Saturday, June 22, 2013

Valley of Beer part 3: Locked onto the garden of sunny delights like a limpet


Yesterday afternoon I anchored myself to a bench a yard away from the Kelham Island Tavern's "Alefresco Bar".
I normally plant myself in the back room next to Bosch's painting of The Garden of Earthly Delights whenever I visit the Russell Street pub. But on Friday I abandoned the over-sized goldfinches and hellish scenes for the what must be one of the best uses of space beer gardens on the planet.
I clung on like a limpet to my vantage point at the pub's Midsummer beer festival for about four hours before it was time to slip away.
Needless to say, it was a good afternoon in good company chewing the fat about all things beer.
I kicked off with a light-dark combo of Bob Brewing Company's Primevale and Blakemere's Deep Dark Secret - Liquorice Porter. I preferred the former as the skies had cleared in Sheffield and it really was a pale ale day.
There were a couple of new breweries to me on the beer list, Dixon's of Wainfleet and Merton Abbey, but I did what I always do when confronted by a choice of Abbeydale beers - drink them!
Intergalatic (5%) and Dr Morton's Phone Dip (4.1%), were both pale and extremely drinkable but different. The latter was made with hop of the moment, Mosaic. Curiously, another good example yesterday was over the road, North Riding's IBU Less Mosaic in Shakespeares. It had a bit more heft at, I think, 4.8%.

Talking of the new kid on the block, Shakespeares is a jolly fine pub, which broke the Kelham Island Tavern's nine-year stranglehold on Sheffield CAMRA's pub of the year title.
Well, judging by yesterday afternoon, the old king was on top form and looking to regain its crown.
The healthy competition in Kelham Island, with three top pubs within a stone's throw of each other, is just a boon for real ale types. Amazingly, I didn't even make it into the Fat Cat on Friday, as I was bound to The Kelham Island Tavern for a session. My only detour was a slightly disloyal half in Shakespeares to try another top beer from North Riding of Scarborough.
I don't know if it's my middle age or laziness, but recently I've become a big fan of one-pub sessions, employing a simple but effective left to right drinking formula.
Yesterday that wasn't possible because there were too many beers for this lightweight to try in one day. But then again the festival continues today and tomorrow (June 22 and 23).
Enjoy it, I did.
Link to beer list: http://goo.gl/RTLis
Link to cider & perry list: http://goo.gl/gTXeV
Staff Copy

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