Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sheffield gains another brewery

One of the most spectacular breweries that I have ever visited has recently opened in Sheffield, in fact, not only is it in a spectacular setting, it is very accessible too. 'The Tapped Brewery' has recently started production in the Sheffield Tap building on Sheffield Station, conveniently sited on platform 1 at Sheffield station, just the place to call and grab a swift pint whilst waiting for you train home.

The brewery itself is sited in the right hand side of the Sheffield tap, (when looking from the platform), and is visible from the right hand room, so you can sit and quaff your beer whilst watching some kind soul struggle to produce the next brew.

On my visit there were two of the breweries beers on the bar at the 'Tap'; Ale being a 3.5% session bitter, and 'Bullet' being a stronger, (5.9%) offering which I assume will be a single hopped beer. I sampled them both and both had family likenesses, I assume from using the same yeast or malt, however both were exceptionally drinkable, dangerously so in the latter's case. Judging by some of the pump clips around the bar, it seems that they will be brewing, or have brewed other single hopped beers, but when I was there, it was too busy to quiz the staff. Incidentally , if bottled beers, or foreign beer, is your thing then a trip in to the right hand room may be beneficial, with a large selection of foreign bottles on offer there.

Should you be unable to get to Sheffield to sample their beer, the beers from the 'Tapped' brewery will be available at their sister pubs in York, and Euston stations and the 'Pivni' bar in York. 

Apologies

I have to apologise to all our dedicated readers regarding the lack of posts in the last two weeks. This has been due to a technical problem with my internet provider and has hopefully been rectified. Normal service should resume as soon as possible, or when I can find something suitable to write about. Apologies again. Timbo

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Whitwell & Mark Pale Ale

Derwent Brewery's Whitwell & Mark series, recreations of beers from the defunct Kendal brewer, have been spotted around our region in recent weeks - though not by me I hasten to add. Until today that is.
 
The Huntsman in Chidswell, my Thursday lunchtime (re)treat, has a fine barrel of W & M Pale Ale (4.4%) on at the moment and it's proving very popular with locals and visitors alike. My initial reaction was one of surprise though as I hadn't anticipated such attitude from guest pump no.1 (usually reserved for a Bradfield or one of the thinner Acorns).
 
In great looking crystal clear condition, the taste was gummy and quite sharp with lots of dryness - but to be honest I didn't really get it until about half way down my pint. Then, as so often happens with a challenging ale, everything just clicked - and if it hadn't been for the all day police traffic census down the road, I'd have risked another. In short a very nicely balanced beer with a little bit of all sorts going on - certainly one to savour! 3.5/5

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Cock o' The North

One of the pubs that I rarely visit due to its opening hours more than anything is 'The Cock o' The North' at Hipperholme, between Brighouse and Halifax. It is a most unprepossing place from the outside, being a couple of portacabins stuck together, at the side of a mill.

 But, having overcome that initial shock, the interior is totally different, with a long bar serving one room separated into a couple of distinct seating areas. It is a little dark but seems fresh and clean and behind the bar is something I have never seen before in a pub, with a couple of massive fish tanks covering the whole bar length. It houses some pretty impressive fish as well, if that is your thing. And is relaxing to watch whilst you drink your beer. 

I had actually gone for the beer though. The pub is one of the rare outlets for the 'Halifax Steam Brewery' whose beers are rarely seen outside the pub.  On my visit there were around 8 of their range on offer, but sadly, none of their dark beers. I settled down with a couple of their light beers, 'Aussie Kiss' and 'Giggles'. Both were excellent, but both around the same strength, and subtly rather than massively hopped and it was difficult to tell them apart. Others in the bar were drinking the 'Cock o'The North', a 5% darker offering, with more of a best bitter look about it, but I felt it a bit early to try a beer of that strength so I opted for a half of 'Jamaican Ginger'. I had good memories of this from previous festivals but was a tad disappointed with this one. It only had a hint of ginger, rather the massive ginger hit I had remembered.  

Nevertheless, I had enjoyed my little trip out. If you want to take a look it is on the road from Brighouse to Hipperholme, on the right hand side just past the old Philips premises, and well served by the 549 bus from Brighouse, or Huddersfield. Beware though, it is only open all day at weekends, with 4pm being its regular weekday opening time,. It does have its own caravan park though next to the pub.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

More dates for your diary

This week we have heard of a couple more local beer festivals.
Dates for your diary include The Star Festival, at Folly Hall starting on the Wednesday 13th March with all day opening Friday 15th through the weekend.
The Rat and Ratchet festival runs between the 5th and 7th of April, with a meet the brewer and see the brewery event planned for Saturday.

Fine Fyne Ales

Continuing the theme of Scottish beers, I have been sampling yet another excellent Scottish brewery this week. This time 'Fyne Ales' have come under my spotlight. They have been knocking around since 2001, and in the succeeding 12 years have picked up several awards for their beers. And having come across quite a few I can understand why. They are based  at Achadunan, at the head of Loch Fyne, in Argyll, and their beers are as spectacular as the scenery.

Their beer range covers most styles, from the dark, red 'Vital Spark' to the golden bitter 'Pipers Gold' but the real jewel in the crown in my opinion, is their light, hoppy 'Jarl'. A sensible quaffing strength at 3.9% and packed with New World hops, it gives the lie to the old idea that Scottish beers are all malts and strength. An ideal beer for a session, (ask my younger namesake!). 

If you want to give it a try then a call at the Grove may just solve your problem, they have three barrels of it just waiting to go on the bar. But you have to be quick. It does not last long.