Over the May-day bank holiday weekend my wife and I found we had the perfect opportunity to visit and interesting part of Sheffield’s heritage. Abbeydale Picture House is a grand old cinema from the 1920s that, although showing its age, is a gem of a building and was running a three day beer festival to open its theatre to the public. We were very keen to have a look inside as to our shame we’d not explored it before. As we expected to sample a few beers we thought we’d balance that by walking there and back (roughly a mile and a half each way). I’ve always found a good walk after a night on the beer really helps and gives you the best chance of a reasonable morning after.
As we approached the Picture House we came across one of Sheffield’s ‘craft’ beer shops which also acts as a tasting room, or in other words a very small micro-pub. I had heard a great deal about the Hop Hideout but was suspicious about its real ale credentials so I’d not personally checked it out. As we passed the shop my wife grabbed my arm and dragged me in with a list of reasons why I shouldn’t be such an old fart. Once inside I found that there were five keg taps but, I was politely informed, no cask beer. I was in a cask conditioned dessert with a very thirsty wife; there was nothing left to do but treat it as research and try out a couple of the keg offerings. My wife immediately chose a sour beer as she likes sourness in many forms. I chose what looked to be the best option in terms of strength to kick off a long night on the beer. The shop serves glasses in sizes from one-third pint up to one litre, so we were able to have thirds to give us an introduction to the new world of keg. Research dictated I try a second beer from the range, and I also managed to pinch a sip of my wife’s sour ale so I could see what was making her so happy.
There was an excited buzz in the shop from the group of young men chatting about the nuances of the the various hop flavours on offer and I must admit I liked the informality and the atmosphere of the place. However, despite my wife’s new found love for sour beer, I wasn’t won over by my drinks and also found them, surprisingly, rather flat; not what I expected from new generation keg. So, my conclusion is that the Hop Hideout is well set-up and run, and would attract me for return visits if there were at least one cask conditioned beer on offer.
After our keg detour we move on the Picture House via an accidental visit to the Picture House Social Club underneath the old cinema. The Social Club seemed a very good venue with good pizzas, good beer, and on that Friday a really good DJ. However, we realised we’d entered the wrong door so after a pint and a pizza left to find the correct entrance to the Picture House cinema and the target beer festival. With objective achieved we had a great night marvelling at the old cinema theatre and sampling the range of cask conditioned beers (although my wife found the Hop Hideout had a pop-up keg and can bar at the festival too!).
A slow walk home capped a really good Friday night out. So much so, we decided to repeat the whole experience on the Saturday (bringing friends)…..when I even had a bit of a dance in the theatre aisle to the festival’s headline band! Maybe there is life in the old dog yet.