One thing I had to keep telling myself whilst writing this report was ‘the grass is always greener on the other side‘ yet no matter how much I kept reminding myself of this fact I can’t help but think that’s utter rubbish, because when it comes to real ale Sheffield mercilessly pans Nottingham into the floor, and then some.
Not only did the steel city offer up a wider selection, but it was significantly cheaper than most of the pubs in Nottingham, the cheapest round coming to £6.75 for 3 pints (no, not in a Wetherspoons) this brings a lot of things into perspective, not only does it appear Nottingham is overly expensive for no real reason, but a lot of Nottingham pubs could really do with bucking up their ideas. It’s worth keeping in mind this trip was taken on a Tuesday, not a weekend, if you drank this kind of time mid-week in Nottingham you’d be lucky to get a few beers on, with many turned round preparing for Friday.
We started the day off in the Bankers draft, which is an easy walk from the train station and right outside the tram network, this is a large Wetherspoons/Lloyds #1 with a hotel lobby feel to it, it’s large, well decorated, modern and clean, something that makes you realise just how bad the likes of other Wetherspoons such as Nottinghams Roebuck Inn, really are.
Hawkshead – Cumbrian 5 hop was the drink I started the day off with, and it was superb, it turns out that was just a taste of things to come, we went outside, then got on the blue route tram to Shalesmoor.
Additional; I went to Sheffield again recently, 4 can go using a group saver ticket for £23, that’s £5.75 each including return!
The Wellington is just literally up the road from the tram stop at Shalesmoor, making it the perfect place to continue proceedings, the tram ride was under 5 minutes and was £1.50.
As you have probably gathered from the above picture the Wellington is home to The Little Ale Cart and as expected many of their beers are on the bar, many even now are around £2.20 a pint, which belies just how good they are, more on that in a moment though.
The Wellington is a no nonsense pub serving around 10 ales at once, it’s basic and the focus is on the beer as you can see above, of note was a beer the Little Ale Cart brew called Father Ambrose, which was fantastic. Though I can have no complaints about the other 4 beers I tried.
After finishing up in the Wellington we looked at proceeding to the next pub, thankfully this is viewable from the Wellingtons doors, easy enough!
The Ship Inn
The ship is one of the oldest pubs in Sheffield I’m told, but I wanted a pint then, not 100 years ago, so less of the history lesson.
The Ship had the smallest range of the day, serving around 4 ales, however the two tried where yet again up there with the best, Thornbridge – Chiron being another quality beer from the Thornbridge stable, but it was well beaten by Bradfield – Farmers Blonde, I wanted to sample more from the Bradfield brewery, but there’s only so much a man can drink so we set off to the next pub, these are a little tricky to find but the barman of the ship was nice enough to point us in the right direction, top bloke.
Kelham Island Tavern
The Kelham Island Tavern offered another large selection of just over 10, the pick of the bunch here being Bank Top Brewery – Sir Henry Morgan (pictured with the skull and crossbone) One mistake I did make was not trying the Branta as pictured above, we assumed it would be on at the Sheffield Tap, wrong! Another thing to note about this pub is they have signs up saying that you can be refused further service for swearing, so watch your mouth! Oddly enough we didn’t spot a single Kelham Island brewed beer on.
Additional; after a further visit to Shefflied this week, I can confirm that the majority of beers are priced at £2.10 a pint in the Kelham Island Tavern.
The Fat Cat
The Fat Cat was packed full of character, I thought the Wellington reminded me of the Dewdrop in Ilkeston but this did even moreso. The Fat Cat with its wonky floors and strange bar layout was probably the most unique of the day, serving up even more quality beer, Prior’s Well – Gardener’s Tap being the pick, another pub I could have happily spent the rest of the day drinking in.
I’m assured the pork pies where top notch, and Monday nights sound interesting, where between 8-11pm a select Kelham Island beer is £1.30 a pint!
In the summer this place will be unmissable, alas as you can see from the pictures our visit was very dark, cold, and wet. There are around 8 beers on and the clientel is an excellent mix of young and old (even on a Friday night when visited) the vibe was pleasant and friendly, the outside seating area was excellent and I can’t wait to go back when it’s warm, then I will take some better pictures of course.
As you’re walking from the Fat Cat, follow it round on the same side of the road as the little tesco, easy.
1 Mowbray St, Neepsend, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S3 8EN
The Harlequin again offered up a selection worthy of spending the rest of the day trying, it had the greatest selection with around 15 pumps and many craft beers in bottles (a full range of the tasty yet expensive Flying Dog brewery) this was also the largest pub with multiple seating areas.
It’s fair to say the standard was already pretty high, but Sheffield hit me for six again with local boys The Brew Company – Nevada being easily my best drink of 2011 so far, ‘hopped with citra’ it said, you can hop it with whatever you like when it tastes as good as that!
We concluded the day by re-tracing our steps back to the station where they just happened to have yet another brilliant pub right on the platform.
The Sheffield tap concluded the day nicely, not only did they have a great range of Thornbridge, they had 5 titanic beers on the other side of the bar, I couldn’t get a shot of those, but in all again they had around 10 beers on.
A beer of note for me in here was Matuska – Raptor IPA, which weighed in at 6.2% and was brewed in the Czech Republic, it was lethally drinkable, thankfully the train was due, a day on that would test the best of drinkers…
Oooh, that was a long un! Well that concludes the longest post on Nottsbrew by a country mile, I think I will take a break now as this has taken me an age to piece together! Sheffield really is worth the effort to try, the train fare is cheap and it’s under an hour to get there. I hope from the pictures and my small write ups on each place it gives you an idea of what it’s all about, quite honestly you could spend a full day drinking in any of the pubs above, I’m not sure I could say that about too many in Nottingham…