Friday, 18 February 2011

Sheffield crawl and news


news from the cradle of Chartism (this may well be incorrect, but hey, not everything on the Internet is factually accurate) and news of a memory lane pub crawl and a new pub for yours truly.

I had planned to travel over the Pennines to marvel at Manchester's magnificent unspoilt and beer replete hostelries, but instead overslept and felt grim, so a jaunt around the home turf was required

After catching up with a friend and grabbing food at Gusto Italiano, we initially headed for Trippets for a quiet pint, which is more or less possible if you grab a pew on the left as you enter. The Bradfield Farmers Stout was tasty as always but inexplicably cold so had to put it near the radiator for 10 minutes to get the proper flavour.

Alas this first post hangover pint put me out of sorts and my companion was coming down with the plague so she headed to the comfort of home and I weighed up my options. I had thought about a quick jaunt to Chesterfield but decided instead to visit a few Sheffield pubs for a change.

I walked onto Arundel Gate towards St Mary's Gate and headed down past The Scream through the back lanes to the Rutland. Here I had a slow supped and much enjoyed half of Blue Bee brewery Lustin For Stout at 4.8%. This gave me chance to take stock and begin a fruitless search for a copy of beer matters, since I fancied gracing a new (to me) venue on my journey.

Alas no magazine but I headed to the Sheffield Tap and had a half of Great Ridge Moonlight Shadow, a beer that usually comes in keg as far as I know, since its stronger stable mate was on the row of fonts further down. A strange taste, perhaps, assuming its American, reflective of the low gravity which you rarely find in U.S beers ( it may have been 3.4 or 3.5%). No beer matters mind...

I headed on diagonally to the Royal Standard on St Mary's Gate, easily reached from the station by following Leadmill Road. Chala did her cellarmanship course here many moons ago, and I know Davefromtshop supped his first Darleys here as well, but neither would likely recognise the style and type of pub now, even if the layout might not have changed - I was last in about 12 years ago!

The pub appears aimed at students and offers a discount card, pool is popular and they seem to attract a mix of students and locals. There was one real ale on, St Austell tribute, so at least I had something decent to sup, but mid afternoon is not the Standard's cue to sparkle, and sat on a neutral coloured modern leather sofa surrounded by dark shaded areas of block colour and modern furnishings, I felt out of place. The size of the room on the right means that all but a full pub makes it seem bare and unenticing so I lingered only briefly before heading on.

Walking between Bramall lane and Queens Road I joined the main road at the Earl of Arundel and Surrey ( though I note its shared name now, which I forget ) - another pub from the past, perhaps 12 years ago as well, once a Wards pub used to trial seasonal real ales form the Vaux range. i didn't tarry as it looked shut and , perhaps unfairly since I didn't try and visit, assumed no real ale would be sold.

Further up Chesterfield road I reached the White Lion, a pub I have more recently visited when there have been bands on, still retaining its interesting and in Sheffield fairly unusual surviving multiroom layout. It also still serves real ales - 3 or 4 regulars and a couple of guests, my choice being Saltaire Blonde which was fantastic.

Here I picked up a copy of said beer tome and sat down to see where I might venture next. The February edition is perhaps prone to December and January news as its the first of the year, so that might explain why my next stop didn't work out - the Crown further up the road was apparently selling real ale but the two bare handpumps in the back room attested otherwise and I couldn't really quiz the barman since he was asking what I'd like whilst he was on the phone.

From here I took a slightly odd detour to Nether Edge, and the Union, bypassing the Broadfield, not on a beer basis but assuming that now 18.00, it would be heaving and no place for a quiet solitary pint.

I found the Union despite not having visited for perhaps 13 years, and I have to say was pleasantly surprised. I had recalled that it was traditional in decor and layout, but seemed to have remembered the bar somewhere else ( probably erroneously) and offering nowt but Whitbread and Greedy king on the bar. Thankfully this time there was Landlord, Pedigree and an Abbeydale brew on amongst others, with 7 handpumps in use.

The Abbeydale was very drinkable, as was the reassuringly Burton smelling Pedigree, although I worry that this statement may hide a misconception - is it still brewed in Burton ? You'd hope so....

I enjoyed a couple of pints watching the pub fill up with regulars and enjoying listening to gentle banbter at the bar, before heading off via purchasing fuel to the Byron, another long lost acquaintance. Last time i had visited the barmaid was murdering a pint of Tanglefoor through a sparkler and even after I suggested she remove it must have pulled 3 pints for me to end up with one

Now the pub has a good ale selection, including Kelham Island Riders on the storm which I enjoyed nearly as much as the song, whilst sitting in the bar on the right.

My trip took a more boomerang route now as I returned to Chesterfield Road and up to the Sheaf View, packed to the rafters and offering only a smoking shelter table to sit at. I bumped into a friend and enjoyed several pints of Phoenix porter and even managed to find a seat near the bar before caving in and ordering a taxi home about 23.30.

Overall I had some excellent beer and mostly really enjoyed my revisits of former haunts.

One final word on a new pub for me, the Lescar. Everyone has probably heard of the above and many probably visited, but eating at Greedy Greek at Hunters bar on Saturday provided me a chance to try it at last. Very busy, which I had expected, the decor and range of drinks was a big surprise to me, including (perhaps a fleeting nod to Valentines night) subtle red lighting and candles and range of seating and old furniture. Better stil drinkers were well catered for what with Leffe and other continental classics on draught and regular regional real ales, plus on that night 2 Saltaire brewery beers including their Triple Chocolate stout. Best of all, was the fantastic Museum Brewing Co. White Shield, which despite its chewy, hoppy bite I demolished two of prior to eating.

Tomorrow am banished from my own home whilst Thangor the Mortherinlaw and wife take a sledgehammer to all we own, or tidying up as she calls it, so am off to the Blake and hopefully a couple of Crookes and Walkley pubs, before they knock anymore of the buggers down.

Wee Beefy.

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