It was great to see some beers from further afield featured in Poppy’s Casks of the Month column last time out. GBBF was a great event and the range of beers on offer was simply staggering – I would have been hard pushed to only choose three!
It’s back to business as usual this month though as we return to three of the best real ales spotted on Sheffield’s handpumps. A couple of weeks off work recently, as well as a stack of Good Beer Guide congratulation letters to deliver, have proved a good opportunity to try out a few pubs I visit less frequently. There’s nothing better than when a pub slightly off the beaten track rewards your journey with a selection of interesting and well-kept ales. Here are three of my favourites from the last few weeks:
What: Stormin’ Norman (6.5%) – Great Heck (near Selby)
Where: Devonshire Cat
Not for the faint of heart, this beer certainly satisfied when I was in the mood for something a little stronger and hoppier than the average golden ale. A modern revival of one of the brewery’s old favourites, my pint had a rich golden colour with a pristine white head. The aroma was full of tropical and citrus fruits, with mango and grapefruit particularly coming to the fore. Upon drinking, the palate was remarkably well balanced, with malt in the background and dominant hops masking the percentage very well.
What: Melba (5.2%) – Thornbridge (Ashford in the Water)
Where: Cross Scythes
I’m always a bit wary of beers that claim particular flavours, such as this peach IPA, but in this case there was no cause for concern. Originally brewed as a special beer for Thornbridge’s now defunct Dada bar, this one has been around for a while now but was in excellent condition on a recent visit to the Cross Scythes at Norton Lees. The beer delivered exactly what it promised, with both aroma and flavour characterised by definite, but not overpowering, peach. Very refreshing.
What: Saltwick Nab (4.2%) – Whitby
Where: Ale House
Upon asking for a half of this best bitter, I was advised that it might be better to have a taster first to make sure I would like it. Not a promising start you might think, but I actually found this to be very decent. A deep amber colour in the glass, this was a little sweeter than your average bitter, with the malts bringing a pleasant hint of toffee which balanced the traditional English hops well. A nice, sessionable bitter.
Next month, I’ll be bringing you my top three beers from the Steel City Beer & Cider Festival. What better excuse to try as many as possible?