Sunday, 14 October 2012
Wee Beefy's October beer bites
what with fannying around drinking remarkable aged beers behind off licenses, attending festivals and leaving do's and the like, I've actually been unable to report on having been to quite a few pubs in the last fortnight, and drinking some fabulous beer along the way. Here's my attempt at giving you some info about those experiences, on a pub by pub basis...
Starting at one of my usual haunts, I have been to Shakespeares a good few times lately. I was even in there practising for the beer tasting at the end of last month, supping the excellent Mallinsons Mudtopper. On other occasions I've been in I've sampled excellent beers and no more so than last week when I had a half of Rat Brewery Queen Rat and the excellent Hop Studio White Rose.
I sampled four of their beers at the Sheffield Tap on their launch night and enjoyed them, without being overly smitten, but you have to give a brewery time. A quick half at a beer festival a month or two ago was OK, but the White Rose was quite simply brilliant. A nice hoppy bite with lovely fruity hints and soft balancing malt made it incredibly easy to drink, so I had two pints of it, just to be sure.
This was also the occasion that I met young persons from the University of Sheffield (the proper one - only kidding!) Real Ale Society. I spoke to a bloke called Tom (isn't everyone?) and his mate but it so nearly didn't turn out well at all. After queueing at the bar whilst 743 of the party arrived simultaneously, I returned to find that my seat had not just been taken, but consumed by the mass of youth. I had to locate and liberate my half full pint glass, my open packet of crisps, my coat (which someone was sat on, for fucks sake) and my bag. Without wanting to seem harsh on what may have been fledgling drinkers, what more exactly do you need to see in addition to the above to work out that someone is sat there? Aaaagh!. I swore under my breath dear readers. And felt old....
Talking of feeling old, without even consulting me, The Da have gone and recruited a new member of staff, who's not even 38 like what I am, potentially upsetting the delicate balance between my rambling grumpiness and the boundless enthusiasm of James and his staff. Luckily, the world continues to turn after it turns out that proper Yorkshire lass Annie is a great addition to the team., being particularly talented at guessing games...
On recent visits theres been a Thornbridge McConnells and Halcyon vibe going on, and I've even mixed the first in the same glass as some fruity Black Isle porter, which is an interesting mix. My latest visit, on Friday, saw the abject horror of huge numbers of customers, the thought of which nearly drove me to seek solace in a church, but this was offset by the stonking good idea of having four Dark Star beers on!
So it was that I found a small space to hang and not be in the way and tried a pint of the excellent Espresso Stout, plus a half of the APA, and some necessary Halcyon, from a range including Dark Star Old Chestnut, a beer that prompted quite a few wry smiles - and surreptitious puns from Steph. The Espresso was brilliant, but the APA may even have been better. An impeccable range.
The Friday of the beer fest I went out on the second of two leaving do's for a colleague, this time at lunch. I had a very enjoyable pint of Revolutions Clash London Porter, and a lightly spiced Autumnal or similar, porter from Brew Company, which was a very nice contrast.
I went to the Common Room. Yep. I really did. I was the oldest person there. It was very bright and full of youthful sweat and shrieking. I had Welbeck Abbey Red Feather and it was very cold and tasted almost like it may have had more water in than it should have. I'm going to assume they don't rinse the glasses properly though, rather than accuse them of a more heinous dispensing crime.
That same night I ended up in the Bath (insert pun here) and had some very nice Dark Star there as well. Being so long ago I appear to have managed to forget which one it was but I suspect it was the Hophead. Either way it was very nice indeed. I got that, a hard won copy of Beer Matters, and a half of Halcyon, and was quite happy.
Long time no see for me and the Harry bar, and not a particularly lengthy visit either, just time to grab a pint of Farmers Blonde, and chat with Bob and barkeep extraordinaire Dave, who had kindly and somewhat inventively provided a cake stand festooned with delicious slices of pork pie - and the were free! The mans a genius.
I popped in for a change from my usual Tuesday menu starting at Shakespeares, and was drinking a pint of the burnt bitter flavours in Blue Bee Brown Street, along with their Lustin for Stout which was on great form. I also got to chat with Brewer Rich about the Brown Street, but I couldn't extricate any brewers secrets that would help explain that smoky edge....
I probably mentioned already that I didn't stay for a beer but I have a ticket for Saturday at 2PM when its the Green Hop event. Saturday looks like being another busy day since also the cathedral beer festival is on. Hopefully some of you will also wander down to the event, where I hope I can keep quiet and pay attention for once.
So that's all the news I have for now, looking forward to another sojourn into Staffordshire this Friday with WF and WK, and maybe a beer in a pub inbetween times.