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