As regular followers will know will have started running live events where we bring beer folk together to enjoy a structured day of enjoying fine beer. When an opportunity arose to run an event in Sheffield, we couldn’t pass it up and the #SheffieldCrawl was created.
The day began at the Sheffield Tap where the masses assembled for a 2pm kick off. They had come from far (Essex, me) and wide (Leeds, Manchester) to join a group of locals for the days festivities.
The Sheffield Tap is a lovely bar. Initially gives the impression of being quite a small place until you explore further and eventually find that they also have a (now operational) micro brewery on site too. The days drinking began with a cask effort, New York Pale (Chantry Brewery, 3.9%) which turned out to be a really easy, smooth and flavoursome with the strong citrusy centennial and cascade hops coming through on every mouthful. Spoiled for choice along the bar, I made the decision not to go for any of the Thornbridge offerings just yet as we had a Thornbridge bar planned for later on in the tour, and my next beer was Mama’s Little Yells Pils (Oskar Blues, 5.3%) which was a refreshingly smooth pils with a very welcoming hop profile. The first conversion of the day took place when I managed to move a wine drinker onto beer by recommending Weird Beard’s Hive Mind, which seemed to hit to spot and from this point on, Sarah was asking for recommendations in every bar we ventured into. It was at this stage the the group made the first change to our planned route, and rather than heading in our intended direction, we set course for Kelham Island and the treasures within.
On route we stopped at The Harlequin, tap house of The Brew Co for further liquid refreshment and quite possibly the greatest beef sandwich ever to grace the planet. First up in here was Crazy Horse IPA (The Brew Company, 5.1%) which was a solid English style IPA. While a game of darts took place between Connor (Beer Battered) & Rob (Hopzine – for some sort of blogger bragging rights I’m guessing) I sampled another of the local offerings in Red Riding (4.8%) while more beef sandwiches were purchased and consumed. This is quite easily a pub that I could have spent the afternoon/day in but there were more treasures to be found on Kelham Island.
First up was the Fat Cat, Kelham Island Brewery’s tap house, where we seemed to arrive at the same time as every other crawl that seemed to be out. There wasn’t room to swing the proverbial cat, let alone a fat one, but we fought our way inside to be rewarded with a pint of fresh Pale Rider (Kelham Island, 5.2%). This is a beer that I adore and will always go for if on the bar. It’s smooth, and has a lovely fresh bitter kick right at the end. Pints duly consumed, we moved onto the Kelham Island Tavern where I was thrilled to find an Essex offering from my local brewery Growler Nethergate in Red Poll (4.2%). We also finally caught up with Des who had been chasing us since the start before venturing back out into the rain.
Next stop was the Shakespeare, which is another proper pub offering where I went for a Citra Noir (Mallinsons, 3.8%) which was probably the pint of the day for me (so far). Straight from the cask, thick and black but with the most amazing orange citrus aroma. Roasted flavours and a hint of orange on the tongue, I was surprised at the exclusive use of the Citra hop in a black beer.
From here we made the trek (up the hill? Getting a bit fuzzy at this point) back towards town and to the Thornbridge outlet Dada. Another stunning bar with a range of Thornbridge beers on both keg and cask, some guest ales and an impressive bottled selection. Until this point, I had been pretty much exclusively drinking cask, but it was clearly time to make a switch and so I dived into a Colorado Red (Thornbridge, 5.9%) a beer I had been hoping to try while on the crawl, and once again I was not disappointed. Carmel, biscuity malts with a prominent hop punch at the end. This was swiftly followed by a Chiron (Thornbridge, 5%) and a bottle of Geuze Boon (7%) with which I planned to continue James, Katie and Sarah’s beereductaion although I seemed to have only minor success with the latter of the three.
At this stage, we made the call not to venture to the Devonshire Cat and to head straight for the final stop The Rutland Arms, where we had heard some rumours that there was maybe some magic awaiting inside. As we piled in, soaking wet from the rain, we were greeted with another stunning selection of beers and then through the haze that was covering my rain soaked glasses, I spotted it. Magic Rock Cannonball. Keg. Yes. Now, it’s never a good idea to go for a pint of Cannonball (7.4%), it’s even less of a good idea to go for a pint at the end of a day long pub crawl and it’s probably damn right stupid to do a second pint of Cannonball but that’s what happened. Joined by Philip, James, Rob and Connor the Cannonballs were literally flying around the pub. There was the usual reverence that such a fine beer holds and it was certainly the perfect finish to the #SheffieldCrawl.
I just want to take the time to give a shout to all those who attended (admittedly there a couple of names that I just can’t remember)… James, Katie, Sarah, Rob, Connor, Connor’s mate, Philip, Judith, Simon, Steve, Martin, Julia, Jules, Des and Des’s mate (or possibly son, I can’t remember). Also, it would be worth checking out Julia’s bottle shop, the Hop Hideout and Beer Central in Moor Market (who I visited before the crawl) for great ranges of bottled beer to take home and drink if you’re in the Sheffield area.
I had a simply fantastic day in a great beery city drinking great beer with really friendly people, most of whom I had never met before. Twitter is a wonderful thing for bringing people together, but more than that it has to be said that beer folk are good folk.
There is a link to the #SheffieldCrawl route here for those wishing to follow in our footsteps.