13th March 2023.

I was just heading down to central Sheffield for my 10,000 steps when who should I meet but Sheffield Hatter, still dancing in the streets after Luton’s smash-and-grab win at Bramall Lane on his way to the supermarket.

Fancy a pint, Will ?” I probably said. Never ask a Lutonian a question that can’t be answered with yes.

Will went one way to Aldi, I went the other to dawdle for a few minutes and take the slow route through Kelham.

In a month’s time the most dedicated of the CAMRAs will be in town to debate the definition of craft beer and a way of making the default search on What Pub exclude those dreadful keg pubs. What would early CAMRA have made of such vital debate ?

The good news for CAMRA members; not only does Sheffield have one or two half-decent pubs (don’t ask me what they are ?). it also has Yak.

Here’s one photographed last week at the top of Whitehouse Lane, S6.

One of the downsides of actually living in Sheffield is that you rather take those half-decent pubs for granted.

I hadn’t been in the Tavern since last February, when Will famously described a beer as having “onion” notes.

I thought I’d start with something less “oniony” from the Manchester takeover, a Squawk Pale I was warned was “gluten free”.

Perhaps only BRAPA cares less about what’s in his beer than me; while I quite enjoy a gallon of Bass I’m also happy with a gluten-free onion noted Pale Stout, if such a thing exists, and if it doesn’t then St Mars of the Desert should invent it.

Never mind the beer. It’s a lovely place, perhaps less “CAMRA pub” than of old with so many new flats around about, though the scene at the bar of two Norfolk Drinkers with rucksacks being advised where to go next was very Real Ale Trail.

Half a dozen in when I arrived became just Will and I, purely coincidentally, as I switched to something strong and imperial stouty from Marble while Will discussed the Hatters’ tactics. Then around 5 it suddenly got busy again.

I really must put some beers scores (NBSS 3.5, 3 and 4) in What Pub to make sure the KIT isn’t squeezed out in favour of a Marston’s family diner or something; these thing CAN happen now Guide entry is determined by NBSS scoring, you know.

And I really must learn not to go Cloudwater keg after all that cask. But I never will.


  1. Yes, I wasn’t very impressed with the Manchester beers, but at least I know better than to drink keg Cloudwater. (I’ll probably get thrown out of Camra now for dissing Cloudwater. Or for not writing CAMRA in the approved manner.)

    I returned the next day and had that same Blue Bee Strines Stout 6.4% which is in your last photo – freshly poured from half-pint glass to the recently vacated pint pot, as is your wont. What a tremendous beer! It almost deserved NBSS 5, but if I’d done that I would have had to have another, and another, until I slumped under the table, if I remember the scoring criteria correctly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thrown out ? I assumed you’d long ago resigned in protest about cider definitions or summat.

      Sometime your note-taking comes in useful, then. Yes, it was the Blue Bee Stout. I knew it was one of the breweries that the KIT has on but forgot Blue Bee.

      I felt awful the next morning and I think I only had a pint and two halves.


      1. My top pint ever was – maybe not coincidentally, a pint of Hophead at the Stormbird.

        Never having actually been a CAMRA member – though it often seemed like it with my associates – I wouldn’t try to rate it though.


      2. The only one as far as I know, Martin.

        I have read, but can’t remember what the different ratings are supposed to signify tbh.


  2. “What would early CAMRA have made of such vital debate ?”
    Rather than answer that I’ll just report that forty-nine years ago at the national AGM in York on 9th March 1974 the four motions debated were ;
    That the constitution adopted by the 1973 AGM be rescinded and that the proposed draft constitution be adopted.
    That the annual membership fee be increased to £1 with effect from 10th March 1974.
    That life membership be introduced.
    That What’s Brewing is read by the N.E. before going to press.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You overlook the potential for a skilled debater to exploit such apparently simple motions as the 3rd and 4th above. I only joined CAMRA in about 1981 and went to a few AGMs in the 1980s but remember that a number of motions were put forward to increase the power of the chairman to shut people up, down to precisely defining the minutes allowed at each stage in the motion, given the amount of waffle that certain ‘regulars’ (in partular) seemed to emit. There were some good speakers, with some that were obviously keen to impress enough to get on (or back to) the NE (the voting was then confined only to AGM attendees). Life Membership only got through in the early 80s and then as part of a financial rescue package for CAMRA. Did anyone at that first AGM bring up the vital point that for NE members to be forced to scrutinise What’s Brewing, they had to have mastered reading first? [Appropriately, my first AGM was at Reading].

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ian,
      The third and fourth motions, proposed by Cambridge and Goring branches respectively, were both defeated.
      The cask breather motion tended to have the liveliest debate during the 1980s.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s