Sunday, 11 November 2018

Jabeerwocky - Sheffield's first 'Dive Bar'.

Last week, twobeergeeks were fortunate enough to be invited along to the opening of a new bar on London Road. Jabeerwocky has now replaced Bar Ambasada so what's it like?

We chatted to Chris, who was previously at The Bath, about his new place. Well not a lot has changed inside and outside so far but the drinks offerings are much improved. Jabeerwocky are keen to keep their links to the local Polish community but also to widen appeal to others too. On the bar, we were pleased to see a range of four carefully selected keg ales in a range of styles, stout, IPA and weisse. Danny had some Dutty whilst I dived straight into the Buxton Extra Stout, very apt on a chilly November night and suppable even at 7%+. 

Jabeerwocky also has a selection of bottled beers; crafty ones and Polish ones. Chris also stated that he was a fan of Poland's vodkas and so we felt obliged to sample - the hazelnut one is a cracker!

 We asked Chris & Abbi a few things-

The name?

The name sort of came to us - we were trying to think of something a bit different and fun. We were going to call it Jabberwocky Bar, based on the Lewis Carroll poem and film by Terry Gilliam. Then we thought as we planned to serve lots of different types of beer that 'Jabeerwocky' worked well.

Who are we?!

We are Chris and Abbi. Chris was the manager of the Bath Hotel before taking this on, having worked for 5 years for Thornbridge in their various pubs. Abbi previously worked at the Harlequin for several years a while back, and is part of Freak Street Cafe, a pop-up selling Himalayan dumplings - momos.

The bar...?

The ethos of the place comes from our time travelling, mainly in Europe. We've spent a lot of time in 'dive bars' in Eastern Berlin, Madrid, Ruin Bars in Budapest and wanted to bring a taste of this to Sheffield. Basically a relaxed atmosphere, with good quality, interesting drinks, food & music. There are a lot of craft places in Sheffield, but we hope to bring something that is a little different from the rest - especially drawing on the bar's Polish & European connections.

The couple we took the place from are Polish, and have been super helpful during the transition. The previous owners only wanted to sell to someone who would keep the location as a bar. There is a Polish community in the area, and most of them see this as their local so it`s really important to us to keep those links. Having been to Poland we knew that the lager and vodka is some of the best the Europe (in our opinion anyway) and the connections and contacts we were given by the previous owners meant we could have a range of Polish lagers in bottles, Tyskie on draught, and a selection of clear & flavoured Polish vodkas that would serve the Polish community, as well as bringing something different, and tasty!


We will be having music an events, and are lucky to have a decent space to put music on. Bar Ambasada had been putting on semi-regular events, and we are looking to increase that, from live bands to a range of DJ and electronic music events that will go a little later into the evening. In particular, world music, techno & drum and bass. We want to bring some interesting music that`s a little different down here and are in talks with a couple of promoters to bring some nights in.


Food will not be the main focus - we know there is too much competition around us for that. But we do want to offer homemade quality beer snacks. From hand-rolled dumplings, goulash, skewers of meat and veg to boozy brownies and Polish doughnuts. We are not here to be a restaurant, but a place were you can get some great snacks to go with your drinks.

Image may contain: food
OMG - The vegan ones are epic!

Desert Island Beers?

Our favourite beer this year we actually did have in Poland. 'Baribal' by Deer Bear brewery, is an imperial cinnamon waffle chilli maple stout! Sounds a lot of flavours in one, but each came to the fore while drinking it - it was especially good on draught, but at 11% not for everyday. Otherwise, Buxton Axe Edge is always a good shout, and easier to get here! (though we are looking to bring in some Polish and Eastern European craft beer to the bar in the near future).

We have a wide range of favourite breweries: Buxton, Brew York, Thornbridge, Ominpollo, to name a few. We will keep the beer lines rotating and are looking forward to bringing some great craft beer onto the bar. We do have a soft spot for dark beers though...

Drinking Spots?

Our favorite drinking spots include: the Bath Hotel (Chris has spent a fair bit of time there!), the Beer Engine, The Rutland and The Blake - but I could list many more!

We are just starting up, so the range of beer and food will be growing. We are hoping to see some cask installed in the next couple of months, probably 1 or 2 lines to begin with, and you will start seeing more events and even a quiz happening down here.

We found the bar to be quite cosy and there aren't many places locally where you can get good beer and play pool. Previously, Ambasada was a decent place to watch football but we're not sure if Jabeerwocky will retain this aspect.

The location makes Jabeerwocky a nice addition to London Road, which was a real ale desert not so long back. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Saturday, 15 September 2018

2BGs meet `Real Ale Pubs Away Days`

It's fair to say that there has long been a crossover between beer and football.  Both can be an expensive business, truth be told. However, a growing number of discerning footy fans are becoming more selective about which pubs they visit pre-match. Gone are the days of piling off the train and falling into the nearest boozer (which was often a reyt dive near the station) or heading for nearest 'spoons. Many fans will plot trips as soon as the fixtures come out using the Good Beer Guide or seek online advice. 

Recently, I met up with Matty Banks who had the bright idea of forming a Twitter site and Facebook group called `Realale pubs Away days` which really has gone from strength to strength since he started it last year. We met up for his first visit to a Sheffield FC match at the Coach and Horses ground, Dronfield.

The Home of Football. And beer.

Over a cheeky beer or two, I picked Matty's brains:-

Q. Which team do you support? 

Doncaster Rovers. I am a season ticket holder.
Q. Best pub in Donny? 
Now that Cask Corner has gone, the Corner Pin.
Q. Favourite brewery?
Castle Rock. (And Matty spoke highly of our own New Barrack Tavern here).
Q. Best city for pubs? Sheffield?
No, Nottingham! My favourite is Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. In Sheffield? Shakespeares. (AGREE!)
Q. Worst?
Scunthorpe. Apart from the Honest Lawyer, it's terrible. That pub is great but miles from Glanford Park!
Q. Future plans for RAPAD?
 Build the Facebook group by linking in with supporters' groups. Also I'm looking at some end of season awards for pubs. (Matty seemed really impressed with the Coach and Horses! "What a pub!" quoth the man himself).

Sure enough, the match itself didn't disappoint! A massive 5-3 win for Sheffield Club over Pontefract Collieries accompanied by some splendid Thornbridge ales in the late Summer sunshine. Happy days!

Beer & football. Marvellous.

Check out Matty's site here - FACEBOOK GROUP
He enjoyed our guide to visiting SUFC found here - BLADES

Saturday, 1 September 2018

twobeergeeks` Pub of the Month August 2018

Soooo, this month we're going for The Wellington as our prestigious victor!

`Bottom Welly` has long been on the ale trail for visitors to Sheffield, known for being the home of Little Ale Cart brewery a few years back and a decent place to pass on hour or two with a pint. However, it was always a tad shabby, to say the least! Last year, the pub became a part of the Birkett portfolio alongside The Blake Hotel and The Sheaf View, undergoing a fantastic transformation into what is now, in our opinion, one of the most beautiful boozers in our fine city. Two rooms with plenty of comfy seating, tastefully decorated and a bar stock superbly front and back. It is also the Tap House for the outstanding Neepsend brewery and so you can expect to find a clutch of their ales here alongside a guest or two and some kegged delights. Head honcho Niall (formerly of the White Lion and the Sheaf) is also rightly proud of the Welly's strong selection of whisky and of the development of a beer garden out back.

Wonderful, indeed!
Visiting for the latest Beer Central bottle share, I enjoyed one of Neepsend's latest creations and a lovely Garden IPA. Niall did the place proud with some fantastic half-time snacks alongside his offering of Wild Jambo (which everyone agreed is aging really well) and Spirit of Pogo!

To the regiment!
Jon from the White Lion had a winner on his hands with a rare Marble Imperial Cherry Stout, receiving the evening's highest marks. I was close though with a beery beaut from Jules at Hop Hideout - Torrside's No More Tuesdays, an imperial blonde with raspberries and bergamot. Love it. And Sean himself placed well with a Kernel Imperial Brown Stout leaving the good folk from Lost Industry, Steel City and Pete from sheffieldalepubs in our wakes. Finally, a toast to everyone's good health with that Pogo spirit..... Cheers!

Marble-ous winner!
Last month`s winner - HERE !
Previous Bottle Share - HERE !

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

twobeergeeks` Pub of the Month, July 2018

And it`s the Waggon & Horses! 
In our city, pubs with really good beer and that are welcoming to families are few and far between, we have found. However, the True North chain balks that trend and, in the Waggon and Horses, they have a family-friendly place that could be great....

The spacious pub includes two rooms in an open plan style with a main dining area and a less formal bar. Listening to feedback from punters, you can now eat in both areas and there is a seated area outside albeit beside a busy road, hence the (much-publicised recently) need for a beer garden. The food is fab but this is a beer blog! True North's own beers tend to be solid and head brewer Dean Hollingworth is rightly proud of Torpedo, a tasty DIPA haze at 8% ish and thus year's brews have been increasingly adventurous. Also you will probably find Black Iris and maybe even something like Verdant or Anarchy backed up by an array of fridge beers and a huge gin portfolio.

Current `Beer Garden`

On Vocation, so to speak
Anyways, over the past few months, there has been lots of talk about adding a beer garden to the Abbeydale road establishment but this has been swiftly countered by Friends of Millhouses, who do a lot of work maintaining and protecting the fantastic park. The proposals suggest that TN are not looking for a huge space but they are offering a substantial sum and annual payments. Sounds good to us.

And there is a meeting at the pub, Thursday 2nd August at 6PM to discuss the plans.

Hope this pans out; we've said for years that the Waggon needs a beer garden. 2BG's Pub of the Month for July! Cheers.


& MAY!

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Northern Powerhouse Brew Series - Wylam Brewery

Did you get a box? We did, thanks to Hop Hideout and Beer Central, our Sheffield Powerhouses!

Intriguing idea, this one. Wylam hooked up with a variety of the best brewers in the North of England to produce a tour de force over a wide range of beer styles from kettle sour to imperial stout.

Power pack!
We've been fans of Newcastle's Wylam ever since having Jakehead at the Broadfield, or was it at a Picture House Social beer festival a few years back, and now they've taken their rightful place amongst the big players.

Everyone we have talked to seems to have their own favourite and we'd say that all are worth a try but here are our picks:-

1) Mixed Fermentation Farmhouse - Wylam & Black Lodge

2) Kettle Sour - Wylam & Magic Rock

3) Split here. 
Brown - Wylam & Cloudwater (DAN)
IPA - Wylam & Northern Monk (MIKE)

Our winner!

To be honest, Black Lodge were a new brewery to us amongst a host of usual suspects but we will certainly be looking to track them down again soon. And we hope Wylam repeat the project in the future!

Which brew was your favourite?

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

twobeergeeks` Pub of the Month, June 2018

OK. Game on. This month's 2BG's pub of the month is a bit different but one we agree on. June is a time when we really start thinking about holidays and where better to go on holiday than..... The Peak District. This month`s winner is …… The Buxton Tap House !

Recently we have both enjoyed visits up to Buxton and spent an enjoyable time at the brewery's Tap House. Tucked away down a street next to the Pavilion Gardens, you are greeted by friendly bar staff in a clean cut benches and big tables arrangement. Comfy enough and you then face a three-pronged attack of temptation; bar, bottles and food. All are top notch.

Decisions, decisions....
A couple of casks are on offer but also a vast array of kegged splendour almost exclusively from Buxton 's range new and core. Danny's visit heralded some of the fantastic collaborations with his faves Omnipollo whilst I spied some variations on the excellent Berliner Weisse Sky Line. Whatever, you are guaranteed a reyt royal range, although not much of the dark stuff on the bar when I visited.

More is better!

The place is like a mini version of Hawkhead's place although the actual Buxton brewery is a schlep away from the Tap, not on-site like at Staveley. Food is similar too - tasty accompaniments to the beer, often with a modern twist. Yum.

And, before you leave, we challenge you to resist the temptation to buy a big bag of beer; a rucksack full of Cranachan has to be done, doesn't it, so take a full wallet!

Takeaway is a must!