The Sheffield Tap is located on the platform at the City railway station, and is becoming a mecca for real ale and craft beer fans across the area.  The 10 cask pumps and 12 keg pumps without a mainstream beer in sight is the main reason, however the collection over 200 bottled beers is an excellent second reason to visit.   The pub itself is quite traditional in design, with enough trees being sacrificed to create the wood panelling to cover an area the size of Wales, and 4 rooms surrounding the bar, giving plenty of space, although it seems that space rapidly fills come tea time and later in the evening.

The bar has been restored to its former grade 2 listed grandeur before British Rail gutted the space to make a waiting room in the 1960s. The mahogany bar that was removed was restored to the central area, and the original design and panelling was repaired or replicated where that was not possible, even down to the mouldings on the ceiling taken from the originals.  The effort put into the pub can be seen from the moment you enter, and these efforts are being well rewarded by the trade it receives.

The main reason I wanted to visit however, as a precursor to my company christmas function was to have a first sample of Brewdogs’ Trashy Blonde and 77 Lager as well as trying Punk IPA on tap for the first time.  Punk IPA on tap did not disappoint as it was a good as the bottled variety.  Maybe even slightly better given the extra room for the aromas to expand.  The Trashy Blonde, although significantly weaker than Punk IPA, still retained the hop emphasis that you come to expect from Brewdog, but is a beer that would appeal as much to the non hophead.   The 77 Lager has a lot less hop emphasis, but is a pleasant well made and balanced beer you could happily drink for the session.

My drinking partner who is not such a fan of the hop confirmed this, as he preferred the 77 and Trashy Blonde to the Punk IPA overall.  I could have added another 2 of their beers if I had been willing to spend £10 or £16 a bottle for “Bitch Please” or “Tokyo” respectively, but I had the rest of the night to fund.  To be honest I would have been happy not to go to the company function and spend the night sampling an ever bigger collection of beers.  I also tried the Thornbridge Sequoia on my visit and was impressed as I was with their Jaipur when I drank that last month.

The beer at the function was uninspiring as can be expected with these corporate functions, the best options being San Miguel and Gaymers Pear Cider, and I even had to send a couple of San Miguels’ back for being flat upon pouring.

Having now tried 6 of their beers, Punk IPA, Alice Porter, 5am Saint, Hardcore IPA, Trashy Blonde and 77 Lager, I would say that the Punk IPA is best overall, followed by Hardcore, Trashy Blonde, Alice Porter, 5am Saint, with the 77 Lager coming last, although that is not a slight against the beer, it just shows the strength of their core collection.  The day that they open their bars in Leeds and Manchester can’t come soon enough.

Taking a day off the beer to recover, I popped into Lewins in Halifax on Saturday afternoon, and sampled 3 very good pints, the outstanding one being the Summer Wine Brewery Barista Espresso Stout (4.8%).  A really nicely balanced dark stout with a creamy coffee flavour from the Arabica beans mixed with a moorish finish makes a really nice occasional pint, as these coffee stouts are not a beer you can spend a session on in my opinion.  Although not as strong in coffee flavour as Dark Star Espresso, I’d say it is on a par with that very good stout, but would allow more to be drank on a night due to its lighter coffee taste.

Lewins’ has been ran excellently over the last 6 months by the interim landlord who has turned around the place, but sadly pub number 40 could beckon for him soon, which is a pity.  He hopes to retain control of the premises with a new manager being trained up to take over from him, and I hope he succeeds as it would be pity for the hard work to go to waste.