Saturday, 12 August 2017

Punch, Stancill and the lash

Evening all,

      you may have heard from social media, Twitter et al, that Stancill Brewery, as well as taking on the Albion on London Road, are also taking over the lease of the Closed Shop, Commonside. This may at face value sound great. Its not if you are Chris Rogers, or the community who backed him to continue running the pub when Reet Ale Pubs went bust.

I saw Chris on Sunday, and found out his likely last day of trading would be Wednesday, assuming he didn't run out of stock. He had been given 10 days notice to leave, and thus needed to find accommodation for him and his family, and new employment in that short space of time. He had been asking Stancil for confirmation of whether or not he would be able to stay running the Closed Shop for some time. He hadn't been given a definitive answer until he received his notice to quit some time last week. Its not difficult to imagine why Chris might be a little miffed. When questioned on Twitter about this, Stancill I understand blamed Punch for keeping Chris and his staff in the dark (all the staff lost their jobs as well as far as I know).

Brewing and communication are very different skills I will grant you. However, finding new accommodation and employment in the timescale given, when you have a large family, is very very difficult indeed. Even if we take Stancill's explanation at face value, that simply means there are two organisations letting down the leaseholders, staff and community. I understand Chris already has plans, to open a micropub nearby, but as any of Sheffield's existing micropubs will confirm, permission to trade as and granting of licences for takes a long time. And it still doesn't sort out the accommodation issue, which is surely most pressing.

Concerns about staff and leaseholder welfare aside, I don't understand the decision from a marketing and potential financial benefit point of view. All the regulars I know are horrified by the behaviour of Stancill and or Punch, so am not sure where the core of visitors is going to come from. The community forum or organisation was set up by Chris to keep the pub open, and 24 investors paid cash to buy the Tenancy at Will from punch. In all there are 200 members on the group's mailing list, and am guessing most of them live nearby. I can't see that same community wanting to give Stancil any of their money after what has happened.

I realise the pub is to reopen mid August. So there will be an influx of students soon after, whom I am guessing Stancill are hoping won't know or if so won't care about this situation. If that was the case, that is doing students a disservice. If nothing else in Sheffield, pub wise, look at the reaction to the University Arms being threatened with demolition. ( although I realise that there were plenty of non students who did much of the ACV legwork)

The other issue is the staff that Stancill are to bring in from their other pubs. They are being given the opportunity to run a pub where they will have had no input into the treatment of Chris and his staff. I wish them as individuals every success, but have no intention of drinking any Stancil product in the future. I think the Horse and Jockey had a couple of guests on when they first reopened, but I didn't see any when I returned. So am not sure how I will be able to support another member of the licensed trade  doing well in the Closed Shop.

Best of luck to Chris and his staff in finding new roles, and accommodation. As per information on Facebook the Closed Shop has, once again, become closed. Lets hope something good will come from this situation, in whatever way that might be.

Cheers

Wee Beefy

Friday, 21 July 2017

Short crawls in Sheffield

Hello,

       back when I had money (laughs, then starts sobbing) I went on a few pub crawls in sunny Sheffield, mainly at the weekend, since I work, and nobody drinks on a school night. Well, apart from me, obvs. To be fair, in the good old days (pre October 2016) I used to drink virtually all the time. I digress however. Here is some more recent evidence of indulgence.

It was the first Saturday of the month and I nipped into town and to Beer Central to pick up my latest saves. Only the 6 or 7 this time, but as always some crackers amongst them. All now supped I hasten to add. I went straight from there to the Beer Engine and spoke to Tom about his new venture. I haven't seen him for a while so it was good to catch up, and having started on a pint of delicious beer that had a name I was bought another - in this case two halves, one of Lost Industry cherry and banana sour and Alphabet A to the K oatmeal pale (and Friendache, where I got that form tells me I had a pint of Toxteth IPA from Mad Hatter - proving why I post so many pics of beers I have drunk!). The sour was on especially impeccable form.

All three beers were as ever in perfect condition and I quaffed them outside in bright sunshine, before heading up to Hop Hideout for more sitting outside, this time supping something hoppy from To ol, and possibly something else. Or neither. I also bumped into Ron Patterson who is a beer historian and told him all about the Royal Cottage. He ordered food. That, is a fact.

I headed into town and then met up with Tash outside the Sheffield Tap. Here I had a pint, definitely of beer, and she had a cider. Or wine. We bumped into Katherine and I left them two to catch up and met them in the Old Queens Head, where I had a pint of the most local ale available. I also had half a bottle of wine. This may explain later "forgetfulness" in a style more apparent than normal.

From here I headed to meet Scott and Col and Sue and others in the KIT for Col's birthday drinks. It wasn't until Sunday that I figured out what I had, and why that had made me forget everything I had done in Shakespeares afterwards. I had a pint of the Brodies DIPA at 9%. This was not my most sensible move. It was good catching up with Col and Sue and Fluffy though.

Another trundle came the next day - having somehow done overtime I met Matty in the Shakespeares and bought a pint of something on cask am sure. We sat in the sunshine once again catching up before heading for the Kelham Island Tavern and having two thirds each of the Brodies - this was a clearly very strong tasting as well as strong gravity beer which explained memory loss on Saturday quite well. We finished this short and quick crawl in the Riverside where we had pints of a pale ale. This is probably the least revealing crawl I have ever written up. Luckily I can remember much more about the next.

A Sunday post overtime drink was arranged with Miss Middlemarch, but alas she cancelled as I was heading to Shakespeares so it seemed rude not to attend anyway. I sat in the sunshine once again, enjoying a frankly excellent pint of Kernel, although am not sure which, but it was on fine form. All too quickly however I had supped it and I returned for a further half before moving on.

My next stop was the Gardeners Rest. I haven't been in since Pat and Eddie sold it to the community and all that seems to have changed is there are now slightly fewer beers on. To be honest, I only ever seemed to go to the Gardeners when it was quiet, and with them being new owners as well this seems like a sensible move. They also appear to have a card machine, which am not sure was there before. Ironic, now that I only have once card....

I sat outside once again, talking to a guy about the local wildlife he had seen and supping a pint of Elusive, or similar sounding pale ale which was on great form. Its good to see the Gardeners still drawing in customers and serving excellent beer.

Just up the hill is the Forest, on Rutland Road. It was busy inside but nobody was sat outside - although there is now only one table to do so at. I got a pint of the Toolmakers Phillips screwdriver, some free crisps which were much appreciated, and went and sat outside where I was joined by a couple of locals who initially talked about holidaying abroad. It was lovely and hot and a fantastic place to sit, so I nipped in and got another half before heading off.

My final stop was at The Old Workshop. As I mentioned in my post yesterday I managed to sit outside, and I did indeed people watch. I got a fantastic pint of Kernel Citra IPA and supped that in hot sunshine watching the crowds arrive. I got chatting to a guy called Nick from Middlesborough who asked me to look after his pit bull, the Duke - named after a John Wayne character and film, whilst he got a drink. We got chatting to a group who came in and he offered to buy me a drink so I asked for a half of the Kernel but somehow the message got mixed up and he bought me a pint. The dog enjoyed the water in the bowl at least. Many thanks for the pint. I slowly finished this whilst the sun went behind the factories before heading home. A fine finisher.

I may have spent a little too much on the first and last but I enjoyed every one of them, and went to some cracking boozers en route. Once more, demonstrating the range of venues and beer menus available to the slakers of finest sunny Sheffield.

Huzaah!

Wee Beefy  

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Old Workshop

Hello,

      the above is a new (by my journalistic standards at least) bar on Hicks Street in Neepsend. Where is Hicks Street? I hear 90% of you ask. Well, its off Burton Road, round the corner from Yellow Arch Studios and just past Wendy's chippy. Its also therefore near Sheffield Brewing Co, Peddler Market and the Forest and Gardeners Rest.

A month or two ago I bumped into Tom's sister in Shakespeares. She had a name, as a means of identifying her amongst other humans. I forget what it is. She confirmed that he, of Beer Engine renown, was involved in or opening a beer bar in Neepsend. I had heard rumours of this, but hadn't sought to find out any further information, but was pleased to hear that Tom was involved, with his excellent boozer the Beer Engine being one of the best places to drink in Sheffield. Of course, he will tell you this is all down to his excellent staff. Its still true either way.

On a Sunday towards the end of June I decided to pop down and take a look. I think its an exaggeration to say that Sheffield needs a place like this - but it certainly deserves a place like this. If nothing else, and separate from its own qualities, it brings us in line with nearby destinations for beer like Derby, Leeds and Manchester. Its a smart, popular, keg only bar with an excellent range of bottles and street food from Brazil and India. Or other countries in the world. Facts eh. What are they?

I have spoken to Tom briefly about it and he confirmed what Alan Steward had told me - that it was keg only not because of a dislike of cask, but because there is insufficient space behind the bar. Am fairly sure they don't have a cellar and the space behind the bar would indeed not fit a cask in - its also quite warm, so would be difficult to keep cask ale in tip top condition. Given that I drink cask and keg and bottle and canned beers I don't actually give a shit. Is the beer good? Yes. Thats all I need to know.

The bar is very nicely done out in what unsurprisingly appears to be an old workshop. Am guessing this is the inspiration behind the name. There is plenty of seating, basic wooden tables, a fantastic ceiling feature, and comfortable settees (or sofas?) at the front. I also understand the upstairs room is for hire. There doesn't appear to be any outside space, although, as a sun lover, I have perched on a stool at the tiny table outside at the side of the doorway.

The beer range features kegs of all strengths and tastes, with a goodly number of sours and gose to tempt you - the Chorlton sour that I tried the other day was fantastic, however, the Five Points DIPA and excellent Kernel Citra were also ace, and served in peak condition. As you may know, I lurve Kernel Citra.

Despite being in a location people know about as well as Nether Green, its actually a brilliant place for a bar to be - walk across Burton Road and over Ball Street bridge (or stop off at the Bajhi Hut or similar spelling) and you come out at the Milestone, with the Fat Cat, KIT, Riverside, Harlequin and Shakespeares and Bar Stewards nearby. Its definitely a great place to include on a crawl, or to go after work - that said, at present I think it only opens Friday to Sunday.

One slight word of warning is that if you are allergic to hipsters I would approach with caution. On my first visit I saw a guy in flip flops, tight denim shorts and a fair isle jumper, with a top knot. I initially wanted to vomit, but actually, he wasn't doing anything. He wasn't going to sit down next to me and start talking about bus braking systems. He was just out with his mates. In fact, its another good feature that it attracts an interesting and diverse clientel. People of all ages and cultures and styles throng here, and its a fantastic place to people watch.

Well done to Tom and the staff who run the Old Workshop. Its a fine place to go for a drink, and am certain, to stop off for some food, and the music is often very good as well. I expect to be popping in to sample their excellent wares in the very near future.

Yours

Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Rising Sun Sunfest Sheffield 2017

Hello,

     I understand this year's Sunfest was the 11th, and am fairly sure I first went in 2009 or 2010, likely my first ever visit to the pub. That said, am not sure how long Abbeydale have had the pub - so can any Abbeydonians tell me if Sunfest was run when the Rising Sun was not an Abbeydale pub? Am guessing it was. I have had a lot to drink since 2009 however.

Could I also quickly point out that as far as I know the Rising Sun is at Nether Green. I say this because a surprisingly high percentage of my friends either don't know that or don't know where Nether Green is. Its not Ranmoor. Its not Fulwood. I hope I am not wrong on this point!

I arrived about 18.00 on Thursday night with the threat of heavy thundery rain hanging over me - I can confirm that not a drop fell that night. It was gloriously hot in the sun, but the beer was very well kept - not too cold, but with a slight chill that kept it cool and refreshing without destroying the flavour. A big well done to the bar team at the festival for their hard work. It was £10.00 tokens and a hired glass again which is fine - being short of funds these days I may have preferred a £5.00 card but am well aware that you got a refund on both card and glass if you needed one.

My first beer of the festival was not recorded using my highly efficient ticking the programme process - but am certain it was Half Moon brewery York Midsummer, a 3.9% pale ale with Elderflower. A perfect, light, easy drinking palate opener which I supped in about 5 minutes. I moved straight on to the excellent range of keg beers and had a half of Abbeydale Strong and Stable - its a pale and hoppy American style DIPA from Abbeydale at 8.4%. Brewed with much Mosaic so I loved it, and described as dank and delicious, despite its name I spilt some just as I was heading to speak to Dan Baxter, head of talking and many other things at the Brewery. Seems the beer, not I, was strong and stable.

Having tried the Birdhouse tea beer at 4.2% from Abbeyda;e, which was interesting, if not that brilliant, I moved onto Burning Soul Brewery OCT IPA at 6.9% on cask.. Bags of flavour, but not as citrussy as I'd hoped, this was still a perfect beer to follow the SandS. I bumped into Ethan, he of previous Three Tuns fame, and Robin, and sat down with Richard, Bex, Jodie, Darren, Laura and a man with a fab beard. Laura suggested I tried her Princess Rara, an 8.1% naturally hazy vanilla and raspberry pink coloured beer. It was a very enjoyable mix, and thankfully not too sweet. There was also a hint of sharpness from the rasps which balanced the beer well.

Next up was keg Verdant Headband, a 5 5% golden beer from Falmouth described as bitter and sweet. Its the third beer I have tried from Verdant and I have loved every one - their can of Just one more Psi that I tried last month was the best of a range of 13. This did not disappoint. I also tried thirds of Cross Borders Braw on keg at 5.2%, which was too light a beer for keg, and the Fintry Clachertyfarlie, which was alas, too light to register at all. Things improved with Torrside Snap Decision 5.2% pale however, and I finished on a half of the Elderflower Deception. Or Cosmology. Its not clear....

Saturday I was back in the afternoon and met Rich, Kath, Beck, a lady, John, Mark, someone who may have been called Andrew who drank cider, Jon and Mandy, a man called Yannis, Andy M, the Sword of Justice from work, Pat J, Diane and Pete and Carol, and Laura BH and many others. It seems daft to list them all but for me that level of recall is amazing! Now....what beers did I have?

Well, having carefully returned with someone else's blank festival programme am going to have to guessmember. I definitely tried and enjoyed the Boundary Brewing Forever Ago NE IPA at 6.0% on keg. Northern Irish beer has been slow to make it over to the mainland and I had never heard of Boundary before, but this was an excellent starter.

I had a third of the Wilde Child Opaque Reality pale at 5.9% (and over a fiver a pint on cask!?) which was good, but really should have been. I also tried a half of the Beer Nouveau Government Ale at 3.7% - I was looking forward to this since Beer Nouveau are a small Manchester based brewery housed, I think, near Cloudwater, but all I can say is I think it was a "response" to the Government reduced strength Carlisle State Bitter. It tasted of virtually nothing! ( I have since read the listing and this is, virtually, what the beer was, coming from a McGees recipe of 1917. It was still very disappointing.....)

The Fallen Brewing New World Odyssey at 4.1% was good and refreshing, (although people seem to think its pronounced Fallon?) and I had another half of Princess Ra Ra which went down very well. I also enjoyed the Abbeydale Orange you glad its summer on keg, an 8.5% orange spiced saison which was very refreshing and dangerously easy to drink. I tried a half of the Abbeydale Voyager 3 IPA at 5.6% hazy IPA with Centennial, Galaxy and Lemon Drop hops which was very enjoyable.

I think I may also have tried the Double Brimstone Barrel Aged at 8.1% - am thinking this must have been near the end of my visit, which happened as the crowds became incredible in mass, and some beers started to run out.  

Overall I really enjoyed my two visits, and although no credit can be taken for the weather, the sun at Sunferst was amazing! I didn't try any of the food alas, so can't comment but all the ales were well kept, even the ones I didn't like, and the range was incredible. Well done once again to Abbeydale and the Rising Sun staff and numerous volunteers for putting on a cracking festival once again.

Hoping to see you all in 2018.

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Staffordshire Moorlands hat trick.

Hello,

       for many yeas myself and Wees Keefy and Fatha, sometimes with Tash and Matty, have been heading out to the Derbyshire, North Staffordshire border for a meal and a few pints at three excellent local pubs. In the last three years though making both of the last two has proved impossible, as per this post from 2015. Different pubs have been our starting place but after leaving Cliff's we have recently ended up somewhere else on the way home. Last Saturday that changed.

We met before 17.00 and picked Wee Fatha up and headed out via Bakewell to Monyash and then through Needham Grange to Crowdecote. The sun was shining and it was warm and the Packhorse pub wasn't too busy when we got there. Having said hello to Nick who may actually be called Mick (I will listen more carefully next time....) we set about ordering.

We all went for pints (WF a half) of Storm Silk of Amnesia, a darkish ruby pint with plenty of flavour and somewhere around 5%. The beer was impeccably kept and we stayed on this for the duration, apart from WK getting a soft drink since he was driving, and me trying the Derby fruit salad fruit pale which was far better than its name suggested. All pints cost £3.40 which is good value for the area. We also ate - WF having a fish pie, me gammon and WK a steak. The food was excellent. The beer was too.

Next, given recent early closing incidences, we headed up the lane past the pub to Earl Sterndale. The Quiet Woman was open, and there was a couple in the bar enjoying the last of their pints when we arrived. I had a pint of dark, alas I can't recall whose it was, and WK and WF each had a half of the Marstons bitter from a range of three. WK dutifully bought a now more expensive box of beers and we sat near the entrance.

One interesting  fact is that the pub door has a sign on it saying No dogs. Royal Cottage regulars claimed this had been there for years but three large groups of potential customers turned up whilst we were there and read the sign out loud - all of whom had dogs. One group put their dog in the car and sat inside enjoying their beers and the pub, and the other two groups sat briefly outside with far less beers than they would otherwise have had if they had been able to come in. I know that Ken had two or perhaps three dogs since I have been going, all of which have now sadly passed away but not taking the sign down is restricting trade further in this already quiet pub.

After a good sup and loo breaks we had to leave Ken to it and headed off to the Royal Cottage for about 21.00. There were a few customers in already when we arrived, and we had a quick chat with Cliff - unusually he don't say he thought we'd died, two which WF would have responded with "I nearly did". Instead he asked us how we were and WK bought our drinks - Manns for WF, lemonade for WK and a bottle of Old Speckled Hen for me.

We sat in our usual spot and got talking to a guy who may be called Dave and regular visitor Ivel - a proper old fashioned name if ever I heard one. As well as the interior not changing its pleasing to note that the conversation topics also never change. Local farms, farmers, families, relationships  and land sales once again were the feature, including the Salt family who allegedly lived in the mines years ago. As always, the conversation was interesting, and the atmosphere was excellent. And it was good to see Cliff in good health.

Shortly before we left a large group of people turned up and having ordered drinks stood and sat over by the back window. It was notable that for the second or third time in recent years there were more than ten people in when we left late on a Saturday night. This may not sound many, but the pub is quite small and for many years there were never more than three people in, so this is an improvement.

For information, in nearby Longnor, the Grapes has reopened following many years of closure, so there are now two pubs open in Longnor - unless the Horseshoes has reopened, which looking at it am guessing it hasn't. We didn't have time to visit but I understand it sells a few real ales so will hopefully pop in next time we are out that way.

I wrote in 2012 about the large number of local pubs in the area closing or changing hands but the Red Lion at Thorncliffe has also recently reopened so there seems to be small improvements in the pub scene in the Staffordshire Moorlands area. All of which means more trips out and different routes await in the months ahead.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Return of the Kernel, and other stories

Hello,

     I have started doing overtime again, so am now to be found around 16.00 on a Sunday in the Shakespeares. No change there you might say, but crucially, and even after the superlative excess of the Stupidly delicious beers tap takeover, I was overjoyed to find good old Kernel on my Kernel line. Which, as I have previously mentioned, I own.

This time the Kernel in question was their Citra IPA. It had no strength, which am guessing is an oversight, but we think it was about 7.0%. It tasted amazing. When I first tasted a single hopped citra beer years ago (am thinking 2011 or 12) I was blown away by it. Since then however, Centennial, Simcoe and of course Mosaic, have bitten their way into my life, tantalising my palate with every citrussy hop drop, and I kind of lost track of what Citra tasted of. The Kernel Citra IPA reawakened my appreciation of this fantastic and sometimes under appreciated hop. I have used all of the last of my money this month supping Kernel Citra. It was (and remained as of earlier), absolutely amazing - Adam even ordered two kegs of it in, one imagines, direct homage. Or a  numerical anomaly.

I also recently went on a birthday beer crawl. Just a short one with Tash and Matty. We met in the Grapes, and Tash had a wine and me and Matty pints of excellent Abbeydale Moonshine - kept in perfect condition as always. We enjoyed them sat in the sunshine out the back, and then walked up to West Street, spotting that Fear and loathing had closed, and caught the bus up to Nether Green. We alighted at the wrong stop and walked for a short while before arriving at the Rising Sun.

Being a Monday perhaps explains why their keg range was depleted. The bar staff told us that the keg they had on wasn't very good - some excellent if perhaps too honest appraising there - and when Matt asked for a taster the beer was in fact water. No wonder they didn't rate it. None of the recent special Abbeydale brews were available and I didn't fancy the guests so myself and Matty had pints of Absolution at something like £3.40 a pint, which is a decent price. I got us a seat outsode in the last of the sun and we enjoyed our well kept wares by the road.

Tash meanwhile had a pint of Aspalls cider on keg for £4.00 a pint. Mainly after being told that the Happy Daze which may be from Black Dragon or Gwynt Y Ddraig, cask cider, was an eye watering £5.20 a pint.

Am glad we were forewarned but am unable to work out why this drink cost so much. I thought you paid significantly less tax or duty on cider which is why its such good value for money for strength? I remember going to a beer festival years ago at a pub where the Westons Vintage (7.2%?) was £3.00 a pint, making it by far the most expensive drink. When I asked why this was they said it was higher priced to put people off because it was strong. I never went there again. I may have my facts wrong about cider duty but it put a real dampener on our visit, and we only stayed for one.

We walked to Endcliffe Park next and stopped for a picnic and then went to the Beer House. The Magic Rock High Wire was £4.20 a pint in here but I know they have put their prices up. It was also on top form. I had a pint of this and Matty a pint of another beer which had a name and a price and came from a brewery. The magic of facts, once again, lacking from my writing.

Tonight, after yesterday gorging on Kernel Citra as well as a third of the Founders KBS stout at 11%  in Shakespeares, I have had my final birthday present, which was a can of Magic Rock half cut DIPA at 8%. This beer is right up my street. Gloriously bitter, hoppy, cloudy, citrussy, brilliance in a 500ml can. It features Citra, Mosaic and Denali hops along with KBC 438, Amarillo and Magnum T90. For even more detail there is a link here to their website. The Half cut was a wonderful opaque, hoppy end to the day before pay fay and my birthday month of June.

Here's to another lovely luponic year ahead.

Huzaah!

Wee Beefy

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Shakespeares Stupidly Delicious Beer tap takeover

Now then,

     a few weeks ago posters started to appear in the Shakespeares showing a list of stupidly delicious beers that they were putting on in one night, named as per the title. The main feature of the beers on offer was their renown - many have 100 ratings on Ratebeer or other beer rating apps. They were almost all very strong and many were unique. Since I am broke, I only had enough for a few thirds. Here is what I tasted and experienced.

Arriving at 18.00 I was pleased to see that it wasn't that busy, for a tap takeover at least. Nate, Derek, young man with name, Adam and Chris were ready to serve us and soon after arriving Adam duly walked over and gave me a copy of the evening's menu. Suffice to say, even if I had been able to afford it, I wasn't going to be able to clear the whole list in one night. The challenge was to find which three I would try.

Nate recommended Star Beer, a caramel peanut and chocolate stout from Steel City, Lost Industry and Beer Ink, at 8.5%. I had heard good things about this so went for a third of that, and the Dugges and Stillwater collaboration Mango Mango Mango, a 4.5% mosaic hopped mango sour with two types of mango. Bose in hand I went to find a seat, and bumped into the Dans, Howard, Matt, David and others and sat in the shelter with my two thick, black thirds of monstrous loveliness.

I have to say that interest in and appreciation of the Star Beer is warranted. Despite its slightly sickly list of ingredients its not too sweet but is still reminiscent of the Star Bar that its named after. The Dugges and Stillwater meanwhile was a perfectly balanced blend of sour mango and hops, which was very refreshing whilst not too jaw meltingly sour.

With funds left for just one more third I was planning on having the Noa, but Nate suggested that Noa would be back on again but that Mikkeller Beer Geek Dessert would not. The Noa at 11% was £3.30 a third, and the Mikkeller, at the same strength was £4.00 a third. I decided it was worth a try despite its eye watering cost. I was right.

Its important to point out, lest anyone else wishes to inform me, that this is an expensive beer. However, Shakespeares in my opinion are a very fairly priced establishment. I don't think they would put on any beer at a ridiculous mark up and I can't see the same beer being much cheaper elsewhere. Its a keg, at 11%, from Denmark. It was beautifully balanced, wonderfully tasty and had a sumptuous mouthfeel, and took me an hour to drink. I enjoyed my £4.00 purchase tremendously.

Just before finishing this I met up with Charlie and Al Steward and their mate, who had a name and everything.   He very kindly bought me a third of the Stigbergets Amazing Haze, a Swedish Mosaic hopped IPA. By now the whole place was extremely busy and trips to the bar looked like they would take quite some time to complete.

Charlie and Al also bought me a third of this each (thanks lades!) and this was the last beer I tried. It was brilliant to sit with the three of them supping and sharing stories of comedy, trips away and beers and more. In the end, we loved the Stigbergets so much we all finished on it. The mosaic hops in the IPA were incredibly pronounced yet the beer remain perfectly balanced, making this probably my beer of the night. That said, the quality just of the four I tried was such that its difficult to decide between them.

Many of the beers will remain on for a few days so if you want to try any I recommend you go down and take a look - there is a list on their Facebook page. Well done to the staff, particularly I think Adam, for choosing such a brilliant range of exceptional and distinctive beers for this showcase.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Three Tuns, Silver Street Head, reopens

Hello all,

        I was thinking the other day how much I miss the Tuns. It had a few average beers on but always at least one, sometimes two, excellent hoppy Blue Bee beers available at my starting strength, plus some great guest ales. The wine and gin was also very good. It occurred to me that it was ideally placed between work and transport home for a pint on the way there or a meeting place for a night out. The food and ale were excellent, the staff were brilliant and the atmosphere for the most part was fantastic.

On Monday Dr J announced he was popping down to see it under its "new custodianship". I was surprised, but also very pleased. I wondered if this had been just a soft launch but decided even if it was and it wasn't open, yesterday would be a great opportunity to pop down and check the place out for myself. After all, there is a certain excellent boozer five minutes walk away....

Arriving about 20.00 the pub lights were on and the doors and some windows open. Inside were Josh and Dave, although they were just moving on, along with about eight other people. It was actually refreshingly cool inside and the pub seemed very spick and span - no doubt a positive hangover from its previous stewardship.

I went to the bar to find three handpumps in use, selling Moonshine, Castle Rock Harvest Pale and Moorhouses Blonde. Being a more regular supper of Abbeydale I went for a pint of Moonshine, which was maybe a little pricey at £3.40 a pint ( ? ) and returned to sit at the back, having said goodbye to Josh and Dave. It was well kept and on decent form. No suggestion of mucky lines or rushing the beer on which I had admittedly been worried about. Its not a range that is going to see me in there every day but its decent real ale.

Bar snacks were 50p - its quite a limited range, probably just to clear the shelves, and its still in date - even so the guy offered me two packs of pretzels for 50p which is a bloody bargain. The gent running the pub appears to be a temporary manager. Obviously I wasn't brazen or sociologically developed enough to ask his name, which he will have one of, but he has short hair. I understand having heard a conversation in Shakespeares later that he has previously run the pub this century. So its definitely him.

A few people left just before I did and there was only one table occupied when I departed but its early days and its not been particularly well advertised. I will be popping back in, for the reasons at the beginning of the post about why it was such a cracking boozer. I don't really like Spoons so if this remains open it will make a nice change.

The interesting thing is that the pub reopening reminds me just how bloody good it was under Reet Ale Pub's management. The availability of Blue Bee was a boon but the pub employed some excellent staff such as Nate, Phil, Siobhan, Dave, Mc Miker G, Mark, Ethan and others. I will miss their service a hell of a lot and also the atmosphere that they brought with it. I would never have heard so much King gizzard and the lizard wizard without Nate's influence on the music, or persuaded anyone but Ethan to play me Cathedral's Forest of Equilibrium on a frankly wonderful Monday night. I wouldn't have written the song "Mark's got a name, Siobhan's got a nickname" without them being there and wouldn't have had to explain to so many of my younger friends who Mc Miker G was if he hadn't been there too.

In the long term I hope it can return to its comfortable, friendly, excellently aled inclusivity, attracting groups from all backgrounds and walks of life and persuasions to sit on its comfortable chairs and drink their beers and other potions. That is not a criticism of the current ownership. Its more a respectful lament for the way things were.

Welcome back old friend. You have changed. We are still however, friends.

Cheers.

Wee Beefy

Monday, 19 June 2017

Sheffield crawls and pints

Hello,

   I haven't posted for a while but wanted to tell you about some drinks I have had on two local crawls in Sheffield. I may even confirm some of the excellent bottles I have had, but that will come at a later date.

The first Ambale was on Tuesday last. I started at Itchy Pig and had a half of Abbeydale Encantada, described as a Neolithic Gruit Fruit ale, and an Emmanuales Ryejoice, both on keg. The Ryejoice doesn't work as well as it does on cask alas but was a refreshing starter, the Encantada was a very interesting sweet and sour fruity mash that was refreshing and surprising in equal measure.

I stopped off at the Doctors Orders, better known (surely?) as the West End, next. I had a pint of the Little Critters C Bomb Citra at 6.5% and £3.70 a pint which is probably not a bad price for its strength. I somehow managed to squeeze between tables to get a seat and, one assumes, my hex boot frighetened off the assembled customers who went outside to eat. Nothing to do with warm sunshine!

My next stop for the first time in a considerable while was at Interval Bar. They had about 6 cask beers on at £2.90 a pint and I had two halves,  one of which was equinox pale, or similar, and a red IPA from Three Castles brewery. All were well kept and I enjoyed them sat in sunshine outside, listening in with some amusement at the oft melodramatic musings of the students sat nearby.

I skipped the Uni Arms and Bath and went next to the Harley next. They had four casks of Saltaire on and I had a half of the Onyx black IPA sat in a comfy sofa in the front. Its not a pub I go in often at all, although te food looks good.

My next stop was Harrisons 1854 where I bumped into the owners Bob and Linda and chatted to them for some time. I had a half of Bradfield Yorkshire Ale on cask which is, I understand, their rebrannding of Yorkshire bitter. Its strange to see this since other than some brewers calling their mild's dark most northern brewers would assumedly be happy to produce a bitter?

The next stop nearby was the Cavendish. A range of kegs and cask was available but nothing really tempted me so in the end, before the slew of Ingurrlearnt fans arrived, I had a quick and very enjoyable can of Elvis Juice.

The penultimate stop was the Grapes where we got sat outside in the beer garden. I met Tash and Matt in here as well as Trev and Bill and had "a number" of further pints of Abbeydale Moonshine, as always kept impeccably. The time flew by and we were there for some time before I went for a last one in the Tap and Tankard. Truth be told, I don't recall what I had to drink in here. Sorry Dylan.

The other crawl was a post overtime loosener last Sunday. I started in Shakespeares and had a half of the Time and Tide All in Jim Sorachi Ace APA on keg, as well as a pint of the hoppy North Riding and Totally Brewed A slap up North IPA on cask, and repaired as always to the clock room to consume.  The best part of overtime, apart from erm...pay, is the ales afterwards.

 I was meant to be meeting Tash and we arranged to meet at the Rutland at 17.00 so I headed off and got off behind Atkinsons to find Tash was running a little late. I decided to head to the nearby Devonshire Cat for a wee and a half. I ended up asking which was cheapest beer and got a half of Abbeydale Daily Bread on cask for £1.60. It was on good form but isn't my first choice I have to say.

From here I headed to a cash machine and then popped in the Washington. They had four cask ales on and as always, I went for a half of the Moonshine. It tasted beautiful in here. I sat in splendid isolation in the left hand bar in bright sunshine listening to an excellent selection of ska tunes. Ace.

I headed to the Beer Engine next and had a third of the Mikkeller Nuclear Hop Assault and an interesting beer whose identity has escaped me in the miasma of alcohol since. The beer as always was impeccably kept and it was good to bump into the Man of Ash - assuming I did....

From here I jetted across town to meet Tash in the Bankers, finally meeting up about 20.30 and we had a quick drink before she headed to the Dove and I went to meet Mr E down at Shakespeares to finish a rather lengthy but highly enjoyable crawl. Am not 100% clear on what we had but it possibly ended with a can or two of Cloudwater before I ran to catch the last 52 home in a refreshed state.

Two crawls showcasing a number of pubs and a wide range of different but equally enjoyable beer styles shows, once again, how lucky we are live and sup in sunny, shiny Sheffield.

Your very good health

Wee Beefy


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Tuckers Grave Inn, Faulkland, Somerset

Hello,

        inspired largely by a photo on his Friendache profile by former pub photo blogger Dimpled Mug, this post aims in sketchy detail to provide memories of my visit to the pub way back in the Noughties.

The pub, sadly, is currently closed and is on the market, at least as a going concern, for £595,000.00. At present, I definitely have £5.95 of that sum available, so maybe could arrange to purchase it over a thousand years? After all, we will soon all be living for many centuries, in space, or similar. Anyway, its more likely that someone else has that kind of money available. The only concern is whether or not they have any interest in preserving its unique character.

Myself and Wee Keefy many moons ago visited Christingpher in Bath where was studying teacherings. He became a supply teachering soon after, eventually quitting as he felt the role required him being a parent, social worker, drug councillor and then a teacher, wrapped up in delivering a curriculum in a style which interested none of his pupils.

Whilst there, and on our way home, we visited many National Inventory pubs. This was one of them.

The Tuckers Grave is, lets face it, a strange name for a pub. I understand it relates to a suicide or hanging which took place nearby of a farm worker called Tucker who is buried under the crossroads outside. It is quite an unusual looking pub as you approach and we had been spoilt in the local countryside by chocolate box country pubs. We needn't have worried.

There is a passageway as you enter with white and pink paint and lots of wood and the bar and main rooms are on the left. The bar is basically in the bay window - although there are other bar free pubs in the UK (less than ten) this is the only such arrangement I have seen. In front of the bar is a long table in a narrow room with just enough space for patrons to sit down each side on large wooden settles.

There is a further room past that to the left where me and WK sat and off the corridor is the blue room. I went in and found it smoky and painted pink, a peachy light red if am to be more accurate, and found two old guys supping cider inside. I said hello, and they asked me if I had come to take photos since I had my rather large SLR camera with me. One then said "do yer know why they corl this the fuckin blue room? Esspecially as its painted pink? Its cos this is wur we come to swear!". It seemed that the swearing of the two drinkers was not tolerated in the bar. It was cider and profanity in here. I have no reason to doubt their tale from the half an hour I was in there....

I had been served earlier by the landlord, who spotted me standing near the bar looking thirsty. Its not actually as weird a set up as you may think - there are three barrels (maybe four?) including a cider, stillaged in the window and the till is on a small table to the side, with the glasses and tankards stacked and hung up on the rafters. I had a pint of Butcombe bitter and WK a half of Cheddar Valley cider, which I later got a pint of.

The folks on the long oak table offered us some roast potatoes from a giant platter and asked where we were from - I probably talked to them for fiteen minutes before returning to WK who was finding his cider all too easy to drink.  The pub was a wonderfully welcoming and busy place serving excellent beer and cider. There is a link here to the entry on the National Inventory pub website.

Incidentally, and am not saying this is contradictory evidence, but the pub is not mentioned as closed on Whatpub and the website says it was last checked in 2017. So is it definitely shut? The BBC reported that Ivan and Glenda Swift could not find a buyer in 2011 and were intending to close it and the NI website reports it for sale. If anyone knows if this pub remains open then please let me know!

Either way, the pub left an impression on me, and I still have my numerous photos which I took whilst inside. If it has closed that is a real shame. As you can see on the NI website the pub had a fantastic and in some ways unique interior.

Cheers!

Wee Beefy