CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> 5 Miscellaneous Sheffield Pubs


Previous Pint Pleasures - January 15, 2013

guinness eileen

The Graduate, 94 Surrey Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

guinness eileen

The Crosspool Tavern, 468 Manchester Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

guinness eileen

The Hanover, 2 Clark Street, Broomhall, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

guinness eileen

The Quays 1819, 18-19 Victoria Quays, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

guinness eileen

The Red Lion, 653 London Road, Heeley, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

As it's the beginning of a new year I may as well clear out my inventory of miscellaneous Sheffield pubs I've visited in the past year. Because I work at Sheffield Hallam University, my workmates and I are occasionally taken out for a drink by our managers to the appropriately named Graduate. This is not only because it's the closest pub to the campus but also because it's cheap and cheerful, as the saying goes.

My first visit was on a Friday at noon. I was part of an intimate group of seventeen. I had a pint of EPA (3.6% ABV, Marstons Brewery, Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire), which was surprisingly good for a low-alcohol cask ale served in a non-cask-ale-centred student pub. The other options were the nationally known Bombardier and Olde Trip, so the Graduate isn't into the local microbrew trend just yet. The food menu is orientated toward hungry students, and one of my workmate's hot dog was about as long as a Great Dane.

On another drinking session after work I had a pint of Roaring Meg (5.5% ABV, Springhead Brewery, Retford, Nottinghamshire). This was a bit strong for an immediately-after-work pint but I didn't fancy the other two. It was all right, with a taste of honey balanced on a heap of ABV with a nice hoppy finish. The place was crowded with not enough room for the eleven of us to look like we were actually all together, with five of us hovering around the quiz machine that is ridiculously situated at the foot of the pool table. When a long table finally cleared, half of us could sit together while the others played pool.

The Graduate features post-lecture deals and a £2.00 discount card which allows holders to receive up to 20% off certain drinks and food. If you want to hang out with students and faculty, this is the place to be.

The first time I came into the Crosspool Tavern was to use the loo, way back when I was delivering fliers for a living. It was before noon and my bladder was about to burst, and the only available toilet within a square mile was the one in the pub. So I quickly skirted my way in and out of the Ladies, hoping nobody behind the bar would notice I hadn't bought a drink.

A few years later I stopped in here for Sunday lunch with Andrew, Olly, and Victoria. I honestly can't remember what the only cask ale available at that time was, or even what it was like, because it was one of those typical emphasis-is-on-the-food-for-families type of pub. I remember the vegetarian breakfast was all right, but it was one of those serve-yourself buffets for which I object paying. After all, if I'm going out for a meal and spending my hard-earned money, I don't want to be doing the work. My mother feels the same way, so it must be a genetic trait.

More recently, on a gale force of a windy day, my walking companion Trevor and I decided to walk through Crosspool, starting with a stop at this pub. Trevor, who used to take his mother here for lunch, hadn't been in for years and was surprised at what a characterless food pub it had become. It was quite busy on this Saturday lunchtime, mostly with old people waiting for their roasts. I had a disappointingly vacuous and somewhat short-changed half pint of Yorkshire Terrier (4.2% ABV, York Brewing, York, North Yorkshire). The bark was gone from this normally frisky brew, and rather than the usual snappy terrier it was more like an elderly dozing flatulent Chihuahua. Ah, well, what did we expect?

We first went to the Hanover on a Sunday afternoon because Andrew knows one of the landlords. We had pints of Moonshine We met one of the landlords Eddie, who has the place with Trevor. We had pints of Moonshine (4.3% ABV, Abbeydale Brewery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire) that weren't bad at all. The pub has a local tavern atmosphere, and since they put out free food on Sunday afternoons the place was packed with regulars, with sports blasting from the TVs. I sat sipping my pint and admiring the classic metal art on the walls.

Our next visit was on a Friday after work for a gathering of Andrew's workmates, and this time we all sat out in the cosy garden. On this occasion Andrew and I had pints of Becks Vier (4.0% ABV, Becks Brewery, Bremen, Germany). Sadly the landlords had found they just don't have the clientele to keep the cask ale on, as it needs to be turned over. Happily the Becks was very good.

On a walk through the Victoria Quays on our way to Attercliffe, Trevor and I stopped at the Quays 1819 for a quick half. Located under two arches of the former railway yard that formed part of the Canal Basin, the Quays is more of a café with a bar than a pub. But it was a very pleasant day, with big billowy clouds against a blue sky, and the outside tables on the quayside beckoned to us for a brief rest. The barmaid was very friendly as she served our half pints of Black Sheep (3.8% ABV, Black Sheep Brewery, Ripon, North Yorkshire). They were meant to be "quick halfs", but I found myself struggling with mine, as it was a bit vinegary. Still I enjoyed the peaceful view of the longboats moored by the canal and the families sitting at tables having nibbles. Because the canal -- formally known as the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal -- opened in 1819 and originally had 12 locks, it's very easy to sit and daydream about the old days when the canal was busy with industrial traffic. Today one sees only houseboats, pleasure crafts, and waterfowl using the canal with hikers and dog walkers enjoying the canalside path. Sadly I just couldn't enjoy my beer and had to leave it.

We'd been meaning to try out the Red Lion in Heeley on one of our walks because we'd heard it had cask ales as well as a snooker table. The fact that it's located just a bit down from the excellent White Lion was cruelly misleading. As soon as we walked through the door Trevor gasped with horror. As opposed to the gorgeous tiled walls of the White Lion, the Red Lion has a disappointing interior with no style at all. It was basically a big open room half populated with families eating what must have been cheap lunches. I'm only guessing because the food I spotted on an elderly couple's plates looked like a colourless glop.

In stark contrast the beer garden was leafy and breath-taking, with steps leading up to a gorgeous autumn glade with picnic tables and woods behind. We were surprised that, in this beer garden with no ashtrays or receptacles provided, the lower more uninteresting section was littered with fag ends while there were none in the upper unswept meadow of a garden.

So we decided to stay outside to drink our pints. Trevor was happy to smoke his cigarettes in such a lovely setting, and we even enjoyed our half pints of Trick Or Treat Ginger (4.4% ABV, Caledonian Brewery, Edinburgh, Scotland). This is a classically Scottish brew, but we were both a bit disappointed that we couldn't taste a bit more of the ginger. Even with the Willamette hops it was a bit wee heavy. If I were drinking it in the Highlands I would feel right at home.

The only problem with the Red Lion's beer garden is that you have to leave it and go back inside in order to order another pint, use the toilet, or leave the premises. Such a shame...