derby day drinking took place recently. Not supping at a horse race, or near a match between two local teams, but in Derby, in Derbyshire. It was me and Miss N's first proper trip to the home of Brunswick, Black Iris and Dancing Duck breweries, and so we didn't really try anywhere I hadn't been before. Crucially that didn't stop us enjoying what the place had to offer.
Arriving on a Sunday my main concern was we might miss visiting the Station on Midland Road. We arrived at nearly half 2, the lights were on but the door remained closed, even when we stood hopefully on the step.Luckily our first open pub compensated well. The Alex is a shortcut away and was offering a good range of beers as always. I had a delicious pint of Hilden Stout and Miss N a titanic white star and we sat down in the far corner to sup, eat pork pies and soak up the atmosphere. We also took the opportunity to have a half each of Oakham Green Devil on keg, which was £4.40 and on great form - not too fizzy and not too cold.
We walked across the park next to the Smithfield and sat down next to the river in the cold sunshine to enjoy halves of Whim Arbor Light for me and an Oakham bishops for Miss N. The pub was busy which is good to see but I've not seen it packed in years - perhaps its out of the way location doesn't help, but I can confirm the beer range was good, especially the Whim.
Next we visited the multiroomed Exeter Arms and sat in the small house round the back and had pints of their Dark Drake for me and Milk Street March Madness for Miss N. The Exeter was also busy and we got talking to some fellow slakers in there, before we headed for the Derby Tap.
Here we had a pint of Derby Brewing Mercia IPA for me and halves of dashingly dark and on tap for Miss N. Seating was in short supply as there was a do on upstairs but everyone congragated downstairs til it started, and the beer wasn't as good as the Exeter, although there was a good range on, and the food looked fab.
The Peacock cam next, and we got talking to some of the guests in here as well, and enjoyed two pints each, my first was the Hartsthorne IPA, and my second and Miss N's both were of Bass, which was on good form and I think was served from the barrel. We also had a bite to eat but this was three weeks ago and alas, my notes stop at this point! The food was, however, very enjoyable and was likely a pie. Probably.......
A wander took us to the Seven Stars where we squeezed in a chat and a couple of halves before we went to the usually excellent Flowerpot. Here we had Black Iris and shared the bar with a group of loud drinkers out celebrating, which was a shame really, although they were certainly enjoying themselves. After we walked through torrential rain to the Station to find it definitely closed, so headed for a last one or two, one in the Brunswick and a last pint each of Green Devil in the Alex, before catching our last train home.
Once again Derby offered the type of pubs that Sheffield lacks, as well as a stellar range of real ales and didn't disappoint. Its good to know that despite Sheffield being such a great place to drink there are places nearby with their own equally ace selection of pubs, to visit.