Rotherham is to Sheffield, as Gateshead is to Newcastle, or Salford to Manchester, or Maidenhead to Reading; the grubby bit with cheaper beer.
Rotherham gets a bad press, with child abuse, industrial decay and the impact of Meadowhall on its town centre the main things people know it for, if it all. No-one in our village could place it on a map, until we reminded them of the giant Tinsley Cooling Towers that were pulled down nearly a decade ago.
But us pub tickers get to see the best of places, we really do. And Rotherham has a couple of gems. But enough of the Chuckle Brothers.
The Three Horseshoes is yet another South Yorkshire family dining pub, one of a string of them (Toby, Ember, Harvester etc) along the A631, the smartest bit of Rotherham (though the Beer Guide insists on giving Wickersley its own entry due to unfathomable local politics).
Wickersley is an odd suburb, the shopping parades alternating between Headingley chic and Knottingley tat.
The Horseshoes is a terrific little dining pub, deserving a Guide place even without the CAMRA discount (joke). I was mildly disappointed not to be outed as CAMRA the way Simon no doubt will; perhaps that reflected the fact drinking the real ale doesn’t mark you out as odd here.
Perhaps too many beers, but a good range, and an exemplary Acorn Bitter (this was 4 days after the Dodworth one). NBSS 3.5, 4 at a pinch. I resisted the burger, being an athlete.
And proving my point about world domination by the Sons of Ellon;
This was a Chuckle Brothers of a pub, full of character(s) and laughter, from mums placating toddlers, to business deals, to rows with boyfriends.
Typical lines overheard;
“2 pints of Carling and a bowl of chips please”
“What have I done now ? I dunno I’ll make summat up in a bit”
Nice lights, too.
In contrast, the Stag is strictly a food-free boozer, but still a smart looking one that appeared to have the custom a Spoons would normally have had.
It also appears to have nicked the lights from the 3 Horseshoes in the half hour it took me to walk there. Joking (I think).
Another sensible beer range, with a higher percentage of ale drinkers than you’d expect.
Perhaps it’s the handled mug that does it. Perhaps not.
Even in that monstrosity of a glass, this was a magnificent Acorn Porter that started off at 4 and had reached the dizzy heights of NBSS 4.5 by the end. Cool, rich and lasting.
Some interesting soul music and dull Sky News seemed to fit the mood well, though clearly this is no Sam Smiths. A bit short of those in Rotherham.
Two top beers from little Acorn, both around £2.50 from memory. That’s not going to help the #BeerIsTooCheap campaign now, is it ?