it seems incredulous but there is still one last birthday do awaiting me. Not because I'm the queen and have two, nor is it because I'm a cat and live life seven times faster than you all (although some of you who have been on a pun crawl with me may claim I walk and drink at least twice as fast). No, just that with a pile up of events we decided to go out for a meal next month. Luckily, I have squeezed in a few trips to the pub in between, yer know, to maintain the ruddy faced revelry of my celebrations. It looked a bit like this....
Thursday was a chance to meet up with Fluffy and go to the Hop beer festival. Which had happened the week before. Thanks to a chance meeting with Andy M I was spared the embarrassment of turning up expecting Mallinsons and other IPA based treats, and instead we met in the Rutland. The place was packed despite monsoon rains outside, but we managed to wrangle a seat near the open door to dry off in the draught and for me to sup a pint of Chantry Black and a pint of Blue Bee Lustin for Stout. A good solid start to any night.
Next we yomped through rainy streets to DAda where there was loads of people in, but not loads of necessarily good beer. So much so that I appear to have forgotten what I had to drink. Oh, no wait, I was continuing my dark beer theme by sharing a bottle of Kernel Stout at £5.00 odd a bottle with Fluffy. here we were joined by Rich Hall impersonator Keith and Si.
We decamped to Fagans next for a nice change, and even got to sit in the miniature snug on the right. Pints of Abbeydale Moonshine all round were supped whilst we discussed the finer points of lire. And buses. Fume.
Our final port of call was Shakespeares where I had a pint of North Riding IBU-less Mosaic, and probably some bottles that were strong. I know I finished on a bottle of Duvel Triple Hop Citra. In fact there may have been more than one. It was rather nice and sold at a very sensible price, and am afraid after a lengthy listen to Keith's lament on the downtrodden English I had to escape and catch a taxi for a very reasonable price. Which was nice.
Friday was beer festival day as you know, and Saturday it was my Barbecue. The chosen 18 pints were of Howard Town Wrens Nest which was just about spot on with a decent well balanced bitterness. Bottled highlights included a Wild Beer Co Hop Monster, and some excellent unfiltered German lagers brewed for a London brewery by a fifth generation Bavarian. These are only samples but hopefully Davefromtshop can get his hands on some to sell. Sunday saw me trying to recover - by finishing the remaining 6 and a half pints of Wrens Nest. Well, I couldn't let me down...
To finish off an entire fortnight of frankly childish excess I went out last night as well. I was to meet a mysterious rarely scene double act from the Internet, but alas, in my haste to meet them, was undone by the very same world in which they live...
I was meeting them in the Sheffield Tap at 19.30 but we don't have each others mobile numbers or really firm ideas about our respective appearances. I spent a good 20 minutes supping a rather magnificent pint of Tapped Brew Co Pegler pale ale, 4.4% and £3.00 a go, subtly assessing every couple who entered he bar based on a series of preposterous guesses and erroneous assumptions, like some novice shy swinger. Having "located" said pair I set about subtly making them see that I was obviously a beer drinker. Nothing happened.
I can confidently claim that I have never seen fit to use the internet on my phone. Because it's rubbish. But having arranged this high level meeting through Twitter I caved in and cack-handedly fumbled my way through Twitter on my phone to see if the plans had changed - which they had. Still, by this time I had bought a half of the excellent Magic Rock Carnival Summer Ale, and met Mr C for a chat so the visit wasn't entirely in vain. And besides, having chosen to head off to another pub, I now knew I had to find one with free Wi-fi to continue my phinternet training.
First though a pressing need forced me to divert to the Old Queens Head where there were about 4 real ales on - I had a half of usually reliable Wainwright from Thwaites and Bluestone Bitter from Kite Brewery. Hmmm. The Bluestone was like a Whitbread full mash brew but sweeter - not so much unpleasant as unrecognisable as beer. It baffled me why they'd brew it at all. The Wainwright was a disappointment as this too seemed overly sweet. Time to move on.
Things initially got worse when I got to DAda. Despite peach inspired brewmatser Jamie manning the bar and Adam for company, given that Thornbridge Halcyon was the only beer that I would contemplate drinking from the range available (and I wasn't going to since its quite strong) I opted to leave and try somewhere else. This may seem a bit OTT but the range was 4 of the very worst and most insipid Thornbridge beers ever brewed - you can probably fill them in yourself but it was Black Harry, Lord Marples, Brother Rabbit and Hopton. I could possibly have had a half of the latter but time was precious, as were funds.
The Dog and Partridge was my next stop, and despite my horror at its decor, as mentioned many times before, I am starting to rather like it. The beer was on excellent form as well so that improved my visit even more (although I was prompted to register with Sky to use their free Wi-fi - no amount of free stuff is worth giving my DNA to Murdoch for). I had a half of Abbeydale Cosmology and a pint of Chantry Chandos. The latter was a strong slightly hoppy beer, which was enjoyable but couldn't really compete with the Abbeydale. Cosmology is probably one of my favourite beers of late and it was so good that I had another half. A pub I think I'll be visiting again soon.
My final stop was at Shakespeares where top chap Mr Bamford very kindly assisted with my refreshments -- two halves, one of Revolutions Demo #7, and an excellent half of Roosters Londinium coffee porter. I supped these with an obligatory pork pie, sat in the clock room, battling with my phinternet and listening to the band upstairs, until I realised it was late and ran off home for some snap.
So highs and lows but both nights out were once again a great showcase for the varied pub stock of the Steel City. A collection that often proves hard to resist.