here are the details of the elsewheres on my yomp on Saturday, when we walked from Birchover to Bonsall (and not a metre further!).
The Miners Standard at Winster is a fine old 17th century pub selling 4 real ales,including, to my surprise, a beer I'd never heard of - Pentrich Revolution Best Bitter. I suppose it could be a house beer, but either way it was very nice and refreshing.
Mind you, if it hadn't taken me nearly 15 minutes to get served behind a blob of indecisive Mavis types ordering and reordering meals along with a shameless selection of fiddly drinks, I might have been slightly less thirsty, even despite having slogged it uphill to the pub. The bargain £2.40 price did go some way to offsetting the annoyance but the indecisive amnesiac in front of me could have looked round after 10 minutes hogging the bar to see if anyone was about to pass out - as indeed, could the landlord. Poor.
In Matlock Bath we went to the Temple Hotel, and discovered to our surprise that it was dead. I know its up a very steep hill (climbed up for he first time since we got a taxi from Bonsall) but there was only 2 other customers for the first 20 minutes, plus another who arrived as we and the other two were leaving. I hope this is a seasonal anomaly, because its a cracking pub. And it still sells the impeccable Blue Monkey BG Sips, which we both had a pint of.
Our next stop was a new one on us both. The Fishpond is the kind of place that has a judgeable cover. I have never felt remotely inclined to go in, but two separate people recommended it to me at the Barley Mow beer fest so we ventured in. There are three distinct areas, including an off shot room with restaurant looking seating, a comfortable lounge area at the end and some long tables near the bar. On which, are 8 handpumps selling amongst more super regional offerings, some interesting regional ales, including Blue Monkey BG Sips.
We were on halves in here so I had a blue Monkey Marmoset which was an easy drinking hoppy session ale, and Miss M had a half of Dancing Duck nice weather for ducks. Both were in good form, and it was good to see what is ostensibly a quite modern stylish venue not only selling real ale but also allowing dogs. This had been a recurring theme of the day.
Our penultimate stop of the crawl followed a tiring charge to Matlock after we narrowly missed the bus. Moca bar was having a beer festival, with up to 20 beers stillaged opposite the bar, and well priced snacks on sale to soak up the alcohol. Although we were really pushed for time I had time for half a Titanic Cappuccino stout, and an excellent Black Hole Super Nova, a brilliantly zesty pale ale with lots of well balanced hops.
Once in Derby, we headed for the Station and inevitably quaffed pints (well, I did) of the excellent Bass from the jug. I think I may have made a new convert of the gravity dispensed Bass in here.
When we finally arrived back in Sheffield we parted company, and I had a pint of the Ilkley Lotus IPA in the Sheffield Tap, which was exceptional. Sat in the brewery room, I watched whilst 2 couples sitting nearby played out a rather amusing game of "we'll go for the next one" as successive train options passed them by, and numerous pints of the Titanic Plum Porter passed their lips. Good humoured, happy and slightly drunk, this was a great example of the positive social side of drinking.
So its been a very, ahem, "busy" four days, but now I am in a position to relax, compose myself, and plan next week's outings in the death throes of winter.