The Sheffield Dilemma

The Sheffield Dilemma is simple: lots of quality pubs and bars, stacks of great beer, not enough time. Crawls can easily become route marches; when the hit-list reaches sixteen places, you know it ain't going to happen. Not without A&E being the seventeenth stop. So on Saturday with the sun blazing in Steel City, I decided to do the sensible thing. Mooch around with no particular place to go.

With Stoph McBride in tow, our PlusBus tickets were flexed and cool beers quaffed. Here's what we worked through:

Sheffield Tap

Early doors, straight off the train for a throat-loosener.

Thornbridge Pivni. Exclusive brew by the Derbyshire giants of micro for the Taps bars. Big fat sticky head with tons of grapefruit. Hardly touched the sides as first beer of the day. And 3.2%? I'll drink to that.

Marble Rye. a.k.a The Last Stronge Beer, swansong of the departing Colin Stronge. Deft touch with the rye, just enough sweetness to temper berries and bitterness.

Buxton Axe Edge. Stoph's pint, which I gladly accepted a taster of. One of the standout cask ales of the year for me, dry-hopped up the wazoo in the inimitable James Kemp stylee. Perhaps the most convincing blackberry flavour in a beer that I've come across.


Up and out of the Eccy Road for something cold and fizzy in Thornbridge's flagship pub.

Thornbridge Steelmaker. The brewer's first ever Helles in support of the Save the Portland Works campaign. Simple, slighly spiced and incredibly refreshing. Stoph had a Thornbridge Wild Swan as well whilst I sank another Steelmaker. Heavenly helles indeed...


Summer Wine Radius. One of those pale ales that long afternoons sitting outside in the sun was invented for. Epic with a cheese & onion cob. Although, apparently, I'm not allowed to call them cobs in Yorkshire...

Fat Cat

Whilst Stoph choked back a Kelham Island affair (Pale Rider, possibly), I couldn't help but have a bottle of Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen. A softer touch than the Marzen, still plenty of bacon-smoke but not overpowering.

Kelham Island Tavern

Pictish Brewer's Gold. That's all I need to say. Apart from.... mmmmmm.


Mallinsons Something. No idea what, but it was pale & hoppy. Yes, we should have drank something from Little Ale Cart as the kind man behind the bat suggested (well, practically demanded) we drink but you can't win 'em all. Still, you can't beat a pub that has framed copies of 'Real Ale Twats' on the wall and staff wearing "Buy Before You Try" t-shirts.

Sheffield Tap (again)

Some Bernard Světlý Ležák 12°, unfiltered Czech lager, followed by some more lager for me. Not sure what Stoph had. But I had lager. Oh, yes siree.

The train back to Derby

Marble Weizen. In a plastic cup. From a 500ml bottle. Some clove, some nana, one beer I'd like to try early in the day when my palate wasn't fading.

The upshot? Good beer is where you find it. In Sheffield, you find it everywhere - in smart bars and backstreet boozers; in cask, keg and bottle; in traditional and modern styles. It's all out there, waiting for you. All you've got to do is pick it up and drink it.


  1. Thanks for another great beery day out Simon. Axe Edge one of the highlights of the day for me. From memory the Mallinsons was Amarillo II paired with Pork Scratchings & CAMRA bashing by the barman! Oh and the last beer in the Tap - Magic Rock Highwire, yum!

  2. Blackberry! Fantastic stuff, glad you liked it because I wasn't happy with that gyle at the one I just racked...that's a good un! :)


  3. Blackberry! Fantastic stuff, glad you liked it because I wasn't happy with that gyle at the one I just racked...that's a good un! :)