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Pub Visit - England

Monday 27th January 2014

Hillsborough Hotel 1Bob Thompson

Despite its name, this pub is not actually in Hillsborough, rather on the road to that suburb of Sheffield. Yet unlike so many other pubs the one accurate part of the name is hotel, as it is a real inn with six bedrooms. I was with Linda as we entered a few minutes after opening time. I have been in this pub once before but it was in the evening and my memories are a little vague.

The bar is on the right after entering and I must admit the pump clips provided quite a colourful display. Opposite the bar there is a large room with windows front and back. We sat near the front and watched the trams passing by. At the rear there is a conservatory that provides a panoramic vista of the Don Valley including the gasworks and a retail park.

Hillsborough Hotel 2
Apart from just having a very good range of cask ales, this pub is notable for being the tap for the Wood Street Brewery which is located in the basement.

As can be seen from the photograph, the pub occupies a prominent corner position on Langsett Road. The side street on the right is Wood Street, hence the name. The brewery and pub are owned by Alison Newbold, who is also the brewer.

The present management have been at the helm since 2012 and it is remarkable that over 125 different beers have brewed on the 5 barrel capacity plant since then. The equipment was installed in 2001 and was named the Crown Brewery after one that closed in 1930s, which was located nearby. In 2004 the pub was taken over by the Edale Brewery and the name was changed to the Wellington Brewery. Further new owners arrived in 2007 and the name reverted back to Crown.

Hillsborough Hotel 4Although the old Crown Brewery was in the vicinity it never owned the pub, as far as I can ascertain.

There are some nice etched windows proclaiming that Gilmour Windsor Ales were on sale. The basic history of this company is that Duncan Gilmour started in Sheffield in 1831 as wine and spirit merchants.

In 1860 they moved from their Queen Street premises to Dixon Lane where brewing was began at the Furnival Brewery.

They were registered as a limited company in 1891 with the intention to acquire other breweries and wine merchants. It is interesting to note that this is not a modern phenomenon. The very next year they took over no less than four breweries in Liverpool; the two plants of the United Brewery, the Midland Brewery and the Windsor Brewery. It is from the latter that the trading name of Gilmour Windsor Ales was derived and used in both Sheffield and Liverpool.

Hillsborough Hotel 3They continued to expand and took over several more breweries in Sheffield and one in Doncaster. It all came to an end in 1954 when they were absorbed by Joshua Tetley of Leeds. At that moment they were still brewing at Dixon Lane supplying 148 pubs in South Yorkshire. On Merseyside the Windsor Brewery was also still working, distributing beer to 350 pubs. Both breweries had ceased operations by 1964. So, from the mid 1950s up to the Beer Orders and the instigation of the dreadful pub-owning companies, it displayed the huntsman of Tetley on its sign.

Back to the present day, the normal arrangement in the pub is that they serve four of their own brews along with another four guest beers. When we visited the home side was represented by Wood Street Pale Ale (3.9%); Ebony Stout (5.0%); Snowbell Japanese (4.2%), an amber ale and Bladderout (6.0%), another amber ale.

The guests were Black Country Ales (Lower Gornal, West Midlands) English Winter (5.5%), a strong mild; Spire (Staveley, Derbyshire) Winter Wonderland (5.7%), in the strong ale style; Grafter's (Gainsborough, Lincs) Tradition (3.7%), an English bitter and Blue Bee (Sheffield, South Yorks) Solidus (5.4%), an English pale ale.

There is a full menu on offer, the times are given below. This is a fabulous little pub and well worth the short journey from the city centre.

Important information:

The Hillsborough Hotel, 54-58 Langsett Road, Sheffield S6 2UB. Tel: 0114 232 2100

Open: Sunday-Thursday 12.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 12.00-24.00
Food service: Monday to Saturday 12.00-21.00; Sunday 12.00-17.00

The tram stop for the pub is Langsett/Primrose View, about 200 metres away. It is served by two routes. The Blue route runs from Halfway to Malin Bridge via the main railway station and the city centre. The Yellow route runs from Meadowhall Interchange station to Middlewood via the city centre. Normally each line operates every ten minutes, giving a tram every five minutes from the city centre.

There are also several bus routes that stop here.