Well CAMRA don`t like it up `em. [Evil keg.] But, then again, CAMRA `like` Wetherspoons and all we `discerning, socially conscious` ale suppers know that JDW are bad, right? Even if you get that decent pint and still have change left from a two quid coin….er. Yeah, yeah, probably.
Starting at The `spoons Woodseats Palace (where we only popped in just to shelter from the rain / wait for the best bus), me and my OH opted for `Craft` in a can. Wetherspoons now offer Sixpoint ales in a cute 330ml tin and it tastes… OK. And the price is right. Sixpoint was a decent starting, um, point and probably the best choice even though our conscience possibly suggested the (ok, fine) local option of Chantry or the house (Bradfield) beer. Bengali Tiger (6.4%) does a decent and drinkable job of the bitter-sweet IPA kick although we could have burped our way over the Brooklyn bridge after this one. Dang that pesky carbonation!
My only cask beer of this mini night out was a (forgettable but fine) Milton effort from The Wick at Both Ends. By day this bar is a city cool drinking hole, at least on my own (very subjective) rating continuum. By night it IS West Street after all. It IS noisy with a (trollied by ten past eight) West Steet clientele. West Street? The best bit is that ….it is parallel to Division Street! The Wick seemed like a good idea. And the cocktails are great, allegedly.
The Bowery looked busy (fancy that on a Freeday neet!) so we ambled on. Forum, no, still too trendy, so we followed the beards into theBrewdog bar to sample an anarchistic ale at a premium price. CAMRA wouldn`t like it, but I bet they`ve sneaked in, in cognito….
I tried a super strong Mikkeller special called IPA 10, the like of which we seldom see in Sheff and it was very nice. Hoppy with a deep and complex profile. Cost a pretty penny but a pretty (tasty half) pint it wor. The OH had a dark dunkel type thing that she enjoyed but I`d happily keep a bargepole betwixt it and me. Div St B-Dog: Deconstructed? Anarchist? Highland corporate avengers? Or just crappily clichéd? Whatever, but go and `ave a gander! Brewdog is worth a visit even if you think it is a load of old fuggle.
Feeling all brave, possibly anarchistic, we then schlepped / waddled down to former destination pub / recent crap pub THE Devonshire Cat, with the aim of seeing if it wor any better now what with being under the calming wing of Abbeydale. Surely, with a better range of cask and the same spacey, big tabled lay-out this place could not be far wrong. And, lo and behold, they too have some keg craftage!
“Pint of High Wire, please. It`s one of my favourite beers!” “OK.” “Err, it`s off”. And so I went for the sexy continental standout beer, just landed on the bar – Founders` All Day IPA. This one is a `session ale` allegedly. Well if that means `so little taste that you can drink it all day`, then OK. Theoretically, it is great to see this Stateside standout ale in a big city centre pub but, although it looks good on paper, it just does not really give the array of aftertaste that you hope for in an (expensive, ouch!) IPA. Rather it`s just another belch closer to Brooklyn. For the sake of LocAle craftiness, we also sampled the Abbeydale keg #2 but it was pretty bland as craft goes. Cloudy with a bit of a kick, this one was drinkable but I`m sure that dependable Abbeydale will produce better.
Many of our local pubs now offer at least one ale on keg. They last longer and thus make economic sense in this age of austerity. Even my local drinkers` pubs like The Sheaf View and The Ale House have recently opened up a line for a crafty keg offering whilst city types like The Rutland and Sheffield Tap pretty much split their fare 50/50 between keg and cask. The way forward....!? Sheffield, capital of all that is ale, suggests that it might be.
Cask is still king in our book but keg is taking over. At least you`ll hear it coming; BURP!!!