Monday, 30 December 2019



     luckily the title does not represent an avoidable non drinking pub destruction plan for the madness of this month, instead it rather aptly describes my drinking and related agendas for the same period. I was inspired to write this after a lunchtime wander to the pharmacy where I observed an alarming epitome of excessive methylated misuse in such a small space. I did not set out to espouse my dissatisfaction, instead to dress you with some of the related baubles of nonsense encountered on one of only a small number of sober days thus far in December, and to also highlight some of the hugely enjoyable crapulence therein.

Arriving at Wicker Chemists after 13.00 I immediately spotted two outdoor Spice enthusiasts, maudlin and emaciated, raging at every evolving happenstance with delirious (on his part at least) mumbled rage, as if every aspect of mans existence was sent to try them. Luckily I was served quite quickly as this internal inferno of garbage prevailed but having escaped, I walked down Stanley lane out onto Nursery street. I used to work on nearby Joiner street and despite the excess of litter and unreadable graffiti I thought about popping my phone out to snap the sun reflecting off the Waverley windows - until I spotted two further outdoor mentalists pressing themselves against some otherwise forbidden garage doors and "enjoying" the partaking of some subcutaneous matter. Wanting to avoid a listenation, or worse still, losing my legal meds or phone, I did not remove the same from my pocket, and walked by thinking "Christmas, ambling aimlessly through our streets with your disparate and exacerbated cousin, what have you brought upon us?"

In my own case the answer is simple - luffly bose. And although I admit to an occasional nodding, and indeed three separate incidences of falling, I would like to point out that at the very least, my unwise enjoyments do not make their way into my blood stream via syringe. And to somehow support this fact, here are a few recent examples.....

On pay weekend I collected my take away cans and a bottle from Beer Central. What with a direct request from the dark lord himself I have to admit that I have already finished these, but a number stuck in my memory.  Wylam Greenbutt Skunk was a September or so brewed green hopped masterpiece at about 8.3% and blew me away - I had a can in Bar Stewards and then one at home with Matty and we both loved its complex but unrestrained mix of flavours.

Matty himself bought me a 9% Cloudwater New Zealand DIPA with, strangely I thought, Southern Cross and Amarillo as its hops. Luckily this likewise blew my mind, and finished off a whole evening of other classics including the Triangle referenced 8.3% Garage speciality with fabulous malt and other flavours, and the Pressure Drop Domino Topple IPA at 7.1%. I have to say that I have loved almost every Pressure Drop can I have had recently and this was no exception.

A trip to Bar Stewards not only provided a range of bottled wines for the first time in...ever? but also some excellent Loca Polly - their Rosa at 8.5% was fantastic, as was the Deya and another False coloured eyes (this, along with all my memories, maybe mildly inaccurate) but as well as this joy there were three fabulous pints at my second home Shakespeares - I had over three pints of Wylam Jakehead on cask from the past, a pint of 6.5% Cloudwater pale on keg from the future and a few nights ago my last visit of the year provided three pints of the excellent Pentrich IPA at 5. something% which was cloudy as a small bag of soup and as well as being on cask from the past, tasted amazing!

Final highlights included a catch up with chums at the St Mars of the Dessert Tap where I had a pint of their excellent Levy Greve which I am certain I have mis-spelled, as well as other classics, before catching a bus into town and up to Walkley to meet WK in the Walkley Beer Co for their fifth birthday. I then finished in the Raven on Palm Street, now a much improved version of the Palm!

As I return to the unending horse gin of despair tomorrow to lug sacks of garbage up out of the depths of the earth to pleasure the otherwise disaffected, I can safely say that my every libational undertaking in this fine month has ended up making me a very happy chap indeed.


And a very happy new year

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Christmas wander

Good afternooo

         apologies for the slightly lame title -I was going to make it even more icky with "Family Christmas Meal Pub Crawl" until I saw sense. This is still a bit weak I admit but its a good reflection of the event that am about to describe....

We were meeting early this year - at noon. Initially this was to allow WF to drive back before 16.00 in the light but in the end WK picked him up in his car before dropping Dad at the pub, driving back to Crookes and walking back to the Sportsman at Crosspool. WF got a taxi later. Admittedly its an Ember Inns pub but they sell a few decent beers and the meal was. in comparison with town based offerings, a bit of a winner for twelve pounds. As always myself Matty and Tash were ever so slightly late - I walked down to Darnall to get twenty pound out and to buy a weekly pass but there was a problem with the cash machine. Although I knew I had sufficient funds in my account I got just two pounds out at the Post office and headed into town after a lengthy wait for 11.50. Luckily Tash and Matt picked me up at 11.58 on West Street in a taxi they had got and we were there by just gone ten past.

Ale wise there was a Black Sheep IPA, Moonshine, Thornbridge Jaipur and the excellent Fyne Ales Jarl. Always a favourite drop I had two pints of this as well as a a pint of Jaipur. all of which were delicious. WF complained about his Jarl to WK who asked me to come and try it - it tasted exactly the same as mine. It was when I told him this that he admitted it was too cold and that he didn't like cold beer. Am sure when he was drinking off Sam Smiths at the Abbey pub outside Derby the temperature hadn't been considered and I have to admit that pale hoppy beers do taste far better with a light chill. Mine was ace! Meanwhile the meal was OK and we were there nearly three and a half hours before M+M dove off  and took the two Wees to WK's house for Dad to wait for a taxi. Me Tash and Matty walked back through the cemetery to Crookes where we popped in the Punch Bowl.

I have been reasonably impressed with its turn around since True North took it over but alas we found that they were trying to sell some rank and off Blue Bee Stout - Matty asked for a taste and pulled a deep grimace as he smelled it and tasted it - he pre-warned me but that didn't prepare me for the vile smell never mind the taste. When I pointed out to the girl behind the bar that the stout was off she didn't taste it instead claiming that "they always taste weird to me". An amazing response, which I would like to think is especially disrespectful to Josh and the others involved with the brewery. I did not check that they had taken it off when I left but am guessing that the person I pointed out the issue to neither cared about her clients or understood beer sufficiently to bother.

Nipping across the road to Two Sheds we bought Tash a couple of glasses of mulled Wine and I had an excellent pint of North Brewing Sputnik Pale, whilst Keet and Matty had the Janet Street Porter. I had two excellent pints of the Sputnik which was on fine form and the others enjoyed their drinks too. Matty and WK nipped back to his next whilst me and Tash headed into Town to pop in Cavells to use the loo, and to get Tash a large white wine and myself a pint of something about 5.5% After a quick catch up Tash got the tram home and I wandered down to Bar Stewards to have another pint of the 5.7% Blue Bee IPA on cask, and kept  perfectly, along with a few halves on keg. As always I bumped into a few mates and caught the bus back at about 23.00. I may even have treated myself to a can of Pressure Drop when I got in, although, as with a number of happenstances, my memories remain unclear....

Overall though this was a great day out and despite the grimness of the Punch Bowl all the pubs involved kept excellent beers. Am out in Crookes again tonight for a couple to catch up with fab folk from the past as well as Wee Keefy and am really looking forward to a return trip to the Hallamshire House.  


Wee Beefy    

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Remembering pub names....and other things......

Hello folks.

            regular and more astute readers may be aware that since my stroke and more so since my recent brain injury, memories, whatever they are, have not been very high up on my agenda. Longer term readers may also note that throughout the nearly ten year history of my blog, accurate memories of liquids consumed and other aspects of crapulence have thus far regularly escaped me, or at the very least, presented themselves in my memory through a dizzying, contorted haze. So last night, when it took me an hour to find and recall the name of Yorkshiremen the grumbleweeds (not a pub), I was prompted to write.

Although, I can't remember what about....

Am kidding, obvs, but the main inspiration for this guesswork stemmed from a chat I was having with the lovely Vikkie and Matthew the other night. We talked at length about the downfall of pubs near where I used to work, starting with the Crinoline Bridge, now a cafe, and then on to a now demolished pub in Rotherham near the station. I was certain it wasn't called the station, and I remembered the awful seventies sun lounge decor that befell it prior to its closure and then demolition, but I couldn't remember its name. It was, of course, the Phoenix. It was on the bridge facing the steps down to the station. Vikkie occasionally used to pop in very briefly for a lager (in the absence of anything else) prior to meeting Matthew to catch a train. I only went in once, under the ownership of what may have been Turkish folk, finding that they sold absolutely nothing that I wanted It is alleged that if I had wanted to buy drugs or partake of prostitutional services the venue would have suited me more, but I realise, these are only allegations. No doubt unrelated to its soon to follow closure.....

We also discussed the demise of the nearby Kingfisher Old Mill pub which I used to enjoy popping into at dinnertime or sometimes after work when I worked nearby. Although I did not know it had also closed down, and I seemed to have removed a whole slab of memory, including its notorious period as a bikers pub, knowledge which, like with so many things, appeared to have escaped me.

Then there was my discussion with WK today about National Inventory pubs, an area which I usually do very well in, but which lead to confusion about the definition of parlour pubs and the number of times I have successfully visited the Sun Inn at Leintwardine - it was only once, on the same weekend the landlady died, and we got chatting to a man obsessed with such excellent pubs in the living room. I recall we liked the beer - very much. Not enough to recall its name however......(although it may have been Hobsons Bitter)

The main example of pub name tomfoolery came at the Bath Hotel about twelve years ago - it was probably in 2007 as I was working at Milton House at the time, although in the flooding in June my company that night had already moved to work next to the river so it could have been 2006....

We had already discussed, and failed to name all, of the Wentworth monuments. I can still recall Hoober Stand and the Needles Eye but as well as the small building which we managed, I can't remember now, and neither if us then, the name of the other high tower. This inspired us into a chat about local pubs and we wandered into a self filled sump of knowledge free flailing by wanting to know the name of the pub in Midshopestones outside Sheffield. With neither of our memories obviously working, between us we decided the pub "obviously" had an agricultural themed name.

And so followed, amongst many many others:  The Cow and Tractor, The Horse and Groom, the Fox and Chickens, the Hay Bail, The Swan and Ducklings, The Farmstead, The Wheat Arms, The Plough and Farrow...and so our guesswork went on. Indeed, this borderline mesmerising lack of knowledge went on for a horrific fifty minutes until, replacement pints in, a colleague from work wandered in. Quick as a flash I asked "hey man, what is the name of that pub in Midhopestones outside Stocksbridge?"

After a quick thought he said "its the Midhopestones Arms".

And it was. I mean, I know it changed to the Old Mustard Pot and I admit I have no idea of its current status, but in effect myself and Mr P had spent an hour of our valuable drinking time trying to imagine the nomenclature of a pub in Midhopestones whose identity was given away by that fact alone.

 And then there is the amount of time it still takes me to remember crayfish......

I have, I feel I ought to point out, been receiving and engaging in substantial support from SCBIRT (The Sheffield Community Brain Injury Team, or similar) in Upperthorpe, and although I thought I struggled in the tests carried out they confirmed that my performance was of a high quality, and suggested I could regain almost all of my background memories in the next four years. I would very much like to still be writing in that time, as well of course, of subsisting on the abject malfeasance of alcohol.

In the meantime I would ask you to perhaps afford me a modicum of misrememberance. And mispelling. And indeed other grammatical missuses......

Your very best of health

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Shakespeares beer festival 2019

Hello chums,

       about three weeks ago I thought to myself "why don't I quickly write up details of that fantastic beer festival that I have just left at my second home?" Mind you - they were just thoughts. And after all what are thoughts? What are they, and what do they mean? Like birds, we'll never know. We will now, however, know what it was that I got round to trying at said event. It went very much like this.....

Arriving on Thursday I jokingly said how surprised I was that everything was available, including, as I picked it up,  the lengthy list of cellar and upstairs bar beers. Suffice to say that Chris was keen to point out that he dd not have time to joke as he was incredibly busy. He was right. The whole pub was absolutely rammed with tickers and other festival goers. I caught up in the back room with Rich and chatted to him, enjoying a pint of the excellent number one, an Abbeydale Brewery Shakespeares special at 6.5%. This was incredibly bitter and zesty, and I soon moved on to the wonderful cloudy Beatnikz Republic I love Simcoe, a 5% Simcoe triple hopped pale ale which was on top form on cask. I finished on the slightly expensive but still wonderfully drinkable Turning Point Demon's Eye a 7.1% ale marked as a DIPA but although too week for such a description it still packed a heck of a lot of punch.

From here onwards my knowledge of exactly when I had everything becomes distorted. So as I may have done previously I am going to make a list based on my excellent print out which I have been keeping safely ever since. Hence:

Cask from the past:

Anthology Azacca Dry hopped pale at 5% (downstairs)
Chapter Shadows 6% saison (downstairs and then upstairs)
Neepsend and Walkley Beer Co Ancillary On Sales  5.2% (downstairs)
Red Willow Guilless 4.2% one off cask (upstairs)
Steel City and Shakespeares - To BBQ or not to BBQ 7.4% (upstairs)
Steel City & Lost Industry & Boutilliers  Burn the Kirsch 6.66% Raucbier (Upstairs)
Beer Ink & Boutilliers 10/6 polish grodzizkie (Upstairs)        
Abbeydale Shakespeares Special #2  Thai Green Pale at 5.5% (downstairs)


St Mars of the Desert El Cameo 6.9% NEIPA
St Mars of the desert Winter on Mars 9.3% mixed fermentation Foeder
Omnipollo & Dugges Anagram Barrel Aged 15% - I only had a third!!

Although I visited about five times during and just after its worth pointing out that I had numerous pints of the Beatnikz, the Chapter and the excellent turning point. I was fairly refreshed by the time I left as were a lot of other visitors!

Overall I think the range was incredible - a few beers stayed on longer than the whole weekend but that is not to criticise their wares. This was a festival of weird rarities, super strong ones and excellent hoppy outings which I enjoyed considerably!

The only minor down side is that having it in December does regrettably entice the more grumpy drunkard, one of whom I spotted on the Saturday refusing to move his chair a few inches for my friends to get out easier than the clambering over the end of the settee which they ended up doing. But on the other side of the coin I bumped into many people I know very well and spotted many fine suppers of excellent beers along the way.

Well done to Shakespeares and its staff for organising a truly excellent event!


Wee Beefy  

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Monday night crackers

Good afternoon all,

              firstly I should confirm that this post title is not an admittance of some dreadful dreary dietary masterplan - indeed, since the subject has arisen, I can happily admit to not being in possession of any crackers at all.....instead this is merely details of three different venues visited on Monday night either side of a trip out towards Hillsborough to buy scran, as I understand people do......  

Meeting Tash on High Street we decided to nip quickly into Cavells, formerly the Blue Ball, if memory serves, for a quick drink and a catch up before heading to the supermarket. They sell a couple of real ales, and on my last visit this included a 5.7% Sheffield Brewed IPA which I had two pints of. Tonight, most likely as Monday is not a busy night, there was just Ossett Yorkshire Gold, so I had a pint and a half of this, whilst Tash had a large Sauvignon Blanc. Alas they close quite early on Monday so we only had time for that whilst listening to some interesting choices of Eighties pop - possibly chosen to remind thirsty customers like me and Tash that they would be locking up in twenty minutes. The Ossett was well kept and tasted fine, and am certain Tash enjoyed her wine.

Soon we were on the tram and got off at Primrose View before heading down the side of the Double H. Shopping took about half an hour and as always at Aldi it didn't cost us much to walk out with four large bags of essentials. As we have done the last four times, we nipped in the Hillsborough Hotel for a few, with more Sauvignon Blanc for Tash and I had two pints of Helmsley Brewing bitter Pale possibly called Howardian Gold which was very nice, along with a dark ale from Abbeydale which was also well kept, tasty and well priced. Although, it may well have also been their excellent Heathen on glorious keg - the same description still applies. Before leaving we got chatting to Tom for a while and found out quite a lot about their role in the community at this time of year and the food they offer. I think its fair to point out that they won't be opening on Mondays in the new year because not only is January a very quiet month but also the pub is too far from other similar types of boozer to attract sufficient trade to be open 7 days a week.

Some of you may know that I used to work at the Hillsborough Hotel when Del first had it back in the nineties. I used to love going in it then and despite one or two previous declines I have to point out that it has improved and continued in that same manner over the years since Tom took over it's running. With the improvement of the Gardeners and the continued excellence of the Blake, its a shame that more folk don't walk past and into the three on weeknights and weekends more often. I wouldn't want to see the temporary loss of any of those venues in the months ahead.    

After finishing and nipping back onto the Tram we got off at the Cathedral and walked round to the Museum for a last one. As I may have mentioned before they now sell Red Willow Wreckless pale ale on a regular basis which has improved their beer range considerably. Although we were close to last orders we still had time for a large drink each and a chat before I went out at 11.20 to catch the bus home.

I think what this shows is that despite its sometimes rubbishness many of Sheffield's pubs continue to try and strive on Mondays and all offer a selection of well kept pints to wash the palate out. If you are a drinker in our fine sunny city, or even if you live nearby or far away, I would recommend popping out on a Monday to breathe a bit of life back into Sheffield boozers and to help maintain Sheffield#s excellent range of ales at all times thereafter.


Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Old Queens Head wins November pub of the month


       last night I was unexpectedly out bowszin with Tash and Matty. Having met them for a quick pint of Little Critters bounty bar resemblant coconut porter, Matty nipped to the Washington and the shops and myself and Tash walked down to the Old Queens Head for her to treat me to a pint. Having already spoken to Andy Cullen on transport matters I was surprised to then see him, as well as Trevor and the gent who's name I have forgotten, from the ownership of the Kelham Island Tavern. A quick trip to the bar by Matty when he joined us indicated that the pub had won Sheffield Camra's pub of the month for November.

I wrote about the transformation and improvement of the Old Queens Head a couple of years ago - I had been going in for a drink since 1993 or 94 and had seen some pretty underwhelming versions of it - an opinion reflected in this link here . I am not sure if the pub has ever won this award previously under its current management but I have to say it was wholly deserved. Praise should specifically go to managers Michael and Suzanna, who do a fantastic job of running the pub. And the food they serve is excellent - a point highlighted by the fabulous free sandwiches they made especially for the event - the cheese and garlic slices were supremely garlicky, which I love.

Beers wise the choice was excellent - 4 Thwaites cask, Mild, Amber, Gold and IPA, Thornbridge Market Porter, and the excellent Abbeydale Forge. I have tried and loved this beer previously, both in can and probably on cask at the Itchy Pig in Broomhill, and once again this fantastic cloudy pale ale was made with local bakers at Forge Bakehouse. It featured Amarillo, Citra and Simcoe Hops along with ancient grain, rice, oats and rye. When we came in Tash bought us a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc with two glasses and it was whilst paying for that I noticed that they had Forge on - after a refreshing glass of wine I had three pints of the excellent beer and enjoyed it entirely. A gorgeously cloudy, bitter and hoppy soup of joy.

After eating some free samples from Michael of the snacks, and after watching Doctor Johnson award them the pub of the month, I got chatting to some CAMRA folk, including a man I used to see at Archer Road when I worked there called Andy. Well, I say that - this is what I think he is called - unfortunately I am now unable to remember his response to/agreement with/rejection of, said guess....

As he said when I returned to sit with the Nodvogs, "see you again soon, maybe not in fifteen years this time!" which when I thought about it is very likely when I last saw him in 2004, certainly no later than 2008 or 2009, whichever year it was I stopped working at the shop. It was great to catch up with him again, and  to see other memorable, along with unknown, CAMRA people. Not that this in anyway persuades me to rejoin I should point out. It was good to catch up though.

The three of us were quite late leaving after a fantastic night, and one which we thoroughly enjoyed. Well done and congratulations to Michael and Suzanna and all their staff on receiving this recognition for their work, and I hope to be back in their pub next month for more excellent beer and hopefully some garlic soup.....


Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

The 45th Sheffield Beer festival.....


      I must apologise for my lateness in providing info regarding this excellent event - I can assure you that it in no way reflects the quality of the venue or the happenstance, instead its simply that I have been wondering whether I was really sufficiently qualified to write up about this fest - the principal reason for which, instead of my brain injury, simply being that this year despite its earlier-ness I only visited once. And that was a monetary decision.

And so here is what I found.....

Arriving at 18.00 I was queuing before Wee Keefy joined me. I have to say it seemed busier than previous years - attendance on a Wednesday night used to be quiet, but I waited ten minutes to get in. Not a long time I accept, just a surprise if nothing else. Once I had paid the fee - which as well as getting you in also got you a glass and a fiver's worth of tokens, I headed straight into the downstairs tent and bumped into S.o.J and Jack. The kind fella even gave me a free programme which I had for some weird reason avoided buying - at just 50 pence. The info would have perhaps made my initial choice better - having asked for a pale hoppy beer I was sold a half of Peak Ales IPA, which was a decent sup, but a tad disappointing. S.o.J was on the excellent Williams Brothers Tin Man Tropical IPA at 5.5% and this was my second sample, and regardless of my being a Williams Brothers fan this was much better and well balanced. Joined now by WK we headed upstairs to find a 4Ts beer, and bumped into Josh, Bob, Marv White and his mate, along with Vikki and Matt. And the search for beers continued.....

I wanted to try a 4T's Papa Mangoes, a 7.0% ale described as a Mango fruit Double IPA. I was a little worried by the strength - not that it was too high, instead that for a double IPA it should be 8% minimum. The smell was very nice but the taste had an awful background - described as a children's cough syrup by Vikki, and as I went further down I had to agree - perhaps hoppy Calpol?

Things desperately improved next with a half of the Blue Bee Mosaic Brut IPA at 7.4% - always a fan of their stronger strongly hoppy beers this was a worryingly easy to drink IPA which ticked all the right boxes. After a wander and a very slow purchase of more tokens I dropped down to a Born in the Borders Flower of Scotland, a pale ale with some good flavours and a decent amount of Scottish malt to blend it. Things then got better still.

There were two cask ales from Almasty , Cashmere and Amarillo Cyro Pale was an excellent blend at 5% and their Mosaic and Azzaca IPA at 6% was phenomenal.  I am led to believe by a mixture of memories and scribbles that I also tried a half of the Arbor Yakima Valley at 7.0%, but am not certain whether or not I may have simply imagined this what with said beer being a big favourite. And now it was time to head down to the Keg room to sample some truly excellent ales.

I started on a third of the Abbeydale and Box Social Voyager IPA 19. All of a sudden the ale was soupy and tasted of excellent hops. The night was thereafter good. Not that it didn't get better, as next was one of my two halves of frankly excellent Cloudwater DIPA at a robust 9% - I finished my visit on the second. Am also sure I tried a third of St Mars of the Desert's excellent Clamp, a fab 5.4% IPA, and possibly a Track You Do You 7.0% IPA. Its fair to say I may have been a trifle relaxed by this stage, and that may also explain my lack of information regarding the taste of the latter.

I left about 22.00 having had a fab night, with some fab people, including Johnny and Declan from Bar Stewards, and also Nate and Lucy, whom I bumped into in the Keg bar.  It was interesting to hear of a complaint that a nearby barman received, where a punter said "thi sell that Keg beer un are dornt lark it, nevah goin again" an automatically infuriating comment, not because of the rejection of keg as a style, instead the fact that they sold over two hundred cask beers as well! They must have walked straight in the keg bar and without a word walked straight out......

Despite not being able to attend another night I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and with just one exception all the beer tasted was on excellent form. Big thanks to all the volunteers, and specifically to Mr Morton for his excellent role in ordering the beers for this fab festival.


Wee Beefy    

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Ayr, Portpatrick, Isle of Whithorn, South West Scotland

Hello again,

           waking up in Ayr we were downstairs on time with WF and all had a fantastic breakfast before going out of the Chestnuts Hotel full up and refreshed. We headed for Maidens but nipped up a road on the left up into the hills and took a lengthy wander before ending up back in Maidens and parked on the further beachside car park. We left WF with the car and a wander to the cafe and post office before myself and WK headed through the bushes and out onto the beach before walking all the way along to steps up the cliffs and onto the headland where we scattered grandad's ashes over twenty years ago.

The spot is still accessible, and also very quiet, and as the sun came out we had a brilliant view over the beach and out to Ailsa Craig. If memory serves it was January 1996 when we scattered the ashes and it is somewhere we have been back to  number of times. Following a path through the woods and back down a stream side path to the beach we walked further down this time before heading back to the car park to find that WF was likely in the shop and so walked down he road to find him. WF had nipped for a quick cuppa and to use their loo and was just on his way out when we arrived and soon we were heading back to Maybole and then through the hills to Martins stones and church before heading into Barr. Alas the pub there is now closed, possibly permamantly, depending on which source you get your info from, but there is a small cafe in the village shop and they do sell some decent bottled beers including March of the penguins from Williams brothers in Alloa which I got a bottle of.

From here we spent a long time in, and getting to Glen Trool before heading to Minigaffe and then through Newton Stewart before rejoining the A75 and heading into Stranraer. Here we parked outside a fantastic pub called The Grapes. This unspoilt low level pub, on Bridge Street and with a fabulous white sign with a rising red horse on it, describing it as the home of Stranraer Tukker Clan, is wonderful. Built in 1862 and unchanged in fifty years or more the pub sells two real ales - on this occasion Orkney Brewery Corncrake and Man of Hoy, and whilst Keith took WF down a corridor to the facilities I must have had about three excellent pints before we left. On the national inventory (alas I can no longer access that page as my computer says it is unsecure....) it is a fabulous community boozer selling excellent drinks, and with a fabulous unspoilt interior.

Heading out of the town we followed the old military road all the way down to Portpatrick, and as WK went to find somewhere to park the car, I waited outside our destination. We were soon inside the Crown Hotel, and took our seats to order food, and having all got pints of Sulwath Criffel in cask we settled down to tuck in. The food was excellent, and the beer also. After eating, myself and WK fetched the bags and got the room keys. Despite an initial problem, with them telling us the wrong room for me and Keet, we soon got in and having left WF for a short period we headed up to another pub up the hill. It was OK, but their strangely named Portree IPA was definitely Greedy King and although I suggested we visit the Harbour House Hotel, instead we popped into check on WF. After making sure he was in bed, and arriving back at 10.20, we found them closed, and the lass we spoke to allowed us to take a look in the bar - online searches suggest it has recently changed hands and in a change to info on Whatpub they sold two Portpatrick Brewery beers on cask.Bback at the Crown we had another two or three pints of the Criffel before heading to bed.

In the morning WK left just before me to check if WF had got downstairs OK and a member of staff knocked on the door. She said she had been asked by someone to remind me to come down for breakfast. She didn't seem to know who Fatha was which seemed strange, but not as odd as the idea that either of two  others would ask me to be reminded. On reaching the bottom of the stairs I was apologised to by another member of staff who had said they had been expecting to see two ladies, both of whom presumably stayed in our original room, and whom hopefully both remembered to sample, and enjoyed, the food in the breakfast, as much as we did!

After a lengthy wander around the sunny harbour we headed on a lengthy trip down to the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse where me and WK went for a walk and spotted some excellent wildlife, before joining WF again at the RSPB office and taking him up back towards Portpatrick and into a pub next to a caravan park in a place called Clashwannon, near the village of Dunnure.  Opening at four this pub sold two real ales - Osset Yorkshire Blonde and one from Portpatrick. Explaining how much I appreciated this chance to finally try some sadly I was informed it was off, and although I did buy three bottles of the same breweries products, as well as my two pints, I ended up leaving them in a bag in our last hotel. It seems I shall never taste Portpatrick beers....

That place was the fabulous Steam Packet Inn in the Isle of Whithorn. A place I have been twice in the last twenty years and never managed to visit the pub. By now for the first time it was raining and after we got inside and sorted our rooms I started on a pint from Stewart Brewing in Edinburgh  before having pints of every one of the pubs own brewery Five Kingdoms beers, along with two of their IPAs on keg. Food was in a room on the right and it was fantastic, although there seemed to be some confusion about who was having which sauce with their steak.Mine was rare and beautifully cooked, and WK enjoyed his too, but these days WF is such a slow eater that by the time he had finished he was mardily asking them why they served food on cold plates. The main issue is that in the amount of time it took him to sloth his way through his scran it is inevitable that it would cool down.

WF went off to bed early whilst me and WK sat in the bar by ourselves whilst chatting at some points to the brewer and the bar staff and finishing in my case (with WK on ginger beer) on a fabulous whisky. Alas I missed breakfast as I woke up early on with problems with my hernia, and whilst WK admitted the room was cold, today WF moaned that the tea was cold - two hours after he had arrived for breakfast. I really enjoyed the Steampacket - I just hope that as that is where I left my bottled beers (I found the Five Kingdoms ones!!), they enjoyed them!

Due to hernia issues we didn't stop for another boohar en route home and WK carefully drove me back to mine for about 19.30. I have now had two of the three Five Kingdoms brewery beers and they were both ace, I can highly recommend them! I am now invited to return to some parts of the holiday again next year, so who knows, perhaps I will one day try some Portpatrick brewery beers....


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 6 October 2019

The Wee Men visit South West Scotland


       back in 2018 myself and Wee Keefy and Fatha discussed his plans to embark on a final trip to Scotland. Although this in some small way accepted the decrease in Fatha's mobility in recent years it certainly seemed optimistic at best. Being a last big tour WF would drive his and myself up to Oban and then on the third day we would catch the ferry to the Isle of Barra and stay there for three nights, joined by WK. We would then make a two day trek up to Lewis and stay for two nights on Uig peninsula before heading back to Ullapool and spending two nights or three heading back down. WK was reticent, and after he and Fatha went away to Chepstow in February he was certain that WF couldn't do the driving, and following a tenuous trip to Coventry in July we changed the plans dramatically to four nights with no ferries. And here is what happened.

WF was to pick me up at 09.30 and we would drive over to Wee Keefy's. In the end he was 45 minutes late, but suggested as WK took over driving that he sat in the back and myself and Keith in the front. Alas on reaching our first stop he was completely unable to get out of the back of the car and that is where I sat for the remainder of the trip thereafter. Following a trip to Morrisons in Penrith for lunch we popped into the Agricultural Hotel, or Arms nearby, parked outside and tried there some of the four local ales available. I was on a couple of pints of Hawkshead Session IPA, WK was on a half of something else local as was WF. Despite a few problems fitting WF in his wheelchair down the thin alley to the loos, and having to register the incredably centrally parked car, I think this was a cracking pub serving excellent beers in a very busy town.

Following a quick trip t Loch Maben we headed into Moffat and booked into the Old Black Bull Inn. We had not been to this pub for 15 years or so and it had previously closed down. Now selling two Lowland Brewery Beers, I had three pints of their Twa Dugs pale ale and Keith and WF a pint each of the Luce Moose or a similarly titled dark with our meal. Although we did make a trip to the Stag Inn , where we both had pints of their Inveralmond Lia Fail on cask, the only available, we then returned for a couple more of the Lowland. An excellent start to the escapade.

The next day WF was strangely on time and although we waited a long time we thoroughly enjoyed our very large breakfast, which, despite the wait, was perhaps the finest of the holiday. After letting WF drive once more we drove down a B road out of Moffat into the nearby hills where we walked almost all the way up to the fantastic waterfall which is the Grey Mare's Tail. With his permission we left him sat on the viewing platform in his chair, before scrambling up as far as we could manage but to get to the top would have taken far longer. One point was that it was a pay as you stay car park - not expensive, as it was about three pounds for up to four hours, but a family drove up in a large and likely expensive to run car, spotted the price, and presumably, not the explanation of how much of the funds go to maintaining the paths and viewing platform, and left straightaway, moaning "Ahm not payin free quid to park, have never paid to park anywhere". Not only does this sound very unlikely, but its a small, well maintained  car park in the middle of nowhere where numerous people park up and visit each day, given the location and the cost of management I don't know why anyone would storm off in a huff!

From here we headed back into Moffat before heading up through the hills toward Leadhills and Wanlockhead. Known as one of the highest and coldest villages in the UK I was pleased when WK told me that his friend Kev had been there recently and discovered a pub. A quick search showed the Wanlockhead Inn in the village and the supliers of beer from Lola Rose brewery based nearby.  On entering WF was very slow to the bar, and, alas, when we got in there was one handpump with the clip turned round - we were told they weren't selling real ale at the moment. Whilst WF wandered to the loss we got drinks and a seat in the room next door where the band were playing folk songs, and very well. WK was on Tennants dark, I think, where as I had a pint of Maltsmiths IPA on keg. Although am sure its a major brewery maker and supplier it as a beer in a style which I liked and this went down very well.

Next we headed along miles of road via somewhere called Dalmellington, for dinner, before heading to the lovely Ayrshire Village of Kirkmichael. Here we parked outside and visited the excellent Kirkmichael Arms.  Memory tells me I first visited this pub for bose when I was nineteen, which means it was last century. I had a pint of Maclays on cask with a blue label, which may have been brewed in Alloa. Or it may not. This time there was still one real ale on and it was a cloudy Ayr Brewing Co beer called Otto and Griselda, a 4.6% pale ale. As WF was once again on one of his lengthy visits I had two pints of this, whilst enjoying the football results on the TV screen above us. This pub does not seem to have changed in the numerous years since my last visit and is definitely somewhere I would like to go to again.

Soon, with WK now driving,  we had driven over the hills to the coast above Dunure and from there into Ayr, arriving at the Chestnuts Hotel around 17.30. Parked up outside, we were quickly in our rooms having taken WF's stuff up into his, and after a quick change and an attempt to recharge my phone we went for tea at 19.00 in the restaurant, whilst I bought us all pints of the Kelburn Brewing Co Pivo Estivo, a 3.9% lager like pale ale available on cask along with two Greedy King. The food and beer were excellent, although they did change the barrel after our first pints as they did taste a little old. Later we ordered a taxi to take us to Wellingtons Bar down below Wellington Square.

My last visit here was possibly ten or twenty years ago as well and I remember drinking the possibly then independent Caledonian Brewery Deuchars IPA. Now, there were three real ales on including two from Loch Lomond. U had several pints of their Lost in Mosaic session IPA and the other Wee's had other ales, the identity of which has since escaped me.  After a couple of hours the staff very kindly bought WF a chair to sit on outside and ordered us a taxi back to the hotel. With WF, and after he went to bed, I had a further two pints of the Kelburn as well as a double Whisky, before heading up to bed around midnight. An excellent evening of great food and beers once again.

More details of the remaining days to follow

Your very best of health!

Wee Beefy

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Three down....


      I realise its literally hours before my trip away with the Wee's to Scotland, but I wanted to write this pre trip last post.....Details, it turns out, of three different closed boozers that we wished to attend....

The first I admit, is somewhere that I have known has ceased trading for some time. I admit we had formerly found it closed and thus never re-bothered but the tinterweb suggested that this happened in reality in 2015 or 16. Next to St Mary's Loch in southern Scotland is a place called Tibbie Shiels. I say this demonstrating my acknowledgeable lack of info or knowledge about the words - old photos on a Google search suggest equally that this was both the name of a former landlady and the area its in. Either way it has long ago left us. I went to and Enjoyed the Tibbie Shiels Inn in the 1990's. It has since become a hotel and masters lair of a lochside camping site. However, the building has since stopped trading as a real ale pub, or business, and has recently remained empty.

Prior to our mooch across the border we intend stopping in Penrith, a town with a rather less impressive local coloquialism for a name. Recently, before my stroke, myself and WF ventured into the same ancient Dockray Arms Hotel in the same, to find six real ales and a number of keg beers in a venue owned, am fairly sure, by Loweswater brewery.....or not. Alas a tinterweb search today lists this Cumbrian alehouse as permanently closed, so it seems we will miss out entirely on it's admittedly car unhelpful delights. A massive shame.

Finally, despite Wee Fatha's  early 2017 behaviour and, potential self barring, of the previously wonderful Geordies Byre in Newtown, in Ayr, I noticed today on a tinterweb search that the same pub, irrespective of WF's overreactions, is currently closed. He Tinterweb, whom is a person, cites recent bereavement. Having been there and enjoyed it immensely over the last 15 years, am hoping its not the landlord, or any of his staff, that this event has befallen. The Whatpub websites implies that it may reopen - I sincerely hope it does.....

I will write up my upcoming Scottish trundle upon my return, and, in the meantime, I wish you all the very best of your health...


Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Tatton Brewery

Morning all,

        I first drunk some Tatton ales in 2011, blogging about them in January 2012. Wee Fatha, then much fitter, made regular visits in 2012 and afterwards over to Cheshire to buy bottled and sometimes canned beers. I started on a bottle of their 3.7% Ale which I rated then, and am certain would still now., as very good. There is a link to the relevant post here: WeeBeefy's beer bites

Last night myself and WK were up at WFs for a final meal before we wander off on Friday for a trip to Scotland, and WF has been back over to the crematorium near Altrincham to pay respects and had stayed outside Mobberly. In the morning he had popped into Tatton brewery, as myself and Tash had done with him previously. Last night we tried three bottles of Tatton Ales, and once again found that they did not disappoint.

We started, in no perceivable order, on a 4.5% bottle of IPA - I did pick this beer from many, but purely out of it being available. I realise that regular readers my accurately conclude that I almost entirely drink DIPAs at 8.0% from Pressure Drop and Verdant and Cloudwater, who now noticeably have returned to brewing occasional Cask from the Past, like its 1993 again. I would like to point out that it made no difference to our choices, and whether by style or flavour, all three supped once again demonstrated Tatton's quality.

The IPA was a pale golden colour with that recognisable Tatton bitterness which I first experienced in their Ale back in the past. And there was a very enjoyable slab of hops - I rather slackly declined to find out which but details of the next beer suggest they may have been British hops. As you know, I am a lover of American and New Zealand hops but the flavour in this beer was cleverly balanced, so even tough I could expect it wasn't made with Simcoe and American cascade, I could still enjoy and appreciate the flavours present.

Next up was our strongest beer of the night - a 6.3% VIPA made, it was clear to admit, with British Hops. Reading the pages of their website here, I notice that there isn't much information about the hops used, but I would also say that you can tell the brewery are interested in brewing a particular style of beer that satisfies the expectations of many - and possibly only recently, the brewery now produces some of their beers in keg. Due to its strength, and potentially to improve management of some mild sweetness from the alcohol, the vIPA would suit this dispense method very well - a very big flavour, and once again balanced by that underlying background bitterness which supports so many of their other brews. WK finished first, then myself, and once Fatha had caught up we transferred to the final taster of the evening. This was their Malted Milk Chocolate stout at 4.6%.

Wee Fatha did express concerns about his current advice to avoid chocolate but wee Keefy did point out that the amount of actual chocolate present in the third of a bottle he was about to try would be minimal. That said there was plenty in the flavour of this take on two different beer styles, and this made sure there was sufficient sweetness in the overall flavour. Our last beer of the night was finished quicker than earlier but was none the less very enjoyable.

Overall I actually think the initial 4.5% IPA was the best of the bunch, which is interesting since I have always liked their 3.7% A;e over their Yeti and other strong beers. This may simply be down to the fact that stronger beers of this style do seem to carry a strong sweetness in the flavour which reduces the overall quality a little.

That said however, it was very good to get back to trying some Tatton beers and the experience of tasting their beers is one which I have missed for some time.

Your very good health

Wee Beefy

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Ales at home - what I discovered....


           firstly I should point out that I have been a little short of funds yet again, although I am off to South West Scotland before and on payday so am hoping things may improve next month. I should also admit that I have been out a few times, if not more, this month, and have really enjoyed those trips. In the meantime I also bought a number of canned and bottled beers on Thursday the 5th to have with my anticipated beer tasting, although, I had already cancelled it due to a lack of attendees, feeling unwell, and a leak in my Kitchen ceiling. The latter two have now been sorted so it seemed unwise to miss out on sampling almost all of the products purchased.......

The first one I tried was from Nottingham or Derby based brewery Black Iris. I had purchased their Nottingham Pride Pale ale which came in at a sensible strength of 4.5% and was an ideal starter. Pale, as described, and cloudy, as preferred, this was a gloriously easy drinking soup which very much tickled my taste buds.

Next up were two bottle conditioned bottles from Torrside Brewing. Their first was the Craft Hoodlums, a gloriously murky broth at 4.5% again, and wonderfully well balanced. I have to admit that my years in the beer selling trade has rather tainted my appreciation and indeed expectations of bottle conditioned beers but the two from Torrside restored my failing. Their second, the excellent Citra at possibly 5.0% was also once again glutinous (in a very good way) and proved an excellent start to that night's session.

There was a can from the wonderful Turning Point Brewery and their wonderful Circle Game, a Simcoe IPA whose strength alas I failed to record - I did however remember to photograph the blonde hazy mass of this wonderful concoction. On a similar note was the Cloudwater Citra Cy18, one of the many Yakima Chief hop series that was released recently. One of the complaints I made a year or two ago was the lack of any specifics of their ingredients - although - this is scarcely the point in this instance. What I can advise is that I have found almost all of their recent output incredibly refreshing, often bitter and reassuringly tasty. This trend was not abandoned in either this or their beautiful Horse DIPA at 8.5% which I supped last night - an excellent blend of hops and fruity flavours was very easy to enjoy.

Next was a fantastic can of the Neonraptor Hippo Launcher DIPA at 8.0%. As I noted on Faceache, whilst I recognise its an easily used word, I had to confirm that this was an excellently fruity DIPA. Brilliant design on the label as well.

I only purchased one small can - that being a 330ml ATOM and Salt Brewing DIPA called Hailte, or similar. I mentioned that it didn't list the hops used but I would point out that ATOM regularly use no or almost none of such ingredients. Possibly due to the involvement of Salt they were listed as HOPS in the ingredients and as with both of the similarly listed Cloudwater cans this was in no way an effect on the enjoyability of the flavour. In fact, the numerous listed herbal flavours perhaps made it a more enjoyable and quaffable ale.

There was also a can of Verdant, a 6.5% Pale Ale called Have we met before?, which in addition to the four excellent hops used I suspected the addition of London Fog 111 yeast helped me to find this especially enjoyable.

The 6.4% Citra Fog IPA from Burnt Mill made equally good use of the Citra involved, as well as being yeastily and frothingly cloudy to stimulate the taste buds further. The best of the new material however was a 5.5% saison from Wild Horse Brewing Co from Llandudno in Wales. Using an interesting mix of hops in Lemondrop and another I cannot at present recall (but which had a German sound if memory serves), this proved to be an excellently drinkable and reassuringly bitter, sweet and slightly but only marginally sour ale which met the description of its name perfectly.

Finally comes two interesting ales from Wander Beyond in Manchester. Soma was an 8.6% DIPA with a hint of lactose making a fantasticly easy to drink yellowy cloudy broth of fabulousness. The artwork on the can was likewise superb. Their final can was the La Catrina spiced Imperial stout, a fabulous mix of ingredients creating a murky depthed slab of ground like black horror which I have been very slowly and carefully supping for over an hour. A mixture of different sweet, spicy and tobacco themed ingredients balances out so well in this absolute cracker.

Once again, despite an understandable influence of DIPAs, I have managed to buy and try a marvelous selection of strong and hoppy and, increasingly, fruity and also sweet beers from a number of breweries, showing the British public that all of them, regardless of size or reputation, can produce an excellent and diverse range of ales..

Now to arrange to try the bottles of 86, 87, 88, and 1994 Thomas Hardy Ales that I have in bottles in the fridge.....

Your very good health!

Wee Beefy  

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Staffordshire trundle

Hello again,

          a few weeks ago WF's friend Cheryl from somewhere near St Albans came up to visit him, and to get some time away in the Peak district, before celebrating her 50th birthday. WF had intended us all to go out to the Ye Old Rock Inn at Upper Hulme, but that is currently closed.  Earlier this year we were shocked to find out that Mick, which may or equally may not, be the landlord's name, had put the pub up for sale. As WF had rather fallen out with the food at the Butchers, and as we intended to visit Cliff's, we suggested WF rang the now open and potentially not for sale pub, and to try and book us in.

The Friday in question posed some fairly grim weather, and after turning up at mine at 17.30 myself and WK quickly drove through the downpour to WF's where we picked him and Cheryl up, before we headed out through Bakewell to Monyash before heading down into the Dove Valley to meet up with the staff and customers at the Pack Horse Inn at Crowdecote.

When we arrived I mentioned to the gentleman behind the bar about the sale and he insisted that he would have bought and taken on another pub somewhere up north, but also that the brewery buying the pub off him withdrew their request at the last minute. This good news was improved as always by a choice of 4 real ales, two real ciders, and Moravka lager, unfiltered and brewed in nearby Taddington.

As we were there at about 19.15 we ordered drinks straight away, Cheryl on Cider, W's K and F on a Storm brewing beer, and I had, throughout our visit, three pints of beer from the Matlock Wolds Farm Brewery, a well kept and balanced bitter beer which was very enjoyable. Not a brewery I have come across before, but I have found out that they started brewing in 2014. We all stuck to just mains, WK had rare steak, WF something with Thyme in the dressing, and myself a fantastic piece of chicken breast in a sweet sauce and served with excellent tatties and veg. When we finally finished, and after one of WF's legendary time ending, glacial,  dawdles to the obviatorium, we were full up, so paid and thanked the pub before heading off up to Cliffs.

Its a short yomp up to Longnor, where there are now just two pubs open, Ye Old Cheshire Cheese and the Grapes Inn, before we headed out down the road onto the moorland and past mermaid's pool before arriving down the side road and parking in front of the Royal Cottage. The pub was quite busy when we arrived and once WF was on his Mans Brown Ale, me on a bottle of Old Speckled Hen and both WK and Cheryl were on J2o, we got comfy settled along the back. WF and Cliff got talking once more, whilst me and WK started up a chat with a young couple who were staying in their camper van nearby but actually lived somewhere near work in Sheffield.  

I was able to tell them stories of the unspoilt and alas, often now, closed pubs in Derbyshire and Staffordshire, and to find out details about their previous visits to unchanged Derbyshire pubs. Even after this, we all had to agree that there was nowhere else like Cliff's, and we stayed until 11.00PM before letting him get to bed and driving home through the heavy rain and thick fog back into Bakewell, before dropping Cheryl and WF off in siling rain, and then heading home to mine and then he to WKs.

What this trip has show is that uts another case of change in the area, with the Ye Olde Rock Inn being long term closed for a massive refurbishment whilst the family try to sell it, Ken am told still selling three real ales, not always in the best of form, in the Quiet Woman, the pub that is now known as the Knights Table still open but changed from the excellent free house it once was, and the excellent job carried out by Mick at the Pack Horse,  continuing ever more. Lets hope all this goodness continues, and the otherwise decline is fought off, for many more years to come.


Wee Beefy


OK all, nobody panic.....

    I haven't started writing in poorly spelled French, nor have I been possessed from beyond the other side by a former living French person with a similar spelling issue. Instead I wanted to update you on three recent visits to Kommune in sunny Sheffield.

You may recall, since even I do, that I posted about my first visit to Kommune in early April, partially because it was a new venue, partially because my friend's Hop Hideout shop had opened there, and partially because I had heard some rather odd comments about its faults. Since then one of the original visitors has returned and enjoyed it, and the venues popularity seems to have increased. So here are a few mentions about my visits in August.

Earlier this month I nipped in quickly after work to buy some take outs for me and Christingpher, and to quickly sup an ale inside. The takeouts chosen were amazing - three different cans of the single or double hopped Yakima Chief hoppy pales from Cloudwater, the potentially Amarillo and Sabro mix being a very enjoyable 6.5% brew resembling orange juice and being gloriously easy to drink. Whilst there I quickly drank a whole pint of Kernel IPA at 7.2% or so, as ever this was a fabulously dry and hoppy beer bursting with flavours and aromas. Despite being only a quick visit this was very enjoyable and helped me to note what it was I had been missing out on.

Yesterday it was pay day and I had agreed to meet up with the lovely Tash. I had arranged to meet her at 13.30 but she was late leaving the house and promised to meet me in town at the tram stop by 14.30. I popped into Kommune to sample some small amounts of the delights on offer there. Three of the four choices were aged sour or red beers from Abbeydale, in their Funk Dungeon range. There was a 6.5% Sheffield Red, a sour plum ale and a sour cherry ale, housed and aged in different casks and barrels, and deliciously vibrant.

Jules had selected three slush style machines and was serving free glasses of frozen sweet ales to place in the top of the glass. She had got the idea, I think, from the large bar next door. The freezing fruitiness of the ales added a much appreciated extra dimension, and, unskillfully, I put all three of the ice cream items into my single half pint of the Red. By the time it was finished I had also bought a fabulously labelled can of white worm themed saison from a Welsh Brewery, and was ready to head up to town to grab the wonderful Tash.

As usual there was chaos on the tram tracks given that all the times provided on their system were wrong, and instead of waiting 48 minutes for the next blue tram to arrive, following the arrival of three others not shown, Tash arrived before three and we headed to the upstairs roof terrace bar in Curzon. After many more hours of shopping, supping in the Red Lion, where we met a wonderful member of bar staff, and  visiting the excellent Rutland Arms, due to them not serving food I suggested we head off back to Kommune. Despite my thus far three visits I have never eaten there, and the food served looks and sounds ace. After a brief diversion to the Dove we met up in the top eating area and ordered two absolutely fantastic pizzas.

I opted for beef calzone with chorizo and that was marvelous, and when Tash joined me she chose a fabulous Chinese pork and various vegetables crispy pizza which was really enjoyable, and perfectly presented. We shared each others, and by now very hungry we chomped them down quickly before, having already said goodbye to Jules, I headed down to the big bar to get some ales.

Although I am now not sure if they serve cask, or if they do, its something awful like Doom Bar, they do supply quite a lengthy range of kegs from the future. From a decent selection I ended up with two halves of Abbeydale session IPA at about 3.6% and I got a soft drink for Tash as she needed to get off quite quickly. We thoroughly loved the food and all the beers tried and, despite its somewhat inescapable level of variously aged hipsters, I have to say that I like the atmosphere and the surroundings of this excellent venue, almost as much as the wonderful range of beers.

Hopefully the success of Kommune and its multiple beer and food purveyors will continue to increase, and its reputation increases even more so over time.

Your very best of health!

Wee Beefy            

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Wednesday evening wander


         a quick apology first of all for a noticeable lack of input throughout August - I am still going through training help and support in Sheffield following my brain injury in April. I am assured that my replenishment of skills and abilities is going well but, although its very likely down to gaps in the number of posts made, I am struggling to ignore the fear that my reduction in hits is down more to my injury caused typing and writing failures, as opposed to the way that stats drop when you find yourself out of the habit of making posts for a period of time....

I am aware incidentally, that I currently suffer noticable and indeed deal-able with problems with the way I currently write, however I also equally realise that this is more minor than it previously was, and also, to not misjudge my readers. If there are unavoidable issues am certain some of you would very kindly point such things out, but, crucially, you haven't. Therefore its only the nagging worries in the back of my mind which require any action, an event I propose undertaking over time.

So, with wild concerns aside, I have taken the opportunity to tell you about some recent events. Firstly, I have known my friend Mr G for about fifteen years. Current chums may know that I didn't talk to him for the first few weeks as I bizarrely assumed he had mutilated and buried his parents - as I am certain I have mentioned previously, I made my first attempt at conversation with him by asking to check his fingernails for soil. And we have remained strong friends ever since....

I left work about 17.15 and Mr G was on the busily trafficked road over the river. He parked up whilst I joined him and we then undertook a lengthy and fairly frustrating ten minute wait getting off that road and onto Derek Dooley Way to head for Gibraltar Street, and to park outside my Second home, the Shakespeares. As it was Wednesday, we were all too keenly aware of the upcoming horrors of the nidorous harridans the Mother Folkers, so having been bought an excellent pint of Anthology (or similar) low gravity IPA, and Mr G on Deception, we went and sat in the as yet unsoiled clock room for a very enjoyable pint. And it was here I suggested that given he unavoidable horrors ahead we should drive to the Blake Hotel. So we did.....

Arriving at the Blake to find an excellent range, we sat in the window of the room on the left with me supping a 5.5% Neepsend Pale and Mr G on a soft drink, washing down our wonderful Wateralls pork pies with English mustard. We were both in good moods and in a further moment of recklessness, and very much despite my enjoyment thus far, I suggested we now moved on yet again, this time to the Nags Head at Stacey Bank. Once more this idea seemed good and we arrived there thirteen minutes later using the Sat Nav. I dislike such devices in principal. but felt this was very helpful on this occasion.

The Nags Head was busy as always and the beer was well priced as always as well. I had a pint of the Pale Ale on cask from the past at £2.60 a go, possibly two of the same, and Mr G another Soft drink, and we sat outside in the warmth of the evening enjoying both our drinks and the atmosphere.

Taking us home via the village of Dungworth nearby am pleased to say that Mr G hasn't been to the Royal Hotel more than once, so in a surprise final stop we popped inside for finishers. I had a pint of Bradfield, I think, and Mr G a half of the same, and we sat in the area on the right enjoying, once again, both our selected drinks and the atmosphere around us. From here, using the Nav once again, it didn't in fact take long to get home and it was about 21.00 when I returned to open a finishing can, and to prepare for my meeting the next day. Thus far, all has gone well. And, crucially, it was great to catch up with and go out for drinks with Mister G.

Your very best health!

Wee Beefy  

Monday, 15 July 2019

SunFest 2019


             I have been going to Sun Fest for over ten years now - certainly for all the years that Abbeydale have been based at the excellent Rising Sun in Nethergreen in Sheffield, and certainly since their "First annual beer festival" in 2007, according to the glass I have collecting dust on my bedroom window sill. Am even sure that some of the staff volunteering at this years festival may have worked at the long ago Moon Fest, or fests, when Abbeydale briefly owned the pub before and now again called the Office, in Upperthorpe. This year, momentary madness and a recent return to work have rendered me a trifle funds free, but I still got up on Thursday last for the first public session.

Having walked into work I was a little tired when Malc asked me if I was attending. I advised him that my lack of funds was a good indication that I wouldn't be, however a kind friend lent me a few and after a couple of post work starters in the hot sunshine I set off about half past four to walk through Sheffield and up to the Rising Sun, which took me about one hour and fifteen minutes . I sat with Richard S, Bex and Richard H, and started on a third of Abbeydale Cyro Huxter, a fab soupy IPA brewed with Peddler market, and an ideal starter at 6.0%. During my sup I went to see Malc and Ally, although as I know she prefers dark beers I didn't offer her a taste. Bumping into Dan and Robin from the brewery and a number of folks from Shakespeares and the Crow, it was obvious there was much interest in the beer list, and later attendees can confirm that my starter did not last that long.

The next boozes tried from the list were Black Iris chasing the Sun, a fab 6.5% murky, Juicy IPA, later followed by rain showers, along with Crosspool Ale Makers society Delph House, a similarly strong IPA but with more traditional flavours, and the absolutely excellent Turning Point Brew Co 6.2% Off the grid IPA, like the first two significantly vegan friendly, and made with excellent Simcoe, Cascade and Chinook. I also tried some of my fellow guests Unbeliever 8.1 Mango and Lychee kettle sour, along with Box Social Blood Eagle at 4.2%, an excellent hazy dry hopped pale, and the absurdly strong Methusula Rum barrel aged imperial stout which was incredible.

Dan and other Abbeydale folk came round with free tasters of their 4.5% keg lager, which I understand is being sold to a number of local restaurants, and I tried some Brew York Tonkoko which was a strong flavoured 4.3% coconut milk stout. I soon moved onto the "evil keg" section, as nobody rational called it, and enjoyed the excellent St Mars of the dessert Endless Toil  brewed with Hop Hideout, along with an equally marvelous Arbour Ales Space Hardware IPA at a lovely 6.6%. I also tried a third of the Abbeydale and Thornbridge Black IPA  RITA at 6.0%, which was very enjoyable. I may have finished on either a third of the 9% out of sight strong pale ale with a wonderful selection of hops, frim Manchester's Track Brewing, and possibly a Wilde Child wheel of fortune at 4.7%, a heavily hopped pale packed with Summit, Eureka and Simcoe hops. This mesmerising intake of resin was, throughout the festival, perfectly supported by marvelously tasty snacks from a wonderful person who had brought some to keep us sober during our libations. I left about 21.30 to catch a bus back to town and home, filled to the brim with wonderful tastes and memories.

Interestingly I overheard a discussion in a venue yesterday from a Sunday or Saturday attendee , claiming that there was too much Abbeydale produce. This is an interesting suggestion, given that the pub is owned, and the festival run and organiseded by, the very same. Someone had apparently said it was "all Abbeydale", but in a moment of geeky knowledge searching  I can confirm that even if you dismissed the statement I made above, of a total of 103 listed beers, only 27 were Abbeydale, which if perhaps high, is also admittedly less than a quarter. And, also, why not? A beer festival is a great way to try out new beer styles, and their percentage of involvement I think justifies their provision of a higgh number of, lets face it, numerously different styles (they also did some very low gravity, almost alcohol free brews) of boohar, in an excellent location.  

Well done once again to all involved in this excellent celebration of beers and sunshine at yet another excellent Sun Fest at the Rising Sun.


Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 9 July 2019



       this weekend was my first ever trip to Coventry in the West midlands, on a quick tour with Ws Keet and Fatha. As we were in effect taking Fatha for a break we didn't plan to visit a lot of pubs but we visited a few, and here is what we found.

We stayed at the Days Inn near town, a pleasant, if not slightly odd venue with a bizarre mix of staff and where you had to ask for a new card every half an hour since they stopped working, a bizarre situation which they claimed existed in all top class hotels....that kind of puts the kaibosh on my experience of room key cards not expiring at any stage over the last few years, but what do I know...

On our way to Coventry we stopped at Sutton Stop by a junction in/at the end of, the Coventry canal, for a lunch and a pint in the Greyhound. Myself and WF were on draught Bass and WK was on a potential Springhead beer, and having put up a giant standing umberella WK and F were sat in the shade of the hot sunshine, whilst I was sat very much within it. The food came quickly and was excellent and the Bass was a long missed, and enjoyed supping option, in a great place to stop.

Once in Coventry we walked into town, pushing Wee Fatha, to the cathedral before wandering back after a look at the older buildings on Spon Street, before heading off to the Hook Norton owned Anchor in Leek Wooton to meet the relatives. The pub served four or five beers including Old Hooky an Purity Mad Goose, and the food was very enjoyable too.

After a quick trip nearby we headed back to the Hotel before me and WK headed out for a last one. We started near Spon street in the Gatehouse Tavern where I had an excellent pint of Church End pale at 5.5% and WK tried a mild which had just run out so he didn't have to pay for it. From here we walked down just in time to try out the Town Hall Tavern with its uniquely small Donkey Bar and a range of real ales including Adnams Broadside which I had. Brilliant music, well decorated and packed with friendly locals this was our final stop and our pub of the day.

The next day, a little colder, we headed to the cathedral once again having not got in previously, and WF treated us to a meal in a cafe underneath. After a now expensive trip to the nearby transport museum we wandered out of the city centre to the Twisted Barrel Brewery and Tap House. On arriving it was a lively atmosphere but we got a table and bought beers for all, a bitter for WF, a Rye IPA and Pixel Juice from Twisted Barrel for Keith, and two thirds of a 6.5% NEIPA from the same for me. We also tried some Obsidian sky, and Citra Fog from Burnt mill amongst other excellent beers from a choice of over twenty on keg. In addition to the above they had numerous other beers in can and bottle, and this helped make this perhaps the pub of the trip.

After a wander back to town we went for a Korean meal before wandering up to the Gatehouse, to show WF. Am not sure who brewed what I had but I know it was an Indian pale ale, and the Ws were on Church End and another local brewery beer. As we were leaving the landlord came and thanked us for visiting, before recommending we visit the Old Windmill on Spon street nearby.  Coventry's oldest pub did not disappoint, with four or five real ales on including an over 5% porter from the local Backdykes brewery that I tried. The beers were well kept and once again the locals were friendly, making this an excellent end to our visit.

I fancy a return trip to try out a few more pubs in Coventry in the future, but for now the six that we tried in the two days were all excellent boozers, with an interesting range of both traditional and more unusual beers on offer.


Wee Beefy


Monday, 8 July 2019

The Gibraltar and West Bar Triangle


      suffice to say I have been a trifle unclear on what the name of this section of my living actually is. I asked both Lucienne and Chris at the Shakespeares as well as the folks at the Crow and Bar Stewards, what they thought the "scene" thought the area of all three was called. In the end two different answers were supplied, hence the oddness of the title. This uncertainty luckily deprives nothing from my second, third and forth homes in fab sunny Sheffield...

As you all know I have been drinking in Shakespeares on Gibraltar Street regularly since 2011. This was, a few days before the Robin Hood at little Matlock closed, the day the Shakespeares reopened, after Red House Jeff left and William bought it. I met the lovely Tash about two years later and have been going in Shakespeares at least four times a month ever since, including for my fortieth birthday party, with a wonderful cake from Ally. I admit I met someone from the poetry group up at the Cross Keys in there once, and Andy the DJ on the same night, probably about 2009, and I did once pop in with Abz around 1994, but since 2011 it has become one of my and my friends favourite pubs, selling some of the most amazing halves and pints and thirds of excellent ale in cask from the past, keg, bottle, and can, along with a wonderful selection of gins, whiskies and wines, served by some of the finest bar staff I have ever met. This makes me very pleased that it is the longest visited of the three excellent venues on the trail....

Across the road is the Bar Stewards micro pub and bottle bar. Although I missed their opening night I soon went in when the bar was on the left, which may have been in November or so 2016. After many original one off opening nights to sample their original choice of cask ales from the barrel, the bar was soon changed over a month and now appears facing you as you enter with  boards advertising both the cask as well as the keg guests, along with their regular cider and lagers, and which points you to their two fridges containing a frankly mahoosive slab of wonderful IPAs, pale ales, sours, stouts, lagers, DIPAs and other items of wonderment. As a regular drinker in there for a good few years am very happy to find that my third home, complete with excellent bajis and samosas, is the next feature on this wonderful trio of excellent pubs.

The last venue to feature is the newly opened Crow Inn on Scotland street - here is a link to their Facebook page  which is one of many sites sharing information on keg and cask ales for you to choose from. Crucially they also serve Kevins pies, which I may have indulged in at the Closed Shop when I used to go in when it was run by Andy Stephens. Sadly, the earlier versions featured misplacement of an apostrophe, but regular readers will know that I am also involved in a lack of knowledge in the same respect so I think I may never have mentioned it....

The pub is owned by Wendy who used to own the Harlequin (I think...) and work at Shakespeares, and is run by Chris Bamford and David from the Rutland and Adam from Dronfiled - since that is where everyone knows he comes from....

There are five real ale handpumps selling a range including Abbeydale Daily Bread plus many locally produced and further afield guests, and it also has ten keg lines, along with a barrel load of excellent cans and bottles in the fridge, to add to an excellent gin rum and whisky list. I admit I went in the former Crown Inn a number of times in the naughties but have never bothered with Sleep as a venue before. I now find myself ordering a range of excellent cask and keg drinks and cans, whilst sitting in the small but wonderfully formed beer garden, often with friends, often in bright sunshine, or being inside enjoying the artwork on the walls in the two seating areas.  

Am pleased to say that three of my favourite Sheffield pubs have been joined in a double named, shape featuring caravan of excellent trade in an area currently changing and improving very well indeed. I know that some people I know well have never visited the Crow so I would strongly insist that you do, and then, hopefully, also attend the other two parts of the triangle, Bar Stewards and Shakespeares, thus enjoying three excellent Sheffield boozers in one go.


Wee Beefy

Monday, 1 July 2019



        back in 2013, the happiest year of my life, and prior to heading off on my last holiday to Crete, I brewed a porter on cask from the past at Blue Bee brewery, with Jonathan Stanley Brothwell, Chris Wadsworth, Chris Bamford, Alex Corner and Robin Baker. I tried said brew in my second home and on one of my first nights out at the same with the wonderful Tash. For completely unrelated reasons, naturally, I went for the first time to the Pilcrow pub in Manchester with a trade ticket to their summer beer thing. And here is what happened.....
Its a few years since I went to this part of Manchester. This related lack of knowledge about where Sadlers yard actually was, is a fact I found out by asking two random blokes in a similarly obscured yard nearby,  and by following the sound of music near one of too many Co-op buildings. It was hot and very busy when I arrived. My ticket was read from my phone, and I purchased ten tokens, and sat down at a table in the sunshine with two Manchester beer scene experts, whom had names, and everything, and supped my first beer, a 6.5% sour IPA from an American brewery. Alas I did not download nor find a list of the beers, so an element of guesswork must exist. So no changes there then....  

Whilst chatting with these two Mancunian beer experts, who may, or may not, have worked for Marble, I noticed that as well as a session beers bar, there were also two bars entitled hops and more hops. I noticed that it sold a number of DIPAs, and having mis-anticipated a limited selection of oozingly bitter hop feasts I was pleased to discover that I would mostly be drinking DIPAs all day. As a tall man from Wander beyond turned up with his other half, colleague and yet another Manchestershire brewer, I moved onto a half of Boundary and Cloudwater, the taste limits went up and the talking took off once more.

About three o clock my current joiners opted to move off, not least am sure because some had been there since twelve, and I had the table to myself for a while. A young couple who may, or equally may not, have been from Bury, (the lass lived nearby I can now remember) came and joined me and I went into the actual Pilcrow pub to use their facilities, and went and grabbed some scran - curywurst sausages, onions and what may have been dill (alas I forget), served on chips covered in spicy dressing and absolutely delicious, served from one of the bars at the top end of the do.

With two beers left I tried a further DIPA and having been very kindly given some much needed sun cream I went and sat in the last of the now disappearing sunshine with a bloke who looked after my beer, and then with the wonderful Jules from Sheffield. She recommended I tried a third of the Black Iris and Track, or others, triple IPA at 10.5%. At 17.00 I bought my last drink and chatted with Jules about that and my other daily exploits and my plans for the remaining three hours. Meanwhile a DJ played some absolutely brilliant music whilst the young suppers sat in the last of the seating splashed in the last of the sunshine. Finishing my tenth third I went to hand my glass back and was told I could keep it - so three and a half hours or so after getting there I walked out happy from my first visit to the Pilcrow and headed to the Smithfield.

When we went there in 2012 myself and Scott and friends didn't particularly enjoy the pub but me and Tash did in 2013 and things appear to be much better since the year before that - I had a pint of excellent pale ale about 5.5% along with a range of, I think, thirteen keg beers, before I sat in a small chair with a table under some stairs enjoying my beer and thinking about where I should go next. This turned out to be the excellent Crown and Kettle, and I had a half of Wilde Child sour and another half on cask from the past along with an excellent pork pie to top up my lining! My final stop was in a completely packed Port Street Beer House, who may well have organised the Summer Beer Thing along with Indy Man Beer Con folks, and I got a lovely pint and a table to myself since everyone else was enjoying sitting or standing outside in the warmth!

Having thoroughly enjoyed my visit, and now being able to remember where to find it, I may revisit the Pilcrow following Indy Man Beer Con if I can go - Pilcrow is a wonderful venue, with excellent beers, and knowledgeable and friendly fellow drinkers, which I would highly recommend you visit.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Saint Mars of the Desert

Eh oop,

     despite living only twenty minutes away. the following is a description of only my first and second visits to this excellent new brewery and tap room situated in Attercliffe on Stevenson Road, near the seals and bearings factory, and other names. On pay day I walked to the cash machine and caught a bus to the second stop in Attercliffe, crossed what was Carlton road, and headed long Stevenson Road until I spotted the brewery and its wonderful tap room in a small building at the back of a yard next to a learning centre.

The tap room is exactly as excellent as it looks on their website, which is perhaps better represented by an Instagram link at . Three to six beers are available all on keg with many available to take away in cans. Being an author, or whitterer at least, I started on a pint of their excellent 3.5% beer, which had a name, a fact my handful of photographs fails to remind me of. It was a wonderful yellow orange and was served in a fab branded glass, and was pleasurably cloudy.

Many of the features of their beers may come from their use of a Coolship, a drinks storage and cooling vessel which Andy Cullen and others may have written about. This partially inspired my next choice, along with an excellent pork pie, and sat on one of the tables close to the bar. Again, another gloriously soupish beer, possibly called Bam Bam, 5.5% and featuring, I think, olicana hops. But what are facts anyway? Like birds, we will never know...

Koel it followed, as did a visit by Ted from the Itchy Pig in Broomhill with his son, and I continued to enjoy the hoppy wonderfulness of their wares whilst Dan and Martha, or people with other names, continued tending their brewery and beers and tap room. I got chatting to the owners and ordered another pint of Bam Bam. Dan is an American chap with brewing experience, Martha is an English lass who moved to the US years ago before meeting Dan and travelling with him at first to France, and them to the wonders of beer in Sheffield, late last year. I think both consider that opening in January or February was perhaps the wrong time of year, but they became involved in Sheffield Beer Week in March, and things have moved on ever since. I first saw some pics of the taproom in February from friends on Faceache and things have gone from good to better there after.

I returned at 12.00 or so on Saturday, once again supping Bam Bam, along with their 7.8% or so porter called Barbar papa, and sat outside in the warm sunshine meeting visitors from near and far. This included a young couple with a kid whose wedding party I had been down from in Shakespeares, and a couple from Manchester who had names, one of whom was from Cornwall, with whom I discussed the Indy Man Beer Con. On a better still note I met up with my friend Michael, and we had an excellent catch up and a chat about his walk to the tap room along the canal, which am told is not that far away.

Despite receipt of recently ordered labels I did not treat myself to any cans of take out but I did stop for a number of enjoyable drinks in this fabulous Sheffield bar serving excellent pints and scran. Wishing the folks of the desert the very best for the future, and I will see you soon!


Wee Beefy  

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Fathers day wander


      last Sunday it was Fatha's day so myself and Wee Keefy treated dad to a trip out to one of our favourite pubs and a look at one of his favourite places. We originally aimed to go out for a wander a drink and an evening meal but WK picked me up at 12.30 and by 14.30, following finding a frustratingly close road closure, and an amble down a track, we arrived at our destination.

The Yew Tree is at Cauldon in Staffordshire near Waterhouses, and we have been going for fifteen or so years. Our first visit was following a meal in Elton and a drive through the Manifold Valley to find the pub packed - with both customers, and a frankly huge range of unspoilt antiques. Run by a gent called Alan, a number of visits followed, including many a pork pie, many a photograph (with his permission) and numerous playing and research into the many Polyphones. Alan used to provide pre decimal coins to slip into the ancient machines, and to step back and enjoy the process of their workings. I will always remember seeing Alan doing this by himself, with an almost child like smile on his face.

Beers wise it used to be Burton Bridge - it still is, Bass, and a mild. There were two beers on when we arrived and we all went for Burton Bridge best bitter.  There was also a strong pale ale called something beginning with W, I think, and along with the two pints of Burton Bridge the ale was once again fantastic. The pub also serves food until 8 or 9PM, and although WF had a large pork pie myself and WK treated ourselves to large dinners, which we scoffed whilst sitting in the room with the pews on your left.

About five or more years ago I understand Alan became quite unwell, indeed, apart from our last visit a couple of years ago my recent visits had found the pub closed. A revisit with Wee Fatha found the pub once again open and being run, it seemed, by Alan's daughter and her husband. This time he was likely in the kitchen, but it was great to see Alan back behind the bar serving beers and taking orders. After a lengthy chat about routes with a local resident from Foxt, we finished our drinks and headed up the road to his village and then down into the valley on the other side of the hill.

Froghall is a small village in the Churnet Valley and after a brief trip to the railway station we parked up in the car park where the lime kilns and tea shop were, before taking WF for a wander around the canal in his wheelchair. The canal can be followed to a tunnel and the track then veers off so we turned round then, but not before a slow trek round some large and relaxing pools, before WF headed to the loos and we made plans to head off.

Heading back up the hill we drove through Foxt once again before heading for Grindon, now no longer visibly having what may have been called the Cavalier or loyal trooper, before heading down into the Manifold Valley and up to Wetton and down again, before coming out at Hume End and driving through Hartington. We finally stopped in Youlgreave, and decided that despite having already eaten we would make a first time stop at the Farmyard Inn.

We left WF in the car whilst we checked they were serving food before pushing him through the car park and along the road before getting in and taking a table in a small room on the right. Me and WK were both on pints of Landlord if memory serves, from a range of three beers, only one of which was a Greedy King ale for one of their pubs. Following our recent Greedy King disaster at the Phoenix am pleased to say that we enjoyed our visit, the ale and the food very much. Strange that so many such pubs find politeness and availability of beer and food so very complicated.

We got back to WFs about 21.00 and dropped him off before heading to our homes having thoroughly enjoyed our lengthy day out in Staffordshire and Derbyshire, in two cracking boozers. Long may the quality of both stay around for many more years!


Wee Beefy

Monday, 17 June 2019

Cross Keys reopens, and other news.....


    the first thing to tell you is I have been in hospital, for just over 4 weeks, following a serious hypo and fall. Suffice to say I was quite unwell, but now escaped am finding that things are getting better. It isn't something I want to go through again however, and am now checking my blood sugar more carefully and eating more healthily.

About three months ago I overheard a conversation in a pub, and another on the bus into town, suggesting that the recently closed Cross Keys on Handsworth was to reopen, as a pub selling real ales and kegs. I have been going there on and off for twenty years so I was interested to find out more, although I have to say I found it surprising, Handsworth has had some good pubs, and still has the Old Crown heading down the hill, but in all my time there I have never thought of it as a place to go out trying different beers.

I found a link on Faceache showing purchase or takeover of the pub by Chantry Brewery, a Rotherham based operation whose beers I first tried about four years ago at the Rutland Arms. Work was done sorting out the interior and Chantry beers were chosen and appeared to sell well when they opened a month or more ago. With this in mind I decided to pop in for one last night.

I first went in the Cross Keys in 1999. It was a tidy traditional pub selling two or three beers, one of which was Taylors Landlord and the other Stones, if memory serves. The pub closed in the noughties following a landlord being beaten up and the pub trashed, and then it was taken over by a bloke who may have been called Carl - he was there for a few years and reintroduced real ale before leaving, and another few couples have tried keeping the pub since, presumably with some success. Myself and Tash often went in on a Sunday and it was usually busy, and I also went in a few New Years Eves. What would the now named Chantry Inn do?

Arriving after 18.00 there were 4 or 5 real ales and 4 kegs including two lagers, Lawless Village IPA (gluten free methinks) and Tiny Rebel Tropicana IPA. I had a pint of Kaldo at 5.5% and £3.00 a pint and sat down in the room where the main bar is. The pub was not too busy, the beer was well kept, and there were people sat in all three rooms. The Kaldo was also easy to drink and didn't last long, so I went for half a tiny Rebel which is a fiver a pint on keg, and a packet of bacon fries.

I left after this short visit, but I intend on going back. This is the best selection of beers I have seen in Handsworth, and the prices are very reasonable. The pub looked clean and was welcoming and the whole visit was enjoyable - well done to Chantry for reopening and revitalising a traditional Handsworth Boozer....

The other thing to tell you is that I went out for a walk on Bank Holiday Monday with WK, and afterwards we picked WF up to take him for a meal. Knowing as we do the potential horrors of pub openings and treatment of whether bank holiday Monday is that, or a Sunday, or neither, we did not expect much success, and despite ringing the Old Poets Corner in Ashover (hopefully with the right number) a number of times we got no response. That said, I checked their website and they did seem to do food Mondays, so it seemed like the trek out there may be worth it - I am happy to confirm it very much was.

Arriving just after seven we parked in the back and I headed to the bar to enquire - alas, I accidentally trod on a dog's paw en route, so I was probably quite unpopular, but took more care coming back to the car to inform the food details, before coming back to order drinks for myself WK and WF and to grab a menu. Once WF had safely arrived we sat at a table near the front door and looked at the Monday menu before making our order. I was on Oakham Citra and it was fantastic, WF was on a Titanic porter and WK a single pint of the  Ashover. We ordered three as it turned out gigantic meals before I got another pint and a half an Ashover whilst WK transferred to soft drink.

Its fair to say that WF is a slow eater these days so even though he left through the front it was nearly 21.45 when we finally left, but this did not spoil our visit one bit. One thing that is also worth pointing out is that my dad approves of company, especially dogs and owners, and he was once again listened to and treated with respect by all those he encountered. We probably only go to the Poets twice or three times a year but this was yet another example of why we keep going back time and time again.

Well done to both venues for providing an excellent place to visit, eat, and supp in.


Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Aye Robot

"Av come in ere fr a parnt er Bansly bitter...




Wiv me dog Gloria, aye, aye....


As with all writings on pub characters, I am significantly enough concerned to confirm that sine I thought of the pun in the title, I haven't seen this man, or indeed his hound, in about three months. Just like I have not seen 60s Clive, or whatever moniker I attributed to him, after my write up of his bizarre hobby of dragging his semi conscious incontinent Mother out with him, ironically, also to drink Barnsley Bitter (and then three pints of cider in half an hour), before his Mother lost interest/the will to live/control of her bowels. Am not suggesting for one moment that there is a link between my musings, strange folk, and Stancil Barnsley Bitter, am simply making an observation...

I have spotted the AR a number of times over a period of many years. I usually spot him in the Gardeners Rest, but have also encountered him in the Kelham Island Tavern and Shakespeares. He has a simultaneously intense yet distracted face, is plainly dressed, and always sups his favoured brown liquid with his dog in tow. I have never paid much attention to the hound but am fairly sure its the same one I have been seeing him with since day one, so it must be getting on a bit. He, meanwhile, is ageless. Which given how tiresome and frustrating his Aye symphony can become, is perhaps ironic.

Last year myself and friend Owen encountered him in Shakespeares. So amusing and yet maudlin was his repetition that we chose to sit outside in the cold to avoid him. However, unlike the troubling drunk with the shitting woman, he is, in fact, entirely harmless. I also heard rumours, and just that, suggesting that he lost his wife to a car accident many years ago, and has never got over it. If that is the case then I feel this once more demonstrates the succourable qualities embedded in the pub environment, although, that in itself is a subject for another post methinks...

To wear my psychological cap for a moment, I do think that the chap suffers from an affliction - mental or social - which inescapably defines the manner in which he espouses not so much this thoughts, but a carefully preplanned, perhaps oft rehearsed,  sonnet of simple phrases. This of course, could be triggered by a deep loss. But as I have probably pointed out previously, I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist.....

One of the things I find odd about this affliction is that having found no response to or started a conversation with his two phrases, and possibly having given up his every ten second repetition of the word "aye" the bloke will often, without warning, let out a long and entirely singular aye, almost to remind us that he is still there. Often, when people glance over in surprise, this prompts a question to a usually younger or more nervous looking member of the pub's throng of drinkers, although this unfortunately does nothing to lessen their already palpable shyness, and the aye symphony restarts once again like a forward wound tape reel. If dogs weren't allowed in the pubs I drink in I imagine he would not be in, so it is therefore also notable that the existence of another dog is the final strand at which he swipes, in order to have a more personal symphony of communicative dysfunctionality with.

He does not stick around more than a couple of hours, usually finding that repeating his phrases and the word aye about twenty times is doing nothing to ameliorate his situation, nor to address his perhaps significant needs. He also never says goodbye - even though he already says the second half of it. And have never seen him catch a bus. If you like me are an observer, you will have seen him, am sure...

And heard the word aye.



With regards