Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
It's popularity and success haven't come without hard work though and Sam Smith and her team must be congratulated for keeping the pub very much at the forefront of the local ale scene. Imaginative and often innovative ideas, using popular social networking sites to spread the word, have ensured The Sportsman is rarely out of the news, seizing any and every opportunity to promote itself - a necessary and admirable quality in these depressed times.
Naturally then, the first anniversary of this remarkable revival won't be allowed to pass by without some little celebration. Starting at noon on Friday 23rd April there will be a weekend festival with outside bar, including five beers specially brewed for the occasion! Loads more beers will be on inside plus of course the sort of food fayre for which the pub is now famous.
Friday & Saturday night's festivities will feature live music and we understand there will be a sale of some local brewery stuff during the three day festival. If it all sounds too good to miss then it probably is, so come along and thank Sam for giving us another good reason to be proud of our town's great pubs and the incredible choice they offer.
Just to check the Sportsman out for quality control etc.etc, 3 of the editorial team met up there Friday afternoon and I, for one, was impressed with the range of beer on offer. Specials on a newly set up bar at the back of the pub from Empire, Golcar, Anglo Dutch, Fernandes and Acorn along with Mallinsons were all good, and in the latter two cases excellent. On the bar were 8 beers from Yorkshire breweries and all were interesting. The only draw back was the payment on the outside bar which was ticket only and there was no information as to how to obtain tickets but this is a minor gripe. A good little festival and one that showed how far the Sportsman has come in its short life. (Ps if anyone knows the hops used in the Acorn special I would be glad to hear from you, it was a stunningly different beer) ...Timbo.
Check out The Sportsman's website for details of this and all up-coming events.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
To the best of my knowledge, they are a family firm, and the third generation is now working at the brewery. The core range brewed includes Barm Pot,(light and hoppy), Over & Stout (an excellent example of the type) ans Pommies Revenge (a strong bitter, with loads of flavour and very moreish).
Their strength seems to come from the amazing amount of specials they brew, many are very similar strengths at 4.2% and 4.3% but are invariably excellent.
The regular beers are fairly easy to find, but as you would expect, the specials are less so, but often appear on the bar at the Star and occasionally in Wetherspoons in the area.
Another brewery in the county well worth hunting out.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Friday, April 09, 2010
We gathered in the back room at the pub and after a brief introduction were soon off to the pub cellar to continue our education, armed with beer to bring Tara's explanations of brewing processes to life. She managed to do this without us actually seeing the brewery and covered everything from the hops and malt used, through the brewing itself, to the effect different yeasts had on her beers. Armed with the tools of her trade, well actually little tubs of hops and malt, everything became clear and easy to understand, and the more she and Elaine grew in confidence the more she relaxed into her task. Maybe the 6 beers we had to compare and contrast did help as well.
We went from the basic brewing process explained with the help of 'Station Bitter', into dry hopping with 'Brewsters Special' which showcased her love of Nelson Sauvin hops, then into 'Grand Canyon' with its different style of malt and the way a different use of the same hops in beer produce different results. By this time the evening was becoming more mellow and the group understanding more about the beer that we were drinking, helped along by the comprehensive handout of tasting notes and Tara's famous spreadsheet of every beer the brewery has ever brewed.
We went through naming beers with 'Bettisons Tower' and its strange history, (I won't spoil the fun, try googling it, or ask Tara !!), 'Murray-Darling' (the hard to find beer) which explained the distribution of the beers, and finished with 'Bit A Black' which was obviously a dark beer but in the style of a stout rather than a mild.
Tara and Elaine's enthusiasm for their brewing shone through and their teaching experience came to the fore in explaining each part of their brewing life. I would be surprised if any of us did not leave knowing more than when we came in, both in terms of brewing in general and Mallinsons in particular.
To round off a superb evening we were treated to some of landlady Sam's legendary pie and peas, each containing Mallinson's beer, and whilst we were being educated in the cellar, the usual customers in the bar freed up a pump allowing us to sample another new Mallinson's beer, 'Akitu'. A fine end to an excellent evening, and one which I hope will give Tara, Elaine and Sam the confidence to repeat.
Next on the list is rumoured to be Kelly Ryan from Thornbridge showing off his talents at The Grove in early June - he has a hard act to follow.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
History seems to show that drinkers in the past seemed to like the old handled, barrel type glass, which seems to have fallen out of favour in recent times. They are heavy and solid and look the part, but in recent times they have been superceded by other, thinner, glasses without handles, and which are often imported from abroad.