In last month’s Beer Matters, I promised to make a special effort to break with tradition and try some of the paler offerings on Sheffield’s handpumps. The recent spell of decent weather has made it easier to do just that, with the golden ales, IPAs and wheat beers perfectly complimenting the longer, warmer days. How long either the British summer or my new-found affection for pale ales will last, who can say? Anyway, I’ll enjoy them both while they last! Here are three of my favourites from the last few weeks:
What: Ellensberg (4.3%) – Harbour (Cornwall)
Where: Ale House, Fraser Road
This was my first visit to this community-owned pub which is somewhat off the beaten track, between Millhouses and Woodseats. I was pleasantly surprised with the great range of real ales on offer, but the best of the bunch was this session IPA. The beer poured a clear amber colour with a thin head and had a fantastic citrus aroma. Oranges were the predominant flavour rather than the usual hoppy bitterness of stronger IPAs. A great, smooth, drinkable beer that justified the decision to leave the car at home!
What: Hildur (4.8%) – Neepsend (Sheffield)
Where: Dorothy Pax, Victoria Quays
A fleeting spell of good weather in the middle of April presented the perfect opportunity to head down to Victoria Quays. This rhubarb wheat beer provided some much-needed refreshment on a blisteringly hot day. I’ve always been a fan of Bavarian-style wheat beers and while this perhaps wasn’t quite in their league, it was a great homage with a Yorkshire twist. The beer had the traditional cloudy appearance, and the tartness of rhubarb was a great foil for the wheat beer yeast. The fact it was served at the perfect temperature was a bonus too!
What: Ryed Like the Wind (4.0%) – Hopjacker (Dronfield)
Where: White Lion, Heeley
This makes two months in a row that a beer from the White Lion has made it into my Casks of the Month, a testament to the fantastic range of guest ales available there. This rye pale ale brewed with Chinook hops was unfined, giving it a distinctive hazy, golden look with a foamy, white head. On tasting, this was full of hop character with a slightly savoury flavour from the rye. A really nice sessionable pale.
I’ll see you next month with three more of my favourite cask beers from the last few weeks (beer styles weather-dependent)!