I'm living in the US right now, so my time spent appreciating proper
pubs and beer when here is done with some commitment. Otherwise, my
brewing is coming along.
I've got a couple of days free next week when the wife and kid can be
happily looked after by others we've not seen in a while in a similar
state. So the time is ripe to grab my best man and go hit up some
drinking . Past trips to Sheffield and York have been very good; York
we managed a 2 day trip encompassing about 25 pints each in 18 pubs
(only 1 repeat, and we're not small men, o nly hit 6 or 7 of 10 GBG
entries still, but didn't go anywhere that wouldn't be a contender
almost anywhere else). Sheffield we barely went further than a few
hundred yards from the Don (with a quick detour up to the Bath Hotel
and the old swimming pool Wetherspoons - Red Deer was closed - for
lunch), but explored the Harlequin, KIT, Wellington and Fat Cat very
thoroughly. Most we paid for a pint (last year) was 2.40.
Just managed to call into both these cities for a quick stop off on
the way home (Oxford area), so looking for a new destination. I'm
- good number of high quality pubs (maybe 8+) in a fairly compact area
(will likely take my bike with me too)
- average beer prices
Huddersfield - recomended within 15 minutes walk of railway station are HoS,
Kings Head (formerly called Station Tavern), Sportsman, Grove, Vulcan, R&R,
Star, Cherry Tree and others. 60+ different ales always available among
these pubs, including 20 on handpull just at the Grove.
The Rail Ale Trail is also popular, taking in Stalybridge, Mossley,
Greenfield, Marsden, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Mirfield, Batley
all on the Leeds - Manchester Piccadilly railway line.
Derby I had a lengthy change on a journey up to York, so I've seen the
brewpub near the station and the place next door too, if it's got
depth to go with those, could be well worth a visit. I did wonder
about Norwich, barely ever been there, best man is already by
Stanstead so might like the journey to East Anglia. How much is beer
in Norwich? (overall this makes about no difference to the project as
trainfare there is probably cheaper by about the same amount as it
will cost in beer, but still, I'm interested).
In article , Paul
I would certainly second those recommendations, I've done the Railway
Trail on a couple of occasions from Huddersfield to Leeds, The Cellar
Bar just outside Batley station is definitely one not to miss.
While you are in Huddersfield area, drop down a bit
to Holmfirth for The Nook where they now brew their
own ales. Good and all! There's also the Farmer's
Arms, but not easy to find and not always conducive
Figured since I'd asked on here, then promptly ignored all the replies that seemed to broadly say Huddersfield, and gone to Nottingham anyway, I may as well post the notes Sam (my best man) took while we were there. Used up some random hotel chain points to get a place to stay for free up Mansfield Road, very close to Lincs Poacher. Apologies for the delay, Sam's been suffering from an inability to walk that's entirely unrelated to beer. This is mostly his account with my annotations here and there.
Here are my notes from the Nottingham trip. I've added some extra comments. It's nice to have an aide memoire which means there are only a few blurry bits towards the end of the Thursday night cf York where all the pubs blur together in my memory! Remember that this doesn't include your first ones in Derby. (In Derby I stopped off at the Alexandria and the Brunswick and probably tried 3-4 halves, along with an impressively sized cheese pickle and salad bap from the Alex, where they were all the darling of the local newsreels as they'd declared they'd be Friday a Royal Wedding Free Zone.)
Key: Sam's Beer, (Simon's Beer and notes), [Shared Beer]
Wednesday 27 April, 2011:
Starting out from the station, a little wander along the canal to eat my sandwich and then on to the first pub:
Fellows, Morton & Clayton: research, mapping and planning - most of which to be ignored later.
Mallard - Duck & Dive
St Austell - Proper Job
The Canal House (Tynemill/Castle Rock): Simon arrives. Notable for having a floating narrow boat in the pub.
Theakston - Dark Mild
1/2 Castle Rock - Kiss Me Kate
(Castle Rock - Harvest Pale)
Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem: being shown how to play the hoop game by a Latvian? bird. Carved out of the castle rock.
Nottingham - Extra Pale Ale
(Nottingham - Legend)
1/2 Nottingham - Centurion ND
(1/2 Nottingham - Wedlock Royal Ale)
The Salutation Inn: this is where we discovered the Mild Trail and started collecting stickers
Nottingham Brewery - Foundry Mild
(Grantham - Mowbray's Mash)
[1/2 Rotherham - Masterpiece] Having googled around a bit, I can't find a brewery called 'Rotherham', and can't find a beer called
Masterpiece from the other brewers in Rotherham. Ossett Brewery did, however, have a beer called 'Masterpiece' that they were brewing in April for the opening of the Hepworth Gallery. Wakefield's 20 miles from Rotherham? That's my best bet.
The Roebuck Inn: JDW, so took the opportunity to scoff down some cheap scran
Hampshire - The Bee's Knees
(Phoenix - Pale Imitation)
The Lincolnshire Poacher (Tynemill/Castle Rock): Beery lethargy setting in at this point leading to a two-pinter - but could have been the beer selection and atmosphere.
Castle Rock - Black Gold
(Bateman's - Willy's Crown Jewels)
Castle Rock - Harvest Pale
(Bateman's - Triple 'Eggs' B)
Sir John Borlase Warren: Got a few curry suggestions from the neighbouring table but they seemed to favour the 'modern Indian cuisine' style of restaurant rather than the sort of thing we were looking for. Gave them the answers to the music pictures round in the pub quiz which had started while we were there.
Everards - Sunchaser
(Everards - Coppernob)
The Hawksley: Not worth a return visit - Brightly lit, bigscreen football, beer selection a bit meh compared to others. Pints were drinkable.
Castle Rock - Harvest Pale
(Timothy Taylor - Landlord)
The Hand and Heart: Nice Barmaid that we interrogated - rather more successfully - about curries in the area. Too busy talking/pissed to remember to pick up a Mild Trail sticker - they'd run out of actual mild, anyway.
Springhead - Windsor Knot
[Full Mash - Hand and Heart Ale] - this started out as Simon's beer but ended up as mine after slow progress
1/2 Buxton - Axe Edge
The Sapna Indian Restaurant: Pretty decent curry. Good Naan, too. Waiter was a good lad.
Carlsberg - Fizzy Piss
Thursday 28 April, 2011
After a great hotel buffet breakfast and an aborted swim at the Park Inn's aptly named 'Innactive Centre' (pool being used by fat middle-aged woman floating about on foam tubes, yes, apparently they did need the whole pool) we left the room to air and headed for Beeston, me by bus - still crippled from cycling to Amsterdam and back and Simon by bike.
The Victoria Hotel: a fantastic and very well-kept beer selection, interesting looking menu and a good interior. The weather being nice and warm, we chose to sit outside. Simon arrived a little after me, having scouted Beeston a little - but not bothered by the wait as I could easily spend a whole day in here.
Blue Monkey - Original
Full Mash - Ha'Penny Mild
(Leeds - Pale)
Leeds - Midnight Bell. My current favourite beer and this was the best I've had it - and that includes Leeds Brewery's own Midnight Bell pub
(Downton - Gem)
The Malt Shovel: not much of a beer choice and very quiet. Ate here because hunger was getting the better of us despite the enormous breakfast and the prospect of better pubs to come. Grilled the blonde barmaid a bit.
Nottingham - Rock Mild
(Nottingham - Rock Mild)
The Last Post (JDW): came with the usual assortment of lager-swilling chavs that frequent most Wetherspoons.
Springhead - Drop O' the Black Stuff
(Ossett - Millbridge Mild)
The Crown: current Nottingham and East Midlands CAMRA 'Pub of the Year'. Good range, bars and car-park beer-garden but also the only 'off' pint of the trip. (I loved the inside of the place, garden could be better utilised, mainly seems to be car parking).
Leatherbritches - Scoundrel
(Leatherbitches - CAD) 'Crown Ale Drinker' - brewed for the pub, although served elsewhere as well
# Black Friars - Mild. Had gone off. Very vinegary. Bleurgh.
Leatherbritches - Bounder
(Captain Cook - Sunset)
1/2 Captain Cook - Sunset
(1/2 WharfeBank - Tether Blonde)
The Newshouse (Tynemill/Castle Rock): back in to central Nottingham. On a busy road, not much to look at from the outside but back-to-back bars with the emphasis on good beer. The beer was beginning to interfere with record keeping a bit here. I had the first pint while waiting for Simon who, on the way back from Beeston, had cycled to pick up missing stickers from Canal House and F,M&C before coming here. Good local intelligence gained from a couple of blokes who were also doing the Mild Trail, albeit with a much more leisurely time-scale. I only recorded the first pint that I had and failed to record the second or Simon's, as we were chatting at the bar and I figured I'd remember to do it when we returned to our table before leaving (oops - but I think I may just have had Harvest Pale again).
Holden's - Black Country Mild
The Joseph Else (JDW): it was curry night so we ate here. Awful vindaloo - tasted like they'd tipped a jar of curry powder into a
stock sauce; a powdery paste. Couldn't eat it even in my inebriated state - and I'm too greedy to leave food normally. Simon complained that the bhajees were cold so at least we got some extra ones as an apology. I reckon there are only three decent Wetherspoons and they are all in London - Lord Moon of the Mall, Hamilton Hall at Liverpool St, Metropolitan at Baker St. They do seem to be conveniently located as a halfway house when you're on the way to somewhere better.
Mauldons - Blackberry Porter
(mild of some sort, the name of which Simon couldn't recall. I meant to have a look at the clips on the way out, but forgot)
The Cross Keys: very crowded and popular. I had to drink my pint reasonably quickly as I'd left Simon to go to the bar while I 'popped to the loo' and took rather longer than expected - I'm blaming the mouthful of curry paste I'd eaten in the previous pub.
Found Simon at a table outside, watching Nottingham's night-life.
Oldershaw - Grantham Dark Mild
(Bateman's - Willy's Crown Jewels)
Keans Head: A Castle Rock pub, and recommended by the blokes in The Newshouse. I found a stool and read the local CAMRA mag while Simon talked at the bar.
Burton Bridge - Damson Porter
(Brains - Dark)
Bunkers Hill Inn: it wasn't actually all that good. Not bad, just not as good as some others so couldn't see why it had been recommended.
Very brightly lit. Got challenged to down a pint by some drunken youngsters, probably at Simon's instigation. *Ha* Still got it. (and
kept it, unlike some...)
Ossett - By George
(The Grainstore Brewery - Triple B)
(1/2 Fun Fair) - can't remember which one but I remember it was pale and gingery and not my cup of tea (I thought it was OK though). Looking at their website, 'Brandy Snap' or 'Teacup' look like contenders.
The Moot: great pub and the landlord was fairly relaxed about Simon disposing of the beer from the previous pub by means of several heaves in the alley/beergarden next to the pub.
Oakham - JHB
(1/2 Full Mash - Ha'penny Mild)
Friday 29 April, 2011
Woke up in time to get a fry-up downstairs before returning to bed.
Watched the pertinent bits of the Royal Wedding before eventually deciding that we really should leave the hotel (it being well past the noon check-out time).
Time for a quick pint before heading to the station. Simon had to pedal off in a hurry to catch his train, but I didn't record what he'd just drunk prior.
The Rose of England: they seemed to have entered into the spirit of 'Royal Wedding Day' with more Crosses of St. George and Union Jacks than seen anywhere outside of a BNP rally.
Flipside - Dark Denomination
(Simon had a half of something fairly forgettable)
I make that 9 pubs and a curryhouse on the first day for 14 or so pts (can't exactly remember now how many I had in Derby on the way), 10 pubs on the second day for probably 14.5 pts, and a single pub on the third - 1 pt, for a total of 20 pubs, 29.5pts consumed - hmm... that's quite a lot - and 46 different beers sampled between us - 48 if you include the bad pint of Black Friars Mild and the exotic flavour of warm curry house Carlsberg.
(Overall we had a great couple of days out, Nottingham's Castle Rock brewery is a first class outfit, and now they own their pub chain as well - used to be somehow separate "Tynemill Inns", these are very high quality pubs. I'm familiar with the quite excellent Rook and Gaskill in York, it's very good to see most of these others are of a similarly high standard, yet all very individual. Thoroughly recommend Nottingham for a day out if you get the chance. We didn't even get to the cricket pubs near Trent Bridge.)
All in all, a very fun trip but I'm probably never going to drink that much again! (So he says...it's only our 3rd such trip in as many years)