Friday, 30 October 2015

Firkin Fest at Picture House Social

Just a quick heads-up for this event being held at the Abbeydale road emporium.

The Picture House crew have again joined forces with near-neighbours Hop Hideout to offer a weekend of ale excellence (plus toons) proving again that these two are indeed steel city`s dynamic duo.

night on the tiles
On the main bar was usual suspect Deception from ultra-local Abbeydale, an old fave, but alongside it were double dark delights Brass Castle`s Bad Kitty and potteries perfection in a pint pot, Plum Porter from Titanic. Both aromatic and deeply tasty. Incidently, Jules from HH had organised a MTB event with Brass Castle which I`d not picked up on but I`m sure that was a well-spent hour or two for those in attendance.

The firkins are housed in the Ping-Pong room next door and most ales are one gravity here with the odd keg too. Cloudwater Red (4.8%) was a very decent starter and my half didn`t last long. Pale ales from Siren and Burning Sky and the Wild Millionaire (popular salted caramel brew) were nice enough and old favourite Jarl from Fyne Ales was worth the quite hefty price attached. I also tried a bit of the Feral Nancy cider from locals Cider Beast and I have to admit that I lied it and the branding. (I concur that `seals are just mermaid dogs`!). The standout for me though at 6.3% was Jakehead IPA from the North East`s Wylam. Lots of floral aroma on this one and a lovely bitter-sweet taste made it easily drinkable, one of the better IPAs for me this year. Keep a look-out for Wylam.(I don`t know what a Jakehead is but it sounds like it could fit well onto Call my Bluff or some-such quizzical thing).

After sinking the Titanic favourite (ooh) we jumped ship (ouch) and boarded the Broadfield in search of more treasures. For the third time in a week I happily stumbled across North Riding`s Red Citra. After sampling this at the excellent Steel City Real Ale Festival last week, I`d had a few Red Citra`s at the wonderful Three Tuns and was happy to do the same at the Broady. The beautiful red body showcases a fine balance in this beer and reminds us what a wonderful hop citra can be. Fantastic and certainly one of my favourite beers this year.

Must mention the Great Heck Mosaic too as that was tasty. Night.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

The 41st Steel City Beer & Cider Festival

Just a quick bit to promote the event which runs until this Saturday 24th October.

Just as everyone says, the venue at Kelham Island Museum is SO much better than previous ones. Food stalls are outside on the courtyard whilst the ale is spread between the marquee, the upper gallery and the Millowners Arms. There are bottles galore too sagely supplied by local heroes Beer Central and Hop Hideout. And there`s cider.....

Judging took place near the stage upstairs. After a swift half of East London`s Red Ale I was into judging some of the offerings in the speciality category along with experts from the Sheffield Brewery, Lincoln Green and the WI. Several of the ales divided opinions but then everyone`s taste is different. Some were not keen on salty beers and ditto with the bretted offering but I enjoyed sampling such a wide variety. Pretty sure I recognised the lovely Magic Rock `Simpleton` in the mix there too and that was popular.

Between the judging, I grabbed a half or two and one ale in particular grabbed my attention. The Mikey Rayer All Dayer was, indeed, the sort of easy drinking dream that could see a swift one turn into a session. Bags of hoppy taste packed into a 4.2%er. I`d struck lucky.

Winner from Wales

The golden bitter category judging was assisted by the experts from the Dronfield Arms and the Sheffield Brewery. We had a clear winner albeit amongst some forgettable sups even though I made a complete mess of my scorecard.

The gallery was pretty busy by this stage and the turnout overall was very impressive for a midweek night. Before home, I sampled a few more. Two beers stood out for me. Steel City`s Light at the End of the World (4.5%) was spot-on not surprisingly but my beer of the night came from North Riding. Red Citra weighs in at 5.0% and showcases the hop beautifully whilst maintaining a balance that makes it very drinkable. I hear that there is a cask or two of this in Sheffield cellars so keep a look out for it. Nice one.

Red Citra


Gold - Crafty Devil, Mikey Rayer All Dayer
Silver - North Riding, Red Citra
Bronze - Saltaire, Triple Chocoholic

 MILD CATEGORY - Brass Castle, Hazelnut Mild
BEST BITTER CATEGORY - North Riding, Red Citra
GOLDEN ALE CATEGORY - Crafty Devil, Mikey Rayer All Dayer
SPECIALITY BEER CATEGORY - Saltaire, Triple Chocoholic

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Ale Tales from the Seven Hills # 3 - Sheffield`s Top Ten Pubs

Two Beer Geeks Sheffield Pubs Top Ten

Inspired by our virtual friend at Sheffieldalepubs, we finally have a definitive list of the best pubs for your perusal. This is a dynamic list subject to change and it is the best fit for us two (although most of our opinions are pretty closely matched). We cogitated and contemplated upon beer quality and selection firstly, and then the pub itself and service provided. Simples.

Inspired further by the name of our favourite hostelry, we then presented this in a poetic style of type known as a kenning. And added alliteration as usual. This is probably the correct term.

1. Shakespeares - considered quality.

2. The Sheaf View - economical excellence.
3. The Broadfield - priceless pints.

4. The Bath Hotel - cosy craftiness.
5. The Beer Engine - rejuvenated respect.
6. The Harlequin - stalwart supping.
7. The Rutland - precocious pints.

8. The Three Tuns - cornered quirkiness.
9. The Brothers Arms - ARTisan alehouse.
10. The Sheffield Tap - impeccable imbibing.

Especial mentions to Dronfield`s double diamonds - The Coach & Horses and the Dronfield Arms. Both would have made the cut if not for their cross-border location. That is all. Cheers.