Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Sheffield pubs - rare and first visits


     of late I have been branching out a little in my range of pubs. Not because am fed up of my regular haunts, far from it. Instead, I wanted to try a few new places to find out if I have been missing out. Here are some details of what I found.

I went to the Museum near Orchard Square recently. They were having an Oktoberfest - with no German beers! (they may have Becks Vier....) Admittedly getting German Oktoberfest beers in bottle or on draught is probably quite expensive, but their absence, and the fact that only two English Oktoberfest style beers were on, took the edge off the event. As it was I had pints of what I assume is Greedy King Oompah, having decided I wouldn't like the Milestone Oktoberfest beer on account of it being from Milestone. I didn't try the Curry Wurst with chips and salad for £7.00, but I was tempted. I probably only go to the Museum once or twice a year and I don't see that changing, but it was a decent pint . The pub was quiet, and it is better than All Bar One and the Bessemer nearby.

Another irregular venue is the Graduate on Surrey Street. This used to be a Mansfield House and sold their range of special real ales in the 90's which, if I recall, were all named after game - alas time and lack of access to beermats rids of me of any idea of their names but one had a stag on it and may have been called Royal Game or indeed stag, and one had a boar on it and was likely called Wild Boar....

Anyhoo, I did think that September after freshers week would be a bad time to go to this student boozer so it was two weeks ago we went, and found they were also having an Oktoberfest. Better than the Museum since there were 5 keg beers including Erdinger and another from Germany - I went for a pint of the West Brewery Glasgow Oktoberfest bier which was excellent, if a little pricey. And that's the puzzle for me, since its a student pub, why are the prices so high? Jaipur was on cask at £4.10 or 4.20 a pint, which is more expensive than the Sheffield Tap!

Tash was on the Sauvignon Blanc which was a nice drop and we had gone in for food - Tash I think had a spicy bean burger and I had smothered chicken. It was meant to be a chargrilled chicken breast topped with bacon, onions, cheese and BBQ sauce. It was actually burnt on one side and had no cheese on it! To be fair they replaced it without question with a less burnt one (I know what chargrilled means before anyone says) and it was quite tasty, but there wasn't much of it for £8.45 and it was served on a tray covered with grease proof paper, making cutting it difficult. Perhaps if I go in again I will stick to booze...

Until two weeks ago I had never been in the Penny Black. And now I have. The pub serves cheap food and the beer is also inexpensive however they don't sell cask or anything in keg or in bottles I would want to drink - this was very much a brief visit! Tash had a half of cider and me and Meathouse had halves of Greedy King IPA on keg. Now, making such an underwhelming beer colder and more fizzy is a recipe for disaster, and so it turned out. The beer was anonymous and lacked flavour, apart from a hint of background malt in the cream. That said though, the pub was busy, mainly with older couples, the food selection looked OK and apart from the crackling speaker above us the pub is in good nick.

The final irregular venue is the Sworddancer at Handsworth. They had three or four real ales on, and we had Stowford Press cider for Tash, whilst Matty had Birra Moretti and I had a pint of Abbot. Am not sure if its a case of my tastebuds having changed but it lacked the qualities that Abbot used to possess in the 90's when I drank it in the Red Deer.

We sat in one of the corners near the end of the bar and there was a group of lasses having a birthday drink in the area next to us. I have been in about 5 times now and never seen the pub rammed but as I have found out its not a bad place to pop in for a quick pint. Its probably busier in the evenings when they do food as well. I had another pint of Abbot as did Meathouse this time whilst I got Tash a double Sipsmith gin and tonic for not a bad price.

In Sheffield, it seems, there are all pubs for all people. And that is one of the (many) hings that make it a great place to live. And Sheffield Beer Festival starts tonight, hopefully confirming that fact.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Everybody's leaving....

Greetings readoids,

      please can I just make clear that this is absolutely not a post about Brexit, Breaxfast, Brexbyes or other nonsense about European membership or not. This is about people. Real people. Who have left their posts in Sheffield's finest drinking establishments to pursue other careers. Or learning.

It all started with Stef. She left "Shef" in September, working her last shift at the Bath Hotel at the end of August, to go to Brighton to an MA or similar in stuff, or immigration studies. Luckily I don't know  anyone who works in that field so I couldn't forewarn her. Am sure it will be a blast. Am not so sure that a manager has been found by uber successful outfit Thornbridge to run the pub without Stef, but there you go....

Other lost Thornbridgians are The man of Ash and Beccy who have departed their stint at the Hallamshire House. I spoke to Beccy a few months ago at the Beer Engine and they are planning on taking on a pub in Chesterfield. There is every chance she may have told me which one, you know, its name. There is 100% chance that I have forgotten since. I wish them both the very best.

Jamie, or Siobhan, left the Three Tuns at some point to go and study poncing about at R.A.D.A or similar. Myself and Meathouse thought up an annoying and childish song, albeit catchy, which we intended to sing to Siobhan, which simply went "Mark's got a name, Siobhan's got a nickname", during which part we would give him the rods. For all our sakes, its perhaps best that myself and Matty missed his leaving do. He would only have turned up in drag and sang show tunes anyway. Best of luck though mate.

Also leaving the Tuns is David, AKA Kate. I have seen her in Sheffield drinking houses since, the most recent of which is Shakespeares. This is in some ways ironic - since Mister Christopher Bamfordshire is leaving there, and in fact, has left there, to set up a new bar or pub at the Boardwalk with Miss David herself. Am led to believe this has been planned for some time so am hopeful that the venture will prosper under their joint stewardship. Am sure it will be ace.

Also leaving Shakespeares, or rather, also having Sam. She also left to study things at University after what was probably a 4 month stint behind the bar. Derek, AKA Rebecca (I can't remember her real name am afraid, but Beccy is a good guess I think) is also studying, but bullishly remaining in employment at the great pub.

Some observers may worry that this sudden leaving spree may destabilise the great ship Sheffield pubs, but in fact Sheffield is a very steady and well maintained ship of ale and sails forth as strong as ever. Posts which may appear over the coming months will no doubt confirm that...

So, in fact, not everyone is leaving. Some people have left. Many remain. Godspeed you Sheffield pub staff! I look forward to drinking in your employers buildings very soon.


Captain Beefchart

Saturday, 8 October 2016

A Saturday Staffordshire pub crawl


        you know how it is readers. You mention to your unspolt pub and driving fanatic Father about a pub you hadn't visited in a while, and before you know it a 9 pub crawl is on the cards. That is what happened when I mentioned visiting the Royal Cottage to WF a month ago. Soon it was a fortnight ago on Saturday morning and at 09.30 we were off to pick up Matty and head into Staffordshire.

After what is always quite a lengthy trip - including a diversion as Eccleshall bridge was closed, we finally pulled into Peggs Lane and crossed the canal to the Anchor at High Offley. There was a group of 4 canal boaters from Aberdeen in already, one of whom may have been called George - hello man from Aberdeen on a canal boat whose name I am unsure of !

 We might have had a pint for me and a half each for Matty and WF of the only beer, Wadworth 6X, although Matty did get another half after the boaters had left, and we shared a very hefty bag of pork scratchings. The landlady chatted to us for some time whilst we took some pics and soaked up the atmosphere, before WF bought Matty an Anchor hoodie to wear. An excellent start to the day's drinking.

Not far away is the Haberdashers at Knighton. Its perhaps ten years since I was last there and it hasn't changed a bit. There were three beers on so we had a half of each - WF only having a few sips of his. Rowton Moonshine Mild, Rowton Bitter and Salopian Oracle, which was my beer of choice. The Rowton beers were traditional West Midlands in style and the Oracle was in excellent nick and well hopped. Although this was only a short visit its a pub I'd like to go to again.

Pub 3 was the Star at Copmere End. From a range of three or four me and Matty had a pint of Bass each and WF tried some Titanic White Star. The pub has a lovely exterior but is more modern inside, where food is served. The Bass was well kept and the landlady did very kindly tell us how to get to the Titanic pub the Sun in Stafford, which was our next stop.

The Sun is near Tescos and features about 9 real ales and some kegs. I had a half of the guest from a brewery in Yorkshire (!) and Matty and WF had or tried halves of the Titanic Plum Porter and a new beer. I also bought a half of the Speyside wheat from the Speyside brewery - probably the beer of the day with wonderful speyside malt in the mix. The Sun is an old pub with multiple rooms and caters for families and drinkers alike.

From here we tried to find a quiet road to park on to have lunch before visiting the Green Man - I may incorrectly have this down as Willington, as there is definitely one there but it begins with W and is in Staffordshire! Joint best beer of the day here - Holdens Black Country Mild, a pint of for me and Olde Trip for Matty and mild for WF as well. Brilliantly kept beer in this spick and span pub.

Pub 6 was a new one to us all - the Bore Hole in Stone is the Lymestone Brewery Tap. First time I have ever been to a pub on an industrial estate, and what a fantastic boozer it is ! Quite tiny, we had to sit outside but it was warm and a nice place to enjoy our 5 different Lymestone Brewery beers, which all had names. I also purchased a chicken ham and bacon pork pie to snaffle at home.

Pub 7 was the Brushmakers at Oulton. Now with a new sign, the pub sells Thwaites beers and possibly a guest - I had a pint of Wainwright in here and it was a little disappointing, perhaps just near the end of the barrel. That aside, this is a proper drinkers pub which serves the locals with real ale and little else, and was rightly busy for a Saturday night. One of my favourite Staffordshire pubs.

Our penultimate venue was the Black Lion at Consall Forge. Down a lane, then a track, park up, cross the river, the canal and the railway track and you are there. There were a few beers on and we tried the Connaught Pale (or similar) and the Dark Ruby Mild from their own brewery. Tim Taylors Golden Best came on after so we had some of that as well, to wash down our large meals - the mixed grill even defeated Matty!

The final stop was Cliffs, the Royal Cottage on the A53. Just him and a regular there when we arrived, and I had my usual bottle of Old Speckled Hen whilst Matty had Guinness and WF a J2o. Its been a while since we saw Cliff and it was good to chat about Sheffield and much else at in the beautiful bar room near the fire. The regular left about 22.00 and we continued to chat with Cliff until we left about 22.50, and Cliff closed and locked the doors behind us. He had done his three hours.

So ended a fantastic crawl of mostly old and unspoilt pubs in Staffordshire, with the Holdens Black Country Mild and Speyside Wheat the best beers of the day by far. Well done to WF for planning much of the route and venues.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Sheffield's newest Micropub.... opening this evening, across from Shakespeares, if what Neepsend Rich told me is true - and why wouldn't it be? In the hours before that however, Sheffield's newest Micropub opened about 5 weeks ago and is the Itchy Pig on Glossop Road in Broomhill. That was where I was last night. That was where I met Neepsend Rich. That was my second visit.

I don't actually know, or more likely can't remember, what the pub used to be - I mean a shop, obviously, but not what type. The pub is small, it is a micropub after all, and seats about 18 people, with room to stand. Friday night you have to be patient to get a seat - I started off at the bar supping my excellent pint of Neepsend Snapshot talking to Rich, before spotting an end seat on the small table on the right.

The pub has 5 handpumps selling 4 real ales and 1 cider along with 4 or 5 keg lines including Curious Brew, Abbeydale Heathen and guests like Brew Foundation. The pub sells, in packet and in pints, 7 different styles of pork scratchings and has a deal with the Pizza shop round the corner, possibly called Roots, who  you can order pizza from to eat in the pub. The atmosphere is noisy, mainly due to high ceiling and hard surfaces, the bar is homemade (and has a coin under perspex top) and the decorations are subtle and beer or alcohol related. Its very much a micro pub.

The pub was very busy last night and two yoot came in - am guessing they were students, and immediately took their beer outside. The owner went after them to say they couldn't, and they sat down next to me with a giant bag of Sainsburys salt and vinegar stick crisps, which they started to eat whilst they supped their beer. The owner, whose name I have obviously forgotten, said "thats a bit cheeky, eating your own crisps" and asked them not to. Thereafter, the world's most boring man moaned about this for 45 miunutes to his hopefully deaf female friend. Apparently he hadn't heard the word cheeky since 2007 (?) and there wasn't a sign saying you couldn't eat your own food, and that he didn't see why the guy couldn't have just said don't eat your own food in here.

Now I've only been drinking for 25 years but I have known only two pubs where you could bring your own food, and that was advertised clearly as you entered. Everywhere else I would expect, especially since they serve their own snacks, that you couldn't eat your own. The funniest thing he said was "and its really expensive". I nearly said " try the York - where you definitely can't eat your own food". Anyway, the mindless chuntering of mewling children aside this was a great visit, and  I had another pint of the Sharpshooter and a half of the Brew Foundation to finish.  The bus 120 stops virtually outside and you can catch the 51, 52 or 52a to stops nearby. Give it a try!

By way of comparison I caught the 52 next and got off near South Road to visit the Walkley Beer Co - Sheffield's first Micropub. An excellent range of ales was available as always, and I had a pint or two of the Buxton Axe Edge pale on keg at £4.90 a pint. It as on impeccable form, and went down,  being about 6.5%, far too easily. Was good to chat to Dan and Mr Ransomne, and also to see Kit for the first visit in a while. The Walkley Beer Co is possibly smaller than the Pig, but is a wonderful place to visit to drink great real ale, take bottled beers out, buy brewing ingredients or books, and mainly to be part of the Walkley Beer Co community.

Best of luck to all the above - including the one which may open in 70 minutes time. More excellent reasons to drink real ale in Sheffield.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Sheffield beer survey crawl, 03 September 2016


       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.

A shame, but nonetheless a hugely enjoyable crawl.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 28 August 2016

A Sheffield crawl in August


      last week was quite a thirsty one - I mean, nowadays, all weeks are quite slakish but last week was particularly so. On Thursday I had a beer "none" crawl, supping in the Devonshire Cat all night with Mr Marsh. Strange that we both ended up on the roulette wheel of despair at the same place having initially worked in the nineties together. The beer I was drinking was delicious, as was Steve's - he on Yorkshire Blackout which is Cropton, or the Great Yorkshire Brewery, and £3.75 a pint on keg. I was on the Great Heck Yakima IPA at 7.4%. On cask. How much do you think that cost?

Well, to my astonishment, a cask beer below the HSBD limit (does that even still exist btw?) was an astonishing £4.90 a pint. Thats right. Take a step back and breathe in that price. Four chuffing pounds 90 pence. This is matching the absurdity of prices in the Sheffield Tap. It diminished an otherwise excellent night. Madness.

Wednesday myself and Mr P had a Wanderiains night. We met after work and caught the tram to Hillsborough, where we were stood for 15 minutes in logjam as two sets of lights failed. I was just about to tell Mr P how much quicker the tram was....

We got off at Leppings Lane and walked the short distance up Wadsley Lane to the Horse and Jockey. Obviously quieter than my first visit, I was now able to see what they had done with the inside. It looks very nice - a lovely long bar, hops and bottles on display, dark grey and black walls on the left and an eating area on the right (am guessing?) with a lovely old fireplace. We had pints - Mr P the Old Number 7 and myself the one that I still can't remember the name of! We sat on the right with a glass of pork scratchings for me and pack of cheese and O for Mr P, having initially sat outside in the last of the sun.

Once back inside I was recommended trying a pint of stainless so did, and Mr P bought a not too expensive bottle of Sam Smiths India Ale. Despite their often ridiculous behaviour as an employer, I do have a liking for Sams beers and the India Ale was just what I expected - flavoursome, lightly hopped and malty. Overall this was a great start to our wander - back into town.

Our next stop would have been the Riverside Bar but it was shut - am not sure they open Wednesday nights unless there#s a Wednesday match on. Instead we headed down to Penistone Road and along to the New Barrack Tavern.

The New Barrack has remained a god traditional boozer for many years and still has three separate rooms with drinking space out the back. It was, however, quiet when we went in. I think myself and Mr P had pints of the same - Castle Rock Screech Owl, a strong pale ale at 5.something percent. As we talked I looked at the beer board and noticed that the excellent Marble Lagonda IPA was on on keg at something like £4.30 a pint - remembering its a strong ale on keg that's a good price. So I ordered us a pint and a half to finish.

Up and along next to the Hillsborough Hotel. The Double H has been a feature of my drinking life since Del reopened it sometime in the late nineties - 1998? Its currently run by Tom and is a good place to stop en route to town. We had a pint each again in here - alas somehow these facts have been removed from my memory but both pints were in good nick, and we sat as always in the conservatory supping and chatting.

Our final walk took us past the now to be reopened (in October) Wellington and onto Shakespeares for me to have something expensive but excellent on keg and Mr P to have a pint of cask. He may well have had the Wild Weather United States of Whatever or the Vocation Chop and Change - both were excellent on other visits. I might have had the Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion - there again, I might not. Either or whichever way, this was a fine end to an excellent crawl of pubs.

Pub crawls - a great way to keep fit and tipsy.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 20 August 2016

The Beer Engine is the best pub in Sheffield this month

Hello readers,

          the Beer Engine at the bottom of Cemetery Road round the back of Waitrose, in Sheffield, is the Pub of the Month for August. And, might I say, rightly so. I had been going in more regularly of late after a lull and was overjoyed to drink the amazing Fyne Ales Ragnarok Imperial Jarl, among other highlights, in the last month. So when I found out that Camra had recognised their achievements and awarded them pub of the month, and after finally catching up with Tom and hearing what he had lined up, I couldn't wait for Tuesday night.

Tom made it clear that the award should be presented to his staff - the bar and cellar manager, who have names, one of which begins with L, were therefore the recipients of the award, mainly to reflect their hard work running and stocking the pub, whose beer range continues to improve and impress.

I started the evening on the Wylam Jakehead IPA at 6.3% on keg. It was lovely and hoppy, but also well balanced,  and only a percent above my usual starting strength. I saw Rich and Kath and me and Matty sat with them and Richard, AKA Martin, or Dave Pickersgill. Am assuming he found this misrememberance amusing. I hope for his sake he does! Soon Tom came out with his kitchen garb on and asked when the other CAMRA members were turning up - more on that later. He went to get changed, and Myself and Matty got more beers and the excellent food was served.

Five types of pinchos on five large platters were placed on the bar, and on Tom's advice I tried the anchovy and green chilli one with the amazing Cloudwater DIPA6 - an excellent food and beer pairing. Myself and Matty had a couple, I think, and I also tried a third of the Redrum from To Ol, a red ale at 10% matured over rum barrel chips. It was amazing, and Matty tried some of the cask including the one from Sonnet 43 which was on excellent form. I also tried the Baltic, a pineapple and passion fruit sour which was incredibly refreshing - and a fantastic looking beer in the glass. The pinchos were fantastic, especially the chorizo one and the cheese with what seemed like perfect squares of pickle, and the tangy anchovies.

Well done to the team at the Beer Engine for putting on such an amazing spread, and continuing to source such excellent ales. It just goes to show what brilliant food can be served with what is a very  diverse range of beer styles.

I have to say however, that a big let down was Camra. I don't claim to recognise all of them but at the time of the award there were probably only 5 members there, including Matty. The do had also been rearranged for that night as the chairman was at the GBBF the week before, and now she was on holiday. Nobody had agreed who would present the award - this job went to Andy Cullen, who didn't therefore have time to prepare a speech specific to the pub, and despite there being numerous regulars there, there was way too much food, prepared with skill and love by the catering staff for the event, and specifically for the Camra members to enjoy.

I talked to Tom after he took the chef home and I am sure he won't mind me telling you how disappointed, annoyed and let down he was by this. This suggests to me that CAMRA had the vote for the pub of the month and many voted for the Beer Engine, but those who did so didn't bother to turn up, and the rest stayed away. What kind of message does that give out? I realise people are busy but this poor turn out undermined what should have been a richly deserved award for the pub.

Anyway, luckily that didn't ruin the excellent food and wonderful beers we tried, and we finished the night sat in the beer garden trying the Northern Monk marmalade beer, alas the name of which now escapes me, and finishing the excellent Cloudwater DIPA6.

With my very best wishes to all at the Beer Engine for the event, and hoping to see you all again soon. Well bloody done the lot of you -  take this as recognition of your continuing hard work at the pub.


Wee Beefy

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Abbey, Woodseats, reopens, and nearby pubs

Hello all,

     first post for a while - mainly as have not completely fixed the virus I now have on the tomputer  -so don't follow any links! Just a few details of the pre-launch night I went to with Matty at the Abbey pub on Woodseats on Thursday, and a couple of other pubs.

Matty had been invited as the CAMRA Sheffield young members wallah and had a plus one ticket - I was his choice. There was no expectation I would write about it, but I am anyway. The Abbey is potentially my least visited Woodseats pub - from those open in 1994. I think I have only been once and I can scarcely remember that. I did remember it has a bowling green, and it still does. And thats about it.

Arriving after 18.00 we went into the small room on the left with a small bar featuring two handpumps. From a choice of four real ales I opted for Abbeydale Moonshine and Matty Farmers Blonde. They will have two regular beers and two from the SIBA list, which I understand has some decent ales on it. The other two beers were Doom Bar and Greedy King Abbot - not an inspiring choice for myself, but I don't think O am the kind of customer they are targeting. The moonshine was well kept and on at £3.20 a pint.

The ticket entitled us to a tour with manager Wayne Morton (I hope I have remembered that right!) who showed us the three rooms, including an upstairs function room with a handpump. The room on the left retains its fireplace and is cosy and traditional in style, the right had room is much larger, likely previously having been two, and has the bar in the middle. It was in here we talked to Richard Short, a CAMRA fellow, and got to try samples of the free food.

One thing that makes the Abbey stand out from its near competitors is the food. A bit pricier than the Spoons and the Chantrey for beer, the food is of high quality and comprised excellent steak, calamari, garlic cheese mushrooms, pork pies, sweet chilli chicken and others. The staff were friendly throughout and this was an enjoyable visit. If their two guest ales become a little more adventurous I will definitely pop in again.

Down the road is Archer Road Beer Stop. They weren't selling any real ale, and,. despite being a long time friend of Dave I didn't ask him if this was a long term arrangement. Instead we had cans of Chorlton Brewing Amarello sour, Beavertown India Stout and a Fierce Panther IPA that might have been from Sonnet 43. As we know Dave we were able to sit in the back and chat with him and sample the beers, which were sold for about £2.00 each. The Beavertown is a very hoppy stout and was enjoyable, and the sour from Chorlton was OK, but the best beer was the IPA at 6.3%. An excellent visit to the ARBS as always.

From here we walked down to the Broadfield. Rammed, as it always seems to be, we had pints of Acorn Gorlovka and a Wiper and True Pale - as the barman said, the brewery were far too cool to tell them which beer it was, but it was a 5.something% pale and it was delicious. It was. Matty wanted to try the keg Gorlovka as he is a massive fan of the beer on cask - if anything, he didn't like it as much as he did on cask. Another example of why not everything that works on cask works on keg.

Our final stop was a short bus ride away at the Beer Engine. Winners of the pub of the month (award Tuesday coming) this is a place I have been going back to a lot recently. As per my last two visits I and Matty had pints of the excellent Fyne Ales Ragnarok, Imperial Jarl at 7.4%. A wonderful mellow but hoppy golden pale ale which slips down far too easily - we had another two halves before closing.

Overall all the venues visited were excellent, and as regular readers may know, there are numerous other pubs nearby worth a visit. Best of luck to the Abbey on their reopening (following a £550,000.00 makeover) and to the other premises. Four more places worth a visit in sunny, slaking, Sheffield.


Wee Beefy

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Since I've come back.....

Now then,

       the day after Yorkshire day - that's what today is. And yesterday was brilliant. Nothing to do with the annual celebration of Gods own County, just because it was me and Tash's anniversary.  Not a lot of great beer was supped, apart from Cloudwater DIPA 4 and 5 - a separate post will follow on that. Instead of any of the above, I wanted to tell you about some of the things I have experienced since I returned from the Sudreys.

I went in Shakespeares a lot - no change there admittedly, but some of their recent keg offerings have been exceptional. As have their cask as well, recent highlights of both have included the last of the Omnipollo tap takeover including Leon, their 6.5% IPA, their Apricot Sour, and the Alesmith Double Red IPA. Also, the tremendous bite of the Wild Beer Hibernating lemons at Tramlines, along with a Cloudwater White IPA, cans of the Beavertown Bloody Ell, with the frankly excellent Abbeydale Hop Smash on cask. Numerous other highlights, alas, have slipped my mind....

I also went to the reopening of the Horse and Jockey on Wadsley Lane. Having never been there before it was a bit of a trek to reach, but well worth it when I got there. I arrived about 20.00 to find the queue for the bar out onto he street, and inside it was 6 or 7 thick. I met up with Gav and Clare and bumped briefly into Liz Askam form the Barnsleys, and immediately tried to establish what was best to drink. I opted for a pint of Sentinel on keg - the staff didn't seem to know what it was, but it tasted wheaty - and a pint of Stancill pale ale, the name of which escapes me. We sat in the beer garden til it went dark, and I had a fabulous chicken and chorizo pizza from the Nether Edge Pizza Co. It would be nice to go back when its quieter to see some of the inside but on this evidence it looks to be a very successful reopening.

I also went to the Walkley Beer Co - this, along with the Bath Hotel is the second regular haunt of mine to win a pub of the month form the CAMRA which I did not attend - Gah! Many many apologies to Stef and Kit at the two venues. It just goes to show how little I know about my favourite pubs! On my last visits to the two I had Hopjacker Ultravox Vienna IPA in the Bath, which was excellent, and Buxton Axe Edge and a pint of Tempest Long White Cloud on cask. Stellar offerings as always from both.

Other recent visits have included those to the Three Tuns and Kelham Island Tavern. I had the excellent if surprising Tempest Marmalade on keg, strong ale which tasted of...marmalade. And hops. I also had some excellent Hop Smash from Abbeydale there as well. The Three Tuns continues to impress with numerous regular appearances from Blue Bee. Their excellent 6.5% NZ IPA is on at present and has a massive hop bite with fruity citrus notes and a long dry bitter finish - an excellent beer to start and end any day.

More posts - I promise - this week.


Wee Beefy

P.S - if you see any arrows or links on this post, DO NOT follow - am having a few issues with a virus so they will be dodgy......

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Drinking in the Sudreys - the Ales of Arran


      the final part of our trip saw us head off from the Isle of Islay over to what may have been Kennacraig from Port Ellen. We had ages before the ferry from Claoneig so nipped to the Skipness seafood shack. Home made fish finger sarnies for me and crab meat sarnies for the others,. accompanied by bottles of Arran Blonde. A beautiful spot for a drink.

The ferry to Arran is quite small so we had no chance to et, just stepped up to the side to take in th views before arriving at Brodick. Tea that night was at the Ormisdale Hotel, which was serving 3 or 4 real alea and excellent food. I had a huge chicken curry and rice which was packed full of chicken along with numerous pints of the Arran Blonde from a choice of their ales including Gold, Ale and Ormisdale. Although, that may have been brewed by Isle of Skye or Ayr.

We finished the night in the Fiddlers where I had a bottle of Fraoch heather ale and Matty a pint of Scottish keg and a bottle of Arran.

The next day we went for a tour of the island and saw numerous sites on the coastal walk, having headed into Lamlash to look at the Holy Island. We returned after our walk and went to the Pierhead Tavern on the seafront. I think WF was getting tired by this stage - having accused us of being an hour when we walked to the Co-op, of not knowing where we had gone or for what, and then claiming the Pier Head was a pub for young people - because he couldn't hang his stock on his chair. This, as the rst of us, by far the youngest people in the pub, listened to an hour long mix of 1960's hits....

We had excellent food in here - snack size portions of the main meals and I had wonderful haggis neeps and tatties in a whisky sauce. Real ale wise there were two or three so I had pints of the Arran Blonde and an Isle of Skye one. There was also a fantastic range of bottled Scottish beers including Drygate to choose from.

We visited the amazing Machrie Moor stone circles and then headed for the Best Western Hotel at Blackwaterfoot - alas it was far too rammed to eat in but we did have Fyne Ales Usghe Dubha and Damh Ban. We finished the night at the Ormisdale Hotel once more and had more food and excellent real ales along with a selection of the Arran whiskies.

The next day it was down to Brodick to catch the ferry to Ardrossan - the bar on this ferry serves draught although the Arran was not available. On arrival we crossed to Sorn and the Sorn Inn where we had pints of Orkney Puffin Ale before heading south on the motorway and stopping at the Park end (or New Park) Tavern in Samlesbury for tea, washed down with excellent pints of Purity Mad Goose.

Overall this was a holiday with ample opportunities not only to sample beers brewed ont he islands but real ales full stop - and the range of small Scottish brewer's bottled beers is welcome and exciting. The fact that 4 of the 5 islands visited have their own breweries, all but one of which produces cask, is a brilliant situation - and long may it continue.


Wee Beefy