Tonight I've gone radically off message and decided not to consume any alcohol. I'm enjoying the palpitations and the lovely welsh unicorn asleep in my mug, which I can see as I rock backwards and forwards in stinking breathlessness, but in all honesty I'm very annoyed with my liver for being such a big girl's blouse and needing a rest. I mean, at least my cognitive functions are still hyssop..
To be fair though, old yellow eyes has put in quite a stint of late - so in testimony to the indomitable work rate of my put upon organ I'm going to pay tribute to some of the excellent liquids it has helped me process in one of Sheffield's famous beery hostelries, over the last few days.
Friday is traditionally a day of refreshments. As an ultra traditionalist, I felt it would be tantamount to digging up the graves of my ancestors not to partake in an after work tipple (see part 792 of "frankly absurd excuses to go to the pub here). On this occasion I was meeting Miss N in the Sheffield Tap for some pre meal libation, and discovered the excellent Anarchy Brew Co unfiltered Grin and Bare it, a 5.0% hybrid IPA, which impressively, their website claims hasn't been released! Still, I expect that's to ramp up the anticipation....
Not that much of that matters - the main thing is it was a very easy drinking beer with a subtle hop flavour and started the evening nicely. In fact, we had two pints of it in tribute. Despite this being a gentle precursor to my cooking, we couldn't resist finishing on something a little stronger - and what a spot! Having bemoaned its "kegularity" since I first tasted it in cask in the Tap a few years ago, the excellent Thornbridge Raven was suddenly and without precedent available on cask once more! So we had to have a pint. And it was absolutely fantastic. Beer of the week, except for the people's porter of course.
Mind you, we'll just not talk about the price. Move away from the price. Don't look at it. Simply accept it was a really good beer. Its OK. You are safe now....
Days later and a return trip revealed the obvious consequence of the Raven having run out but that disappointment was tempered by there still being plenty to go at, during a pleasing three hour plus session. I started on a half of Peak Ales DPA, a sweetish but not unpleasant 4.6% chestnut (euphemism for mainly brown) beer that went down really well. I followed this with a much less sensible pint of Anarchy Brew Co Quiet Riot, a complex surprisingly fruity IPA at 6.6% which was also very drinkable. Far too drinkable, arguably.
A pint of the rather more sensible Tapped Brew Co Bramling followed, if nothing else to stop me keeling over, before I had a second pint of Quiet Riot. I'm starting to really like the Anarchy stuff. I've probably tried about five of their beers and really liked every one. The sublime breakfast stout was amazing, but I enjoy some of their lower gravity perhaps more "mainstream" beers as well. Here's to seeing them in Sheff more regularly.
Alas the downside to this is that it was the precursor to another eye wateringly expensive but very enjoyable beer - this time the Buxton Wyoming Sheep Ranch double IPA on Costkeg. I probably wouldn't have entertained the idea normally, especially having asked the price first, but I think the Quiet Riot had disabled my thinking button so I purchased a half of this sensationally hoppy monster of a brew. To be fair, its massive wall of spicy hops and the aftertaste it unleashes probably suits keg better than cask, but I'm sure I would have enjoyed it by either method of storage and serving.
So, either side of the weekend the Tap provided two sessions with some frankly amazing beers. It remains a contradiction - a frustrating obstacle to sensible pricing which simultaneously provides some of the best beers you'll see on any given day in Sheffield - I can't emphasis enough just how good that Raven was. Overall, it seems that as long as I keep going on my own terms I can probably continue to enjoy the pub.
Just as long as I don't spot any Dark Star Porter....