Saturday, 22 November 2014

Picture House Social, Abbeydale Road

Now then, three or four years back you would have been hard pushed to get a decent pint anywhere along Abbeydale Road. That was criminal especially bearing in mind that this artery of Sheffield stretches for about six miles from the city / London Road out to the edges of the Peak district right up in Totley. Skip to 2014 and there are options aplenty and you might even see a seven stone lass with blue hair playing table tennis whilst swigging a bottle of beer! I kid you not.

The latest addition to the area  is the Picture House Social.  Overseen by the team from The Great Gatsby, this subterranean hang-out is literally and metaphorically super-cool but things hot up as the night progresses. Despite being new, this place is already popular. We were glad we got there early so that we could grab a table and we really enjoyed the pizzas, although the arancini were a tad doughy and sage-heavy for us but then this is a beer log. Whatta we know?!

More importantly, there were three well-selected cask lines in operation. Saltaire's Raspberry Blonde was in form and, rather than have a Marble Bitter, I stayed local with a Deception which lacked the zing that this beer ought to have. A decent array. That said other options were readily available too. Five or six bottles from the fantastic Hop Hideout were offered and it's great to see local businesses dovetail so splendidly. My OH and I shared a cracking bottle of South African Shiraz at a fair price and the cocktails sounded pretty special too, or so I was told.

Thereafter, we made a night of it bobbing to the Broady and then schlepping to the Sheaf View to round off what is now a neat little local crawl.

Picture House Social is a great addition to the Abbeydale Road area. Pizza, pints and ping pong are now available on our doorstep! Yay!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Birra del Borgo at The Grove, Huddersfield

Ten years. Ten chuffin years. One of them there decades. That was how long I lived in Huddersfield and, almost as soon as I left, the real ale scene started to blossom.......

Luckily, I still regularly visit my BFF in the Hudd and we usually hook up at the (Holy) Grove. Now then, this place was one of the few boozers that I did not visit when I resided on the West Riding back in the day and now it is a destination pub.

Living in the Steel City, I'm blessed with local Thornbridge boozers but I still started on a Jaipur. The Grove is lucky enough to have the dry-hopped version but, then again, they do have a lot of `luck` with cask lines always dedicated to the likes of Buxton, Magic Rock, Oakham and, of course, Thornbridge. The Jaipur was very steady but still not what my palate associates with that mega, stand-out beer from 2008 at the Coach and Horses, Dronfield.

Pint two and I popped over to keg, very early I know, but it was The Kernel. At £5 a pint, their Pale was good value, showcasing Simcoe & sons in a very drinkable 5.4%er.

Aside from the poor train connection to Sheffield (#hali), the only other complaint I ever hear about the Grove is that there is too much choice. 19 (?) cask lines and almost as many on keg is backed up (unnecessarily?) by a hefty bottle bank. The `takeaway` menu is quite a read!

Onto the halves then and the Harbour`s Mango and Chilli combined well in the 7% brew to make this one much more drinkable than you'd expect. Suffice subtle to be drinkable but maybe I`d prefer more of a kick from the fruit or spice. Mebbe. Or mebbe I was just getting (Dutch courage) brave / daft....

Best of a great bunch though came from Birra del Borgo off of the recommendation of the personable and knowledgeable bar keep. Very hoppy (as requested) but also with the added complexity that you`d hope for in a 6.4% APA. Known as `Re Ale  this was class in t`glass,  a genuine belter.

Shnoodlepip was an excellent follow-up as this Wild Beer brew is super sour with the odd kick of pepper and passion fruit to boot. At 6.5% this boot might be pink but it is deceptively hard-hitting. whilst justifiably popular. There`s a Coach and Horses link here too, I believe, as Kelly Ryan (ex-Thornbridge) had a hand in this special. Fair do`s!

Axe Edge (another 6.8% beaut) and done. Love Buxton and knowing that there is always a line dedicated to a beer of their's at The Grove is yet another reason that any ale addict worth their salt (or pepper corn in Wild`s case!) needs to pop over to the Hudd. Best set off now; it teks a while to get there!