I have written before about my experiences in the Kelham Island pub the Tap and Tankard, formerly the Sportsman on Cambridge Street. Initial visits were promising but there was an issue with the Pedigree and the guest beers seemed OK, but not exciting. I considered there was work to do, and that they needed to find their feet. My experiences in the last fortnight persuade me they have.
On Thursday I started out in the Three Tuns with a delicious pint and a half of Tigertops roast walnut stout. Always a pleasure to see the Tigertops beers especially sine they don;t seem to appear in Sheffield that often. This was a lovely rounded stout which started the night off well.
After meeting Tash I asked if she fancied trying the Tap and Tankard. On entering, along with beers from Harthill and Atom breweries, was a delight to behold - Buxton Axe Edge IPA. When I first tried this many years ago my palate and interest in beers was different, and I found it a little overwhelming. I mention my palate then, since it has obviously changed, and I was now confident I would like it. The barman described it very well - as a powerful IPA with the most grapefruity flavour - I love grapefruit. But I love Buxton Axe Edge even more!
The beer is 6.8% and £3.80 a pint and it is worryingly easy to drink. Its brimful of grapefruit flavours and fruity and bittering hops with a lovely long dry finish. Its perhaps one of the top 3 beers of this young year. Its delightful! I got chatting with the staff and the young guy behind the bar claimed he was always looking to put a very hoppy beer on - which is good news to supplement what, in terms of Kelham produce, is usually a low hop range. Three pints of Axe Edge each was enough, however, and we finished on pints of Moonshine listening to some singers in the Grapes. A perfect end to a fabulous nights drinking.
Yesterday I met Tash and Matty in Wetherspoons having been quickly to the Riverside for a leaving do. I had a pint and a half in there of a lower gravity hoppy beer from Great Heck Brewery. My addled brain tells me this beer was called shocker but that, I know, is wrong and it wasn't. Alas the Great Heck website also cannot tell me what it was! In Spoons I tried some of Matty's O Hanlons Port Stout which was delicious, but alas this had run out so I opted for a slightly lacklustre half of Kelham Island Pale Rider. I then walked on ahead to find a seat in the Tap and Tankard, and to start once again on the wonderful Axe Edge IPA.
The pub was really busy on a Friday night but I got us a cluster of seats and found the IPA was still on so had two pints - one for me and one for Matty who promised he liked strong hoppy beers, despite almost always buying a stout. The Axe Edge was once again on impeccable form, and went down very well, and alarmingly quickly.
Tash and Matty turned up and the Axe Edge continued to be drunk. In all I had three and a half pints of it. Each sip fizzed with citrus and fruity hops and was a delight to drink. If I am out later, which I undoubtedly will be, I hope to be back in supping the last of this wonderful cask beer. And I will return anon to find out what this improving city centre pub has to offer.