Friday, 18 September 2015

Ale Tales from the Seven Hills of Sheffield - Pt. 2

Tale #2 - Sheffield has the best breweries in the country

Well, it won't be too long until there is a Sheffield Brewery for every letter of the alphabet but it's the old quantity versus quality dilemma.

We've made no secret of our love for Steel City Brewery's ales. Set up in 2009 by Dave Szwejkowski and Gazza Prescott with the intention of brewing really hoppy shtuff and they still do just that albeit as a solo operation now. Gazza now runs HopCraft out of the South of Wales whilst Dave does Steel City solos once a month usually using Toolmakers brewery set up. The wares of both Brewers are best supped at Shakespeares in our esteemed opinion., esteemed by us that is, and our bank managers. Currently, chilli is a popular ingredient but, allegedly, Dave is about to become even more sour-faced in a collaboration with Ripley`s Landlocked Brewery. Should be fun.

Blue Bee beers are often worth a go these days and they're found regularly in the Rutland, Closed Shop and Three Tuns. The key to the improvement here has been a new head brewer using sexier hops in reet pale ales.

Abbeydale's Moonshine might well be the top spelling beer in our city and, when well kept, it's quite quaffable although we tend to prefer Deception. Since taking over The Devonshire Cat,  Abbeydale have improved the quality of it's ale noticeably and they are also becoming braver with left field brews and keggy stuff.

Keg from D Cat
Exit 33 are in a similar vein in so far as they make some really drinkable pale and hoppy pints and they're best supped at their Harlequin pub. Exit 33 are also regular at the Brothers Arms. If it's not Moonshine then Bradfield Brewery's Blonde in its various guises is the most supped and its a beginner- friendly beer.

True North is the brewery for the Forum chain and their beers are consistent and quaffable in very nice venues,  possibly too cool for twobeergeeks. ...

Neepsend Brewery are the newest kids on the brewing block and we have enjoyed their brews at Sheaf View and The Beer Engine. Kelham Island are long established and best tried at their Fat Cat base or the new-ish Tap & Tankard which is worth a visit. The North Union offshoot are up and about too producing a more varied range of styles including three that are available bottled.

Fuggle Bunny, Toolmakers and Stancil are also recently established traditional breweries and doing well to date. By contrast, On The Edge brew a wide spectrum of ales and showcase them superbly in well-supported community events. That is Sheffield in a pint pot ; we have the quantity but the quality takes a bit of a search / a lot of liquid research. Have another.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Guthrie by Thornbridge

Afternoon. A quick one.

Having sailed past 100 different Thornbridge beers a few months back, I no longer feel that I have to try every new beer that the Bakewell boys produce. However, seeing Guthrie recently at the Coach & Horses, I thought I would try a pint although my expectations were relatively low, like the ABV. You see, pretty much all of my favoured Thornbridge brews have been the stronger, hoppy ales that they are famed for (Halcyon, Puja, etc.), weighing in at at least 5.5% so Guthrie at 4.3% is hardly a contender for the Heavyweight Champion.....

Guthrie and a fruit-based drink for the lady
Previously, we have reviewed the ventures of Reverend and the Makers` own home brewer Ed Cosens. Working closely with the experts at Bakewell, The Reverend and the Makers` Summer Ale was ok whilst we did really like the subsequent punchier American Brown (5%) which is still available in Dronfield. With no Kipling on, I opted for Guthrie and was pleasantly surprised. Manager James explained the story behind the brew with it being a celebratory tipple for the birth of Ed and Rachel`s son. Guthrie, named after the famed folk family, is fresh and zingy with quite a pleasant bitter zesty nose and a light golden hue under a creamy white head. Ed informed me that cascade and galaxy were the hops used and the former comes through really well. The aftertaste is appropriately bitter and lasting; bear in mind that I had just watched a Sheffield FC loss in the F.A. Cup which started with the home `keeper seeing red after 40 seconds. Argghhh!

 I enjoyed Guthrie so much that I returned three days later to have tea with the family and grab a pic whilst shifting another couple of pints. It was still in good fettle too and there`s another barrel in the cellar, rumour has it. Food from Chariot`s Kitchen hit the mark too.

 The other RatM beers have made it into Thornbridge`s ever-expanding bottled range and it will be interesting to see how it compares.


  In my humble opinion, Guthrie fresh and well-kept from the cask in a great pub would be tough to match in a bottle. Good work Ed and Arlo;. Bruce Dickinson could learn a thing or two!

Run to the Hills, indeed.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Ale Tales from the Seven Hills of Sheffield

The first in a series of seven, probably. Ideally. First of several anyway.

Tale #1 - Sheffield is the ale capital of Great Britain.

Easy one to kick-off. Now this one is true. With new breweries popping up every week and an army of ale-orientated hostelries to deliver them plus a plethora of expertly-led bottle shops, the Steel City can't be topped.

Sheffield Tap. Nice.

The unenlightened might suggest other cities but they're easily shot down.

Por ejemplo:-

Maaanchester has a growing number of nice pubs and bars, true, but it's only relatively recently that Marble were the only decent brewery there. Now in 2015, there are others, and well-hyped too, but this is media city after all. (Or is Salford really a separate city albeit in the middle of Manc?). Also they have a lot more 'attitood' compared to the friendliness in Sheffield city-village. Ditto Leeds.
The Beagle, Chorlton

Liverpool; no ta la. Not a fan. A few 'eventful' nights out there have completely put me off.

London. Good pubs but there are at least seven tube stops between each decent boozer, unless you want to visit Bermondsey, apparently. FYI, no direct link to Heeley or Woodseats either.
Norwich? Rubbish. All tractors and twigs. Never been but Danny went to Uni there he thinks.

Newcastle? More to it nowadays than the infamous Bigg Market but it's full of stag and hen do's. Last time I went, I loved the place, mostly. We started at Bacchus but, after a Tactical Nuclear Penguin at BrewDog, it all went err haddaway, I divvnt kna, etc. But I was on a stag do!
Nottingham?- see Newcastle but they do have a Hooters. #idealstagdo

Derby - the better side of Brian Clough way IMHO with lovely pubs (see earlier BlogBit) but the beer is a year or two behind us up the M1.

York? Nice place but not a City. OK, it's got a cathedral (so has Ely) but it's got a smaller population than Meadowhall. Huddersfield is great but no cathedral. Sorry, have you thought about getting one?
The Maltings in York

Sheffield #cityofale , 1-nil up early doors.