Sunday, November 17, 2013

A dark recon mission behind enemy lines

Rutland Arms, Brown Street, Sheffield
The international football friendlies meant a blank Championship weekend and the chance to scout Huddersfield Town's next opponents.
Well, not Sheffield Wednesday's playing stock but the ale houses to and from the ground.
Regular aswiftone.com visitors may remember our post from mid-September when I went on a match day pub crawl for Yeovil Town's visit to Hillsborough.
During that trip we had to cut some pubs out from the itinerary because of time constraints. This time I had no such worries and decided to frequent those ale houses I'd missed last time.
But there was also another motive for this trip - a search for dark beer. I had been inspired by an Internet post on stout & porters (http://1859oregonmagazine.com/stout-porter-beer). This and the recent colder days had drawn me into yet another trip to the dark side.
I do like dark beer but I tend to finish with it rather than make it the bulk of my session.
My descent into darkness began at The Rutland Arms, near Sheffield station. But as I walked down Brown Street I began to have doubts as to whether I could sustain an all dark session.
True to form I fell at the first hurdle when I succumbed to Steel City's pale and hoppy All Hallows Eve (5.2%). But who could resist a mix of Summit, Chinook, Galaxy and Mosaic hops?
But I was soon back on track with Raw's Anubis Porter (5.2%). However, perhaps it wasn't wise to start with a Steel City as it left my taste buds all over the shop, but in a nice way! It took me fair few sips to pick up the mild coffee flavour of the Raw and what the brewer describes as "the gentle hop aroma".
I will definitely try this beer again but without having a hop explosion first.
Kelham Island Tavern, Russell Street
It was time for a move and The Rutland has a conveniently placed bus stop outside. Some of the buses handily head back towards Kelham Island (79A Chapeltown, which stops outside Shakespeares, or 47/48, which stops outside The Harlequin and near The Riverside).
My route was to be determined by the 79A coming round the corner. So I popped into The Shakey for a swift half of Mallinsons Yellow Dwarf to fly the flag for Huddersfield.
But I'd been to Shakespeares a lot recently, so I nipped over the road to The Kelham Island Tavern, which I shamefully have not been in since their excellent mid-summer beer festival.
The KIT is always a good banker for a dark beer, and they had three to choose from on Saturday: Daniel Thwaites' Phelan Fine (4.4%), Brown Cow's Captain Oates mild (4.5%) and The Naked Brewer's Palindrome Porter (4.7%).

I went for the latter as this Nottinghamshire brewery was new to me. The pump clip shows it's brewed out of The Corner Pin Pub in Westwood. A net search reveals The Naked Brewer has been going since 2010 after being set up by Sarah Webster. The name derives from the openness of the brewery from surrounding windows.
Palindrome Porter was a nice beer. Mellow and rounded, a bit like the Raw, rather than the in your face beer which was lurking round the corner.
End of part One
Join us next next time as we inch ever closer to match day at Hillsborough (23/11/13 K.O. 12.15pm), with stops at The Fat Cat, The Ship Inn and The Wellington.  

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