Wednesday, 30 October 2013

First, less, and (mostly) always

Now then

     over the last week there has been a definite beer festival flavour. That's not going to change as tomorrow Shakespeares are having their beer festival, which promises to be excellent as usual - including a special from Arbor ( a collaboration black saison) and specials from Blue Bee. I mean, really, why would you want to be at home answering the doors to felt-tip covered urchins when you could be out boozing* at the best pub in Sheffield?

However, my post wasn't supposed to be just about that, it was mainly about a trio of visits to pubs...

Saturday was a family birthday and we were whisked off to Matlock. As it was a family affair I wasn't off round Moca and the Fishpond and the Thorn Tree et al, instead I was studiously following orders. In doing which, our venue for the meal turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

Barringtons at Darley Dale is a hotel and restaurateur with a bar. Granted plenty of pubs now fit that description but this place markets itself as a restaurant. thereby managing drinkers expectations. Approaching from Darley Dale station you can take a pleasant walk through Whitworth park, then round to the front of the building which is on the main road near where the Two Dales road joins the A6. Inside is a room on the left purely for diners, and a room on the right that whilst housing plenty of tables, also boasts a bar with three real ales.

Prices are about normal for Matlock at £3.10 a pint and they had Doom Bar, Pedigree and Peak Ales Swift Nick on when we visited. It was a no brainer as to what I would have of course, but I wouldn't have said no to a Pedigree if the LocAle hadn't been on. There appears to be a changing guest and I suspect the Doom and Pedi are permanent. The food was also reasonably priced and very good. Although its not strictly a pub, it reckon would be worth a stop off if you were wanting real ale and a meal.

Friday lunch saw me in the Riverside on Mowbray Street for the first time in ages. Initially we were a bit surprised arriving en masse about 10 past midday to find only three beers on - Krakken, Riverside Pale and Golden Salamander - but more came on as we were there, attending a mass leaving do. I had a pint of the Golden Salamander. It was a fairly average beer with few distinguishing flavours apart from a bitter finish. Luckily whilst we sat chatting and eating the other beers that arrived included the Great Heck Five, a former Sheffield beer festival award winner with plenty of lovely hops that went down alarmingly well.  Both beers were around the £3.10 mark but the Heck was far and away the better of the two.

Finally, a round up of the attractions at the triumvirate of tremendous pubs which comprises the Tap, the Rutland and Shakespeares. Saturday night saw me and Miss N at the Rutland Arms. She opted for a pint of the Gorlovka, marginally less expensive there than at the Tap, and I two pints of the excellent Otley Oxymoron Black IPA. This was a good black IPA because it remembered it could show off the finer points of the dark malts used - if that means they should have put in more hops I could have my arm twisted but it certainly tasted well rounded and was very enjoyable.

Meanwhile the Sheffield Tap had a decent choice as seems normal these days - alas the star of the show had run out so I had a half of the Bristol beer factory Bitter Kiwi - the small measure supporting my theory that despite thinking I should, I wouldn't really rate it - and a pint of the Wild Raven. Miss N followed suit with the Raven as well. As ever this was on fine form and provided a very enjoyable end to a great night out.

Shakespeares also had a few beers on as you'd expect. I stuck mainly to pints of the Arbor Motueka which was on great form, whereas Miss N started on the latest dark Dr Morton's offering from Abbeydale. I finished on that, and in between times tried a slightly perfumed Revolutions Brew Super Creeps, a pleasing if slightly odd IPA at 4.9%. All sensibly priced under or just at £3.00, and still a decent range available just a couple of days before the beer festival (link to the FB page here with the beer list posted 25 October).

Detail of that to come in the next few days.


Wee Beefy

*for boozing, read "sampling different ales responsibly" If yer like..... 


  1. Agree on the Bristol Beer Factory Kiwi. A dodgy year for Nelson Sauvin?

    1. I hadn't thought about that but equally, hadn't really seen much of it in beers - at least, not heard about it. Perhaps the run on it previously meant more poor quality Sauvin escaped into the hop trade?

      Either way I like a lot of what BBF do, but this weekend and indeed, this year, it's all been about their near neighbours Arbor for me - consistently excellent booze..