whilst we can all fanny about going to Huddersfield, Saturday was a day to go to overcrowded venues to see bands I've never heard of and drink warm beer. Yep, for the first time in its history The Tramlines was a hot n sunny event. And having initially resolutely refused to attend for reasons unbeknownst even to myself, I couldn't resist the allure of (mostly) free music, and so decided to pop along, starting with a new venue.
I never got in the Albion on London Road what with it not selling real ale, but was still shocked to hear of its closure - after all, it was allegedly selling more Stones than any other pub - surely there must have been some decent sales racked up? More surprising however was to discover that it had reopened, sort of, as a music and arts venue selling real ale.
Its new moniker is the Bell Jar, and its all very plain - there isn't even a sign! There is an A Board outside and a message in the window, and some social media info to assist. On entering the bar is on the left proudly showing 4 handpumps, this time two Sheffield Brewery beers plus something called Institute of beer were on offer, so I went for a couple of halves of the Sheffield IPA at 5.2% and £3.00 a pint. I caught a bit of a band I have no idea of the name of, as well as sitting in the beer garden. This was pretty much how most visits panned out over the weekend...
Delaneys beckoned and to my surprise as well as a really very good band, Mynas, they also had three real ales on including two from Morecambe's Cross Bay brewery. The Tempest was a very enjoyable pale ale at £3.20 a pint and I had a couple of pints of that before the music took a bit of a downturn and I moved on.
Next stop the Rutland, and I had an Ashover pale ale. I also sat outside, not listening to any bands but catching up with T_i_B instead, along with a lady. Sorry, but anything not photographed with a name on didn't get recalled. Hence the lady has no name.....
A quick detour found me at the Sheffield Tap with Chala. I had a pint of the Tapped Brew Co Bullet which was a really tasty pint and Chala had something with fruit in it. Bless. From here we headed to the Dove and Rainbow where it now transpires that about ten people I know were there. Except I didn't see them. Instead I had a half of Blue Bee Lustin for Stout and stayed around for a couple of songs then moved on.
To Harrisons 1854, for a pint of Abbeydale Tramlines 2 and a catch up with Bob and Linda - but not, crucially, to meet Christingpher. Others were flagging by this stage, not least me, but I had enough about me to catch Big City Blues at the Bath Hotel and to enjoy a Black Iris Black Mountain Black IPA, leaving with only photographs for memories..
Sunday saw me at the University Arms, as Dave was celebrating her birthday. The novelty of the pub being open on a Sunday was bettered by some rather excellent Cavendish, which I had two pints of, and a band playing songs from the 1980's which, worryingly, I remembered. I sauntered to the Frog and Parrot next to miss the Hudares but instead catch a band called the Hurricanes. Or the Tornadoes. They're just words. I also got to have the worst pint of Moonshine ever. It never ceases to amaze me how one pub can consistently have such dire beer. Still, I wasn't forced at gun point to attend.
An hour on the buskers bus followed before I caught up with the Man of Ash and Entwistle and Steff in the Bath Hotel. I got to joyously remember what I had to drink the night before, and have some more of it - plus some rather nice Thornbridge Chiron. This enjoyable diversion, even if not from drink, provided a slower pace and enabled me to get my second wind to tackle the last stops.
At DAda a re-badged Pica Pica was the pint of choice (followed by another half of Chiron) before I got swept away listening to an excellent band called the Vuvuvultures - probably my favourite band of the festival. After which, noticing the Dog and Partridge shut, I headed to Shakespeares for a pint of something from North Riding and an hour or so in the garden watching amorphous blobs make sounds. I had started to pay little attention by this stage, to be honest, although the dancer and violinist were really good.
So, Tramlines was really enjoyable again this year, despite my concerns, possibly bettered by my attending Sunday. And crucially, apart from the wonky Moonshiner in the F&P it was also memorable (that's almost ironic...) for excellent beer. And in the Bell Jar, I now have an interesting new venue to go drinking in.