2017 monthly specials are now onto October, crickey where has the year gone, I can remember doing the first one, and now it’s nearly the end of the year. This month it is @onthebarsheff.
I think, as I have a bad memory, I met this guy in a pub (yes we met up in Shakespeares once we can across each other on Twitter), would seem the logical place, I have met him quite a few times since, and yes, you guessed, in a pub. So lets get to know this guy a bit more… its question time …
1. Tell us all who you are and what made you start @onthebarsheff ?
Hi, I’m Adam and have had a keen interest in real ale for more than 10 years. I’ve always liked to search out and find new beers wherever I could find them. I wouldn’t call myself a ‘Beer Ticker’ or anything that serious, but once Twitter become the social media of choice for brewers, breweries and pubs, I found that this was the best place to keep a track of any new beers.
I found that some pubs were particularly good at updating twitter with the beers they had on that day and that often helped dictate where I was going to drink that evening (if I was planning on going out). If I remember right, places like The Hallamshire House and The Bath Hotel were particularly good at this at the time and used the #otb hashtag. This is where the idea of On The Bar Sheffield was born.
It really was (and still is) something that I wanted ‘the people’ to own. I wanted the beer drinkers of Sheffield to be the eyes and ears out in the pubs and update my other followers with what was on at the various pubs and when they were on. As you know, particularly with cask beer, beers often don’t stick around for long so thought this ‘real-time’ beer notification idea would be great if it took off.
I remember setting it up and following the people and places I found useful and I think I hit 100 followers within a day. It kind of snowballed from there.
Like you, I’d love to be the one out there drinking the beers but I had my first child within months of starting this account so I really do rely on this social, collaborative support from local pubs, breweries and beer drinkers to make it work and I encourage more to get involved.
2. Has any of the bars/pubs/places that you have re-tweeted made you think …. I need to pop there and if so … which ones have been a surprise to visit ?
I do try to get to all areas of Sheffield when I can so there’s not many out there that I’m not familiar with (particularly my regular contributors). But saying that, there has been activity with a couple of places I’ve yet to check out. The Albion on London Road (@TheAlbionBarLR) looks interesting and I’m intrigued to see what The Ale House (@S8AleHouse) is like. Also see there’s a new Micropub on the horizon up in Woodseats (@GuzzleMicropub) that I’d like to visit when it opens.
In terms of places I’ve been pleasantly surprised by in the last year I’d include The Old Workshop (@WorkshopOld) which I love – love the building, the atmosphere, and have a great selection of keg beers on at reasonable prices. I’ve named it Sheffield’s “Worst, best-kept secret” as no one seems to know about it yet it’s always got lots of people in there when I go.
I’ve also liked seeing Charlie and Al set up The Bar Stewards (@bar_stewards) on Gibraltar St. They are a great couple of guys and they always have a great selection of cask/keg on.
It’s nice to see that The Wellington (@neepsendtap) have a new lease of life as the Neepsend Brewery Tap. Glad it wasn’t swallowed up by the student accommodation that’s popping up all around it.
Finally, a place closer to home, I’ve loved what is happening at The Wisewood Inn (@Wisewood_inn). What a transformation that has gone through in the last year or so. Great beer, unbelievable prices, good food and nice atmosphere.
3. I know you are on Twitter but have you ever thought about creating a website or a blog ?
Yes and did even own ALeblog.co.uk for a while with a friend and colleague of mine. I did (and still do) think I could make a good go of it and I have some ideas for things to give it a unique angle compared to other blogs/sites in the same area. I’m lucky to have a handful of web developers and a web content editor/writer as drinking partners who have shown interest in getting involved. I just need to find some time to action it.
Now for the next set of questions I am going to re-visit some of my previous monthly specials and ask @onthebarsheff the same question.
4. My 1st one was The White Lion at Heeley, so have you been to this pub and what are your thoughts, what other pubs have you done in Heeley triangle as I call it.
Yes I’ve been a number of times and think it’s a great, interesting pub with a great range of beer. Unbeknown to The White Lion it’s the un-official home of my monthly beer drinking group. Basically, where it all started so we like to make sure we make a regular trip for any “important Brew Crew meetings, new member initiations etc” – bit of a joke but also kinda true at the same time.
I think the pubs around there make for a good pub crawl. If you want a short one you can stick to Sheaf View, Brothers Arms, White Lion and maybe even Tramshed. Or, if like us, if you are going that way from town and want to make the most of it, we might include some places like The Beer Engine on the way and continue onto The Broadfield or Picture House Social after.
5. My 2nd one was @twobeergeeks so what was your 1st ale and also first pub you visited ? (if you can remember)
I’ve lived in Sheffield for 12 years or so and before, although I would enjoy real ale, it wasn’t necessarily always my go-to drink. When living in Fulwood/Ranmoor area when I moved to Sheffield I would say my first Sheffield ale pub was probably The Rising Sun at Nethergreen. With not much money straight out of university my now-wife and I would often sit nursing a bottle of Chimay or something similar. This pub was probably also my introduction to local breweries, in particular, Abbeydale Brewery where Moonshine was the big drink in Sheffield and Deception was still a seasonal beer.
6. My 3rd one was @mashtunandmeow so – Keg vs Cask – which do you prefer ? can you see keg taking off in Sheffield ?
First of all I think keg HAS taken off now, there’s doubt about it. It’s still hard to get the beers you want at a price you can justify to yourself but I do think it’s possible. I think pubs like Rutland Arms, Beer Engine, Old Workshop, Bar Stewards not forgetting the various Thornbridge pubs (Bath, Hallamshire, Stags Head, Greystones) are probably the best when it comes to variety and price.
In terms of what I prefer, a year ago I would have been really into keg beer, but when everyone was making similar strong IPAs I did get a little bored and gravitated back towards cask. Now that other styles are becoming more common on keg like Sours, Saisons and Imperial stouts etc then my interest has gone back somewhat.
I’m still waiting for a proper answer to the justification to keg prices but I don’t think I’ll ever get an answer I’m satisfied with.
7. My August one was Mark from Hull so for you – which are your favourite 5 pubs in Sheffield and why ?
Shakespeares – Not sure anyone can match them for their range of interesting keg beer they get on and at the prices they do it for. The cask range is also very strong and there’s always something on I’ve not had before.
Old Workshop – a new favourite of mine. I’ve explained this earlier but I think it’s somewhere different, interesting, chilled and has a good range of keg beers. They also try to make sure they have a beer to cover most styles.
Hallamshire House – always loved this place. I love the place and the vibrant atmosphere and you can never go wrong with the range of Thornbridge they have on.
Bath Hotel – similar reasons to the Hallamshire with the added pull of having more guest beers on.
Rutland Arms – Similarly to Shakespeares they often surprise me with what beers they get in (especially on keg) but also they have really great cask, well-kept and a great variety.
I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that for now.
8. May was Hopjacker so – what is your fav brewery in Sheffield and outside of Sheffield and lets go further and which is your fav overseas brewery ?
I think it depends what mood I’m in really but I’ve been really impressed with both Neepsend Brewery and Lost Industry Brewing for very different reasons. Neepsend have made some very solid beers that have a mass appeal yet Lost Industry have made some face meltingly good sours. They really are pushing boundaries at the minute.
Outside of Sheffield I would say Buxton Brewery are a force to be reckoned with. They are just brilliant at all styles. Just don’t quite see enough of their beers locally.
Overseas I’m a big fan of To Øl (Denmark), Omnipollo (Sweden) and Mikkeller (Denmark). They just make great beer in varying styles. Never seem to have a bad one.
9. In Sheffield what have you noticed has changed a lot on the ale scene over the last year?
It’s great that we are getting pubs and bars that maybe once didn’t have a cask/keg option that are now delving into this however I’m not sure everyone knows what they are doing with it so it can be hit or miss. We do now have a 5th Micropub in Sheffield on the horizon? This wasn’t the case a year or so ago.
It’s nice to see a lot of old units being transformed into new bars, micropubs, pub bars etc. I think it’s great that old buildings are being given new leases of life rather than soulless new-builds.
We are also seeing people becoming more knowledgeable about beer, not just differences between ale and lager but in terms of interest in where it’s made, how it’s made and looking for new styles. This means pubs and bars are having to up their game somewhat to meet that demand.
10. What do you think will be the next big thing to happen in Sheffield ale scene next year (2018) ?
A bit more of the same I think. There’s lots of development in Kelham Island. I imagine that will have numerous new establishments in the next year. There’s also lots of development in the Cultural Industries Quarter which I know have units in the pipeline specifically for bars/restaurants.
Basically I think some of the areas which were decaying are going to become new hotspots and my prediction is specifically in these areas.