3 years ago last weekend I was the second customer. At the On the Edge Brewery launch. I met Geoff, Rich and Kath, Mark and John from the other side (of the Pennines) and others. it was great fun, and I tried all the beers. On Saturday last, a celebratory event, 9Pin #2 was held. I was not the first customer. I was however, one of many.
Walking from High Street is easy for me. Not sp much for Tash however with her tendinitis, and the hot sunshine and wind making her hayfever play up. We walked along the Moor and up past the beer engine, then forgot where to go at the former Vine, but eventually found our way onto Sharrow Vale Road and into the Old Primary School.
There were 9 beers from On the Edge, including 2 saisons, a couple of dark beers, pale ales and a red. Given our thirsty yomp up the hill, and leaving common sense behind we started on halves of the Saisons Houblon at 6.4%. It was delicious - not "too saisony" as Tom the brewer said, but incredibly light and refreshing and worryingly easy to drink. We sat in the hall and completed the quiz about beer and then got more.
Next up were two halves, one of the Sorachi pale at 5.5% and another of the Liquid Amber at 5%. Both were packed with flavour but the Sorachi was probably the better. We supped this sat in glorious sunshine in the playground, chatting to other drinkers. A perfect spot. Next we had halves of saison houblon again, before I grabbed an extra half of Green Bullet, a glorious grassy 5.8% pale ale which once again went down well. By now the Sorachi had run out, and although I tried and disliked the treacle saison, we both finished on further halves of the Saisons Houblon.
It was good chatting with Tom and Luisa who run the brewery, and great to see the event well attended. Maybe 9Pin #3 is on the horizon....
Off next down a side street to the end of London Road and into the Beer Engine. Before we'd even assessed the cask ales on offer, Tom had pointed out the Bad Seed Brewery Pale ale at 7.0%. Even thought it was pricey at £6.00 a pint, it was delicious, so we had a pint each and went to catch the last of the sun's rays in the beer garden.
Tom also gave us a can of Roosters Baby Faced Assassin a 6.1% pale ale, to sample. Getting over my horrid memories of canned beer (with widgets in, no less....) is quite a trick, but this helped enormously. A tremendously complex yet equally refreshing hoppy pale ale, this is something I'd be more than happy to try again. We finished on sublime tapas, chorizo and patatas bravas of course, before heading into town.
Here we popped in the Dove and Rainbow on Hartshead Square. As is happening more often, they had Jaipur on from Thornbridge. We each had a pint, in keeping with our strong pale ale crawl, and got chatting to truck driver Ben, wearing an absurdly large wizards hat, in the beer garden. Those who know me well know that the Dove is hardly my favourite boozer - and I can't explain why. However, this visit showed they can serve good real ale, so points for that!
Our final stop was a bus ride away on South Road, Walkley. On my birthday, or just after, last year, I sat in the then temporarily open Walkley Beer Co and supped a Blue Bee beer which was rebadged (and crucially, re-hopped) as my Wee Beery birthday brew. I was impressed by the cask choice, the prices, and the bottled beers. Saturday was the first time I have been back since. With friends like me eh....!
Of the ales on offer the obvious choice was the 5.3% Weird Beard Mariana Trench, described by them as a Transpacific pale, this is a well rounded hoppy pale ale at 5.3%, using, one imagines, American hops. It was lovely. We also bought a half of the Beavertown Power of the Voodoo at 10% on keg to share. Although 50p a pint more than Shakespeares, you really only do need a half so it still represents good value.
We chatted at length with Kit and Rod behind the bar, and with the guy from Emmanuales brewery, forgetting of course that the pub shuts at 22.00 - we were the last to leave, and hopped straight on a 52 round the corner, all the way home! We wish the Walkley Beer Co all the best in their now permanent home, and promise we will be back in less then 13 months time.
So, a fab day of drinking at 4 very different venues, including some truly outstanding beers and great company. It will be a long time before we have another day out like that I'm sure.