Sunday, 26 August 2018

Beef and Dave's new bar tour


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 11 August 2018

A Fine, Friday, Sheffield crawl


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Remember when beer was bottle conditioned?


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wee Beefy.