Tuesday, 7 November 2017

twobeergeeks` Breweries A to Z (Part 1)

So, 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 .No googling! Simple? Read on:-

A- ABBEYDALE (Scene stalwarts)

B - BUXTON (Hilltop heavyweights)

 
Deep DIPA
B - BRADFIELD & BLUE BEE (Lots Localler)

C - CLOUDWATER (Murky Mancunians)

D - DRONE VALLEY (Unsung Unstonians)

E - EXIT 33 - (Happy hoppers)
      EMMANUALES - (Ecclesiastic undertones)

F - FUGGLE BUNNY (Malt meisters)

G - GLENTWORTH (Expired excellence)

H - HOPJACKER (Honest hoppiness)

Unfined, you think?

I - IMPERIAL (Mexborough masters)

J - JEEVES (Barnsley business) (We know, a `G` in reality!)

K - KELHAM ISLAND (Founding fathers)

L - LOST INDUSTRY (Smashing sours)
      LITTLE CRITTERS (Ale ambassadors)

M - MAGIC ROCK / MALLINSONS (Hudds Heroes)

Only Human

Phew! Half way there.
Let us know if we have missed any so far; it`s highly likely. And wish us luck with the next 13....
*Thanks @Kate `n` Pete for amendments suggestions! x

Friday, 6 October 2017

Abbeydale - Unbeliever #3.2 & Salvation #5

So, way back at the start of 2017 we told you to expect great things from our local heroes and Abbeydale have delivered again! Two years ago, you knew what to expect the S8 stalwarts, (20 years established), but now you know that you must expect the unexpected. The recruitment of young, enthusiastic brewers has been key in the evolution down on Aizlewood Road; they seem to have recruited a team of passionate artisans who take pride in researching their art, taking risks and pushing boundaries.

Keg it. A new era for Abbeydale
Snazzy artwork and canned wares hinted at a reyt revolution at Abbeydale and the latest embodiments of this ideal have appeared this week in instalments entitled `Unbeliever` and `Salvation`, both developments of previous small batch brews.

Salvation #5 is a coffee and donut stout which weighs in at a healthy enough 5.8% ABV. I supped it straight from the fridge and so mebbe didn`t allow the flavours to fully develop but it was tasty enough nonetheless. I think a `donut` is an American version of a `doughnut` so, no doubt, bigger and possibly cheaper and in this case I believed it to be of the custard variety. The coffee here is fairly subtle with a gentle yet lasting bitterness whilst the vanilla is prominent and the coconut is a subtle background addition, Thankfully, this is not a super sweet stout but rather a drinkable dark delight. Decent, definitely, and local inspirations Roastology and Forge Bakehouse duly credited.

A super steady stout
Meanwhile . . . . .

Unbeliever  #3.2 is a 5.3% dry-hopped sorachi sour. Personally, I am in the minority of folk who think that Sorachi is hardly an ace in the pack of sexy ingredients but herein it is an clearly royalty, at worst, in any hop pack. The `small batch brewers` emporium` must be chuffed to bits with this beauty; the body is an alluring lemony haze with an off-white head with sufficient carbonation to bring the aromatics into early prominence. Unbeliever is errr, unbelievably drinkable and does enough to satisfy hop heads and sour sadists in equal measure. This is certainly one of the better hoppy sours that I have had the pleasure of encountering. Hats off to Abbeydale. Encore!

WE TOLD YOU SO HERE!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Django (Thai Pale Ale) by Thornbridge Brewery & Ed Cosens

Collaborations between breweries and rock stars are ten-a-penny these days and most of them are worth little more but Ed Cosens out of Reverend and the Makers is better than that. Django is the fifth beer that the guitarist has produced with the Thornbridge team at Bakewell and one of the most adventurous beers that either have released to date.

This time we're talking about a 4.5% thai pale ale flavoured with lemongrass and kaffir lime which is hopped with goldings. We missed the beer first time around, which is a shame, because Django  (named in reference to Jazz-man-ledge Django Reinhardt, duh!) is a zesty number, ideal for sunshine supping; not quite the same in September on Derbyshire Lane in the Cross Scythes' beer garden but very drinkable nevertheless. Don't be deceived by the rather thin-looking body of this beer because there is plenty of that fresh, crisp Thai taste herein and the flavours balance really nicely.
 
As good as Guthrie?
 
It does remind me of the Wild crowdfunding one I had at the Coach & Horses more than other Thai-flavoured ones like Elusive`s Tom Yam Wit:  Django is quaffable, moreish, not a `one and done` type of ale. I hope Thornbridge consider adding this one to their impressive range of bottled wares.
 
Here`s what Ed had to say, He is clearly a man of taste:-
 
What was your first drinking experience?

ABOUT 9 or 10 I USED TO HAVE A CHEEKY SWIG OF MY DADS CAN OF STONES WHILST HE WAS GARDENING! FIRST PROPER DRINKING EXP. WAS A NEW YEARS EVE PARTY AT MY PARENTS HOUSE AT ABOUT 14 WHEN ME AND A MATE SNUCK IN A 1/4 BOTTLE OF VODKA AND ORANGE JUICE TO MY BEDROOM. NEEDLESS TO SAY IT DIDN'T END WELL!!
Red or white?
RED. WITH A REALLY GOOD STILTON!
Spirits?
A QUALITY RUM, APPLETON ESTATE OR AN AGED HAVANA. LOVE A NICE AMARETTO ON ICE NIGHTCAP. 
Is thai food your err, tipple then?
I LOVE THAI FOOD. ITS SO FRESH AND HEALTHY TASTING. THE FOOD WE HAD IN THAILAND WHEN RECORDING THE NEW REVEREND AND THE MAKERS ALBUM WAS NEXT LEVEL. FRESHLY PREPARED EACH DAY BY A CHEF AT THE STUDIO. PROPER AUTHENTIC!
A guilty musical pleasure?
I DON'T KNOW HOW GUILTY I FEEL ABOUT IT BUT I LOVE AC/DC! PROPER NO NONSENSE ROCK AND ROLL! 
When did you start homebrewing? Any epic fails?
STARTED ABOUT 4/5 YEARS AGO WHEN I ENTERED THE HOMEBREW CHALLENGE. IT WAS ALL PREP FOR WHAT BECAME THE VERY FIRST REV SUMMER ALE WITH THORNBRIDGE. FIRST HOMEBREW WAS AN EXCELLENT PALE ALE IF I REMEMBER RIGHTLY! POSSIBLY BEGINNER`S LUCK, BUT I'VE DONE A FEW NICE ONES. HOWEVER I ONCE TRIED TO DO A DUNKEL FOR SOME REASON WHICH DIDNT FERMENT PROPERLY AND ENDED UP AS A PRETTY SWEET, DARK GLOOP!
How did the Thornbridge hook-up happen?
I HAD A BIT OF DOWNTIME WITH THE BAND AROUND 2010 AND WENT TO WORK FOR THEM BEHIND THE BAR AT THE GREYSTONES PUB. LOVED IT. MET SIMON WEBSTER AND THEN WHEN THE BAND FIRED UP AGAIN HE APPROACHED ME ABOUT DOING A BEER COLLAB. I JUMPED AT THE CHANCE AND THE REST IS HISTORY!
Fave pubs? Best Thornbridge pub?
TO BE FAIR I LIKE MOST THORNBRIDGE PUBS, THOUGH I DO PARTICULARILY LIKE THE HALLAMSHIRE HOUSE AND ALSO THE BATH HOTEL. THE LATTER RETAINS THAT PROPER OLD PUB VIBE WHICH IS GREAT. I WAS A BIG FAN OF THE SHEAF VIEW AT HEELEY BACK IN THE DAY ALTHOUGH SINCE KIDS ARRIVED I HAVEN'T FOUND MYSELF OVER THERE MUCH OF LATE!

`Proper old pub`. tick.

Best bar staff?
THE MAIN MAN ALEX AT THE STAGS HEAD ON PSALTER LANE IS A JOLLY NICE CHAP AND IS ALWAYS INTERESTED IN WHAT I'M UP TO BEER WISE AND MUSICALLY, AND I CAN'T NOT MENTION JAMES AT THE COACH AND HORSES IN DRONFIELD. HE WAS BAR MANAGER AT DADA ON TRIPPET LANE BACK WHEN I USED TO RUN A FUNK AND SOUL NIGHT CALLED DEFUNKT. WE HAD A LAUGH!
Best drinking cities?
SHEFFIELD OBVS! MUNICH AS GOOD SECOND. AMAZING PLACE TO CONSUME BEER. 
Any other bands big on the `craft` ale stuff?
THERES DEFINITELY BEEN A FEW BANDS NOW WITH THEIR OWN BEER. IRON MAIDEN MAKE A RIGHT KILLING WITH THEIR TROOPER BEER, ALTHOUGH I CAN'T SAY I'M A FAN! THE QUESTION FOR ME WHEN I SEE BANDS RELEASING BEERS IS HOW MUCH INVOLVEMENT HAVE THEY HAD WITH IT? OR HAVE THEY JUST SLAPPED THEIR NAME ON IT? BIG UPS TO THOSE WHO DO GET THEIR HANDS DIRTY. 

nice (label)

Best gig city?
MUCH AS IT PAINS ME TO SAY BUT WE'VE ALWAYS HAD AMAZING GIGS IN MANCHESTER. GLASGOW TOO. SHEFFIELD IS OK BUT THOSE HOMETOWN SHOWS ARE ALWAYS A BIT CRAZY AND I DON'T THINK YOU EVER PROPERLY ENJOY THEM IN THE SAME WAY.
 
 Any daft drinking stories / dodgy places you`ve supped?
 
LOTS OF DAFT DRINKING STORIES, BUT PROBABLY NONE I CAN MENTION HERE. WE USED TO GET UP TO ALL SORTS AS YOUNG LADS OUT ON THE TOWN! DEFO BEEN IN A FEW DODGY PLACES, BACK BEFORE REVEREND DAYS I USED TO BE IN BANDS WITH MATES FROM SCHOOL AND WE USED TO GO AND PLAY IN ALL THE 'QUESTIONABLE' VILLAGE PUBS AROUND SHEFFIELD. IMAGINE ME AND MY PAL WALKING INTO A PROPER OLD MANS PUB WITH OUR GUITARS AND LONG HAIR AGED ABOUT 16. USED TO GET SOME RIGHT LOOKS AND SOME PRETTY GOOD HECKLES TOO! A FEW PINTS OF WARDS (RIP) WOULD SEE US THROUGH THOUGH!
Best beer, Thornbridge and other?
BEST THORNBRIDGE ALE HAS ALWAYS BEEN CHIRON FOR ME. ALTHOUGH RECENTLY I THOUGHT HUCK WAS EXCELLENT, AND GUTHRIE, ALTHOUGH I'M A BIT BIASED ON THAT ONE. I REALLY LOVE MAGIC ROCK GRAPEFRUIT HIREWIRE AND ALSO ELVIS JUICE BY BREWDOG IS GREAT. I'M INTO THOSE BIG HOPPED FRUITY ALES. 

LOVE Guthrie

Top hop?
TOP HOP, ITS A BIT OF AN OBVIOUS CHOICE BUT I THINK CASCADE IS JUST AMAZING AND HAS A LOT TO ANSWER FOR! GALAXY AND CITRA ARE PRETTY AWESOME TOO. 
Is the latest R&tM LP the best yet?
I THINK SO! DIFFICULT TO BE SUBJECTIVE ABOUT THAT QUESTION BUT I THINK IN TERMS OF THE QUALITY AND CREATIVITY ITS DEFINITELY THE BEST. I FEEL LIKE WE ARE GETTING BETTER STILL WHICH IS A GOOD PLACE TO BE! AGEING NICELY LIKE A BARREL AGED STOUT! LOOKING FORWARD TO FINALLY GETTING IT OUT FOR PEOPLE TO HEAR!
 
Album "The Death of a King" is released on Sept 22nd and is available to pre order here:


Latest single (sung by ED! ) video is here:


And Tour details and tickets here:

Oct 14th Garage - Glasgow
Oct 25th Electric Ballroom - London
Oct 27th O2 Academy - Sheffield 
Nov 4th Academy1 - Manchester

Monday, 7 August 2017

Good beer near Bramall Lane (Sheffield United FC)

Beer and food pairings are all the rage aren't they but how's about beer paired with .... football. Marvellous.

With the new season finally upon us, the time has never been better to experience this dynamic duo; beer and football, in the Steel City. Whether celebrating victory or drowning sorrows, visitors to Bramall Lane nowadays have some great beery options close at hand. No guarantee on points but pints aplenty!

Arriving at the railway station, many visitors will be drawn to the beautiful Sheffield Tap. The restoration here is fantastic and the beer on offer is very varied including several of the inhouse Tapped ales; you might even see a brew in process. Also a short stroll away is the underrated Queens Head, Sheffield 's oldest pub, arguably, (plus football on TVs) and also the Rutland Arms. On the route to the ground, the Brown Street boozer has a beautiful Gilmour exterior and inside you'll find an array of ales that puts this place near the top of the table, particularly with its new management team (think Clough and Taylor) now in place plus pub grub from the Champions League of noms. .
ye Oldest?
 
The Rutty (call here!)
Also on the way to Bramall Lane, Shoreham Street hosts one of Sheffield's newest and most impressive ale outlets in the Sentinel Brewhouse.  The food here is top notch and the usual offer of a chip butty and a pint might be just the ticket before the match. There`s even a couple of Blades-themed brews in Kop and Champions. A welcome addition to the local ale scene, Sentinel deserve your support this season.
 

Pubs nearest to the ground are, for the best part, no longer the no-go areas for away fans that they once were and several offer a decent choice for the discerning drinker, space allowing. The Railway Hotel on Bramall Lane and the Cremorne and the Albion (both on London road) offering a selection on keg, cask and in bottle with the latter (reopened this Summer) often sporting 10 cask and 14 keg lines! Restrictions may apply regarding away fans on match day but `low profiles` can yield beery dividends!

However, our top recommendation for the discerning footy fan visiting the city would be The Beer Engine. Found on Cemetery Road, a five minute schlep from the away end, this place is a real table topper in the ale stakes, cask and keg, plus the food is a league above most of its rivals. This is the current twobeergeeks Pub of the Year and you'll always get a reasonably priced offering from local heroes Neepsend but they might well be rubbing shoulders with Premier League stars like Siren, Kernel and Northern Alchemy or even some Scandanavian stars.... The place is unconvential in design terms and service is spot on. Worldy.
 
2BG PotY 2016!
 
All the places that we mention, are likely to be very busy during the 90 minutes before and after the, errr,  90 minutes of football so they quite possibly offer an opportunity for an early kick-off or stopping over for a little extra-time. You know it makes sense.

If you need any advice about other drinking options, we can give you likely candidates for quality ale and ambience in Kelham Island or the City Centre or the other great (and walkable) option is Heeley. Just let us know. And feedback appreciated. Enjoy the season!
 
cheers, hic!
 

Saturday, 15 July 2017

American Pale Ale play-off #1 - Abbeydale vs. Brew Foundation vs. Vocation

Beer is fashionable and therefore vulnerable to fickle fads. Last year, and much of 2017 truth be told, we were subjected to DIPA after DIPA. How DIPA is your love? We even witnessed nuances like Imperial IPA, and continued efforts to make £9 9%ers taste like £2 Boots`fruit smoothies all good, for a bit, and us twobeergeeks are a bit divided with DIPA`s at the mo, as we discussed this week over a Verdant DIPA at the Dev Cat (yes, it was only about 8% and only £4 a half. By contrast, your average American Pale Ale is equally hackneyed but far more friendly on the old pocket whilst sufficiently stimulating to the old taste buds, bud. We`re talking sexy American hops with no specific ABV but you must expect plenty of citrus fruit taste and trans-Atlantic aromas.

(DIPA BATTLE 2016 HERE!)

So, simple idea here. Budget plan and one that you can replicate domestically, is to get three APAs from a local outlet (NO supermarkets!) and blind taste to choose a winner, then mebbe add a note or two to justify choice. The longer term aim here is to get a `winner` from this semi-final and then have another three-way play-off, before a `final`. All GB made (GBAPA, anyone?) with no foreigners allowed, Nigel....

So, all three, blind-tasted, ranked and then re-visited for double check and a tad more detail. All three were canned ales purchased from the ever excellent Mitchell`s Wines and their ever-expanding craft ale fridge.

Triple threat, albeit a pretty one

Heathen (4.1%) by Abbeydale Brewery - I was pleased that I instantly recognised this from the upfront aroma, floral and citrus, trans-atlantic all the way. Doesn`t disappoint. A great value loc-ale snazzily packaged by James D. Murphy`s genius and the team down t`road in S7 who really are thinking progressively nowadays. Great beer with bags of taste for the buck, and the ABV.

Free Beer (4.4%) by The Brew Foundation - oft associated with Sheffield but actually brewed somewhere in t`hills betwixt here and Cheshire. Admittedly, I didn`t notice that this one was gluten free despite it being clearly labelled as such on the can but I did notice the hops; Chinook, mosaic and simcoe. Yum. Not bad but rather tinny / metallic and a very short-lived head, struggling against some err, heady competition. Barley and wheat are used in the process but later removed using brewers clarex. Possibly a contender in a different emerging field....!?

Pride & Joy (5.3%) by Vocation Brewery. Again another bargain beer and another from not too far afield over in Hebden Bridge, west side of Yorkshire, near Halifax. Apparently, Vocation have recently opened a tap house that sounds pretty cool and, if the beers are on this kind of par, we need to get there. Bold, resinous aromas and a nice bitter but citrus taste that lingers pleasantly.

FB / P&J / (RED KETTLE) / H


Final Scores
 
3rd. Free Beer - Brew Foundation. Lives to fight another day....
 
2nd. Heathen - Abbeydale. Local heroes in hoppy heaven.
 
1st. Pride & Joy - Vocation. Worth a place in any final.
 
 
 
 



Monday, 3 July 2017

Thornbridge versus True North, Head2head (Parts 3 & 4)

In Sheffield we are fortunate enough to have two excellent pub chains : Thornbridge Brewery and True North. We are fans of both because of their quality in terms of pub, service and, of course, ale. We score these three aspects out of five and then award an arbitrary addition for the X factor. This is even more subjective and based on our true feeling therefore the service may gain additional credit (up to 5 marks), or for the `atmosphere` or the location or whatever we reckon makes the pub stand out from the competition. Simples.

Our idea here is to match up pubs of theirs (according to the `style` / target audience in order to allow a fair `fight`) and decide which one wins. The first two contests saw the Coach and Horses win against The Blue Stoops whilst the Stag`s Head drew with the Waggon and Horses.
(READ MORE HERE!)

Match 3

Two city pubs for this one with the Old House on Division Street and the Bath Hotel on err Bath street. Both convenient to call in on a crawl but the Bath is a better bet to settle into for a session, particularly in the winter when the fire is a um, sure fire winner. Meanwhile the food at the Old House is on a par or thereabouts with the other True North houses. Yum.
In beery terms, both tend to showcase their own brews but with some great guests too so an edge here for Thornbridge as their award-winning levels are tough to top.
 
Inside, both are well-presented and, when the Bakewell boys took over the Bath, the refurb remained true to the pub's heritage marrying it well with the brewery's own much-copied sleek style. Meanwhile the Old House's big bar and varied seating lends itself equally well to after-work drinks, food or bar-hopping.

 <<<<<<<<<< Bath Hotel 16/20 -  Old House 13/20 >>>>>>>>>>
 
beer in the Bath is tough to top
 
Another big win for Thornbridge but both well worthy of pub crawl stop-off.

Two on the outskirts next, both former favourites of ours, S8 versus S7....
 
Match 4

The Cross Scythes on Derbyshire Lane rewards those who scale Scarsdale lane with a consistently well kept pint. Since Thornbridge took over this place half a dozen years back (?) they smartened it up no end and it's now a stylish establishment with four varied rooms and beer garden front and back. Fare now appears to be exclusively Thornbridge with discounts on Wednesdays and a loyalty card to boot.
 

Whilst the Cross refurbishment is admirable, the Broadfield was veritably transformed at about the same time and it attracts a lovely mixed yet discerning crowd often wooed by the food but the beer here is great too. A recent visit yielded an outstanding Wylam Inferno IPA plus a new collaboration between Black Iris (a staple herein) and Seattle`s Reubens brewery in Black Strap & Bourbon, a 10% monster stout. The Broady beer can be costly (and there`s no price list) but selection is usually err, Broad.
 
 
<<<<<<<<< Cross Scythes 13/20 - The Broadfield 15/20 >>>>>>>>>>
 
So Thornbridge lead 2-1 at the moment.

Old bit on Broady HERE 2013!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Northern Black by Thornbridge & Steve `Papa` Edwards

Now then, lots going on out there in the beery heaven that is Sheffield. Derbyshire neighbours Thornbridge Brewery have been having a great 2017 with a number of initiatives including Monthly Specials but this one has flown under the radar somewhat. June`s offering is officially Wye, a cucumber pale ale (why?!) but a better bitter bet, in our humble opinions, is Northern Black which was brewed in collaboration with local musical superhero Steve `Papa` Edwards. The Beauchief boy has worked with everybody in music Toddla T., Basement Jaxx, Richard Hawley etc. and so a collaboration with Thornbridge must have been the only item left on the Edwards` bucket list!

Northern Black @ Cross Scythes

I was fortunate enough to be one of the first to sample Northern Black (named after Steve`s L.P.) at the Coach and Horses soon after it was released and it hit all the right notes in my book. NB is a `Jamaican Stout` with a dark body and off-white head that lasted well from cask. The mouthfeel is nice and gritty, like a thick coffee, with a malty backbone that is filled out by the muscovado sugar sweetness that has been added to provide that hint of Carribbean rum. At 5% Northern Black is quite
quaffable with a nice, lingering dry bitterness and I`d put this as one of Thornbridge`s better stouts. It is also definitely one of the better collaborations betwixt muso and brewery (please, nobody mention Trooper by Robinson`s and that Worksop pilot bloke!).

Lookin` good @Coach `n` Horses
We asked a few questions to Steve and he was kind enough to reply:-
  1. What was your first experience of `drinking`? Me and our kid having a sneaky swig of Colt 45 at Christmas in the 70s.
  2. Can you name your top 3 local pubs? The Broadfield / The Sheaf / The Greystones
  3. Favourite Thornbridge beer? Sequoia
  4. Ever homebrew? Never but my Uncle John used to make wine - Elderflower, Nettle, you name it.
  5. How did the Thornbridge opportunity come about? I worked on their recent Faux Lord campaign I'm one of the original Lords). Northern Black is my autobiographical song & I may have mentioned that I thought it was a great name for a beer. Something dark, sweet & soulful. They must've like the idea.
  6. What`s your favourite tipple other than beer? Whiskey
  7. Beauchief and Woodseats needs better pubs, doesn`t it? Deffo, the Abbey is ok but's a bit too try hard. I sometimes have a sneaky one with the lads in the Chantrey on quiz nights but there's not a great beer selection. As for Beauchief, well there's no pub anyroad. Says it all.
  8. Food and beer matching is all the rage. Can you name a favourite track or two and an ideal drink to match?! A pint of Northern Black whilst listening to Northern Black or Seqouia listening to A Message To You Rudy.
  9. Musical plans in the pipeline? Any Tramlines tips? My new project Universal Tree are playing the Kabal All Dayer in the Plug Car Park, 4pm on Tramlines Saturday. I'm also doing my Steve Edwards Quartet at the Harland Cafe, Sept 8.
  10. Sheffield is the capital of real ale. Where else is good for a decent pint? Leeds, Manchester, Peak District, Devon, Cornwall, Worksop.
  11. Best Sheff music talent past, present and future?! Joe Cocker / Arctic Monkeys / Human League / Moloko / Crooked Man / Universal Tree / Longpigs / Matic Mouth / Pulp.
Here's a link to a live video of Northern Black
https://youtu.be/6D3WASbDJio

youtu.be
All good things and that. The first track in our In Session with Steve 'Papa' Edwards, directed by Helene Michealides of Cuckoo Films with steadicam by Tony ...


Steve also has a single called A Good Life which is out now. All sales are going to the 60/600 Challenge for the Alzheimers` Society, a great cause.
Download links:
http://bit.ly/2qZigAGL
http://bit.ly/2rw42AGL


bit.ly
A Good Life: Steve Edwards: Amazon.co.uk: MP3 Downloads
Cheers Steve! Plenty of proof there that this chap has taste and now you need to taste Northern Black, whilst listening to the above; you won`t regret it. Peace.