend Mr P. It was held in the picture house part of Abbeydale Picture House, which I have never been in before. Mr P meanwhile had, when he was 8, to watch Sink the Bismark with his parents.

There were loads of people there I recognised, and many breweries serving a good range of ales, and. crucially for me these days, plenty of seating! Myself and Mr P sat in the oldest looking chairs towards the back of the auditorium and soon spotted Malc and Ally and others from the extended social hug of the Sheffield beer scene.

I think I started with a North Brewing Co beer - in one of a few nods to Indie Man Beer Con there was no beer list, but I  had already seen it on the Internet, in a process so cool it made my beard grow longer. I know my second beer was a wonderful DIPA from Mad Hatter brewery,. whom I had a quick chat with, and the third a third of the super dry hopped ale from Sierra Nevada.

I also had beers from Runaway (possibly), Torrside, Abbeydale, Black Iris, another from North and Mad Hatter and thoroughly enjoyed them all - I got to take the glass home as well which I have used for almost all my home tastings ever since. I finished off in Hop Hideout with a wonderfully soupy sour and a Magic Rock beer. A fab fest!

On Monday I was in my second home of Shakespeares trying a few of the barrel aged beers on offer. Being cautious I only allowed myself twp thirds - one of the excellent Harviestoun Ola Dubh, and the other a 15% Juel Maelke, which Chris told me meant Christmas milk, which I misunderstood as Chris's milk, a wholly less appettising undertaking....

I returned to Shakespeares and Bar Stewards on Tuesday, not for any events but just to drink excellent beer, including a can of the Cloudwater small Citra Ekuanot at the Stewards.

Wednesday I met up with Brotaar and we sort of attended the Atom brewery meet the brewer event at Kerbedge at West One. Arriving late I only got to chat to them for a few minutes but got to try a sour, a pale and a 7% dark ale which WK loved. We caught up with them again in BrewDog where amongst other things I tried the Lost Industry coconut cream ale and the Steel City Rogue one.

Thursday I was keeping up to date by once more visiting Shakespeares and Bar Stewards, before Friday night was the fantastic Northern Monk Tap Takeover at the latter. I started on halves of their Striding Edge 3% Light IPA and New World IPA at 6%. Very similar levels of juicy hop in both was a testament to the quality of the Striding edge. Having caught up with the sword of Justice and his mates I went to the outside bar and met up with Michael Sallot, who have probably not seen since my stroke. It was great to catch up, and also to try a Loka Polly beer on keg.

I went on to try three IPAs, Underworld, Helvellyn and the pick of the bunch Slam Dank, and got chatting to the brewer and marketing sales guy who I had a good long chat with before meeting Vikkie and Matt for moe Loka Polly and a great catch up, before a wobble back to the bus stop. A cracking night!

The final event I attended was the Cloudwater Howling Hops takeover at Shakespeares on Saturday afternoon. Although I really enjoyed the DIPA the two double dry hopped pale ales tried were also of note, and Adam recommended the Pale XXX from Howling Hops on "cask" which was a wonderfully easy drinking pale ale. I spent most of the time with the Lycetts, and then Rich and Kath, getting a trifle refreshed on my meagre funds, and courtesy of to the kindness of the  team Lycett.

Every year so far the Beer Week event has grown in stature and improved in quality as well. There were many many more events that I wish I could have gone to but as previously I still had a wonderful week.

Thanks and well done to Jules and all those involved in organising this wonderful event, showcasing the best of Sheffield, local, national and international beers and Sheffield's fabulous boozers!

Wee Beefy  

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Two new and three old faves


     yesterday, down exclusively to the kindness of others, I was able to complete another crawl in Sheffield featuring two bars new to me and one not visited for some time. I started at lunchtime where myself and Middlemarch were planning on going to the Bhaji Hut on Ball Street - alas they don't open lunchtimes on a Tuesday so we opted for the Stew and Oyster round the corner. As Middlemarch is a caring friend and is worried about my fragile hold on mortality she refused to buy me any bowze, so this is a short review. The stew we had was very tasty, as was the hot brownie and ice cream dessert. I will howver have to return to try some booze in there....

After meeting Matt for enquiries at the council, and a trip to Beer Central where he bought me my Christmas present, we nipped down o the Lord Nelson on Arundel Street.  Have not been in for some time, and they have had a repaint in this back street watering hole, but little else seems to have changed, and I recognise the guy behind the bar from my first visits in the late nineties/early noughties. A cracking pint of Sonnet 43 was my choice whilst Matty had a pint of Azaca from Milestone.

Next we wandered to the Rutland Arms where Matty got to espy the new bar arrangements and we had a half each - he of the Chorlton Double Sour, and I a half of the Ultje Double IPA. The DIPA was very easy to drink and had an aftertaste of goosegogs, although, my tastebuds are slightly sqewwiff at the mo so it may have been another fruit. The Double sour was immense. An exemplary proponent of the sour style.

Our next stop was a new one again. The Dorothy Pax had slipped under my radar until last year when I read about it in the sheffieldalepubs blog after the gent very kindly named me his beer blogger of the year. It had not been open full time for long and it was only yesterday that I got to visit. Its good first of all to have a pub selling good beer down at Sheffield Quays. I never went to the Tom Cobleigh pub co venue there, but heard it was pretty grim so its nice to finally have a good reason to go.

Arriving soon after he had opened we found owner Richard ( |I think) Henderson apologising for his unkempt sweaty appearance and for any mess - I have to say I had noticed neither, but was immediately drawn to the bar. Abbeydale Daily Bread, a cider, a beer I have since forgotten and, as chosen for a pint by me and Matty both, Dark Star Hophead Loral, on at £3.00 a pint. I have no idea of Fullers plans for this fabulous small brewery but I foresee changes - best then to sup it whilst its still independent and brewing good beer.

The Loral was on excellent form and we got sat near the small heater and got chatting to Mr H and some of his regulars who may have been called Chris, or one of any number of other human male name. There was also a very large dog.

I tried not to describe the bar as a micropub because as Richard said himself, its just a space which he has imposed his own ideas upon, but in many ways its micropub in style. They are currently awaiting to have a keg 6 line font on the back of the bar, but before then its three real ales, three kegs and a cider. The Loral went down very well indeed, and it will be interesting to see what types of keg beers he gets on.

I finished the night after a lengthy walk through what soon after arriving became heavy snow to the Shakespeares, my second home. Matty had gone home by now and I finished off on a fantastic pint of cask Red Willow Weightless, as recommended by Adam and Brett-Morgan. I was somehow unaware of this beer having been on so regularly and rued having not tried it earlier. A wonderful, easy drinking perfectly balanced hoppy beer that I could have drunk all night....

Instead I had two thirds of the second BBno's DDH pale at 5.6% on keg, which was also excellent - very dry and superbly bitter. The perfect end to a fabulous night - and I got home safely in the snow....


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 25 February 2018

A short Sheffield pub ctawl

Hello all,

  don't worry, this isn't a post about short Sheffield pubs, its just the details of a short trip I had on Saturday to a few places to buy a small number of drinks. Being only yesterday there is a good chance I may even recall the details of all the beers I tried....

Having met relatives for a coffee in town earlier, and popped into Beer Central to pick something up, I headed for Hop Hideout, to wish Jules and Will a happy marriage (am not sure if that is what one says, but I said it to both!) and to have a couple of small drinks. I started on a half of the The Choice is Yours Export Porter, brewed by Blackjack, the Hop Hideouters and the Black Sheep Store at Blackjack Brewery in Manchester. Despite its strength of 6.7% the porter was really easy drinking - credit to all involved for a wonderful colab brew.

I also got a third of Magic Rock and Basqueland Brother Chucker IPA, a 6.7 colab with a wonderful aroma and a very satisfying taste. From here I caught the bus up to Archer Road Beer Stop. There were two real ales on, Wet Feb from Dancing Duck, and White Rose Blonde. As you may know you can't drink in but seeing as how I know Dave he invited me in for a catch up and very kindly bought me a couple of pints of the Dancing Duck beer, which was on top form.

From here I walked along Archer Road and up the road on the left Cawthorne Grove to come out and visit the Ale House. This is my third visit since it was taken over by new management last year and once more didn't disappoint. Here I had a pint and a half of Whitby IPA. I have never tried any of their beers before and so went for my default style, and the beer was served in a Whitby branded glass.

The IPA was hoppy, although not overly so, but was very well kept, and it was an enjoyable end to my rather short crawl of three Abbeydale and Woodseats venues.

Just a final note, and that is that next time am up in the area am going to pop in the White Lion which Jon and Mandy have now been running for three years! Congratulations to them on turning the pub round and making it into a top boozer once again.


Wee Beefy

Monday, 12 February 2018

Pints from the few.....


  the title is continued by the words "pubs I have been to this month". As a direct result of financial and physical (more financial) constraints, am going out much less these days, and thus have less to report. Despite the above, here are some fragmented "memories" (guesswork) of pubs visited and ales consumed, since payday.

On payday I met up with Tash to see Matty off, and to go for a wander and buy some food items. This turned out to be thirsty work and so we ended up in "an boozer" for refreshments. That was the Sheffield Tap, where Tash had a coffee and I a pint of Alechemy pale ale, which had a name and everything. Suitably refreshed we headed for the Moor and then for coffee before I headed for the Devonshire Cat. They were having their Lines brewery tap takeover, and I was interested to try their beers.

There were five of their beers on keg and I started on a pint of the hop flux, a New England IPA at 5.1% "on oats". I didn't get to speak to the brewers so had no chance to ask for more details of what was on the different other ingredients. Am willing to accept there were oats in the beer....

I Also had a half of their DIPA which had Nelson Sauvin Citra and Mosaic in it, but it was a victory for expectation over delivery, with the hop flavour too subtle for my liking. Myself and Mr P who had joined me also tried the Lignes de Brux on Ekuanot which was a 6.1% hoppy wild yeast ale collab with Trois Dames brewery. Mr P also had a half of the Brux Trois collab with Track brewing. All were very interesting beers, but not ones I would necessarily choose over more recognised favourites given the choice.

Up next to the Bath Hotel for a pint of something which has since escaped me, in a virtually empty pub, before heading to BrewDog for a half of something hoppy and of Tiny Rebel Imperial Puft imperial marshmallow stout.B oth were excellent.

On the 1st I popped in the Tap and Tankard for the very last time (not knowingly since had planned to go Saturday) and had two pints of Don Valley Brewery Hitch Cock pale ale. Bumped into Kev and Bill who told me the pub was not going to be demolished as John Lewis has not agreed to move so the road wasn't going to be built. Research eh!  After an emergency stop for a pint of Little Critters in the Huntsman I finished in the Old Queens Head for a bowl of garlic soup and a pint of Little Critters King Crow Imperial Espresso stout. Delicious!

I also recently popped in the Three Tuns where I had a half of the Titanic Plum Porter, mainly because, alas, the Blue Bee had run out. Afterwards I headed to Shakespeares to await the arrival of Tash. I had a couple of pints of the Kernel Mandarina, Bavaria, Citra and Centennial IPA at 7% which was on wonderful form, along with a half of the Cloudwater DDH pale NZ Chinook and a third of the 2015 Buxton Tsar. All excellent potations to warm the soul.

Later I headed to the Bankers with Tash for a pint of the Little Critters Golden Pale, then to the Cavendish for two halves of Brooklyn East India Pale, and finished in the Bath Hotel with a half of the Electric Bear NZ pale.

My final jaunt was last Friday when Mr G very kindly invited me out for a few pints, knowing I had insufficient funds to buy my own. We started in Shakespeares where I had three pints of the excellent Kernel above, before some annoying people with loud voices and chips came into the Clock room, after an hour of which we decided to move on.

Bar Stewards was our destination and in here Mr G kindly bought me two pints of the excellent Verdant Bloom IPA at a price which alas was nearly £2.00 more than that of the Kernel which was stronger, across the road. As I reassured him, the beer would be beautiful - and it didn't disappoint. I also got to see Steve and Cicely or similarly/spelled named persons who I used to know years ago in Walkley. A fab night of excellent company and beers throughout.

Now begins the lengthy wait for next pay day, although I do have four cans of hoppy goodness in stock to tide me over until the money trickles back....

Your very good health!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Second stupidly delicious beers tap takeover at Shakespeares


    I was really pleased to have sufficient funds to nip out yesterday for a few halves at the title event, which was held at Shakespeares. My second home was full to bursting by 18.30 with the event itself starting at 17.00. Here are details of the beers I tried and folks wot I sore....

I started on a half of cask North brewery pale, with Mosaic and Ekuanot or maybe neither. It was a zesty refreshing opener which woke my palate up perfectly for the somewhat heavier beers ahead. The pub was already busy so I ended up with the corner table of lowness in the Clock room -remembering of course to sit sideways as I can't get my legs under its so low. People I recognise but don't know came in and slowly started taking the other chairs from the table before Dave Unpro and his friend whose surname may have begun with a C came and joined me, eventually with the other guy crammed into the corner.

I had enough money to buy a pint on card so my second was a no brainer - Cloudwater NE DIPA Citra and Mosaic at 8.5%. No surprises in terms of consistency, clarity and citrus hoppiness but the taste far outstripped what I was expecting, no doubt down to the wonderful hops used in the cloudy mix.

Having spotted Ally and Malc and the man whose name I always forget, (sorry Darren, whose name I have now remembered) I saw renowned rapper, MC and Audiologist Professor G-Thame. He said " the main thing is be sensible Beefy" as we discussed the merits versus dangers of supping keg Evil Twin Even more Jesus at 12.0%, which was one of the recent portents of doom which made me a little unsteady. The rugged patois and clanging beats of his advice rang onerously around my head as I surveyed the list, and caused me to decline a half of the 2015 Buxton Tsar at 9.5%. Luckily Wee Keefy who joined me later bought a half and I tasted some of that - it was phenomenal.

Next up, and influenced slightly by the bose choices of those sat around me, I had two more halves, both on cask. One was of the Howling Hops IPA New England Special at 6.9%, and the other was of the Lost Industry and Steel City Mojito sour, which was dry minted to improve the flavour. This was absolutely fantastic. It may have been one of the least beer like beers I ever tasted but the mint against the sourness was a perfect combo and it was obvious that this beer worked best on cask. The Howling Hops was a little disappointing alas.

As it was rumoured to be running out I had a half of Brewski Pango, a passionfruit, mango and pineapple IPA at 6%. The fruits used blended perfectly and there was a really satisfying aftertaste to this unusual but excellently produced pale ale.

By now the Cloudwater had run out and WK having been tasked with fetching it chose a sour - am not sure which it was but the Omnipollo Blanco Mango Lassi gose is as strong a contender as the Wild Blend 2017, a blend of 3 barrel aged sours. This cleared my palate perfectly but was in fact the last beer I tried as I felt I had consumed enough to head home with hops and fruits and  souring acids awake and fighting in my mouth.

Well done to Adam and Chris at Shakespeares and their team for once more providing a stellar line up of cask and keg ales to tempt the tastebuds and blow the mind. Hoping to see you all again soon.


Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Third pub victim of Sheffield Retail Quarter demolitions


      I don't want to become a Faceache beer blogger - that's my pet name for Facebook by the way, in case you had already decided faceache was a good description of my style. I say this because a post on the same is my inspiration for this article - apparently the Tap and Tankard pub is set to close in February after what may be four years in its current guise.

I have heard (also on Faceache, I kid you not) that the pub was on a short term lease, to be open only until the demolition work reached it. That can't be too far away now, since Henrys was demolished months ago and the bottom part of Cambridge street and Charles Street are now blocked off. This makes my original draught slightly wrong, since I tried to explain what might have led to the pub not making enough money to survive. That is clearly not why its closing, based on the above.

I hadn't looked at the proposals for the Retail Quarter development before, so was interested to look today at the wide reaching plans. One of the first links I found was the Hallamshire Historic Buildings website, including a section on proposed demolitions and a letter to the council from Historic England which opposed the planned scheme due to the demolition and loss of much of Sheffield's metal industry architectural heritage, shown  here. As highlighted, the protests of Historic England have been ignored, despite solid basis  including potential damage to and isolation of existing Grade 2 and Grade 2 star listed buildings on Cambridge street,  such as Leahs Yard, just up from the Tap and T. Sheffield council's previous disregard for protecting or retaining industrial era architecture in the city is well reported, so their rejection of the opposal of  Historic England comes as a sad, rueful but not remotely surprising outcome.

The plans do make mention of new cafes and bars but thus far we have lost two real ale venues (am counting Henrys and the Brewery bar as two by the way) and a brewery (albeit which never brewed) , with the Tap and Tankard going next. There are therefore three licenced premises lost to the redevelopment. The building replacing the Grosvenor Hotel is said to house HSBC staff, whom are expected to shop in town and eat and drink after working hours, but there are already less places to do that.

It is also possible that the Cutlers was never reopened as a pub given potential nearby demolition - this has now reopened as an art space and programming centre run as a not for profit community space called Dina. Am not going to say I liked the Cutlers, and I don't know why it closed, but could it not have reopened as a decent venue had it not been threatened?

The letter from Historic England to the council is included in pdf viewing format on the Hallamshire Historic Buildings website link above, and makes for interesting reading. Its well worth using the buttons in the bottom left to view the document as a whole. Much is made of the responsibility of the local council/plan submitters to consider the preservation of historic buildings in relation to their importance. Given the unbending desire to build this new and intrusive development and previous poor form regarding historic buildings, am fairly satisfied that little importance was attached to the grade 2 listed structures, and they were therefore considered with appropriate care and rigour in regards to proposals that could affect them once development had taken place. Historic England's suggestions for developing Leahs yard as a museum or heritage feature are much more appealing than being made into a tunnel of turgid , no doubt replicated eateries, as seems fearfully inevitable.

There is a link here to the list of buildings and features proposed to be demolished when Fargate is extended to become Upper Fargate. I have to say I am concerned by the scope and area of the demolition. Not least since, as previously reported, John Lewis had not agreed to their relocation when the plan was submitted, so the proposals at that point seem mainly to benefit HSBC who will have a brand new building. The only others to benefit may be the multitudinous puddle of coffee shops and takeaways that will pepper the numerous units created in this decimation.

Am sure there is the potential for this development to out perform the combined takings of the numerous trading businesses threatened by the proposed Retail Quarter. However, I can't imagine any new multi retailer development on such a grand scale being much different to any other similar sized sump of standardised shopping selections in other cities. And am similarly unconvinced that the development will afford the construction or establishing of the type of bar or traditional pub that I like to drink in. Demolishing three such venues will of course make the latter even harder to achieve.

It is of course important to be honest about the Tap and Tankard. Although there were some high points and features to savour, it is interesting for me to reflect that the period the Tap and T was open mirrors the changes to my tastebuds. I now drink less cask, much more keg and far more canned ale. One member of staff who may have worked for Kelham Island brewery did strive to get hoppy real ales on there, at my kind of strength and at a competitive price, but he didn't work there long and after a while the beer range became quite timid and disappointing. As my focus shifted to the Tuns and Shakespeares I ended up being less attracted to Kelham beers, and the less exciting guests the Tap and T had on, and drunk in the area less often.

However, against the background of knowing it was to be flattened under a new road am actually quite impressed with what Kelham did with the Tap and T. Despite my beer choice gripes this was a great example of a traditional back street boozer in the city centre, along with the Bath and Red Deer, and was a great place to go during the day to have a quiet relaxing pint and an excellent pork pie.

The pub is set to close on Saturday night February 3rd and they are inviting customers old and new to go along and have a final rink before it closes.

I will be there for a slake myself, cursing as I do the council planners and the international language of banking, in the same hoarse, bitter, breath.

In sadness

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Little Critters Brewing Co


   I think its fair to say I was underwhelmed by my first taste of Little Critters beer. I may even have referenced the "full mash" brewing style beloved of Whitbread's regiment of brewpubs in the 80's and 90s. I was pleased to see that it was well priced, but it wasn't until they brewed their Hazelnut Milk porter at 6.0% that I started to take any serious notice. This has been joined in their range by the 6.5% C Monster, which, their website tells us, features Columbus, Centennial, Chinook and Cascade hops in the mix. Regular readers my realise that this combination of hops and strength makes me a happy chap.

I may be wrong but am sure there has been more than one version of C monster with different hops - there are certainly two pumpclips. If anyone can confirm that would be much appreciated. On Saturday I was meeting Wees K and F, Tash, Mumraah, Meathouse and Martin for a birthday celebration for my Mum and Tash at long time haunt the Ball on Crookes. The C Monster was on cask at £3.40 a pint at 6.5%. I had three pints, and it was excellent.

I had found recently that every time I went into Shakespeares, with few exceptions, I had looked at the keg line up first. The last time I was in they had the Kernel pale on at 7.0% or similar for £5.40 a pint. This has been the standard Kernel price for a couple of years now and represents  good value for money. Alas I cannot recall which hops were in the mix, although there may be a piccy on Faceache..... (update, their post says Mosaic, Simcoe and Ekuanot. It was absolutely ace, I can confirm).

The point is, there are in fact excellent cask hoppy ales, but less so than on keg and in can or bottle, which does not have a k in it. Northern Monk Heathen and Neepsend Double Centennial (or century) are notable exceptions but am drawn to cask less than I used to be. This means that the C monster, with a decent level of IBU and wonderful hops list, is a reliable fall back when in pubs of um...less stature. That regards beer choice I hasten to add, before anyone gets knicker-twisty.

For years we have had many small micro and nano breweries in Sheffield but apart from Blue Bee, Steel City and Abbeydale, very hoppy strong pale ales have been hard to come by in many pubs. Recently however the scope and reach of the three previously mentioned brewers has extended, as has that of Little Critters, meaning a hophead like myself now has a choice of decent quaffable lupilous pints in many more boozers.

Lets hope this trend continues, so that I am able to go out to different pubs once in a while and still come home hop sated every time.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 13 January 2018

New Year's new beers

Good evening,

  I haven't been out that often this year so far. No Dryanuary nonsense or dark artistry at work here, just restricted by  lack of funds. I have however, tried lots of lovely new beers on those two nights out, thus.

I picked up the other half of the humongous box of beers I had bought from Beer Central last week and headed to the Rutland Arms. I hadn't gone in specifically to see their new bar fonts but I have to admit I was impressed. New bar, same pub, great pub. Despite the longer length of the keg font displayeriser I was assured that they had exactly the same number of keg beer on, but now they would be easier to spot and choose. The handpumps are also more together. No problems with the beer range either, I had halves of the Northern Monk Patrons Project something point numbery which I recall was a citra lager. Facts aside it was excellent. The other half was better still - the Buxton Centennial IPA at 7.0%. Its the first of these single hop IPA's I have seen (I think they have Simcoe on at the mo) and since I love Centennial this was understandably a fabulous hoppy pale ale. All good at the Rutland it seems.

Not too far away I went to the Old Queens Head, partly based on info they posted on Faceache about a beer they had on. It was reasonably busy and I got the last table in the back, looking at the fine Christmas tree and over to the fireplace and sat down with some crisps to enjoy my pint. Hopjacker Medved is an imperial stout with a hint of chilli and weighs in at 7% but is troublingly easy to drink. So much so that I had two pints.

As any fule kno, Medved is Czech for bear, hence the ursine beasty on the pumpclip. Matty (who with Tash share the name of the beer, although Nedved is slang for bear am led to believe) was worried about the chilli as he doesn't like it in beer but he needn't have been. The roasted malt and creamy texture were simply tickled by an underlying subtle heat, finishing this excellent beer off perfectly.

My other foray was to home number two, Shakespeares. I had arranged to meet Davefromtshop there already, so was pleased to see on Faceache that they had the excellent Deya Falling into Place DIPA at 8.3% on keg. Arriving late, and as Adam noticed at pretty good speed, I was asked at the bar by a gent I didn't know if he could buy me a pint. Being short of funds I agreed and so started on a pint of the Abbeydale Voyager IPA. I started on a cloudy hop packed beer, and continued thus. Dave was somehow persuaded to buy me a further pint of the Deya and I may have had a third before moved onto bottles.

I tried the Basqueland and Lervig Nor Jose pale ale on Adam's recommendation, and it didn't disappoint, and we finished by sharing a can of the Evil Twin Even More Jesus imperial stout at 12% or whatever sledgehammer strength it is. A fab finisher, although I would suggest the emphasis should be on finish, since the amalgam of ale and cold air combined with my unsteadiness resulted in not one but four falls onto the ground in the short distance from Shakepeares to taxi and taxi to house....

So, Tryanuary despite its restrictions is underway, and I have already tried five new beers from a total of seven consumed. Don't give up the fight pub drinkers!


Wee Beefy  

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Once a year drinkers?

Good moaning,

       in a moment of lucid mollification earlier, an event which occurred in the twenty minute fight for warmth twixt waking and rising, I realised that I have been labouring under a delusion, or had fallen into the comfortable armchair of a pub conversation trap. Not subject to any malice you understand, but I had started agreeing with the claim that the worst people to find in a pub at Christmas and New Year are the much vaunted "once a year drinkers".

Firstly, the time of year I am thinking about this phenomena occurring is between Mad Friday and New Year's Eve. The three worst days in that period are Mad Friday, Christmas Eve, and New Years Eve. Straight away therefore, the phrase "once a year drinkers" seems awry. Unless these fearful of bowze roustabouts congregate in such mass that there are sufficient in their group to individually affront us on each of the above three days?

I spoke in my last post about the unpleasant nature and behavior of large groups of imbibers near Christmas, or in what am now going to called the new year era, or new yeara. The unpleasantness unleashed mainly on bar staff but often other customers (who may or may not be reguluzz) is widely thought to stem from once a year or novice drinkers.

Now I know a fairly large number of folks from different backgrounds, and with different levels of supping experience. I can only think of one who maybe only goes out in the New Yeara. They might fall foul of over indulgence, and perhaps also bail early upon that realisation, but the deplorable characteristics displayed in this period are not theirs.

When I was 19, so had been drinking regularly for two years (this is a fact, but not a boast I should point out) I used to go on a lengthy pub crawl on Christmas and new Years eve with  my regular drinking buddies. Did we get drunk? Yes. Was this because it was Christmas or New Year? Yes. We saw it as our duty to consume an insensible amount of alcohol because of religious doctrine and public holidays. We often screang (screamed and sang that is) loudly, although mostly in tune, in pubs and on streets (sorry if you lived in Crookes in the nineties and heard someone screaming Nirvana songs in the early hours, that was me....). We talked loudly, staggered and swayed, and made unprovable claims of our abilities in numerous areas of life, including insobriety. That was, however, the limit of our trespass.

I know time makes ones memories rosier, but I don't remember us ever getting into a fight, only once being asked to leave, and never being abusive to staff. Well, there was one time in the Springfield, but that was our regular spot and this in no way mitigates our behaviour, but there were ongoing issues. What am saying is, the New Yeara made us drink differently, but we were no booze babies, we had already become insufferably thirsty folk by this point, and crucially, the excess of New Yeara alcohol didn't turn us into aggressive, confrontational, twats.

I heard that prior to this Christmas a person I wrote a song about had been physically assaulted behind the bar. Having seen friends in the industry withstand absolutely unjustifiable amounts of personal abuse from revellers enjoying the immoral freedoms they wrongly assume they are entitled to, its a mark of respect to all that they haven't lamped a number of exceptionally rude customers. The thing is, to behave in such a reprehensible manner requires practice. Therefore, the mumblous miscreants I loathe are far from once a year slakers. They are, instead, regular drinkers but also, full time aggressive simpletons.

I think once a year drinkers, should they exist, should in fact be encouraged to come out, and find out what parts of our lives they are missing. I think more importantly than that, seasoned drinkers need to remember that whilst their drinking habits can change in the New Yeara, their behaviour should comprise respect, and forethought of speech. Its one of the things I absolutely don't miss about working behind a bar, and every year swathes of rude and abusive drinkers remind me of that fact.

Here's to a new year, and a new era of calmer, less rude drinkers.

Wee Beefy