Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Man walks into a pub. Then another. Then...


      over the past week I have been all over the shop, as they say, drinking in different counties, the throes of a Twissup and CAMRA award winning rural pubs, like the concept of Sheffield as the beer capital was long forgotten. Aside from any CAMRA rivalry of course, its not forgotten. Its just that other locations have took my fancy. By way of illustration, here's a (brief as possible) who's got what of local hostelries over the past 8 days.

Firstly, The Riverside. I only ever seem to get here on busy Friday evenings after work and have never really taken to the pub. Perhaps my usual demarcation to a corner of he bar before spewing out onto the patio when its packed has skewed my appreciation, but I gained a little the other night. I had an excellent pint of Blue Bee Parenthesis, a great hoppy dry bitter which did everything it didn't say by being named parenthesis, but crucially tasted fab.

I sat down on a comfy sofa in a cosily lit part of the bar near the opened out fireplace, admiring the lights outside and listening to some fairly excellent dub. Sometimes music in pubs can be a blight, but its untypical of the traditional boozer and its slightly cafe bar intentions are well suited to decent tunes. Especially when they really are. Another pint of the Blue Bee followed, as well as a tour of the upstairs before I headed off to sample a few other boozers.

One such was the Woodside Inn. This was only my second visit, and it didn't seem much busier, but there was a steady stream of arrivees to play in a darts match. Alas, no-one but me seemed to be supping real ale,m but the halves of Sheffield Brew Co Stainless went down really well, and still on at a decent price. Also disappointing was another poor Wood Street brew, although I opted for a taste first. I understand the pubs reinvention has seen the "original" owners return - am unsure if this is true but I hope they can recapture whatever it was the losing off made them depart.

The Gardeners rest was having a quiet night, but was enchanting visitors with excellent beers as always, and another plus was that I got a chance to catch up with Pat who I've not talked to for a while.

Here I had a half of Privateer Beers Dainty Blonde, plus another half of the Parenthesis, at which point I bumped into Brewer Rich. We did have quite a detailed discussion about the punctuation theme of his beers, the details of which I would suggest neither of us could remember. I also had a half pint of the Black Swan from Vale, which was nice, but there was a hint of sweetness in the Privateer which I wasn't keen on.

The Wellington is still sort of an irregular haunt so it was nice to pop in and have a pint - despite a darkish beer being on I went for a Little Ale Cart Eldorado, specially brewed with the hop of the same name. This was a really well balanced bitter beer, which, if only I went more often and the beers didn't change every day or so, I'd like to try again.

The Ship on Shalesmoor was selling my favourite Kelham Island beer Bette Noire so that's what I had in there, which was on great form and a decent price at £2.80 a pint, before I headed off to Shakespeares, via some dubious late night scran.

On this visit I had a rather odd but not unenjoyable half of Julian Church Brewery Martyr, and a rather ill advised half of Flying Dog K9, which was easier to drink than its high strength suggested, and didn't have too much of that odd Belgerican yeast.

I was also in on Friday with Mr G, supping the last of a barrel of Raw Pacific Gem, which was nice enough, as well as a further pint of Revolutions Clash London Porter for me. Nice to see the Porter again, just a shame the Gem was so very tired.

Prior to this I had been in DAda, enjoying a couple of pints of the reasonable Lumford (now now DAda, a lack of non Thornbridge beers doesn't suit you and you know it), yet so un-tempting was the cask range (after Lumford ran out) that myself and Mr G retired to a comfy spot to very slowly drink Thornbridge Chiron and Thorny Goat. Chiron did not disappoint, but the Keykeg Goat is a poor relative of the much better cask. Bring it back dammit!

The final bit of news is not about Sheffield pubs but about Bottle Conditioned Ale. Following on from my post about the CAMRA says this is real ale logo, I discovered to my horror more sour yeasty soup masquerading as a drinkable bottle of beer. Despite Wee Fatha's astonishing claim that he would drink it because it seemed a shame to pour it away, which is heroically disingenuous, we replaced it instantly with a much safer none BCA option.

I am going to have to contact the brewery concerned to make them aware of the problem, and hopefully arrange recompense, but in a producer, retailer, promoter(logo), customer, arrangement, I'd argue that having also bought the product from the brewer the two parties looking most shoddy from this situation are the brewery and the logo owning promoters; CAMRA. I can see this issue will be long in the resolution....

So, that's all for now, hopefully I will have more news in the coming days.


Wee Beefy

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