A fourth trip to Sheffield since August, and a second to the University, with an eldest one who seems quite taken with the place. That’s more to do with the computer facilities in The Triangle than the beauty of the architecture though.
Or the pubs. Parents were given a handy little guide to the city, which pleasingly details the brutalist architecture and the contribution of Drenge to the music scene. It also claims Sheffield as the UK real ale capital, though focusing more on microbreweries than pubs, as is the modern way.
Our Student guide on the way to the accommodation tour was more forthcoming, pointing out the charms of the Nottingham House and the York on the trip up Fulwood Road. I resisted the urge to pint out the new micropub on the corner.
During the Q&A session, I asked the important questions (How many girls were on the course ?, Can they stop students playing video games ?). The chap sitting next to me asked about coding and whether students learnt Lovelace, which led to a terrible misunderstanding on my part. He was wearing shoes like this;
Clearly I had to escape during coffee, so nipped into the nearest Beer Guide pub.
I’d had to make a dash for the Red Deer a decade ago as well, running from the Frog & Parrot with 10 minutes before closing time (something pubs used to have before 24 hour opening, of course). My spectacular trip onto the tram line and subsequent tear in my jeans is no doubt still talked about by the folk who were at West Street Tram stop that day. Mrs RM found it very amusing as I recall.
On that Saturday night in 2003, the Deer was cheery and boisterous; this overdue return visit saw it winding down a quieter lunchtime session.
It looked and felt perfect for afternoon drinking.
Clearly I love the pubs here, but I’ve commented recently on average beer quality in some of the city’s multi-pump free houses. However gorgeous the Red Deer looks, a Wednesday afternoon pint from a range this big (8 casks) was going to be an acid test. Particularly when I chose the “naturally hazy” Blue Bee Pale.
It was the pint of the year so far (NBSS 4.5), the sort of beer old blokes like me go “Mmmmm” to, and force their wives to taste.
Really, what more could you want ? Cosy seating, beer mats, roaring fire, classic pint, Ella singing to you, no TV or Fruit Machines to disturb the peace.
As I left 20 minutes later the Deer was filling up again with a few groups of staff from the University (no names) and mature couples. They all seemed to go for the Portland Black, on reflection a wise choice.
Clearly the Uni provides quite a bit of custom, unless there really is someone called Mr Economics. I can cope with this sort of reservation.
Right up there with the Cat and the Tap, this ought to be (even) better known.
Clearly the quality of pubs like this will play no part in my son’s decision as to his future; quality of the Wi-Fi will though.