Ah Sheffield, famous for steel, silver and naming their football teams after days of the week. It was also the home to 7 members of team YellowBelly for the Paddy’s Day weekend, amazingly the bosses had agreed to let us all attend. A decision they would most definitely regret.
Back in January we closed a deal that meant YellowBelly was pouring in all 32 Brewdog bars in the UK over the weekend and the cheapest Ryanair flight we could find was to Sheffield, so that’s where we headed. Of course that wasn’t the only reason, the impressively named ‘Beer X’ trade show was happening the same weekend, and we also managed to swag a YellowBelly tap takeover at a local brewpub ‘The Sentinel’. This was going to be a gud’un.
We knew our luck was in as we took our seats on the plane, we had managed to swindle the emergency exit seats. I was more than willing to be responsible for everyone’s safety in order to gain all that sweet sweet legroom. In fact, I would have been prepared to fly the bloody plane if it meant avoiding Ryanair’s cramped ‘pleb’ seats. So we stretched out and enjoyed the show. The show in question consisted of the cabin crew trying to cram an hour of a sales pitch into our 25-minute flight. Newspapers and scratch cards were sold on the same run, with absolutely no heed paid to the subtle differences inherent in each product. None of either were sold.
We arrived in Sheffield at around 10am, and to our dismay the nearest brewpub was closed for business, which meant slumming it with pints of Wolf Rock Red IPA in our Holiday Inn, which was prefixed by me with “Hotel, Motel……” at any given opportunity! Oh how we laughed.
Today was Thursday the 16th and the night of our first U.K tap takeover, in The Sentinel Brewpub. We couldn’t wait. Unfortunatley we had to wait, but spirits were high as we made our way to the ‘Beer X’ trade show. Expectations based on the exciting name were soon put to bed as we entered a converted ice hockey stadium just outside the city centre. What once used to be a hive of passion and drama is now a room of 50-year-old men talking about pumps. “But at least there will be beer”, I offered to an increasingly frustrated Darragh Barnes. But alas, I was wrong. People selling cans had no beer in them, people selling taps had them running dry and bottle sellers were selling just that, empty bottles
Next up was our takeover, but first we went for meat. Lots of meat. Suitably refreshed, we headed to The Sentinel to drink beer and talk shite. Well actually, I only had to drink beer, Dec and Paul were leading the shite talking! There was a great reaction to Paul, as people learned about the hard work and creativity that goes into designing a YellowBelly Label. No one could understand Dec.
We were then let loose onto the streets of Sheffield where we took in the sights. The sights being- The Rutland Arms which was funny to say in a Sheffield accent, The Shakespeare Public House which was situated on the excellently named Gibraltar Street, and The Devonshire Cat, a pub owned by the lads from Abbeydale Brewery. Suffice to say we had a lovely night made all the better by a few swift halves and a couple of yards of ale.
The next morning was Paddy’s Day, it was also the day our beer would be pouring in all 32 Brewdog bars in the U.K. We were all very excited. To help contain this excitement we decided to sit in a tattoo parlour’s waiting room for 7 hours, yes 7 hours. Dec, Darragh Ruairi and I decided we wanted to do something to remember the trip. Paul drew us a Top Hat and moustache tattoo and in we went. We were shown to the waiting room and our home for the next while. It was admittedly a very nice waiting room, with plush leather couches and an X-box. As the hours progressed it started to feel like the next day after a house party. The rollover. Episodes of Family Guy were on an eternal loop, everyone was hungover, people were taking turns going to the nearby off licence to grab £1 cans of Red Stripe, and the day seemed to take forever!
I was the last in to get tattooed, my reckoning being that he would have perfected it by now. He could have also been very tired and sick of doing the same bloody tattoo, but I took a chance! Big shout out to Tenacious Tattoo for looking after us for the day, they were absolute legends. Around 9pm we finally got to leave and head into town. We went straight to the nearest Brewdog and celebrated our new ink with a pint of Castaway. Our first pint of YellowBelly on foreign shores, unless you count Northern Ireland of course, and we do. It was a great night; the staff were class and it was great to meet loads of new people and spread the good word of YellowBelly. Once that was out of the way we made our way to ‘Corporation’, a local nightclub where we were re-introduced to our old friend Mr. Cans of Red Stripe. This time at £2 a can. The rest of the night was a blur, I did manage to keep my cling film wrapped around my arm which was a plus. It was a rough morning.
3 days, 4 tattoos’, and 2 travel bans. Sheffield, your beautiful.