This blog continues from Part 2 of my pub crawl round Sheffield, which can be found here.
Leaving The Hop, we ventured out into the night, initially making for the Bath Hotel on Victoria Street. This pub has been sympathetically restored to its 1930s splendour, and has won a place on CAMRA’s National Inventory of historic pub interiors. Sadly, on this occasion, it was very crowded and we were unable to sit, and standing was quite a jostly affair, so we moved on to our next target, a long walk to the University Arms on Brook Hill. This pub is owned by Sheffield University and is cosy with a well-preserved interior with the bar filling one end of the long main room. Six handpumps were in operation, offering a good range of beers and styles.
Straight away, I spotted a Milton brew on the bar – Saturnalia. Having been impressed with Milton during a visit to their native Cambridgeshire last year (see here), I ordered myself a jar of that. I’m not quite sure what this is classified as, but it ticked all the boxes for an IPA in my book. It’s pale yellow in colour and has an ABV of 5.3%. The taste is superb, lots of hoppy bitterness with an excellent citrussy pithiness. A first class IPA.
Next, I ordered half a pint of the unappetising sounding Acorn Ancient Grease. This is a dark beer, very deep red in colour, with a comfortably quaffable 4.1% ABV. There is a clear ginger aroma to this brew, and the ginger continues into the taste, where I also found a nice, smooth, chocolate flavour. It’s a curious combination, but it works surprisingly well, and I found myself enjoying it more than I expected from the name.
There followed a couple of rather disappointing beers. Derby Masterplan, a 4% bitter(?) failed to raise any interest in its dull, boring taste, and Kelham Island Bohemian Rhapsody, a 4.7% bitter fared little better, being somewhat hoppy, but not terribly interesting. Time to move on to our last pub of the first day.
I have to admit to being a little beer-weary by this point in the evening. I wasn’t drunk, just full. Imagine, then, my despair when we arrived at the Rutland Arms on Brown Street and found a bar positively bristling with handpumps dispensing beers from the Dark Star brewery. They must have had a Dark Star festival or something. It was, as I’m sure you will concur, not possible to pass up on such an opportunity, and before I could say ‘Slap me with a wet fish, Mother,’* there was a pint of Dark Star’s superb 4.2% Espresso Stout sitting on the table in front of me. Dark Star brewery, from Brighton, is one of my favourite brewers. Over the years I have sampled 32 different beers from this brewery. One disappointed and two I found to be average. That leaves 29 fabulous ales. The Espresso Stout was on top form, rich and malty with a huge wallop of coffee flavour.
Not content with just one sample of Dark Star’s art, I followed the Espresso Stout with a Sussex Extra Stout, marginally stronger than Espresso at 4.5%, the taste is much more restrained. It is mildly malty with some hops present, but definitely not to the fore. The overwhelming taste is sweetness. A very drinkable stout.
By this time, I really could face no more, and Lady A and I left our by now very happy friends with the Dark Stars and made our way back to our hotel (uphill all the way!)
I slept soundly that night, and awoke the following morning keen to resume the crawl.
To continue with the crawl, go here.
* I have no idea why I might have considered uttering these words, and you may be relieved to know that in fact, I did not.
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