Pouring a new slice of veganism at Sheffield craft beer specialist
Sheffield’s vegan revolution shows no signs of slowing down, with this craft beer and pizza joint in Heeley the latest addition to the thriving scene.
Pour opened on London Road last month, beside the White Lion pub, in what was the Luna Rossa Italian restaurant.
The dog-friendly haunt makes good use of the pizza oven its owners inherited and also serves a wide range of mostly vegan beers.
The White Lion landlord is one of the team behind Pour, but it has a very different look to its more traditional neighbour.
The bare wooden bar top and trendy hotchpotch of different tables and sofas lend it a stripped back swagger, only slightly stifled by a bit of naff faux-stone plaster work which was presumably also inherited.
The pizza menu is entirely vegan, though diners can opt for vegetarian cheese if that's a step too far for pizza purists.
We tried a ham (vegan, obviously), olive and mushroom pizza and a more exotic barbecue and pulled jackfruit one, along with a poutine – a Canadian fries speciality.
That was washed down with the easy drinking Redwillow Effortless and the refreshingly zesty, if a bit too much so for my partner, Lost Industry Mojito Pale Ale.
The pizza bases were good and the toppings fresh.
As guilt-ridden meat eaters, we were ready to give the vegan cheese a go but found this to be a work in progress, so non-vegans may want to stick with the vegetarian option.
For us, the slightly sweet taste and texture which made it stick to the roof of the mouth were redolent of the plastic-wrapped slices of processed cheese which are an insult to dairy produce.
It actually worked OK with the tangy barbecue sauce but clashed with the subtler flavours of the mushrooms and olives.
Any doubts you could make a proper poutine without a meaty gravy soon evaporated though, with a rich depth to the sauce smothering our generous serving of crunchy chips.
The staff were very welcoming and there was a good buzz to the place even on a chilly Wednesday evening,
With photos of bygone Sheffield on the wall, and the shelves stacked with board games, it was easy to imagine ourselves whiling away a lazy Sunday afternoon here.
Next time, though, we’ll stick to vegetarian pizzas, unless there’s a big vegan cheese breakthrough soon.
Pour is the latest addition to the bustling parade of shops, cafes and pubs along this stretch of Heeley.
It joins the other tasty recent arrivals Create Coffee, The Bhaji Shack, Tramshed Kitchen and Just Falafs, alongside many more established places to eat.
Pour is yet another reason for beer lovers to check out the area, too, given it is already home to several charming old pubs serving no shortage or tempting tipples from local brews to those with more far-flung origins.
There's certainly an appetite for vegan food, and vegan drink to wash it down with, in these environs, which form part of what has been dubbed the lentil belt.
Non-vegan drinkers could be forgiven for assuming all beer would be vegan.
But ‘finings’ derived from fish bladders are often added to the basic ingredients of malt, hops, water and yeast to clear the haze which naturally forms during the brewing process and give it a more appealing look.
Places like Pour allow drinkers to relax, safe in the knowledge their pint is free from animal products, without any need to scan the list of ingredients or carefully research what they’re supping.
The latest advice is that we all need to drastically cut our consumption of meat to save not just our health but that of the planet.
I’m not ready just yet to make the leap to vegetarianism or veganism, but I’m all for cutting back on my meat and dairy intake, especially when I don’t have to compromise on flavour.
Pizza should be an obvious vegan option. We’re accustomed to pizzas in the UK oozing with mozzarella, but traditional pizzas needn’t contain cheese and are the perfect canvas for the freshest vegetables.
There’s nothing wrong with the bases at Pour but I’d welcome some more cheese-free options and extra creativity when it comes to the toppings. Get that right and this could be a great addition to Sheffield’s vegan offerings.
We ate at Pour, 617-619 London Road, S2 4HT, and our bill came to £28.40.