This blog follows on directly from Part 1 of my Sheffield pub crawl here.
As we left the last blog, I was in the Waterworks, a ‘Spoons. Leaving there, we walked along to Devonshire Street for our next two pubs. The first was the invitingly named Frog & Parrot. At first glance, it doesn’t look like a pub from the outside and perhaps aware that the name does not immediately shout ‘Pub!’, the owners have helpfully added the words ‘the pub’ to their signage.
Inside, the pub is attractively laid out with tables on different levels. The bar sported beers from Greene King and St Austell. Being something of a contrarian, I opted for the beer with the oddest name, Lord Parrot by ‘Domo Cervesia’, which I suppose just means ‘house beer’. I have no idea who actually brews this, but I realised that I wouldn’t be able to get it anywhere else (at least under that name) so I duly bought myself a jar of it. It’s a 3.8% bitter, orange coloured and slightly cloudy. It has a fairly ‘modern’ taste, not really like a traditional bitter. It’s smooth with hints of grain and cream, and it actually slid down quite nicely. I’d be happy with it for a session.
Back to warp speed, no time to waste, we headed off to the next bar, just across the road. The Old House has a rather grand frontage, and inside is surprisingly roomy. The tables are mostly against the walls, leaving a large open space between them. The atmosphere is friendly and comfortable, and importantly, there is a well-stocked bar. Somewhere on the pub premises there is also a proto-brewery, True North. Their very first beer was on offer that day, so I had to go for it. First Born (also the name I coined for my first ever beer brew 20 or so years ago) is a 4.3% bitter (similar to my own Firstborn). It’s a nice pale yellow in colour. The hops are present more in flavour than in bitterness. It’s smooth and really quite a pleasant beer.
I next opted for another local Sheffield brew, Kelham Island 45rpm (I’m old enough that 45rpm means something to me! Try telling a kid these days ‘You sound like a broken record’ – ‘A what?’). 45rpm is a 4.5% bitter (hence the name, I guess), with a nice orange colour. My first thought was that this beer was distinctly odd. It was bitter, but there was a strange rough edge to the taste that I couldn’t identify.
Finally for the Old House, I went off at an obtuse angle and plumped for a Franziskaner Weissbier. This is a traditional Bavarian wheat beer, cloudy white with an ABV of 5%. Frankly, I’m no expert on wheat beers, but this had all the flavours I would expect, but seemed rather sweeter than most examples of the style that I’ve tasted, and was very good. A nice palate freshener.
We’d dawdled long enough in the pleasant environs of The Old House and so we moved on to a far more modern looking pub, The Hop, a very fashionable venue for fine ale and live music which still somehow manages to maintain the comfortable atmosphere of a traditional pub. The bar is long and sports an impressive array of handpumps. To the left is a large, semicircular room with a completely glass exterior wall. At one side there’s a small stage where the bands perform. The beers on offer were quite varied. There’s a good range of beers from Ossett brewery and from Ossett’s offshoot, the Rat Brewery. Ossett Brewery’s other offshoots are Fernandes and Riverhead. I also noted beers from Hawkshead and Fullers.
As Rat is fairly new (it only started operating in September 2011), I went for a Brown Rat, a traditional 3.8% brown ale. It was surprisingly smooth, with clear notes of malt and treacle, though quite sweet, just as a brown ale should be.
As we sat by the great glass wall of The Hop, darkness descended on the city of Sheffield, and we prepared ourselves for our first night in the Steel City…
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