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Previous Pint Pleasures - October 18, 2014

guinness eileen

The Brewhouse, 10-14 Wellington Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Although I still have a couple more columns to write about my springtime beer wanderings in America, I thought I'd take a break and return to the UK for this month before readers start to think this is turning into a strictly American column. On a recent Sunday afternoon we headed into town to have a pint at the Bath Hotel's beer festival. After queuing to order two half pints that turned out to cost a whopping £4.00, we learned we had to pay the rip-off price with tokens purchased at the bar. When I pushed my way back through the crowd and up to the bar I learned I could only buy £5.00 worth of tokens, not £4.00. Fortunately the half pints that were now poured for us were too cloudy to drink, so the beer wasn't wasted as we stomped out, unwilling to pay an extra quid for the privilege of tasting a half pint while standing elbow-to-elbow in a sardine can.

As we were already in town we decided to head down the road and try a brand new brewpub I'd been curious about for some time. Located next to Henry's Wine Bar, the Brewhouse was opened this year by Mark Simmonite, the same person who runs Henry's. I first noticed a sign for the Brewhouse two years ago, and although it's taken this long to open it was well worth the wait.

The Brewhouse has a real feeling of a modern brewpub, with a very friendly barmaid who was most refreshing after our Bath of an experience. Half of the 10 handpumps feature the pub's own Aardvark Brewery selections, with local guests on the other half; and there are 20 craft beer taps on the back wall as well. The Aardvark brews are obviously in their initial test mode, with the very first selection named T1. At the time of our visit they had got up as far as T12.

I had a pint of T12 (4.5% ABV) and Andrew had the T10 (4.2% ABV). Both pints were similar in character at first taste, but then the individual characters began to grow. Andrew described his T10 as "severe, with no attempt at sweetness; a nice bitter hop with light malting". Whereas I described my T12 as "very tasty indeed".

We first sat in the cave of a room on the side featuring large windows looking into the brewery. Currently the beers are being brewed elsewhere until the onsite brewery is finished.

We then ventured around the pub, first into the beer garden shared by Henry's where a large group of football lager louts were loudly holding court. But they didn't distract us at all, because at this point we had fallen in love -- Andrew with his T10 and me with my T12. Andrew said that his T10 reminded him of a good Bavarian non-lager beer, and suddenly he pictured us sitting in a large garden in Prague. I sat and happily swirled around with my wonderful pint on this European tour of beer tasting, thinking about aardvarks which I've always liked. I wonder if there are any European aardvarks...

Back inside the back room has a periodic table of beer types on the wall and a pleasingly retro black-and-white video screen broadcasting Sheffield Live TV, while Sheffield Live Radio is broadcast in all of the rooms. There are Anchor and Goose Island Brewery signs all throughout, giving the strong feeling that the pub has been inspired by American brewpubs. The sofa room on the other side of the bar has 20 distinctly unique light fixtures on the ceiling. Hmm, 10, 20, 20…this seems like a decimal sort of pub. I'd like to start a band called Decimal Aardvarks.

What more can I say? The Brewhouse is such a promising pub brewing truly excellent beer. I'm so happy it has opened, and I hope to visit again soon accompanied by some of my cask ale-loving friends. Even the lager drinkers I know could find an interesting craft brew to try. So many options...

Brewhouse Updates
(Last updated 17 January 2015)