Monday, December 02, 2013

A tour of Bradfield part one

Crossroads at High Bradfield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
A big bike race is about to put a quaint moorland village on the international map.
The Tour de France cavalcade will ride through picturesque High Bradfield on Sunday, July 6.
But for beer drinkers the place needs little introduction as it is the home of Bradfield Brewery, the makers of Farmers Blonde and others. 
The brewery, based at Watt House Farm in the Dark Peak, has just started hosting weekend sampling events in the run up to Christmas. With this is mind I decided to pay the brewery and some of the parish's pubs a visit.
Bradfield Brewery S6 6LG
The brewery itself is a fair sized industrial unit, which has been incorporated onto the side of the working farm. It uses spring water from the farm's own bore hole.
The brewhouse wasn't open when I visited on Sunday and don't expect it to be as recent modifications mean tours of the fermenters are rare.
But the brewery shop was doing a bustling trade despite partial road closures for a 10km road race.
The first thing that strikes you are the vast amount of kegs on offer. I've drunk a fair bit of Bradfield in bottles in the past and would call at the fountainhead from time to time to stock up. I remember buying a 5 litre mini keg of their World Cup beer in 2010, but I don't recall the sheer number of kegs.
Apparently, they are good sellers and ideal for parties. The brewery's popular winter warmer, Belgian Blue, is now available in this format to help satisfy demand.
A barrel-load of  Bradfield Pale
Elsewhere in the shop you can find individual and mixed cases, with discounts available for buying multiples. But I was on the bus and didn't think it was wise to hoick 12 bottles of Poppy Ale up and down Bradfield Dale. Mind you, I saw a few hardier people hod carrying their purchases to a waiting taxi.
As I wasn't intending to buy beer at the shop, I didn't avail myself of the opportunity to try before I buy. But it looked like there was a chance to drink straight from the cask and get tasters from bottles.
The sampling weekend was a springboard for me to road test their beers in neighbouring pubs. I'll do that in part two of this post with visits to the Nags Head Inn at Loxley, The Old Horns Inn at High Bradfield and The Plough down the hill.
The view from The Old Horns Inn's beer garden 
Getting there by public transport: There is an excellent bus service that runs from Hillsborough Interchange, which is on the blue and yellow tram routes from the city centre.
TM Travel's 61 and 62 circular buses stop at all the pubs I visited as well as others like the Royal Hotel, Dungworth, famous for its pies and Christmas Carols events.
Bradfield Brewery Shop opening times: Monday to Saturday 10am-4pm.
Sampling Weekends: 10am-4pm on Saturdays, 10am-2pm on Sundays until the New Year. 

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