Andy has been actively involved in CAMRA since the early 2000s after being recruited to sit on a National Younger Members Task Group.
Since then he has held roles on the branch committee including Secretary, Membership Secretary, Magazine Editor, Chair and now Social Secretary.
Andy has also been involved with the Steel City Beer & Cider Festival almost every year since becoming active in the branch.
One of the features of our Steel City Beer & Cider festival is branded glasses to drink from. This year we had pint glasses in partnership with Hendersons Relish and half pint glasses in partnership with Bradfield Brewery. If you didn’t make it to the festival and still want to get hold of a glass – either for yourself or maybe as a Christmas present for someone you know – then good news – we have some left and our friends at Beer Central are selling them for just £3 each. You can also bundle them up with beer, cider or mead to create a gift pack.
Beer Central is located in Sheffield City Centre in the Moor Market building.
Vernon Kay, off of BBC Radio 2, has been running 115 miles across Derbyshire to raise funds for the Children in Need charity appeal, followed by an entourage that includes Pudsey Bear. As he passed through Bakewell he was presented with a Bakewell Pudding by the Rutland Arms, he also visited the Queen Anne in Hucklow then in the village of Hope the party was welcomed to the Old Hall Hotel by landlord Rick for an overnight stay and full Derbyshire breakfast to set them up for another big day which saw Vernon run past the Rambler Inn at Edale!
A classic old multi-roomed pub that came into new ownership post Covid and is slowly being refurbished inside and out, other changes already implemented is opening throughout the week, an increase in the choice of cask ales and handpump and the addition of craft beer to the keg taps. The pub also features retro arcade games and pinball, pool tables, classic juke box, stage for live music and sports on TV in some rooms. It also has an outdoor drinking area at rear.
Getting there: Bus 7, 8, 86 and 97 pass the front door.
Two shop units converted into a bar with some great real ales and other craft beers plus of course wines and spirits too. It opens all day and also serves decent coffee and a selection of cakes. Some evenings has entertainment such as a pub quiz or singer.
Getting there: buses 50, 50a, 53 and 55 pass the front door.
OXBOW, WOODHOUSE MILL
This little micropub is what the Americans might term a “neighbourhood bar”, ie a traditional community local in miniature with friendly regulars. Since opening the venue has extended a little bit with the construction of a sheltered seating area outside between the shop front and pavement. The bar features good quality craft beers on both cask and keg. Note card payment only.
Getting there: bus 52 stops outside or bus X5 stops just around the corner on the main road.
RUTLAND ARMS, CITY CENTRE
One of the classic boozers of the City Centre, the heritage tiled exterior sitting alongside more modern artwork on the beer garden wall giving you a clue what to expect inside – a fairly traditional interior but with lots of examples of the modestly punk attitude and humour of the staff and customers covering the walls whilst on the bar traditional real ales sit next to a varied range of modern craft beers. The food menu offers drinkers ballast like chip butties alongside specials that a fancy bistro might be proud of.
Getting there: buses 10, 10a, 32, 56, 57, 57a, 65, 95, 95a, 218, 271 and 272 stop outside; there are also many other buses, trains and trams a short walk away.
CROW INN, WEST BAR
The Crow was opened in its current guise in 2019 after a full refit, under previous ownership it had been operating as a budget hotel. It continues to offer rooms upstairs which have been refurbished to a modern and comfortable standard whilst on the ground floor it has been restored as a pub with a comfortable lounge area and a bar serving a selection of craft beers on cask and keg by friendly and knowledgeable staff, the spirits list is also rather credible too! Snacks available include pork pies and sausage rolls.
Getting there: bus 31 stops outside or buses 57, 57a, 81, 82 and 86 stop a few minutes walk away on Gibraltar Street.
Tourism Young Achiever – Steph Taylor of Atlantik Inns (who runs the Anchor near Tideswell) and Emma West of Longbow Bars & Restaurants (the company that runs the Maynard in Grindleford, George in Hathersage and soon the Ashford Arms).
Unsung Hero – Adrian Gagea of Longbow Bars & Restaurants.
We were invited to join our friends in the Dronfield & District CAMRA branch on some of their events recently.
WIRKSWORTH & MATLOCK BUS TRIP
The first joint social was a trip on the Stagecoach X17 bus which runs from Sheffield and Chesterfield through to Wirksworth via Matlock. The service runs half hourly as far as Matlock with one bus an hour continuing to Wirksworth. Currently An all day Derbyshire Wayfarer bus pass costs £8 or single tickets are just £2 a ride thanks to a government subsidised fare cap!
Given that the longest bus ride is much more comfortably done without a bladder full of beer we started at the furthest pub away – the Feather Star in Wirksworth. This quirky pub, which doubled up as a shop selling vinyl records, offered a choice of around 6 cask ales on handpump plus a number of interesting craft beers on keg too.
After a couple of beers we jumped back on an X17 to Cromford for a cheeky half in the Boat Inn. Had it not been raining the beer garden would have been an attractive proposition here but instead we grabbed an inside table not required by diners for our brief visit before heading to the bus stop for a Trent Barton 6.1 bus, unfortunately it didn’t turn up so the opportunity was taken to grab lunch at the chippy by the bus stop and instead catch the next X17 down to Matlock Bath!
The choice pub here was the Fishpond. A limited but attractive beer range here and most tables inside were reserved for diners, however the place to be is the heated and sheltered outside area with a view of the fishpond and waterfall!
The other place to go for the real ale drinker, after walking past various amusement arcades, fish & chip shops and ice cream parlours, is the Old Banknote, a micropub with three handpumps, which on our visit featured a choice of beers from Eyam brewery.
The next move was back on the X17 into Matlock town. We had an ambitious list of good pubs in the town but limited ourselves just to Bod Cafe-bar run by Titanic Brewery along with the award winning Twenty-Ten bar, two venues almost next door to one another, before heading back to Chesterfield and Sheffield (with an easy connection to Dronfield on the 43/44 bus from Chesterfield before the X17 heads up the bypass fast to Sheffield).
MEET & GREET #1 – COACH & HORSES
The Coach & Horses pub is on the edge of Dronfield attached to the Sheffield FC football ground and is run by Thornbridge brewery and the Dronfield CAMRA branch took the pub over on the evening of Friday 6 October to meet & greet local drinkers and hopefully recruit some new members. The evening started with a beer tasting with samples of various Thornbridge beers shared around, this was followed by a beer themed quiz then live music provided by Jamie Mallender’s Swear Box. The branch also hosted a membership stand in the pub with lots of information available.
Later in October saw another Dronfield CAMRA Friday night Meet & Greet event, this time at the Dronfield Arms, which is home to Temper Brewing.
Again the evening featured a beer tasting with everyone in the pub offered tasters from Temper’s cask beer range along with a quiz. Pizza Pi, who serve from a kiosk in the pub beer garden from 4pm-9pm Thursday to Saturday also provided a few free samples which tempted many to order themselves a full pizza!
Since then the branch ran a Sunday social on 19 November starting off with a carvery lunch at the Dronfield Pioneer Club followed by a wander down the hill to the Dronfield Arms and Underdog.
The next Dronfield branch event is a branch meeting at the White Swan on 12 December, 8pm start then:
Sunday 7 January – Post Christmas social: Sunday carvery and a pint at the Hyde Park Inn at Hill Top.
Tuesday 9 January – branch meeting at the Pioneer Club in Dronfield.
Tuesday 13 February – branch meeting at the George & Dragon in Holmesfield.
More information about what Dronfield & District branch are up to can be found on their website – dronfield.camra.org.uk and look out for their “Peel Ale” magazine.
A recent new brew from Temper Brewing of Dronfield has been Nectaron, a refreshing session pale with notes of passion fruit and peach in the flavour. This sold very quickly when it hit the Dronfield Arms bar!
Recently released in cask by Grizzly Grain brewery is Get Back, the latest in their “Get” series, hopped with Citra and Bru-1 which brings pineapple flavour with citrus background and refreshing bitterness. Meanwhile in bottle and keg is their latest farmhouse Saison, brewed with Sheffield grown Opal Plums. Looking forward, Sam with his Sheffield Mead hat on has been up at the Old Shoe bar pressing apples as part of a collaboration with Exemption Ciderhouse.
November saw Bradfield Brewery launch the 2023 brew of Belgian Blue for its annual outing in the run up to Christmas, however they have been hinting that December will be seeing the release of something a bit more limited edition and special and posted an image of some wooden barrels. Back in 2021 they produced “Farmers Kerry Stout”, a 12 month barrel aged 8% ABV stout, sold in bottles.
Emmanuales‘ annual Christmas event, “Hope & Beers”, is this year being hosted at the Raven in Walkley from 6pm on Saturday 9 December. The bar will be pouring some exclusive draught beers from Emmanuales (as well as the Loxley casks the pub normally serve) whilst brewer Nick will be leading carol singing including some funked up festive hymns. So come all ye faithful, it’s a most wonderful time for a beer!
Welbeck Abbey Brewery has decided to discontinue “Beer in a Box” polypins as they strive to reduce their use of single use plastics in the business.
One of Neepsend Brewery’s stronger offerings recently has been Apollo, an 8.4% ABV Double IPA hopped with a combination of Talus, Azacca, Citra, El Dorado and Lupomax Mosaic. This beer also marks their Gyle 900! If you missed it on cask at pubs like the Wellington (the brewery tap) and the Sheaf View (where it featured in their winter beer festival) it is also available in can.
New Triple Point Brewingbeers seen on their bar recently includes AAGGHH!! brewed in collaboration with Loud Shirt Brewery of Brighton. This is a 5.4% ABV New England IPA brewed with Galaxy, Cryo Citra, and Cryo HBC 586 hops giving a fruity character and not too much bitterness. Also appearing ready for the winter is their Porter, 4.4% ABV with tasting notes of rich chocolate and spiced berry with a smooth coffee finish.
Drone Valley Brewery has brewed a special Christmas beer, it is a 4.5% ABV spiced amber ale.
We’ve previously mentioned collaborations between Dronfield CAMRA committee member (and keen home brewer) Rob Barwell and Collyfobble Brewery, including the introduction of their Grindleford Grit, he has now officially been recruited as assistant brewer!
The Raven celebrated its 4th birthday on 16 November and held a quiz night with a £100 jackpot, pint prizes and buffet! The pub is run by the same people as Loxley Brewery and the Wisewood Inn.
December sees a number of pubs get into the Christmas spirit and host carol singing, brass bands and the like. This includes Stannington brass band going on tour taking in the Waggon & Horses in Millhouses, Rose & Crown in Stannington, British Oak in Mosborough, Punchbowl in Crookes, Crown & Glove in Stannington, Rivelin in Stannington, Ball Inn in Crookes and finally the Dog & Partridge in Sheffield City Centre.
The Mount Pleasant at Norton Lees has a brass band on Sunday 17 December from 4pm.
The Old Hall Hotel in Hope has a number of evening events in December including folk music on the 13 December, Christmas Carols with Tideswell brass band on 20 December and a Christmas party night with a DJ on from 9pm on 22 December. Then for New Years Eve for those with tickets they are hosting a gala dinner and disco. There is also of course a Christmas menu in the restaurant.
The Woodroffe Arms in Hope have updated their food hours. Monday is pizza night 4-9pm, Tuesday is chippy night 4-9pm then the full menu is available Wednesday/Thursday 4-9pm, Friday and Saturday 1-9pm then there is a carvery on Sundays from 1pm.
The Peak Hotel in Castleton evening events in December include a jazz pianist on the 2nd, singers on the 9th and 16th, Christmas quiz on the 21st whilst Christmas Eve and New Years Eve will see the pub hosting a disco from 9:30pm until late. There is also of course a Christmas menu in the restaurant.
The Bike & Boot Inn Hotel near Bamford doesn’t have cask ale on the bar but you can still get a local beer with Peak Ales supplying bottles and Thornbridge Brewery cans available.
The George in Hathersage suffered from flood damage in storm Babett in October and is expected to remain closed for repairs for around 6pm. Some hotel and function bookings have been transferred to their sister hotel in Grindleford.
The Rutland Arms on Brown Street in Sheffield City Centre holds their annual Christmas lights switch on party on Thursday 7 December. The party kicks off from 7pm with lights on at 9ish. They are also taking bookings for their Christmas menu, which is usually a little alternative!
Triple Point Brewing have various events coming up in their bar including a cheese and beer pairing night on 10 December and a brewery tour on 30 December. Both require booking in advance which can be done online.
The Devonshire Arms in Dore now have a pizza truck outside the pub every Thursday between 5pm and 8pm.
The Castle Inn in Hillsborough now have at least 1 real ale on (Marston’s 61 Deep) and by the time of publishing should have Bradfield Belgian Blue alongside. The problem with the real ale pumps not being used for a couple of months was the instalment of a new cellar system that failed on two occasions.
The Old Queen’s Head in Sheffield City Centre now has a new menu operating with Lunch Club Specials (12-4pm) burgers, mains and grills Mon-Sat 12-4pm, then 5-8pm. Beer is on 4 pumps with Bradfield Belgian Blue, a Thwaites beer or two, and guests.
The Railway in Wadsley Bridge has now completed the renovation of the backroom gig space. After removing 3 layers of old flooring, it has now been screed and sealed. Seating and a small dancefloor is available for all concerts. A couple of new key kegs have been introduced recently.
Abbeydale Tap has introduced a happy hour from 5pm to 7pm with cask ale reduced to £3.50 a pint. They also have revised opening hours for the winter.
Happy’s Bar at Neepsend now serves food until 10pm, has a quiz on Sundays at 7pm and a DJ night most Fridays with the bar open until 4am!
The Chantry Inn at Handsworth was one of the pubs that featured Chantry brewery’s special halloween beer, Frankenstein’s Brew. It was a 4% dark bitter.
Vocation & Co.bar in Sheffield City Centre has introduced beer tasting flights.
Dead Parrot beers noted on the bar at Perch in early November were Jet (Stout), Cow Hollow (Blonde), Vitriol (Bitter) and Pole (Blonde).
By the time you read this it is expected the Three Tuns in Sheffield City Centre will have introduced bar food. There is now a regular quiz on Wednesdays at 6:30pm and a programme of entertainment planned including comedy and live music.
The Dronfield Arms has been running special early bar prices on weekdays 3-5pm with cask ales at just £3 a pint. Pizza Pi is also now resident behind the pub from Thursday to Sunday, serving from 4pm. They’ve also launched a quiz night on Wednesdays from 7:30pm and continue to host an open mic night on Thursdays from 8:30pm.
The Green Dragon in Dronfield continues with a busy weekly programme including Tapas Tuesday, Thursday quiz night, DJ playing vinyl on Fridays and live entertainment on Saturdays.
The Manor House Hotel in Dronfield has a DJ every Friday night and one well kept real ale in the form of Abbeydale Moonshine.
The Underdog bar in Dronfield now always has a Gluten free beer available. They’ve also launched a “Super Sharer Saturday” on selected dates for those that book where large deli platters are served to eat. Monday is board games night, Tuesday is quiz night and Thursday is pub choir. Abbeydale Moonshine has been removed as the regular house beer and at the time of writing Chantry Brewery Steelos pale ale is now resident on that pump.
I’ve been reminded by Rick Ellison, the boss of Atlantik Inns, who run the Old Hall Hotel in Hope and a few others, that October saw the 35th anniversary of the late Geoff Fuller and his wife Pat taking over the licence of the Three Stags’ Heads at Wardlow Mires – they arrived there on 14 October 1988.
The Three Stags’ Heads has quite the legendary status being a very long established, unspoiled rural pub that is listed in CAMRA’s National Inventory of historic pub interiors and has won many awards, full of characters and dogs. It just opens for a long weekend, from Thursday evening onwards and has a selection of local ales on the bar. The pub has two rooms, both with open fires.
Geoff and Pat retired from running the pub in 2019 with Andy & Cath installed as managers.
Pat tells the story that when they bought the pub she just wanted a place where she could make pottery with Geoff, with room for a kiln. Geoff, who had already made a name for himself in ceramic circles, fancied the idea of tying it in with a traditional English pub. I’m sure that anyone who has visited the Three Stags will agree you can’t get any more traditional than this!
The Three Stags is somewhere you will enjoy a visit to as long as you do it with respect and on the terms of the landlord and regulars! You also need to appreciate the specific character and charm that some may consider eccentric or quirky. I recall back when I first visited the beer range was cask from Abbeydale (including their house special Black Lurcher Ale named after the dogs) and some bottled Belgian beers, with a notice above the bar stating “please do not ask for draught lager as a punch in the gob often offends”.
Rick Ellison recalls once being in there somewhat under the influence and almost tripping over something that moved. He asked on his next visit “Geoff, did I trip over a chicken last week?” with Geoff replying without hesitation “the biggest we’ve had in was a donkey!”.
“Andy Knives” the manager recalls a stormy afternoon when a group of soaking wet walkers came in and completely surrounded the fireplace. Geoff was heard to say “would you mind moving so that the rest of the pub can feel the fire?” to which the reply was “we will when we are warm and dry”. To Geoff this was a red rag to a bull! He went straight to the cellar and got a plastic Newcastle Brown crate that happened to fir perfectly into the open fire, much to the upset of Pat who was heard shouting “we get a deposit back off them Geoff!” The stern reply was “I don’t care”. Within 30 seconds the tap room floor parted like the Red Sea and the heat was like napalm, Once the pandemonium had started to subside, Geoff was heard to say “Are ya warm enough lads?”
Geoff’s funeral service took place on 1 June 2022, the pub remains open and unspoilt.
You can read Geoff’s obituary in the Guardian newspaper here.
Grizzly Grain have now got their green hopped beer in cask and bottle going out to bars and shops. The fresh hops used this year are giving a floral aroma and good bitterness with flavours of orange, grapefruit, herbs and spice. Also package recently is a fresh batch of their Tilt Hammer Stout.
October saw BrewSocial release “Shooting Stars”, a triple hopped beauty.
The next bonus tap session at Fuggle Bunny Brew House is on Saturday 28 October from 2pm to 9pm (they also open every Friday). As well as the beer they will have music from Vicki France and food from Bakers Dozen, who will be serving up hot pork sandwiches.
Bradfield Brewery Shop is gearing up for Christmas with all sorts of merchandise in stock suitable for presents including mugs and clothing! Meanwhile on the beer front of course the run up to Christmas means just one thing – Belgian Blue! It was on the bar at our Steel City Beer & Cider Festival and is likely to be in a pub near you now! Also on the roster of seasonal beers is the Farmers Poppy Ale, which was released in time for remembrance Sunday.
Latest from Heist Brew Co. on tap and in can is “That’s Between a Man and His Haddock” which is just 3.4% ABV but packs a lot in – its as hazy as anything and single hopped with Simcoe.
October saw “Honey Bear” from Little Critters hit the bars, this was a collaboration with Grizzly Grain and is a honey porter.
“Sheffield Home of Football” is a new organisation just officially launched with charitable status that is campaigning for the city’s recognition and the creation of a football museum. There are official beers too – an IPA and a lager – that is brewed by Little Mesters Brewing, these were recently on the bar at the Gardeners Rest for a talk on the subject as part of the Heritage Open Days programme.
The dates have been announced for the 2024 edition of Sheffield Beer Week, which will be taking place from 4 to 10 March. This will be the 10th anniversary of this initiative that celebrates the Sheffield beer scene including the people in it with themes of beer, food, community and heritage.
The event started its life when SIBA’s annual conference and BeerX was held in Sheffield in order to show off what we have in Sheffield to all those trade people visiting the city and has evolved over the last decade into what it is today.
You can look forward to many different events independently organised across the city in pubs, bars, restaurants and breweries – possibly even shops and galleries too based on past experience! It is all coordinated by Jules Gray of Hop Hideout who also organises the annual Indie Beer Feast – a festival showcasing independent brewers with most of the bars hosted by the brewers themselves – which usually takes place the weekend prior to beer week.
For the latest news on the beer week, keep an eye on the website – sheffieldbeerweek.co.uk – or their socials.