Sunday, 13 December 2015

An Ale Amble round the edges of Sheffield centre


         yesterday I was pleased to meet up with Charlie, AKA renowned beer blogger from the aswiftone beer blog Ale Ambler. We had not met up for a couple of years and we decided to meet in the Sheffield Tap to start a short pub the grey, darkening streets of sodden Sheffield

The days tarted well I had arranged to meet Charlie the night before -desit having been a trifle refreshed at the time, and despite having lost my phone, I remembered that I was meeting the AA at
12.30. I hadn't however, remembered to get ready for 11.45. I was burning my bacon at that point. And trying to contact the AA via Facebook. Luckily I found his Twitter account and messaged him. I found my dead phone 10 minutes before I left, and met the AA at 13.08. Luckily things improved form here on.

In the Sheffield Tap it was busy and I spotted the AA at the bar. He had a half of Arbor Oz Bomb and me a First Chop AVA. We repaired to the brewery room where the smell f brewing hung in the air, and I sat and gently shook whilst Double A made notes. I was still mildly drunk from the night before you see. Both beers were lovely. Especially the Arbor.

Coats and scarves done up we walked out of the Tap into a wall of water and struggled along Brown Street, Sidney Street and up onto Arundel Street. Double A is fond of street art - as opposed to graffiti (the difference between which is different to many) and we stopped off at a wall near the pub to look at some.

The Lord Nelson is a small, back street, corner local, owned by Greedy King, but still retaining its character and selling a good range of real ales and bottles  - and black pudding pork scratchings. I also noticed bottles of West Brewing St Mungo's lager in the fridge - not something I have seen anywhere for a while.

We had a pint and a half of Pennine Happy New Year 2016 - maybe a little early but it isn't how I would expect a celebration ale to taste. That said. it was beautiful. Very quaffable with a balanced bitterness and very easy to drink. The AA also had a half of Bradfield Belgian Blue. This was as I predicted - poorly balanced and sweet (and with no identifiable blue). Absolutely nothing with how it was kept I should point out. It was in here as well that I decided to recharge my phone. Alas, two minutes in, the lead fell out and I didn't notice. It would be two pubs later before I got my phone charged!

The AA liked the lord Nelson - now with I love Fanny's T-shirts to order, for those confident that people would realise the pub was known as that. He liked what they had done with the space and the fact that there were four separate drinking areas still. Definitely a pub we will revisit.

Along back streets and through Decathlon car park we were soon in the underpass and heading for the Beer Engine. Sadly Tol Barry was not around - he would be in later. The AA will have to return to Sheffield to meet him.

On the bar was a great selection of real ales and kegs - sadly rather too many dark ones for me but the Siren Oatmeal Pale Undercurrent was on at £3.40 a pint so I had a half of that and the keg four Hopmen of the Hopocalypse. The AA meanwhile had a half o the Wild Beer Millionaire, a salted caramel chocolate ale which we were warned was quite sweet. It was an immensely strong flavoured beer at 4.7%, and although I preferred my delicious Oatmeal Pale and Hopmen, the AA found it quite easy to drink.

As usual there was an interesting range of music on and trade was steady, if not busy. One thing I will point out about the Beer Engine is the toilets - soft loo roll, heating, handwash and a hand dryer and hot water. None of which are difficult to provide, but usually only two of which are available in other pubs. Its nowhere near as important as the quality of the beers however. Since they are also excellent and well thought through, this makes the Beer Engine a fab place for a pint.

Up Eccy road next and we arrived from the continuing downpour at the Portland House. On the bar there were four Welbeck and Leeds best and a Celt Experience beer called something an Brett. The guy behind the bar asked of we were here to try it, and given the choice we were. The AA was not aware of brettanomyces - part of the Saccharomycetaceae family of myacies, for ease of reference! The only reference I could muster at the time was that they featured in Imperial Russian Stouts, and that breweries were now trying them out for the unique unusual flavour. The beer was certainly in possession of that - it was an unusual but possibly over-bretted beer, but definitely one that challenged our taste buds. The other thing here was that I managed to charge my phone o 26%.

We caught a bus back into town and went to collect the AA's haul of shopping from Wateralls and a cheese specialist - where I also purchased some Brampton Impy Dark Derby cheese. After a quick chat with Sean from Beer Central we headed up to the Devonshire Cat. The AA got a half of Shiny Sorachi and I the Hop Studio Obsidian Black IPA. We sat in my usual place and found that we couldn't use the sockets to charge my phone....

 Never the less, we enjoyed our beers, but me rather more than the AA whose Sorachi flavoured beer was overpowering! We also bumped into new manager Liz formerly of the Sheffield Tap. December, it seems, is s busy time of year to start your new job...

Up the road next for me and The AA's final pub the Bath Hotel. I got a pint of Harbour Pale and he a half of Jaipur on keg. We sat in the back and watched the fire very slowly fail to get going and then be drowned by more coal. A shame, since we were soaked. I had a further pint of Jaipur and Matty joined us whilst we waited for Tash, but the AA admitted he had reached his limit and we soon left for him to get his train. Thanks so much for your company Ale Ambler! Glad to have introduced you to a new Sheffield pub or two.

I headed off to BrewDog next to wait for Tash - as the crawl was finished we could now drink beer in the cntre. We shared a bottle of the Fantome Saison.  The bar was quite packed and the music was fantastic as it so often is. We also had two halves of the Aberdeen BrewDog Ghost Writer and the Prototype Black IPA, along with a venison pie and mash and gravy - which was very tasty, but really needed to have come on a plate as opposed to in a box.

Our final stop of the night was in the Tap and Tankard where we had two halves of the Green Jack gone fishing and a half of Double Top Shanghai. I also bought Tash a double gin and tonic as she was feeling a little unwell. The music changes from being rock and dub to awful pop later one - a deliberate ploy no doubt to persuade customers to leave. It worked, and we left about midnight.

This was another fantastic pub crawl in Sheffield featuring a mix of different pub styles and beer styles. Great to catch up with the Ale Ambler, and this day out proves that there are plenty of other Sheffield crawls for us both, and indeed us three, to do in the future.


Wee Beefy


  1. Thank you very much for the tour yesterday & opening up so many new pubs to me. I particularly liked the contrast of The Lord Nelson & the Beer Engine, something old & something new.
    It was great to catch up with you & I look forward to doing the Crookes/Walkley tour your were talking about.
    I'll put a few pictures from yesterday on A Swift One & link back to your blog.

    1. Hello, sorry for delay in replying! I thought it was a good way to see some different and interesting pubs around Sheffield - glad you liked the Lord Nelson. Happy to do Crookes Valley whenever, although the Mount Pleasant to Picture House one now seems better. Will be in touch.