Thursday, 28 December 2017

twobeergeeks` Top 10 Pubs in Sheffield of 2017

Here we go again! Now then, our list is a dynamic one, subject to change, and it is the best fit for us two; although most of our opinions are pretty closely matched, there are one or two places that divide our opinion a little. The top four were pretty straight forward although exact positions were tough whereas MANY great pubs could have fallen into positions 6 through 10 but we had to choose. We cogitated and contemplated upon beer quality and selection firstly, and then the pub itself and service provided. Our scoring system is not set in stone because those three selection criteria can vary in importance so we have additional points available for whatever takes our fancy:-

1. Shakespeares (UP 1!) - Reclaims its spot at the top. Great events, consistent quality ale at Sheff-friendly prices and strong new leadership now established. Well done all!

best value beer AND food!

2= The Devonshire Cat (UP 8!) & Rutland Arms (New in Top 10)! - Both MASSIVELY improved with amazing beer (and food!) and some inventive events (Black Friday, DinoSour, etc.). Both are also similar in that the interiors are real opinion dividers and the quality of service can vary vastly.

4.  The Beer Engine (DOWN 3) - Not as consistent as some for ale quality (staff changes?) but still a great spot for the discerning drinker. We love it.

5. The Sheaf View (DOWN 1) - Super reliable. The pub for all people in all seasons.

6. The White Lion  (DOWN 1) - Beautiful boozer now featuring the country`s best management team, Jon and Mandy. Fact.

Punching above its weight?!
7. The Beer House (UP 1) - cosy, comfy, friendly and with an ever-improving ale selection.

8. The Wellington (NEW!) - what a transformation on Shalesmoor! Beautiful considered refurb with plenty of tasty beer, always including Neepsend`s newest offerings. Great work.

9. The Broadfield (NEW!) - returns to our favourite ten on the back off the always attentive staff, lush interior and a strong year on the beer front. Truly TN`s best boozer.

Abbeydale gem

10. The Old Workshop (NEW!) - what an outstanding addition to our city`s drinking scene Great to see Jason Kerr given his wings here and the future looks bright. Think quality keg, neat nibbles and a tune or two in uber stylish surroundings.

(NEW! = New place in our top 10.)                              2015 list HERE

So, two of the Birkett portfolio in our selection but none from Thornbridge this time. For what it`s worth, we reckon that there are a lot of lurkers, pubs very close to being outstanding, and there a clutch of newcomers like Guzzle, Ale Club, PUBLIC, etc that are certainly ones to watch. Also the usual footnote that we tend to drink in South West Sheff plus the city centre with occasional wander to the Kelham Island area so there are a few contenders that we rarely visit TBH. Shout up and we`ll endeavour to visit soon!

NB - As per 2015 & 2016, especial mentions to Dronfield`s double diamonds - The Coach & Horses and the Dronfield Arms. Both would have maybe been top 10 if not for their cross-border location. That is all. Peace. Mike `n` Danny x

             BREWERY OF 2017 HERE!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

twobeergeeks` Awards 2017

Every year we produce a list of our top 10 pubs and that takes a lot of thought during the course of the year. We also do a brewery of the year and it was easy to pick Abbeydale this year. However, we thought that we would do something a little different for 2017 in an effort to recognise some of the good things going on out there in the public houses of the Steel City which might not always be reflected in a simple Top Ten 10. So here are our `alt-awards`, some with split decisions......

Best Bottle Shop - HOP HIDEOUT (Mike)
                            - BEER CENTRAL (Danny)
Best Micro-Pub - THE BEER HOUSE (Unanimous!)
Best Thornbridge Pub - THE GREYSTONES (Danny)
                                     - THE COACH & HORSES (Mike)
Best True North Pub - THE BROADFIELD (Unanimous!)

The Beautiful Broady
Best Beer Garden - CRICKET INN (Mike)
                              - BROTHERS` ARMS (Danny)
The Cricket is essential in nice weather
Best Pub Art - THE BEER ENGINE (Unanimous!)
Art lies therein
Best Music Pub - PICTURE HOUSE SOCIAL (Mike)
                           - WHITE LION (Danny)
Best `out of town` pub - COACH & HORSES (Mike)
                                     - DRONFIELD ARMS (Danny)
Beer + Football = YES!
Best Community Pub - WHITE LION (Unanimous!)

All agree?! Tell us if we are wrong!

There were a few other categories that we couldn`t agree on (for example, we couldn`t split Ruttie and Shakies for Best Events Pub) and the 2BG Top 10 pubs is imminent! Watch this space!!!!

Friday, 15 December 2017

twobeergeeks` Brewery of the Year 2017

Last year we could not agree on a winner in this category so Danny went for Hopjacker whilst I opted for Lost Industry, both local, up and coming breweries. 2015 was Neepsend and the year before was Magic Rock. This year it was easy!

Our selection for 2017 is Abbeydale Brewery! What a transformation down in S8! With 20 plus years of experience providing beer for the Steel City, Abbeydale deservedly had a reputation for reliable real ales with Moonshine often seen in dozens of establishments around the city and a core range that are popular around the country. Balanced beers with a light, hoppy profile are suppable but rarely a challenge to the fussier palettes. However, Abbeydale`s 21st year has heralded a rebirth. With the snazzy artwork of James D. Murphy catching the eye, the Brewers` Emporium range offer something different in can, cask or keg. Sure, some of the beers don`t quite hit the spot but plenty of them do. The barrel-aged Brett Tangerine is outstanding. And is there a better value beer than Heathen, which you can grab a can of for less than two and a half quid!? We have loved the Voyager range too and Unbeliever impressed us both massively whilst the darker brews have potential aplenty.

Funk Dungeon is the experimental arm of Abbeydale and it is the brainchild of brewer Jim Rangeley, he took a break from his hectic schedule to speak to us, exclusively! ..............

Q.1 - Proudest achievements at Abbeydale?
 This year I passed my General Certificate in Brewing and will be encouraged to study more in the new year by the owners here at Abbeydale.
Also I am really pleased with the barrel-ageing and mixed fermentation project I have started: the Funk Dungeon. While these projects take years to get established and grow, they have to start somewhere, so being able to start this from scratch and push into a direction that is personally interesting and unchartered territory for the brewery, is really exciting!
Q.2 - Plans afoot at Abbeydale 2018?
We hope as a brewery to expand our canned beer range. This way we can produce exciting beers more often in small pack and distribute them further afield. In addition, we have a number of events that we are looking forward to early in the new year and hope to keep this going throughout 2018. 

Q.3 - What`s going to be the next trend in beer?
 This year we have seen many breweries investing in ageing programs here in the UK and, as we start going into the new year, we will see more of them coming to fruition so I expect aged sour beers as well as some more kettle sours. The DDH (double dry-hopped) and NEIPA (New England IPA), I think we`ll also continue to see a rise but possibly be tailing off towards the end of the year. Although what will replace it remains to be seen, possibly fruit IPAs?
Cheers Jim!
Some of the specials have been, err, special too. We both encountered Cold Conscience (a collaboration with the Alvarez Kings) at the Rutland and loved it whilst Encantada didn`t quite do it for us.

Ar Wilson not enchanted by Encantada
Are there hops in hell (with Blue Bee) and Don`t go Bacon My Heart (an Ass Clown collab) were very brave and indicative of the risks that Abbeydale are now prepared to take, and risks can reap rewards. And all this whilst retaining their massive following who prefer to opt for the more traditional offerings from Abbeydale`s core range. Quite a feat. phew. Hats off to Abbeydale!!!
In case you missed them! -
2016 Winner
2015 Winner

Friday, 1 December 2017

twobeergeeks` A - Z of Breweries (Part 2)

So remember, here`s the deal. A simple pub game. Take it in turns to name a brewery as you go through the alphabet. Now this might be too easy for our level of beer geekery so the brewery needs to be as local to Sheff city as is possible and we`ve attempted to add a kenning type thing to each entry to explain our perception of that brewery. Try the game with maybe a point for each one and an extra for a brewery from within the Republic. Drink while you think, if you be a student. No googling! Simple? Read on:-

N - NEEPSEND (Prolific providers)

O - ON THE EDGE (Artistic artisan)

A Broadfield beer

P - PICTISH (Former faves)

Q - give a clue Q!?

R - REGATHER (Cooperative crew)

S - STEEL CITY (Politically puntastic)

Triple treats

T - TRUE NORTH (Prettiest pubs)

U -

V - VOCATION (Veritable value)

W - WELBECK ABBEY (Traditional trends)

X -

Y -

Z -


So , a few letters missing. Embarrassing. Let us know what we have missed, LocAle if possible and respect if you can resist the urge to Google (no `phones in this quiz!).