CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> 2 Pubs West of Sheffield
Three Merry Lads, 610 Redmires Road, Lodgemoor, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
The Peacock, 714 Stannington Road, Stannington, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Last week my partner and I took a couple of restorative short drives into the countryside west of Sheffield. On the first day we went in search of Stanage Edge, where I had gone for a spectacular walk one evening last summer with a friend. On that occasion we had to cut our walk short because of an unexpected attack by swarms of midges. When we reached the Redmire reservoirs on this second visit there were no midges in evidence, but it was so windy I don't imagine even the most musclebound midge, much less an entire swarm of them, could have managed to navigate easily. The hike up to the historic graffiti rocks near the Stanedge Pole was a bit too steep for Andrew, so we settled for the signposted "Easy Walk" down the road. This flat 2-mile walk starts at the reservoir and ventures out into scenic country alongside a pretty dyke populated with dragonflies, who obviously don't mind a little wind. Sure, it was an easy walk -- but why rub it in? I mean, if they must post a sign, why beat around the bush? Just call it "Wimp's Walk" and get the insults over with.
After our walk we drove back down Redmires Road toward Lodgemoor and pulled in to the Three Merry Lads for a pint. After all, what's the point in going on a hike if you can't reward yourself at the end? To celebrate our "easy walk" we had pints of Easy Rider (4.3% ABV, Kelham Island Brewery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire). This pale, pleasant beer has a very healing flavour with hints of red cabbage. Andrew says it "tastes like instant versatility, like a very pale spiky fruity beer or perhaps an interesting lager." It's a very hoppy beer with a dry-hopped flavour. It's a perfect dragonfly of a beer which doesn't really bring to mind hippies on choppers -- unless you can picture Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper speeding along the windy highway catching cabbage-flavoured dragonflies in their teeth. But who wants to think of that? No, this beer is far too pleasant to be sullied with such an image.
The Three Merry Lads features a pleasant family garden with a spectacular view of the Rivelin Valley as well as a large restaurant inside. As to the three merry lads themselves, I have no idea who they are or if they stop regularly at the pub. Since the pub isn't far from where Robin Hood and his merry men passed the time, perhaps this is what the name refers to. Or perhaps Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson once stopped in on their way to a biker's convention, and the rest is history.
On another rainy, drippy day we drove out to the twin villages of High Bradfield and Low Bradfield, located near a farm at which we stayed on our very first visit to Sheffield. The Parish of Bradfield was first settled by farmers 4000 years ago, as evidenced by a stone circle on Broomhead Moors which is thought to have been used as a calendar. The centrepiece of the picturesque village of High Bradfield is the 15th century St Nicholas Parish Church, and at the gate of the church is the only surviving Watch House in Yorkshire, built in 1745 to prevent body snatching from the nearby graveyard. Winding through the village are little lanes full of pretty Yorkshire stone cottages. Down in Low Bradfield which, oddly enough, is located just down the hill from High Bradfield, there is a stream by an old mill dam which is home to dozens of ducks and geese.
As the pubs in the Bradfields were closed for the afternoon we drove back toward Sheffield through pretty villages with rather unattractive names: first Ughill, then Dungworth, where we passed quite a few cows. (Hmmm, is there a connection?) We ended up in Stannington where we stopped at the Peacock. A Thwaites pub, the Peacock features an extensive food menu but seems to be a gathering place for regular Thwaites drinkers. On our visit we had a choice of Thoroughbred, Lancaster Bomber, Dark Mild, and Bloomin' Ale. We opted for pints of Thoroughbred (4.0% ABV, Daniel Thwaites Brewery, Blackburn, Lancastershire), which starts out flat and peppery and seems just a bit watery until you've had a few sips. But this is how Thwaites is: it takes a few mouthfuls for the palate to adjust. And it was a watery day, after all, with all that rain dripping off all those ducks' backs. Halfway down the glass the burnt butter-coloured pint reveals a caramel flavour with a fizzy finish. Yes, this is a beer that definitely grows on you -- a story-telling beer. But to do the entire experience justice you really need a Northern accent to pronounce "Thwaites" properly, rolling the tongue nice and slowly and not spending too much time on your vowels.
Ah, well, I'll just have to struggle through with my American accent. Perhaps I should try ordering my Thwaites in Esperanto. After all, good beer is a universal language.
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(Last updated 23rd March 2005)