for the title of this post, it maybe worth thinking of phrases such as selling coal to Newcastle (mow maybe Eastern Europe), ice to the Eskimo's, and new bottled beer to Asda at Handsworth - all of course, seemingly pointless exercises. However, despite already having a burgeoning throng of frankly excellent and often Nationally renowned boozers, there is, of course, nothing better about real ale than choice. So, why not extend that choice further with some new venues?
Lets start with not a new pub. Yup. It was previously the Sportsman. So why is it in you may ask? Well, to fulfill a journalistic intent. And also because it has changed hands and owners. The pub, on Cambridge Street just off Barkers Pool, gas been reopened following a sensitive but limited refurbishment, as the Tap and Tankard. I haven't checked, but the bar and rumour suggests that Kelham Island Brewery are the new owners.
Visiting a pub for the first time, on a Saturday night before Christmas, is perhaps not the best idea, since it will likely be full of drunk persons and fans of association football, with short tempers. That said, it stood out quite well. On my first visit I was only in for 15 minutes, supping a delicious pint of Pale Rider at £2.90 a pint. My second visit the day after, was less successful. Myself and Miss N went in and she had her all time favourite real ale Pedigree, and I had something from Harthill Village brewery that I liked. The Pedigree, when I finally tried it, was odd. Very odd. Very sweet and thick, like beer concentrate, with none of the sulfurous tones it should display.
I wondered if, since I haven't had any Ped for ages, they had changed the recipe or brewing methods, but I also thought that the sweetness, almost caramelised in taste, was probably a sign of an infection. By this time the pint was almost finished so when we left I mentioned that it didn't taste right. The staff didn't seem confident in defending it, but opted to keep it in, saying I had obviously drunk more Pedigree than them - which I think I have - but then saying that they thought it should taste like that. It shouldn't. This is a new venture and likely just finding its feet but I think I will try it again in the new year to see how things are going.
Next up is an actual new pub. A building that wasn't previously a pub but now is. Its The Beer House, Sheffield's first permanently open micro pub. Its on 635 Ecclesall Road and sells beer. And cider, and some spirits and soft drinks, and Space Raider crisps. Its really quite good.
The former e-cigarettes store has two small rooms, the first housing the small bar with 6 handpumps and a couple of kegs including Stancil Lager, and the second is through a wide opening behind. Admittedly there is also a cellar and access to the toilets. If you want to be precise, you could drink in these. But you wouldn't....
There were four beers on when we arrived, and unfortunately the Marble Pint had run out, but in a rather lengthy wait to get served we spotted the Orchard Gold from Sheffield brewery Fuggle Bunny and had a pint each of that at £3.20. We crammed onto chairs next to a large table at the back and started to look at the pictures, old photographs, and soak up the atmosphere - which is conversation based. And enhanced. Entirely.
Next up we had a half of the FB Russian Rarebit, a stout made with pale malt which was lovely, another half of the Orchard Gold which is made with honey and spice but subtly, and a fantastic pint of wheat beer from Harthill Village Brewery. Hirsche Hugel Bier has a lovely refreshing flavour of, well, wheat malt but also banana and subtle spices. It was very easy to drink and had a lovely smooth but not overly velvety taste. It was so good we had two more pints to finish.
Overall we stayed a couple of hours in the pub and really enjoyed it. I heard rumours they were doing cocktails, and, admittedly that seems non-micropub-ish, but then its not set in stone _ I think - and crucially, I didn't see any evidence. Keep up the good work!
Finally a new pub that might nor exist. You may remember, or I may remember intending to tell you, that the Bell Jar on London Road appeared to have closed. After a few weeks without signs of ;life a large banner has appeared over the door stating "Free House The Albion Real Ales". I don't know any more to be honest, nut it seems a bit too ironic to be a tribute to what, in terms of the Albion, I understood was a resolutely keg only Stones pub for many years. Obviously, when I hear any more I will let you know.
All that remains for me to say is do go and try the new and potentially new pubs out, and more importantly, have a fantastic Christmas and a very happy 2015.