Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Wee Beefy's Beer Bites


   just a quick note on some news from a couple of recently visited pubs.

Sportsman, Lodge Moor

Not to be confused with its Crosspool namesake wrapped in a beer rich but atmosphere shy emberilical cord, the Sportsman is on Redmires road on the road to oblivion, or, rather, Redmires, as is somewhat obvious from its name. By the time you have reached the Sportsman, you have left the straggling fingers of the last of Lodge Moor behind you, and all that lies up ahead is a few farms, the Three Merry Lads pub, and a reservoir surrounded by moorland. What you need here then is a  warm friendly pub with real ale.

Luckily the Sportsman, despite significant but proportionate changes, manages to fulfil that requirement and to be a traditional rural pub into the bargain, so that's always a good thing.

On this visit I was meeting family for a meal, and I can't recommend the Sunday lunch highly enough - £6.95, with a half foot topping of veg, tatties and Yorkshire puds, hiding what seems like a kilo of meat, and doused in yummy gravy if you so choose - ask the staff for crackling if there's any left. Needless to say, its incredibly popular, so if attending perhaps arrive calm and prepare to pick your way carefully round the packed in tables and chairs full of diners - and remember to book if you want food.

The beer is Tetley Cask and a very nice pint of Landlord served mostly in handled mugs - but not in a retro way or as some nod to commoner chic, I'd be willing to bet its always been that way. I have to say, the beer is expensive - I haven't dallied with Tetley on my visits but the Landlord is £3.30 a pint. Its steep I'll grant you, but the surroundings are comfy, and if like me, you are minded to take advantage of the significant piles of scran,  then I'd take expensive Landlord over measly snacks and cheap beer in this case.

One final point, if you are popping in for a quiet pint, I suggest post 15.00 if its on a Sunday -  I admit I've not been in on a night for decades but Sunday lunch takes over the pub. At that time it really is just a restaurant (but pub prices) selling beer, so imbibers should aim later or perhaps Saturday afternoons.

Old House

En route back into town me and Chala jumped off for a quick drink it the House on Devonshire Street. Sundays is not an Old House day for us usually, and its a nice change, busy, but not uproarious, and a good place to relax and enjoy a decent range of ale wine and cocktails ( I think there maybe needs to be an "or" in here somewhere).

There 's a bit of an Abbeydale orgy on at the mo, as three of the five pumps had their beers - Moonshine, Epiphany and Transformation, which was my choice. Personally, I reckon the Epiphany would have been a better option. Notwithstanding that the barman acknowledged that all three Abbeydale beers were unsurprisingly pale, the stronger Epiphany at 4.6% may have had a bit more oomph. As it was, the Transformation scored points mainly for affording me a wry pun, but it tasted very similar to the latter stages of my Moonshine from the polypin. This is not a criticism, just a realisation that I really wanted something a little different.

With Chala devouring a large glass of Robert Mondavi Chardonnay I thought we should take it easy and relax for a bit, but couldn't take my eyes off the nicely designed and typeset Beer bible that adorned our table. This comprehensive tome describe the brewing process, various beer styles (with examples ), detailed descriptions of all the beers sold on draught (keg) and in bottle, and a food matching guide. This made me think I might give a Flemish red ale a try, since my only previous experience was a rather frightening Rodenbach Grand Cru back in my Beer Stop days.

The chosen red was the Duchesse De Bourgogne from the Brouwerij Verhaeghe. This had a luscious rosehip colour and sweet and sour tart flavours, tingling on your tongue but with enough balance to make the finish refreshing.  It was perhaps, similar to a geuze, but to claim that it was a geuze with fruit but not a Lambic beer is somewhat disingenuous when you consider geuze is the Lambic's base...

In readiness for finding it "challenging" - euphemistic beer parlance for weird or hard work to drink, I also purchased a half of the Bradfield Farmers Stout.

I left the stout until I finished what was quite a slowly despatched beer, but I can safely say this was a failing of its fizziness, as opposed to an issue with the taste. The Farmers stout was a pleasant easy drinking contrast, which rounded off our brief but enjoyable visit very nicely.

Next time you are in the area I recommend you pop in and get hold of a copy of their guide, if nothing else to froth up an appetite for a bottle of something special - making sure you have a delicious pint of real ale first of course.

Stay thirsty! And come back soon for a review of my walk in the White Peak (its planned, but not undertaken, but looks like a few good pubs may arrive along the way).

Wee Beefy

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