So here we go, my 2017 monthly specials, so what is all about .. well in 2016 I was thinking of selecting certain people/pubs etc etc to do a feature on them, and this year I am doing just that, already have 8 months filled up.
January – White Lion pub at Heeley.
This pub has been trading as a public house since 1781 and is well known for live music, which we will feature later on, they also have 10 cask pumps and we shall go into more details also later on.
I have been coming to this pub for many years and have seen many different landlords during that time, thankfully the interior has never changed which I love, as you walk into the pub you have a small area to your left, the bar is just a bit further up to the left and you have a board on the wall letting you know what ales are on and what is coming, you cannot see all the ale pumps from the bar as they feature on 3 sides. You have another room to the right and this has unusual wall paintings on, I believe they feature different artists. as you walk further into the pub you have another small room to the right and then you get into the large open space, to the left is another bar area and there is a TV screen and a dart board if you fancy a game.
Then to the right is another smallish seating area and this leads to a larger area at the back, this is where the bands setup their equipment. From here you can then get to the beer garden at the back of the pub, this pub is much bigger once you are inside.
In 2014 this pub did have a beer festival but not had once since, this is a question I shall be putting to the current landlords.
In my pub f the year 2016 this was no6, this place has vastly improved alot, the previous landlords seemed to loose interest and the ales did get worse, the new landlords have changed the pub around dramatically and the ales are so much better, they are also kept very well, we are seeing the unusual ales like stouts/dark ales/ spiced ales and some from Hopjacker brewery who are also featured in my “Monthly Specials”.
Saturday 14th January 2017
I decided to do a pub walk from home to the White Lion and this is the route I took:
- 1st – Old Queens Head
- 2nd – Sheffield Tap
- 3rd – Rutland Arms
- 4th -Sentinel House
- 5th -Beer Engine
- 6th – Clubhouse
- 7th – Old Crown Inn
- 8th – Cremorne
- 9th – Railway Hotel
- 10th – Sheaf View
- 11th – Brothers Arms
- 12th – White Lion
Whats on at the White Lion
Monday – 1st Monday: Caroland Folk Music, 2nd : Toffee Music – Vaudeville & Music Hall
Tuesday – 1st Tuesday: Jazz Jam 2nd: Electric Blues Jam 3rd: Acoustic Evening with Rob Lowdon 4th: Electric Blues Jam
Wednesday – Quiz Night every week
Thursday – Jam Night every week
Friday – Live band from 9.30pm
Saturday – Live band from 9.30pm
Sunday – 1st Sunday: Chris McMahon Folk Session 2nd: Afternoon Jam Session w/ The Carnival 3rd: DJs + live music Charity event 4th: Afternoon Jam Session w/ The Carnival
what made you get interested in running the pub ? what is your back ground before taking over ?
My parents were publicans and, as a result, I never wanted to work in the trade at all. I worked variously for probation, social services and as a charity manager before taking the pub on. Background? Neither me nor my partner had ever pulled a pint before, never mind running a pub so it was a bit of an eye-opener. Had a real baptism of fire on our 2nd night when Richard Hawley decided to play the jam night and we were six deep at all 3 bars. After that we just thought ‘well, if we can handle that then we can get through anything!’. We’d be regulars at the pub for over 15 years and although it had remained our favourite, it had definitely taken a turn for the worse, even being removed from the Good Beer guide. It became available and we just thought let’s go for it. It’ll have been two years now on Feb 23rd, though it feels a lot longer.
You have a vast range of ales on your pumps, what are the regular ones, and how do you choose the guest ales, do you go for brewery or unusual ones
We always keep Tetleys and Moonshine on as they’re incredibly popular at a weekend. We also keep Dancing Duck Abduction on as a permanent as a) it’s good to have a strong regular on and b) it’s a great beer and we don’t see enough of Dancing Duck in Sheffield.
I choose the others based on a variety of factors such as time of year e.g. more porters and stouts in winter, more pale and fruit in summer. We have a policy of only buying one barrel of a beer at a time so that the range constantly changes and you never know what you’re going to get when you walk in. This has proved to be a popular choice with the customers as they’re tasting a new beer on every visit. I also have a tried and tested formula for choosing the beer. Obviously there’s some fantastic breweries out there that we know about and others that we don’t but there’s a fantastic website called Ratebeer which gathers opinion and then scores the beer – it’s an invaluable resource when it comes to beer decisions. Finally I make the sure the pump clip is good – people buy with their eyes and the image is rubbish then people are put off, no matter how good the beer.
The last owners did have a beer festival once, is this something you would consider, or do you have plans for meet the brewers, tap takeovers which both seem popular at the moment ?
It’s a difficult one as because the beers change pretty much every couple of days it’s almost like a constant beer festival. That said, we’re doing one in Sheffield Beer Week, including a Meet The Brewer with Edd Entwhistle from Hopjacker. We’re also brewing a 4 way collaboration between Hopjacker, Little Critters, Hop Hideout and The White Lion especially for that. If it goes well then we’ll be doing more!
in the long term do you think you will ever brew your own ales, run a brewery or just use someone else to made the odd ale, I know you have done some already so what have you done so far ?
So far we’ve made at Hopjacker the outstanding Roobarb and Custard and the Roast Fig Porter but plans are afoot for more. I was also kindly given some brewing equipment for Christmas so I intend to start doing my own and learning that side of things properly as it’s something I’m new to. The market is saturated with breweries at the moment and I feel it’s definitely the wrong time to start one up. Especially as this is a tied house and with no pub to sell your own beers in it would be a struggle to get them out and about. One for the future I reckon!
Heeley now having a good few ale pubs with Sheaf View and Brothers Arms nice triangle, do you see the 3 of you doing a joint beer festival ?
I would love to and it’s been loosely discussed. It’d be a great thing for the area but also to show solidarity between the 3 pubs. All great, all different but I believe partnership working with pubs is the way forward to encourage trade to an area, especially in the current times with pubs shutting down or changing hands constantly.
What awards have you won since running the pub.
- Camra Pub of the Month
- Sheffield Star Pub of the Week twice
- Asset Of Community Value
- Best Bar Staff 2016
- 5th Best Pub In Sheffield 2016 (2 beer geeks)
- 6th Best Pub In Sheffield 2016 (Sheffield Ale Pubs)