Enjoy Playing Away From Home . . .

Friday 25 March 2016

Congratulations to the Albatross Club (RAFA)

Congratulations to the Albatross Club (RAFA - Royal Air Force Association) in Bexhill for beating more than 28,000 other club entrants to become the National Club of the Year 2016, as chosen by CAMRA (website). 

That reminds me, I must pop in to collect my RAFA membership card!

Sunday 6 March 2016

Sheffield Revisited - Day Two: Matchday!

Monday and Tuesday nights I slept very well, staying B&B at The Hillsborough Hotel, 54-58 Langsett Road S6 2UB (0114 2322100 - I believe a new website will be set up soon, but they do have a facebook page). Good to see Brigitte and Tom brightening up the place again, and they did have to clean it up big time when they took it over! Coincidentally, I remember that when I first met Tom he was the manager here.      

Great breakfast, all locally sourced, as I say regularly elsewhere, a good breakfast needs a quality sausage, and here was a very good breakfast sausage from local butchers, Crawshaws, at Hillsborough, so far so good. Of course, great bacon too, and the eggs come direct from a friend's smallholding, beans and tomato, and an enormous pot of tea too, I was sated! I was bought a drink by Tom at lunchtime, after a couple of hours wandering around the centre of Sheffield, cheers Tom, but I shall mention the ales at the Hillsborough Hotel later in this blog. 

I then wandered up to The Blake Hotel (0114 2339336 - facebook page), where I met up with another friend I hadn't seen since I met up with him and his lass when he came down to visit Lewes, Will. We tried 4 halfs here, all in good nick, as they should be, the owner of the establishment being long-time publican, and ex-brewer at Kelham Island too, James Birkett, who also has the Sheaf View, and is looking to acquire the Bottom Welly, the Wellington at Shalesmoor (nee Cask & Cutler). 

We drank 2 ales from local brewery, Neepsend (twitter), which James has shares in, their Blonde (4%), an easy-drinking ale that dries out nicely at the finish, and IPA (5%), labelled a "New World IPA", consequently, you can guess the type of hops used; pale, very dry and bitter! Also, from West Yorkshire brewer Partners (website) Triple Hop (4.2%), with Willamette, Cascade and Cluster the 3 hops, pale, very subtle taste of toffee and malt, and from Warrington, 4Ts Brewery (website) IPA (4.6%), using American and Australian hops, hints of peach and citrus in the taste, with a strange dry aftertaste, couldn't figure it out... 4 decent ales.

I then went into the centre of town to visit my favourite Sheffield restaurant for lunch, Mama's and Leonies (website), where I knew 2 of the chefs there, 2 of the waiting staff, and the 2 owners! Not a lot has changed since I first started eating here in the 1990s. I had arranged to meet up with ex-colleague and good friend, Debra, who turned up straight from work, always great to meet up...  

... and always great to eat their excellent Warm Chicken & Bacon Salad, of which, I always order sans croutons, and either a glass, or carafe, of the house red wine, just a glass this time though, a long day still ahead. Debs was jealous, of course, and vowed to have the same as me next time, looking forward to it already! 

Conservatory at the Hillsborough Hotel

Back to the Hillsborough Hotel, for pre and post match drinks, where they have up to 8 different ales, served from handpumps. Ales included, but not tried this time, their regular Acorn Barnsley Bitter (3.8% - brewery website), Colchester Metropolis (3.9% - brewery website), and one of my locals, Dark Star American Pale Ale (4.7% - brewery website), an excellent ale I have sung the praises of many times before! I met up with many people for both sessions, including the lads we'd met at the Fat Cat the previous evening, Noel, Ian, Phil, Dave, Mike, and many others, including the landlords, Tom and Brigitte, of course!
 The ales were in great form, and I want to mention 3 in particular, meeting my love of dry and hoppy pale ales, first, from the excellent local brewery, Blue Bee (website) Chinook Pale (4.2% - they also had their 4.8% Tempest Stout), no need to tell you which hops were used in the Chinook! Very pale, citrus fruit flavour and refreshingly dry aftertaste, I loved it! Also from Sheffield's The Tapped Brew Co (website) MOJO Crystal Pale Ale (3.6%), dry hopped with Mosaic and Citra, a wonderful refreshing dry pale bitter, and from further afield in North Yorkshire, Bad Seed (website) Calypso Pale Ale (4.5%), I'm guessing Calypso hops used for this 'American Pale Ale' type beer, nice and dry, with a hint of grapefruit, and I got 'wheat' in the flavour too.

Many new brewery's ales tasted, which I loved, and good B&B too, cheers Tom and Brigitte, I'll be back!  

Friday 4 March 2016

How stupid do they think I am?!?

The amount of invoices I have sent to me via email! I'm not trading silly people, this is a 'calling' - I owe you bugger all! 

Wednesday 2 March 2016

Sheffield Revisited - I shouldn't leave it so long next time! Day One:

I visited to 1) see friends, 2) go to football at Hillsborough Park, and 3) drink ale!


As you will see, over the 2 nights I was there, I only drank at 5 of the very many fine ale houses in Sheffield, starting with the double National CAMRA Pub of the Year, and often Yorkshire and Sheffield POTY, the Kelham Island Tavern, 62 Russell Street S3 8RW (0114 2722482 - website). What can I say? Great ale house, spoke to the landlords, Trevor and Lewis, and to Dave, presumably Head Barman, I didn't ask, but I've known them all for a number of years now, and I felt reyt welcome, indeed, Dave came out for a drink with us the second time I visited the KIT with a couple of other mates, Lindsay and Jeff, later that evening! 

13 ales to choose from at the KIT, starting at £2.40 a pint for 4 of them, and upwards, but reasonable priced ales all! I don't think I made a note of all I had to drink here over the 2 visits, and a note of every ale that was available is certainly not forthcoming! First, though, Wigan brewery Allgates (website) Tuckers Hill (3.8%), a zesty golden bitter with a hint of smoked grain. 

Then I had 2 excellent IPA/APA style bitters; from West Yorkshire, Bridestones (website) American Pale Ale (5%), with "copious Willamette aroma hops" they say, and I believe! This was pale, sharp, and very bitter, great stuff, just what the doctor ordered... Then I had something even more exquisite, a collaboration between another 2 Yorkshire breweries, Brass Castle (website) Rampart (7%), and Ossett (website). The Rampart is described as a "heavily hopped IPA" and is another very dry bitter, though with a wee bit more hint of fruit. I'm sure I had more there, but you'll have to go there yourself to enjoy the pleasures of the many ales available!        

In between visits to the KIT, I met up with Lindsay at the Fat Cat, 23 Alma Street S3 8SA (0114 2494801 - website), a pub I first visited in 1989, and, locally, the two pubs, which are a stones lob away from each other, are referred to together as the KitCat! The Fat Cat has its own brewery next door, Kelham Island Brewery (website), where I worked whilst a postgraduate student many years ago.

Problem, I cannot remember what I had to drink, mainly because it was good to meet up and chat with friends I hadn't seen for years, I also chatted to Diane and Stephen behind the bar too, obviously... Also, we met up with 2 away fans, and their buddy from Exeter, father and son; the younger studying at Sheffield Hallam University.  

When Lindsay, Jeff, Dave and I left the KIT we finished off at The Shakespeare, 146-148 Gibraltar Street S3 8UB (0114 2755959 - website), 3 excellent pubs in such close proximity, and quite a few not so far away either! Here, by chance, I also met up with a few others I hadn't seen for a while, including 'Owls' fan, Ian, and, though I'm sure I drank something else too, or maybe just more than one pint of this, The Da Vinci Cod (4.5%). Brewed by another Sheffield brewer, Abbeydale (website), dry-hopped with Vic Secret, and I have written, citrus fruity, dry & bitter, "A Carman Miranda of an ale", £2.90 a pint, and I liked it, a lot!    

More to come, cheers!