I promised young Matty that I would accompany him, as young members secretary, on his part of the survey of the Sheffield pubs selling real ales on a particular day. The crawl is (mostly) chosen by CAMRA and is designed to reflect the largest number of pubs selling real ales, or rather the smallest selling the most, for the Beer Capital Survey.
Being the Young member's secretary Matty decided to rashly ignore my sage advice on how to get to the first pub, the Cross Scythes on Derbyshire Lane. He caught the 20, and the driver said he would tell him where to get off. Numerous stops later, when Matty asked, the driver said he had forgot about him and told him how to get back to where the short walk started. Matty arrived half an hour late. Luckily, the bar staff confirmed he was their first customer.
Being so late I arrived only 5 minutes after he had left - I had planned to meet him at the Abbey on Woodseats but instead hared up to the pub to have a very quick half of Thornbridge Clerks Well, an excellent hoppy pale at about 6%, one of the beers of the day, then nipped out to catch the bus up to the next pub which Matty was already at.
The Mount Pleasant Inn front door was closed but I knew to get in round the back. The pub is currently being run by Gwyneth, landlord Stuart's daughter, and her husband. Sadly Stuart passed away at the end of June and they have only been running the pub for three or four weeks. From the ales on offer me and Matty both had halves of the Adnams Samba City, a clear wheat beer brewed to celebrate the Olympics - its refreshing and very easy drinking. Lets hope the pub continues to be a successful community hub.
Down Cobnar Lane next in torrential rain, we arrived at the Abbey. Before we got there, there were more staff than customers (6 vs 5) and the pub was very quiet. We both had halves of the Moonshine from a range of two - the range of four if the others had been on however, hadn't changed since they reopened. As we chatted a staff member spotted a small rogue crumb on the table next to us and raced over to swipe it from the tabletop. He then went to clean a clean door. I know it was crap weather and mid afternoon on a day with no home matches but this doesn't bode well.
Off to the Woodseats Palace next, my first ever trip. Unless it used to be Kwik Save....I had a half of O Hanlons Yellowhammer and Matty Burton Bridge Top Dog Stout and we settled down to chat and plan the rest of our crawl. Both beers were well kept and possibly cost £2.60 a pint.
Down to Heeley next through the torrential downpour, and we ended up at the Crown Inn. Now refurbished it sells four real ales at a decent price. I had a half of something hoppy, Hop Gun which may have been from Everards, and Matt a half of the Lost Boot from Charles Wells. We dried off here and chatted to the landlady, who very kindly gave us a bag for Matty's notes. By now the rain was heavier still.
Just up the road is the White Lion and in here Matty had a half of Abduction from Dancing Duck and a half of something else, whilst I had a pint of Hopjacker's Vics secret. All the beers in here, apart from Tetleys, were £3.15 a pint, which is very good value for the stronger ones. We sat in the lovely front bar snug and I asked Dave to share updates from me with the beer crawl page, as we were, and remained, the only two persons on the CAMRA beer crawl. And I am not a CAMRA member.
Up the hill to the Brothers next and we had pints of cask and halves of keg. Regrettably the identity of the cask beers has slipped my mind (it was strong) but I recall having the excellent Rango Mango from Abbeydale on keg and loving it. The pub was busy inside what with the weather but was a great place to stop, and Matty chatted with the bar staff about upcoming beers.
Down the hill again, to the Sheaf View, where we had halves of cask which may have been the Neepsend pale ale, but also may not have been. We sat in the back and worked out our route to the next pub whilst enjoying the ales.
Its a short trek from here to the Hop Hideout - and it had virtually stopped raining. We bumped into Andy C outside (with 3 accompanying folk) and tried to ascertain where they had been and were going - we found out we did not need to visit the Broadfield. At the Hop Hideout Jules and Will were on hand to dispense two excellent halves of sour on keg - a 7.2% one possibly from Lervig Brewery, and the excellent 6.2% Oud Beersel Gueze were sampled. An excellent and palette cleansing visit.
Up the road next to the Union, a pub I have not been in for ages, and Matty may never have been. Halves of Moonshine I think in here, mainly because the Taylors was about £3.60 a pint (and the recently run out Absolution was £3.80!?). Its a lovely, if pricey place to stop, but we needed to head for London Road.
We followed the 22 route and turned down past the new Tescos and came out more or less opposite the Cremorne. Here we both halves of the excellent Alchemist from Pictish, and shared a half of Last Rites from Abbeydale on keg. As this was nearly our last pub we downed our quarters before we left, for reasons absolutely unclear. Our penultimate pub was to have been the Club House, but we popped into the Albion anyway. They had one beer on, probably Farmers Blonde, which we supped quickly.
At the Clubhouse at the end of London Road we had halves each of the Clubhouse Pale and I had something pale from somewhere. We met up with Wee Keefy and he joined us for a half before we headed to the Beer Engine, our last pub.
The pub was busy but alas we missed the food, so both had pints of the 7%+ Wild keeper of the peace pale ale on keg as a finisher, and chatted before being joined by Em R. My memories appear to fade in here a little, no doubt unrelated to my having another pint. After this we all went to the Bath Hotel, where I can't remember what we had to drink at all, before they went to the Dev cat and I finished at Shakespeares on two halves of the excellent De Molen beers from the Tap Takeover. One was the strong beer possibly called heaven and hell and over 10%, and the other was the Amarillo pale ale at 7%. At about midnight I announced I was sober enough to catch the bus home, and got on and fell asleep, waking at Woodhouse. The things I do for beer....
This was a highly enjoyable crawl, in atrocious weather conditions to start with, but it was strange to me that nobody joined us - although, Matty didn't have any charge on his phone so maybe that's why he couldn't update the young or other members, but am sure the event is well known in CAMRA circles. I was assured that nobody joined Patrick on his crawl and other people did their tours solo, but that just suggests that the Beer Capital of Britain is a crown that Sheffield CAMRA doesn't want. Combined with Sheffield council's woeful dis-interest in Sheffield's claims to be the best place to drink real ale in the UK it is clear that Sheffield is missing a trick.
Its important to point out that I have already discussed the above with David, AKA Kate, the Sheffield CAMRA wallah. So bear in mind that my concerns have already been lodged.