Friday, 2 December 2011

The Hop at Sheffield's West One opens


    Hop officially opens!

     The Hop, the new real ale bar venture franchise from Ossett Brewery has officially launched today at West One on Fitzwilliam Street, off West Street. I arrived at 18.00 having made a fortuitous journey from work to see if it was open at all. Thank god I didn't venture up in my dinner hour, because it had only been open 2 hours when I arrived.

I walked in, having eventually found that the fire exit was not an entrance (seeing is not my strong point, but the entrance doesn't exactly stand out). On entering there is an ante-lobby then the pub/bar opens out in front of you, with a cosy finger of seating on your right, and a long room ahead flanked on the left by booths of tables and chairs. All along the main right hand side of the room is the bar, and at the end a glass collection point, and a drinking corridor, reminiscent of the classic West Yorkshire layout of the same name, but incongruously situated, at the left hand end of the building.

Bar wise there were a number of handpumps, one dedicated to a Pyder, which as a traditionalist am as yet unsure whether I should be affronted by its lack of verifiable antecedence. In terms of the beers on offer there are a range of not unusual continental bottles in the fridge, and a range of Ossett Brewery real ales supplemented by guests.

On the opening night the range was :

Ossett Gold (also on a second "cold" pump
Osset Blonde
Ossett Treacle Stout
Ossett Excelsior
Ossett Silver King
Acorn Freebird
Rat brewery Rat Brown
Fernandes Ale to the Czar
Fullers Golden Pride.

The Ossett beers were OK if not exemplary for an opening night showcase, the Treacle stout was in fantatsic form though, and its nice to see a strong ale, especially one as rare and as indicative of the style as Fullers Golden Pride.

The only puzzle was the lack of any worthwhile Continental draught beers. The keg fonts contained achingly familiar brands with the exception of the rarely seen, but perhaps deservedly so, Tuborg. Perhaps the fact that even the 3.8 % session beer I drank was £3.10 a pint (about 50p dearer than the price for the equivalent at the University Arms a mere 10 minutes walk away) was the explanation for a fear of the overseas drinks, but I recognise at the same time that this is a new venue and they may be just testing the water. Conversely however, they must already have the same market outlook and nounce from their other franchises so maybe that won't hold true...

Overall an interesting if worthily welcome addition to the real ale scene, which offers a decent range of cask and bottled beers plus some good music (piped on first night, but certainly live to come), in that most celebratory of circumstance - the retail flop outlet utilised to sell beer. I wish them all the success they seek.

Dog and Partridge Trippet Lane, Dada cafe bar.

A rare stumble into the Dog and P saw it fairly bloody full which is a treat - a further swelling of the customer ranks was forbade by the fact that the single real ale had gone off. I dearly want to support this pub, but honestly, a real ale free Friday night is a step too far for me.

Across the road meanwhile awkward but not intolerable idea mishmash Dada (see less than flattering pic above, although, painting it dark grey does rely on a sunny evening to make it stand out...) was busier than ever and now selling a different Buxton Brew after the recent pleasing appearance of the Pale. Buxton SPA was their first beer and the first of their brews that I tried, in the Old Hall Hotel bar in Buxton. This was a refreshing (and better than in the above venue) pale beer that went down well, in the odd but I admit comfortable surroundings of Dada.

Harrisons 1854

A final quick note that Harrisons have introduced Bradfield Blonde as a guest real ale. So Abbeydale Moonshine is still the regular but Bradfield, as a guest, attracts a premium and costs £3.10 rather than £3.00 a pint. Regular music sessions and occasional classical music nights continue to feature.

More news soon regarding the NewInnfest11.

Wee Beefy

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