Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Matchday musings on dark beer Part 2

Bateman's 6.3% chocoholic
The Second Half:
After sampling two subtle dark beers in Sheffield, it was only a matter of time before I went to the other end of the spectrum.
I encountered it in The Fat Cat in the form of Bateman's Hazelnut Brownie. It weighed in at 6.3% and one sip transformed me into a kid in a sweet shop. Now I have a bit of a sweet tooth but I wasn't anticipating the real chocolate taste. I was expecting some syrupy taste like we see all to often in flavoured beers but this really was 'a hazelnut in every bite'.
The beer is part of Bateman's Bohemian Brews range and it struck gold out at 'Spoons Winterfest 2013.
The brewery's website tells me each beer in the range is "available on a limited release basis. They are craft beers infused with exciting flavours such as Belgian chocolate, orange peel, coffee beans, cinnamon and hazelnuts.
"Each beer goes through extended maturation in the brewery cellars and is available for a three-month period only". 
I only had a half but the beer didn't become sickly sweet in that time, although I'm not sure I could have managed a pint.
I was on a bit of a dark beer odyssey towards Hillsborough, scouting possible real ale venues for this Saturday's clash with  Huddersfield Town (12.15pm K.O). But too many more at 6.3% would mean I'd fall shy of my goal. These turned out to be prophetic words, indeed.
That's the drawback for me with all-dark sessions, I fade fast. I'd been drinking steady halves, less than three pints in total, but I knew my beer capacity was waning and I needed to slow the pace.
So I knew I had two more stops left and then it would be 'Goodnight, Vienna'.
Luckily the places I really wanted to try - ones I hadn't been in for months - were just up the street in Shalesmoor.
The Ship Inn, Shalesmoor
The first was The Ship Inn, which I erroneously had pegged as a Sheffield Wednesday pub. The landlady politely disillusioned me and pointed out the Wednesday and United brass plates over the bar. I'd assumed that it was a "Owls" place because it's on the way to the ground, a bit like the New Barrack Tavern further up. But the landlady told me it was a pub for all.
Having had a gentle lesson in football neutrality, it was time to order the beer. I think there were two choices on the darker side, Farmer's Brown Cow from Bradfield and Harthill Village Brewery's Dark Hart.
I went for the Dark Hart and it was the best dark beer of my session. I'm not crash hot on this tasting notes malarkey - no stint on Saturday Kitchen for me - it's just enough to say it was lovely and I would seek it out again.
Fortunately the Harthill website is more descriptive: "A rich, smooth, full bodied dark ale brewed with a trio of dark malts. Dark crystal malt for a toffee, malty sweetness, black malt for rich dark colour and pale chocolate malt for a biscuit dry fullness. 
"These toasted malts are perfectly complemented by the spicy, blackcurrant aromatic notes of British Bramling Cross hops."
Next up, over the road/tram stop was The Wellington.
Beer list at The Wellington, Shalesmoor
I looked along the bar and saw a single dark beer, Pictish Samhain Stout, which I've enjoyed before in Huddersfield. So I wanted something new and ended up with a 'bonzer' house beer full of Down Under hops. 
The Little Ale Cart's Dominion of New Zealand (5%) featured Nelson Sauvin, Green Bullet, Pacific Jade and Galaxy but with a German twist, Herkules and, possibly, Magnum hops too.
A hoppy pale beer was not quite how I envisaged ending my dark beer journey, but it was a fine end to a good day.
I would have liked to have completed the course with stops at the Hillsborough Hotel and a Belgian Blue in The New Barrack Tavern, in the heart of Wednesday territory.
But this all 5% session meant I was drunk up quicker than usual. Well there's always next time...
Enjoy the game on Saturday and the Valley of Beer.

For those wanting part one of this tour, here's a link: http://goo.gl/wCU6kF

2 comments:

Leigh said...

I'm a big fan of Little Ale Cart but not been in in a while! Always found their beers to be clean and well-brewed. That NZ bomb sounds good!

Ale Ambler said...

Hi Leigh,
I can't get enough of these NZ hopped beers.
Like you, I hadn't been in The Welly/Cask & Cutler for a while but was rewarded with Little Ale Cart's Dominion when I put that right.
The pub is well worth a visit as is The Ship over the road.
I'm going past them both later today, I wonder if I'll give in to temptation...