The Annual General Meeting of the Foreign Beer Bars (BSF) from the Great British Beer Festival took place earlier this month in Sheffield. We meet to plan how we'll do things next time and review what we did right and what didn't go so well at the last event. Like all these things, it doesn't just happen, but is thought through as much as it can be and it all takes place through considerable human effort. I haven't told you about it as I've been ill ever since. Not through too much beer, but caused by a viral infection from which I am slowly recovering. Still, I am better enough to mention a couple of things before they fade like all endearing charms tend to.
I'll tell you about other aspects of Sheffield in another post, including our trip to Thornbridge Brewery itself and a bit about where the meeting took place, but I must first mention another fantastic pub. The Red Deer, an unspoilt traditional pub just off West Street. Not only is it a lovely multi roomed boozer, but it has the kind of easy going atmosphere and mixed crowd that makes you want to stay for more than one. So we did of course. We sought the barman's advice on some of the local brews and he knew his stuff and couldn't have been more helpful. We settled on Stancill Stainless after being reassured by said barman. Described as "Unfined, vegan and naturally hazy." our antennae were finely tuned into trying to discern something decent amid the murk. Instead we were presented by a perfectly clear, beautifully balanced best bitter, lush with malt and with a big Cascade hop hit. Poise, balance and elegance. Class in a glass in fact.
So, three things if not learned, reinforced. Cask conditioning can be just the dab for rather strong beers if the brewery and cellarman know their stuff. Unfined beer does not have to look like chicken soup if the brewer and cellarman know their stuff and good pubs and good beer, when mixed correctly in the right proportions, attract the right crowd and are a winning combination.
Simple stuff really, but highly recommended for great beer and great pubs.
Note the Gilmour's Brewery window in the Red Deer photo. I understand too that the Bath Hotel has its interior listed as being of national importance. I can see why.
I won't mention the very unwise kebab, or how messily it was eaten either.