news tonight of a number of local haunts selling real ales and a few other things to tempt punters.
A recent visit saw some excellent beers, looks like Moonshine, Kelham Easy Rider, Flowers (?!?) IPA, and Bradfield stout are regulars, and this time the guest was the Two Roses brewery First Edition IPA, (see Two roses brewery beers ) a sumptuous dry hoppy delight which warranted a couple of pints in our short visit. This follows a pattern in recent months of some unusual beers cropping up at this popular and often eclectic venue.
Shakespeares, Rattle and Roll (sorry, couldn't find a suitable "attle" to continue the theme")...
On Friday 4th November it was Jake's 40th and the Kingfisher Blue gig at Shakespeares on Gibraltar Street. Upstairs in the Bards bar there is alas still no signs of the bar of the name being open, but there was a polished presentation of excellent Kingfisher Blue tracks from their 15 year touring career. Never mind that, there were also inevitable excellent beers on the bar.
Downstairs (for it is there) they had some interesting beer choices and I plumped to start with Deception, a reliable pint and only £2.10 per 568ml, whilst Wee Keefy ventured into Cains bonfire Toffee (not to my taste but it did what it said on the clip, and some less hoppy beer producer which may have involved the word barrister. Myself, I followed with a couple of pints of Summer Wine brewery Whitewater IPA, and their Coffee Stout. Ultimately, the worst and most disturbing beer of the night was the Landlord's Choice/Landlords friend Chip, an unfeasibly sweet weird amalgam of sharp malt and sugary nonsense which was possibly the worst pint of not off beer I had ever tasted - thankfully that was keefy's choice!
All in all it was a fantastic night showcasing the excellent upstairs venue and topped off with a pint of Deception at Harrisons 1854. Good times all round.
More news on the beer choice merrygoround, after a, I cannot confirm, but suspect, disastrous trial of Sheffield brewing Co Blanco Blonde. The 3rd beer pump role has for the time being been taken by Bradfield Brewery, not sure which one of their wares but suspect it was their Blonde, given that the beer had run out by the time of my arrival. Lets hope this does well, and that they may be tempted into a reckless foray into one of the other Bradfield portfolio, such as the Yorkshire Farmer or their excellent Pale Ale.
Arkwirght Arms, Sutton Cum Duckmanton Chesterfield.
Wee Fatha has aged officially in the last week so we took him out for a meal and some excellent beer at the above. Despite being a drizzly November Monday the pub was steady, with a good turnover of customers in the 2 hours we were there, and still offering a range of about 9 beers. We started on Dark Star Hophead, which had to be changed, but was well worth the wait, and Church End Goats Milk which WF liked but I didn't care for. Next I had the Titanic Plum Porter which was exactly as named but lacked a little balancing bitterness, whilst WK had Whim Arbor Light and WF Prospect Silver Tally. My third was the excellent Brew Dog Trashy Blonde, whilst the others had another Hophead and a Muirhead brewery Pirates Gold, before I finished on a half of Durham Vanilla Waltz which was a very easy drinking 5% ale with a creamy malt taste.
The food was enjoyable, even if my chilli was a little sweet and perhaps shy of some more rice, and was very well priced. Overall this was a rare and enjoyable trip out to a fantastic pub.
My last dispatch comes from the wilds of Derbyshire and a trip out on the 6th November. Me and Davefromtshop went for a yomp starting in Litton, alas before the pub opened, then down to Litton Mill then along Cressbrook Dale and through Cressbrook then up the hill on the arduous track to Brushfield. Here our plans went awry slightly as we listened to half thought advice from other walkers and did not double check the map. Suffice to say we ended up back down the hill on the A6 having already toiled up one side of the incline.
Fifty strenuous sweaty minutes later than planned we arrived in Taddington at the Queens Arms, home now to the local shop, and focused on its food. In the past it was a redoubtable ale venue but changes have occurred since and now its perhaps not so much a nailed on source of beer. Prior to visiting I checked their website and the food and drinks link that hinted at real ales had only the food menu on. On arrival this was played out for real with the whole lounge full of diners. Mind you, in these troubled times this is not a bad sight, even if the picture was completed with the fire ablaze, increasing our thirstiness after dragging our considerable forms all the way from the valley bottom.
The Peak Ales Bakewell bitter alas ran out whilst we waited, and we plumped for the Delicious and refreshing Oakwell Barnsley bitter, from South Yorkshire's most secretive brewery, that being the only beer remaining. Mind you, although its not abnormal these days, one felt it had to hit the mark at £3.10 for a 3.8% ale. We enjoyed this in the garden whilst formulating a plan to catch up with our wayward timetable.
In the end, the route into Presitcliffe and down a precipitous muddy slope with cliffs on one side, coupled with sudden plunging temperatures and my concerns about my susceptible dodgy feet, meant that on arriving on the Monsal trail at 14.50, despite having time enough to reach Great Longstone in daylight, we opted to sensibly negotiate the slippery rock strewn slope to Millers Dale and the Anglers Rest.
On this visit the recent Sheffield District pub of the year improved upon its usual more than excellent rosta of beers with Adnams as its regular, and three Locale guests, Storm Silk of Amnesia, which is £2.70 for a 4.7% beer (all beers are the same price), Wincle Waller (of the dry stone variety), and Spire Brassed Off. So engaging was this bibulous team sheet we stayed for several pints before reluctantly heading to the bus stop.
With timetables and connections ruling out trips to any of the Longstone or Monsal pubs, we decided to stop off in Tideswell as I had never been in the Horse and Jockey and it was allegedly quite good.
Its 6 years since I was in, and back then it was a thriving local with an excellent range of beers and take away pizzas (I think, unless am confusing it with somewhere else like the George at Youlgreave!). Now, at 17.20 on a Sunday, we replaced the customer at the bar and in doing so added 33% to the tally of patrons. There was now 3 of us in the pub, plus staff.
On the bar was Marstons Bitter and Jennings Cumberland, and one other customer to enjoy them. The bitter was very palatable, but, given that it seems the George was also closed for refurbishment, (and a lack of info about the other pub or club at the other end of the village), it seems desperately bad that the Star could attract so few customers. There is nothing wrong with the pub it has a traditional multi roomed layout, or at least, very distinct separated areas, and real ale and a central location. Yet the stark reality was that in the face of no competition the pub could barely turn over a trade. This does not bode well for the future, even if, as was privately mooted by the licensee, the late evening trade would be brisk.
Our escape was earlier than planned then and we were soon on the 173 to Bakewell, frustratingly highlighting that we could have got off for 40 minutes at the Red Lion at Litton. Once in Bakewell, we headed straight for the Peacock. They still served an impressive portfolio of four real ales from Peak Ales brewery, of which I had the rather rich Chatsworth Gold and the more refreshing Bakewell Best, whilst Dave opted for the Swift Nick and a rather optimistically priced double whisky.
Once back in Sheffield we had time for a last one in the Sheffield Tap, Dave enjoying a rather prescient titled Brodies Prime, and myself relying on my favoured Thornbridge fail safe the Lord Marples.
Though its a shame we didn't manage the planned route we still got to visit some excellent venues and sample some terrific real ale, most notably at the Anglers Rest, but all of the pubs visited sold real ale and in general the choice was very good.
Keep drinking, and keep asking....