do you see what I did? I put "the city of ale", knowing that those of you who live in Sheffield will at once correctly identify Sheffield as the city of ale, and that those of you who don't, may have other, erroneous assumptions about it. Its no more than a lure, of course. Its obviously Sheffield.....
Last Sunday, despite both of us being injured, myself and Tash decided to walk into town to meet Wee Keefy at the station. We took an unusual route, down to Darnall, over the railway, up to and over the Parkway and up Manor Lane to the castle then down City Road, Granville and along Norfolk Road to the station. Considering our injuries it didn't take too long. And once there, we headed for the Sheffield Tap.
Inside Wee Keefy was patiently waiting, and had been for 30 minutes. I got us both a pint of Oakham JHB and we chatted to WK about Scotland, the ttrip to which we were discussing and were given the tickets for. I thought about trying the non German and non mild German Mild from Kirkstall but went instead for delicious pints of Loki Black IPA from Tiny Rebel, in fact we all did. WK then lost control of his wallet and made a rash but ultimately delightful purchase.
We had been laughing at the absurd price of the Harviestoun Ola Dubh whisky aged reserve stout at 10.5%. It was nearly a tenner a bottle. Nobody would pay that wild they? Well,. WK did and got three third glasses and shared it between us. Gawd Blezzim! I understand from the blurb on the bottle that it was brewed in 1991. Or, at least, that is when they first did their increasing by 0.1% strong beer up until 2000. It could, therefore have been the 2000 brew, bottled in 1991 whisky casks, but to be fair its not clear. What was clear, was the absolutely beautiful beer the bottle contained.
Absolutely jet black, with a strong aroma of whisky - Highland Park casks were used - its difficult to convey just how easy drinking it was. At 10.5% you expect a bit of chewiness, but this was so smooth and ultimately very well balanced. Looking at the back of the bottle I see now - the beer was aged in oak barrels used previously to age Highland Park's 1991 vintage scotch whisky - and the front tells me it was bottled in April 2013. Irrespective of when the beer was brewed, it tastes amazing. It contains oats and barley by the way, but also is not a stout. Its a strong dark ale.
To finish, and now joined by Mr Devden, we had haves f the Magic Rock Human Cannonball at 9.3 %. I shan't disclose the price. It was a lovely end to a fantastic drink with WK in the Sheffield Tap.
Up next, after we had seen Matty off, we went to the Tap and Tankard. Sunday nights in the TnT are always quiet but all other drinkers had left by about 22.00. Me and Tash sat in the little alcove at the end of the bar for an hour or two enjoying perfect pints of the Hand Drawn Monkey Aussie Red, a deliciously smooth, easy drinking, but hoppy and bitter red ale from the Huddersfield brewers.
There was excellent tunes from female blues singers in the 30's to the 50.s and as it got quieter the atmosphere became more soothing, making us feel right at home. There were other beers on than the Aussie Red but we didn't want anything else. It was the perfect, mildly soporific finisher, to an excellent session of drinking.
Out of interest, we were given a free 3rd of the Harviestoun Old Engine Oil, which is more likely a stout, with our free food tasters at the Beer Engine a couple of weeks ago. It complemented the chorizo and sweet potato perfectly. I think I may have unknowingly fallen out of love with Harviestoun recently but along with Schiehallion their cask lager, I think the above displays a fantastic quality of products from the brewery. One to look out for, I think, across all formats.