Last night the challenge extended to The Sparrow Bier Cafe in Bradford. In the past my visits to The Sparrow often involved taxiing a slightly inebriated Mr Ticker, but he was always kind enough to let me stay for a coffee! On starting the beer ticking challenge, I was determined that The Sparrow would become one of my first destinations. As expected a lovely evening ensued and I was able to tick many interesting beers.
When The Sparrow opened in Bradford, myself, Mr T and our friends were delighted. I have lived in the suburbs of Bradford for nearly three years, and have become passionate about the city and feel it has a lot to offer, despite popular opinion. What's important to me is the diversity, culture, architecture, heritage and history, countryside and city living, tradition combining with modernity, and above all the friendly open folk. What winds me up is the stigma attached to the city following the riots, the 1970's architectural monstrosities (which are thankfully slowly disappearing), the big hole at Westfield and the £24,500,000 that was spent on the City Park (a fountain... pretty yes, but that's all, a blooming fountain!).
Bradford's reputation has a lot to be desired, especially the night-life, which I myself am guilty of avoiding. The Sparrow's opening has been a welcome ray of light, with it's friendly atmosphere and passion for what it delivers. It is drawing on the positives of Bradford, and filling an empty gap. With an ever changing variety of uncommon beers, (keg, bottle and cask) ongoing promotion of local artists and photographers, eclectic music playing, it makes the city centre a place I no longer wish to avoid after dark.
Yesterday's jaunt to The Sparrow led to ticking a plethora of beers:
18: Hophead, Dark Star, 3.8%
Light, I felt not overly hoppy in flavour, despite the name (though I had consumed an extremely garlicky potato salad for tea that stayed with me for several hours!). Went down very nicely, despite this.
19: Dissolution IPA, Kirkstall Brewery Company, 5%
Aromas reminiscent of Edam cheese (remember I'm new to this...), but not in a bad way, actually really tasty. The alcohol content tasted stronger that its 5%. It had a very smooth velvety feel, disappearing as quickly as the first beer.
20: Golden Salamander, Salamander, 4.4%
This beer was voted Silver at the 2011 Great British Beer Festival. Straw like in colour. A bit malty. Enough said. Silver? Seriously? Is my inexperience showing?
21: Lakeland Lager, Hawkshead Brewery, 5%
Nothing to smell but very very refreshing. Crisp, clean and fresh, not packed with flavour but very enjoyable, would order again and again.
22: Camden Pale Ale, Camden Town, 4.5%
This beer was served on keg. I like how you can try a beer and be bowled over with surprise. This doesn't happen very often with other drinks. I thought it smelled of pineapple, not fresh pineapple, but like a sweetie, a gumdrop maybe. I tasted tinned mandarin and a tropical fruit that I couldn't put my finger on, maybe papaya or guava- not your typical lychee or passion fruit. I enjoyed this a lot.
23: Dark Ruby Mild, Sarah Hughes, 6%
Chocolate, black cherry and almond (although I may have been sold this flavour by Mr T) personally I thought it was a little bit 'manufactured' in taste, but enjoyed it non the less. It seemed a bit thinner in mouth feel (still makes me laugh...) than the darker beers I have tried so far.
24: Dog Schwarz Smoked Double Lager, Flying Dog, 7.8%
Smelt strongly of alcohol, maybe wine or sherry with a big hit of smoke and maybe smokey bacon crisps. It tasted less smokey than I was anticipating. In the past I have chastised Mr T for ending the evening with an expensive, strong tasting beer but last night, it seemed the perfect finish.