It's been a busy old few days in Sheffield pubs, for me. I am off work today because I had been expecting a mate over for a boozy 4 days. That never panned out, but I think that's probably for the best. Whilst I love the cramps, hot sweats and shaking, sometimes I get the feeling its probably time to hang up my tankard for a few days. Which is a shame, because I'll miss the pub of the month celebration at the Rutland. Here are just some of the many reasons that have contributed to my requiring a 3 day detox :
As I was going out Friday, travelling around the wilds of Derbyshire, I decided it would be silly not to pop out for a few post work drinks by way of preparation. I started in Shakespeares, which you may remember from the world of being that best at pubs, where I bumped into Andy M and Dave Unpro. I was once again supping the Steel City Alestorm, and chatting to Mr U about hoppy versus bitter, since the brew seemed a little more ascorbic than it had on Wednesday.
Dave being a brewer its reassuring that he knows a lot about hops, but that knowledge is rather lost in this post by the fact that I didn't, indeed almost never, take notes. So it was that I stumbled through a jumble of brewers jargon to a conversation about perceived bitterness, which I quite accurately compared to wind chill, before I got lost somewhere around the IBU explanation. And I still didn't understand the change in bitterness! This can be listed as reason number 58 why I'll never own a brewery. There are too many scientific terms and processes to understand. Unless you are Corvedale, or Restalrig, or.......
I had a pint of the Welbeck Calypso next, since the excellent Mallinsons had run out; this was again on good form, as it had been in the Cat. Alas, whilst I was enjoying standing at the bar in Sheffield's finest pub, I was determined that this shouldn't be too epic a session, so I wandered off next to DAda to have a bottle or two.
DAda was not too busy, but there was a band on, which meant when I bumped into Rupert at the bar we didn't last long discussing the finer points of drinking before we had to head off to a table round the corner so we could hear each other. I had half a Sequoia first as I waited for the Whim IPA to replace the Thornbridge Costello's which I have contrived to miss twice. The Sequoia was OK, but the Whim was far better, lots of dry bitterness and soft malt for it to sit on. However, now that I had my DAda bottled beer club card, I decided to try out the bottles.
Kernel Export Stout was first, at something approaching £5.20 a bottle. Its 7.2% and 330ml. So it seems on face value to be a rip off, but that makes it about the same price or cheaper as it is in the Dram Shop, so I don't think the breathtaking sum is the result of the legendary Thornbridge greed. I think this may instead be a Kissmeyer style situation where Kernel simply think that they are so good that their beers have to be twice as expensive as others at the same strength.
Obviously people like myself buying the product doesn't exactly undermine that rather odious outlook, but what I will say is I've had this bottle before and I know its brilliant so I don't mind so much. Having tried their woeful table beer on keg in Leeds I can be reassured that if I only buy one of the three of their beers I like I won't be disappointed. In the end, to put this theory to the test, I bought three bottles. It was a very very good beer indeed.
I also had a Wild Beer Co Madness IPA at something around the £4.00 mark, which went down well between the dark mass of the Kernel stouts, although I can't help thinking I should have tried this in isolation. I couldn't be sure if it was merely enjoyable because it was comparatively refreshing, or whether it had some admirable body and depth. One to try again I think. I headed off soon after, knowing that I had to be up at a sensible hour the next day. So ended a great Thursday night out in Sheffield, with a good range of beer styles and strengths.
To put that statement into some context, yesterday I was telling a lady from the world of writing what it was I liked so much about a particular pub. I think, on reflection, the fact that any one pub might stand out from the list of about 10 I was originally going to nominate, is quite an accolade. Especially when you consider the excellent choice and quality of beers found in just two pubs in one night.