Saturday, 28 November 2015
Sword in The Stone.
Them Victorians, eh?
Did you know that, in 1820, when Sir Walter Scott wrote 'Ivanhoe', he sparked a national obsession with chivalry, heraldry, pageantry and The Crusades?
Well, you do now.
It's in this period that many pubs were named (or renamed) with names which harked back to medieval romance; like The Kings Arms or The Turks Head* and, no doubt, when The Pilgrim pub in Nottingham was renamed 'Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem'.
Now, Nottingham town centre, to me, is like an architectural button-box, you never know what odd gem of a building you're going to encounter next and, the other Saturday, we bumped into that same ungainly-looking hostelry still clinging, crystal-like, to the patchy brown curved walls of the old Norman castle.
The Olde Trip, you see, is one of several claimants to 'The oldest pub in England' (although it was actually built, bit by bit between 1650 and 1750) because it's built on the site of the Norman Castle's brewhouse. Stretching it a bit, I reckon.
Half cut into the rock are its snug little bars and my eagle eyes spotted, glinting in the gloom, a pumpclip marked 'Stancill Stainless'. Now, should you collect them, here is a coincidence;
Stancill Brewery is a new operation, but (like Ye Trip) sits on a spot of a much older (Cannon) brewery in Sheffield, notorious for brewing Stones Bitter. So, they too can benefit from the association.
Not that they need to, in my opinion. 'Stainless' is a delicious pale with a sharpness worthy of its name and a subtle underlying fruity sweetness which balances it perfectly. This is a quintessentially Sheffield guzzle-worthy brew which, quality-wise, is a fit rival to any of the existing commercially successful pales such as Moonshine, Pale Rider and Farmers Blonde.
*No doubt named to celebrate the decapitation of 2700 prisoners by our romantic hero, Richard the Lionheart during the Crusades. Celebratory Turks head brooches were also popular with the ladies. Strange taste.