beer reviews pubs

Mid-morning crowds at the bar

It was 11:45 in the morning at the Sheffield Tap and we couldn’t get served.

Two harassed bar staff — one of whom was a woman with a moustache (Movember) — were trying to deal with a four-deep crowd of football fans and beer geeks at the bar. One bloke wanted to taste a few things. The bar staff were patient about it but the punters behind him weren’t. A couple of low-key rows broke out: “Don’t let that bloke push in front of you! You were there first!”; “No I wasn’t, you nobhead. Shut up!”

Eventually, squeezed into a corner with our Thornbridge Pivni (“Possibly the best breakfast beer in the world” — Reluctant Scooper), we wondered whether, when this pub first opened a couple of years ago, anyone ever expected it to be this busy at any time, let alone before midday.

The market for craft beer bars isn’t saturated yet. If there’d been another one a few doors down, we reckon that would have been full, too.

Tasting notes (all Thornbridge): Pivni (3.7%3.2%) was delicious — how we falsely remember Summer Lightning tasting; Black Harry (3.9%) was one of those milds that’s coy about it, pleasant enough, but lacking oomph; Sequoia (4.5%) was our favourite, light-bodied and exotic-tasting — what Ewoks would drink; and Versa (5%) was a Schneider-alike with big banana aromas and lots of toffee flavour.