I arrived at four o’clock in Sheffield train station and was met by my good friend and drinking buddy Dave. Dave is at University in Sheffield and had been promising me a night out there for some time but up until this point I somehow not managed to get there. Little did I know how many good proper ale pubs were awaiting me. I had introduced Dave too ale a few years back after he complained he couldn’t drink very much larger. I think Copper Dragon was the first beer and he hasn’t looked back since.
On arrival I was given two options “We can go straight back to the house then head out. Or we can pub crawl back there.” I went whole heartedly for the second option. We started with the pub in the station. The Sheffield Tap.
They had a wide range of beers on but I chose a weaker beer called Curious by the Magic Rock Brewery.
I knew I was settling into my drinking trousers and this could turn out to be quite a session. What people don’t seem to realise is that pacing is the trick when it comes to beers, stronger beers are great but if you know you’re in for a long one you may as well give yourself a chance drink weaker ones first and then move to stronger ones later when you’re acclimatised to the alcohol. The beer was great from what I remember but to be honest I made no notes. I will do better in future I promise. The selection in the pub was good though with plenty of options for the ale drinker. With The Tap getting busier we decided to move on to stop number two. One thing i have to say against Sheffield is there is nothing around the station worthy of note. The next pub was further up the hill and we passed nothing of interest apart from the fancy fountains surrounding the station.
The Rutland Arms was our next port of call.
It was tiny inside and they seemed to have gone haywire on the fairy lights but again it seemed to be popular, though it was clearly geared towards students but there were loads of older people in there, it was a bit weird. The beer however I do remember was Blue Bee’s Nectar Pale.
As you can see it was one of Sheffield’s own brews and it was quite refreshing with a slight honey taste, not too overwhelming or sickly, which is always good when you get slightly nectary beers. It was time to move on to The Red Deer.
It was freezing outside and going into the extremely busy Red Deer was a shock to the system. Even though it was packed there was barely a wait at the bar. Though we did have to stand up which I think lessens a beers affect. I have to say I went for the least exotic option which was Copper Dragon.(See The English Lounge for review)
They had other beers on but i’m not sure what they were. We were forced over to the far side of the bar by the sheer volume of people but we were stood by where the used glasses were stacking up which frankly was a little off putting. I’d like to go back when it was quieter because i have a feeling it was a real cosy pub, if we had found seats we probably would have stayed longer. With regret we stepped out into the cold.
Following a food stop of little significance we found ourselves in The University Arms of which we were the only people there, at all. We literally had the place to ourselves which was a little strange to say the least after the Red Deer. I hope the University Arms has more drinkers in the week otherwise they won’t be there for much longer.
I had a pint of Bradfield Brewery’s, Yorkshire Farmer. It was a decent pint and I wish all University pubs had beer this good. It was another light one but I didn’t fancy the other Christmas themed beers on offer as they usually give me gut rot.
There really isn’t that much more to say about the University Arms apart from it needs some customers on a Saturday night. A few people came in and left which always annoys me. People have to commit then more people will come other wise no-one would go in anywhere, think about it, you know it’s true.
The Hallamshire House was our final stop.
It’s a Thornbridge pub but it was so busy by this point we had to sit outside in the smoking area. The booze had kicked in by then though so it was all good. It says on the tasting notes it has hints of bitter lemon. I’ll take their word for it.
I had a Wild Swan which was quite hoppy (I think) I promise I’ll take better notes next time, honest. I liked it anyway. We decided to have a second before heading back.
Dave then went to the bar so I could save our seats because even the smoking area was getting busy. I asked for Jaipur, but they’d run out. Let me tell you this, if you see Jaipur in a pub. Buy it, it always runs out. It’s because it is so good. Very strong but the flavours are intense and fruity. Anyway I had a supplement which was Kipling. Nice strong flavours and a little darker than my previous choices and quite fruity but a little understated.
After that we headed home to drink another day. We returned to the Hallamshire House the next evening. I had a Brother Rabbit which was excellent and a seriously good find. again it was fruity but not over powering making it refreshing and quick to go down.
On our return to the bar the barman heard Dave and I talking about which beers to go for and recommended a strong dark beer made from the best hops available. My interest was peaked and I asked for a half. The beer was a staggering £4.80 a half but it was totally worth it. It was like drinking port by the half.
If you can’t see the ABV it’s 10% and I felt every percent. It tasted like treacle and it took me a good hour to drink it. It tasted like it had been roasted with a slightly nutty aftertaste, it was epic but definitely not for everyone. One weird effect was it made my ears very warm.
I finished with another Kipling. The next day I sweated the Bracier out, it was really weird stuff and my insides haven’t felt the same since. I was seriously pickled. The thickness was something special but even though I hadn’t really had that much to drink the stickiness of the beer has stuck with me for days.