MAD CAMRA does Sheffield
by Jeff Glaves
An enthusiastic bunch assembled outside Matlock Coop at 4pm on Saturday 18th October to be conveyed in Ian’s trusty bus to sample the delights of the Division Street area bars and pubs.
First up was Henry’s Cafe Bar on Cambridge Street, where we met Peter B. This is a modern split level bar with lots of pumps, unfortunately most of which were not dispensing beer as the cellar man had suffered an injury. Just 4 real ales on, of which I tried Clarks Classic Blonde -ok, but not terrific.
We swiftly moved around the corner to The Brewhouse on Wellington Street. This pub has an onsite brewery, visible through huge glass windows and an industrial sort of vibe with exposed steel beams and lots of white tiles. The favourite beer seemed to be Aardvark Test Brew 7.
Our next hostelry was the Old House on Devonshire Street. Very busy and lively, with a good choice of beer. I tried Saltaire Sovereign Harvest, a very satisfactory flavoursome golden ale.
We were having difficulty hearing ourselves speak in this busy pub, so decamped to the quieter Red Deer on Pitt Street. A traditional pub with a pleasant feel to it, and you can definitely conduct a conversation here. I had Prescotts Chequered Flag, which was well presented.
A short hop across West Street took us to The Hop in the West One Plaza on Fitzwilliam Street. A modern pub, but with an interesting interior. Owned by the Ossett Brewery with a large choice of their own and many other real ales. My choice was Ilkley Mary Jane, very nice too.
Close by is the Bath Hotel, a traditional character pub owned by Thornbridge, with a decent choice of their own and guest beers. The Thornbridge Desert Sessions was my nicest pint of the evening.
At this point several of us were feeling peckish, so the decision was made to go to our next pub, the Devonshire Cat, via take away outlets on Devonshire Street. Curiously, the group walked straight past two take aways before heading down a side street towards the pub without stopping to purchase any food.
The Devonshire Cat is a huge modern pub with lots of hand pulls and a massive choice of bottled beer (Belgian, USA etc). It even has a Belgian Style Beer Menu. Although I usually like to try new beers on a trip like this, I could not resist one of my favourites – Abbeydale Absolution, which never disappoints. Since we had failed to get any food, everyone was dipping into Simon’s chip nutty, leaving him with just the bread.
As time was marching on, and Ian was picking us up from the last pub at 9.30,we made fast tracks down to the Sheffield Tap on the Railway Station. Beautifully restored by Thornbridge, this is a must see stop on any pub crawl in Sheffield. They even have an onsite brewery in the restored Edwardian First Class Dining Room (Tapped Brew Co). I tried one of their brews which seemed very satisfactory. Everyone seemed very satisfied by their varied choices, and reluctant to tear themselves away when the bus was announced. Kelvin brought his almost full pint on to the bus to finish.
Ian helpfully dropped all of us off near to home, a huge benefit to those of us who live out in the sticks. The trip was a great success, as usual. Thanks to Peter Boitoult and Graham Dawson for organising. Thanks to Peter B for the pub notes, and Ian for transport. Cheers.