Ticking the tickers

Sheffield. The Valley of Beer. Always home to a ticker or two. Except for yesterday. When you couldn't move in most pubs for the blighters.

Why? It's been called the Tickers Ball, the Scooper's Social. It is, of course, a city-wide piss-up for the guys and gals who hunt beer with the voracity of a predator coming off a starvation diet. There were beers, pubs, banter, pork pies, Bernards and pratfalls. Here's a hurried summary.

Sheffield Tap, 10am. Arbor Ales 500 Minute IPA, 10.7%. The first few mouthfuls were overly-intense but it settled into hoppy tripel territory. Needed a cheeseboard accompaniment. Or a bacon butty. Bar full of tickers in faded waterproofs. I sat round the corner reading Orwell.

Rutland Arms, 11am. Steel City Top Of The Hops, 5%ish. Restrained for a Steel City brew and dare I say all the better for it? I don't think I mentioned this to the brewers, Gazza and Dave, at the time. But Dave was busy finding a late hop addition and Gazza had just spontaneously combusted after being asked how much crystal malt he uses. Tickers - plenty, though I spent most of my time with these two apeths.

DAda, 12.15pm, Thormbridge Chiron, 5%. The faded waterproof brigade were already in attendance which is why it took me five minutes to get served. Satiated my carbonic bite urge with the feisty Chiron, sat at the Jaipur table.

Shakespeares, 1.15pm, Revolutions something or other (can't remember) and Steel City A Slight Case of Overhopping 7. And a turkey & cranberry roll. And a cheese and tomato roll. 60p for a roll? Cheaper than chips. More banter with the Steel City crew, the ever-hoptastic Tara Mallinson and Brian 'The Champ' Moore.

Harlequin, 2.10pm, The Brew Company Silly Billy Chilli Stout and Golden Valley Legend. A much-needed phone charge and two cracking beers. The slow-slow chilli burn in the stout, the spritzy Belgique baked lemon prickle of the Orval-yeasted Legend. And I spotted the Vicar of Rotherham. Bonus.

Fat Cat, 3.45pm, Blue Monkey Winter Woolly. Absolutely rammed inside, retreated to the almost-empty bitterly-cold beer garden. First disappointing beer of the day, all rather muddied and lost. Plant feed. On the upside, the pork pie is as epic as ever with its shrapnel pastry and just-so-seasoned meat.

Kelham Island Tavern, 4.00pm Acorn Gorlovka. Stood outside with Neil MacGowan and Graeme Wood. Now at the stage of the afternoon where conversations are tangential and beers become circumstantial.

Wellington, 4.30pm, Little Ale Cart Something that had Herkules in it and cost £2.10 a pint. At that price, I'm not fussy about names. By now, the Cask and Welly is the very ebb and flow of the ticker's A-Z. Gazza said hops were "rubbish", we all agreed that beer blogging was "AWESOME!!!" and everyone stood still long enough for me to take a pic. "Beige" Phil Booton and Brian "The Champ" Moore? I am not worthy...

An impromptu tour of Steel City / Little Ale Cart brewery followed. Some beer was drunk. Some hops were sniffed (and I refused to play along with the guess-the-variety game. Childish Twunt could be my middle name).

Which left just enough time for me to fall off a trickily-curved tram platform and shag my left patella, buy some chocolate brownies from the Rutland, down a bottle of Steel City DILLIGAF on the train home and be grateful for this fact: Sheffield is full of great beer, great pubs, great brewers and decent pork pies.

In a word: awesome. Right, Gazza ;-)


  1. Sounds like a fab day out :-)
    Is it an annual thing? Is there a mimimum ticking competency you have to pass to attend? Keep thinking I should work out sometime when bored exactly how many beers I've tasted over the years, cause it must be many thousands (if I did 60 on last month's Prague trip alone!), but not been quite that bored yet ;-)

  2. 'refused to play'? as i recall you had your head in the hopsack like a horse with a nosebag! though i understand your reluctance (sorry) to mention you failed to identify a single one, while a lager-drinking girl got 3 ;-)

    as for the tram platform incident...

  3. Tania - competency doesn't come into it. As Dave will testify. Make a date in your diary for next year.

    Dave - I always let the ladies go first. And thanks for coming running when I fell. Note how I managed a cunning forward roll, so protecting the bottle of DILLIGAF?

  4. the oddest thing about the acrobatics was the lead-in... you crossed a road unnecessarily, ran back across to the wrong tram platform, tripped over it, before eventually finding the correct platform...

    kudos on protecting the beer though!