Friday, April 17, 2015

A Riverside crawl of sorts around Sheffield

Back view of The Riverside, Mowbray Street, Sheffield.
Inspired by last week's sunshine crawl around Sheffield, I ventured out for another ale foray but on an altogether greyer day in the Steel City.
The intention was to take in three pubs I haven't written about for ages, if at all. As per usual it didn't quite pan out, but I had some interesting detours.
First up was The Riverside, which is close to The Harlequin and The Fat Cat. 
I've been in here two or three time recently, mainly to eat their fine burgers, but I thought I'd take a closer look at the ale this time.
The pub often has a good selection of Exit 33 beers, so I started with one of theirs: New England Best, 4.2% ABV. I also had a half of Derventio Brewery's Feast 4.8%, which was somewhere between a pale and golden colour.
I preferred the bitter or 'Dark Ale' as breweries seem to like calling them these days. At least this one had best on the clip. Apparently, I had a mild the other week, which was described as a dark ale for commercial reasons. At least breweries' naming policies are keeping me on my toes.
The weather wasn't ideally suited for outdoor drinking but I made it out onto the large riverside beer garden briefly, which tends to get rammed on sunnier days.
I popped back inside for food, a bacon burger, and was struck by the music. Eclectic jukebox might be an understatement. It started off with some Heavy Metal, then flamenco meets bluegrass, followed by what I thought was Iggy Pop, Muddy Waters and some jazz.
It was quite loud but it grew on me after a while. However, I then opted to move on for a quieter pint further up the river at The Gardener's Rest.
The idea was to follow the river's course and ultimately end up at The New Barrack Tavern in Hillsborough, where I haven't been in ages.
But I made the mistake of cutting through Kelham Island. The lure of The Fat Cat proved too great and I had a very nice half of Bristol Beer Factory Sunrise. This would turn out to be my beer of the day. It was 4.4% ABV and described as 'premium all English, hoppy and golden'. 
'Royal Oak' mural in The Fat Cat's beer garden
The detour continued at The Kelham Island Tavern where I had a half of Tiny Rebel's One Inch Punch. A very nice 'golden American' 3.9% sessioner, which would have been a good beer to start my tour with. But despite Twitter being a good guide to telling you what's on the bar where, I haven't got to that detailed planning stage yet.
For example, the inevitable next step was to The Shakespeares, which updates its social media pages frequently.
But the sight of a number 79 bus in slow-moving rush traffic took me down to The Moor and towards my final destination, The Rutland Arms, a few minute's walk from the city's bus and railway stations.   
Rutland Arms, Brown Street
I like this pub but don't get here as often as I should. It's a great place to sample Blue Bee beers. There were at least two on when I called briefly, and I had them both.
First was Hillfoot Best Bitter, presumably named after Hillfoot Steels up Penistone Road. This 'dark, traditional, balanced' four percenter was the pick of the bitters I had on Thursday. 

I followed it with Belma IPA from the same brewery. A single American hopped beer at 5%. This hop was new to me so I had to look it up on the Hops Direct website which tells me it is a "very clean hop, with a very orange, slight grapefruit, tropical pineapple, strawberry, and melon aroma". 
Apparently it hails from Puterbaugh Farms in the Yakima Valley in Washington State.

Despite that list of ingredients I would describe it, unscientifically, as a subtle, not in your face hop.
I didn't do well at chemistry at school though.
It was a neat end to a Sheffield session and a nice way to sign off from the city before the cricket season starts in Huddersfield on Saturday.
But I think I'll be back in Sheffield after about four matches - you can't escape the magnetic pull of the Steel City!

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