Hello Ladies and Lentilmen,
yesterday I took Matty to Derby for the first time. Its not the first time he has been, but the first time I have been with him to share my knowledge of its frankly excellent boozers. To make a change, I decided we should go to some new pubs for the very first time. Here are some details and guesswork about what we found.
We had intended to get to the Derby about 11.00 as Matty had to be in back in Sheffield for 19.00. In the end we were delayed by his long phone call to the leccy and we met at about 11.15. Soon on a train we arrived just before midday and headed straight for the Station Inn on Midland Road. It was closed. It was gone midday. This was a poor start.
Round the corner and down back streets took us to the Brunswick, one pub Matty definitely remembers drinking in on his previous visit. Here he had a pint of Brunswick Rocket at 4.8% and I halves of Kreft Brewing Belgian Pale and Driftwood Spa Brewery JCS, a hoppy, Cornish, pale. By Cornish standards, there was quite a lot of hop in there but the Kreft was better. Matty got a discount as a CAMRA member, although despite him buying all 3 drinks am fairly sure mine was not. I don't mind, but that does seem a little picky if so. We sat in the room (one of) on the left and supped and planned our next destination.
In a surprising move we ended up in the Alexandra. I really like this pub, and as usual there was an excellent range of ales to choose from. I had a pint of Dark Star Revelation on account of it being fab and Matt a Lenton Lane Bluebird at something sensible like 4.2%. We also had a pork pie each, before realising that there was a range of scotch eggs including black pudding flavoured. We got chatting to a man who used to work at Rolls Royce, who had a name. He definitely had a name.
We headed off into town next and made our way through the streets to Friargate. I haven't been in this part of Derby for a while but found it easy enough, and as we walked along Matty let out a huge, happy, deep breath at seeing a craft beer and board games pub. Despite my concerns, we went into Alchemy, which used to be the Friargate I think, and while Matty got a bottle of Dancing Duck DCUK I had a pint of Franciscan Well Chieftain Irish pale. Its the first time I have tried a beer from this brewery and it was very pleasant. I also paid for a half and got a pint, so no qualms on price!
Just up the road is Suds and Soda, a "joint" recommended by Nate from the Shakespeares which delivered on all counts. There were 6 keg beers on from far and wide, most of which we tried. They also sell a rather excellent rang of cans and bottles from small brewers, mainly UK and European. It is, I have to say, rather bloody fab.
I had halves of the Belching Beaver orange and vanilla IPA at 6.9%, and the Les Brassuers Du Grand Paris Citra and Galctique IPA at 6.5%, from Paris. Matty had the Lost Industry Peach melba Yoghurt Sour at 5.7 and the Twisted Barrel Hmmm at 6.5%. All four beers were in excellent condition and offered a range of styles - its not every day you see a genuine French IPA. Matty also got a bottle of the local Neonraptor Brewery Endangered bourbon porter. I understand the shop does the publicity, maybe including artwork, and also distribution of this small breweries output. Its certainly not a beer I have tried before. An excellent place to go for a drink in Derby.
Up the road next to the Last Post, micropub. Having missed it last time I was pleased to find it this, and it did not disappoint. The pub sells four or five real ales and a couple of kegs in the tiny bar area which must seat about 15. Out the back is a fabulous suntrap garden where I went for a sunbathe with my pint of what may have been Stockport Brewing Cascade. It was definitely one of the four beers that were on....
Matty loved this pub as the regulars were so friendly and knowledgeable, and recommended two nearby pubs which we tried. Definitely a venue I will be revisiting.
The Woodlark was the first of the pubs recommended which we visited and in here we had a drink of beer - each. I can't remember which pub was which in terms of beer range between this and the White Lion (or Golden, or Red Lion....)* but in one of them we had pints of Tiny Rebel pale ale. We sat in the beer garden soaking up the sun whilst Matty delighted in telling me that the mighty Wednesday were losing to Derby. Only after we returned to the main road back into town did he tell me we had won. He a funny guy.
Our penultimate stop was the Flowerpot where my phone camera tells me I had a sandwich. We each had a pint of Oakham Green Devil here to dispel our disappointment of how it tasted on Friday night in Sheffield. Matty was suitably persuaded that this was an excellent beer, served in an equally excellent pub.
Our final stop was the Alexandra, again, where we had more beer and a black pudding Scotch egg, which met and perhaps exceeded our expectations. An absolutely excellent range of snap as always in the Alex, and a brilliant way to finish our crawl of Derby.
Its always been a favourite place of mine to nip to for a quick booze up, and after twenty two years of doing so its good to see that having visited five new pubs in Derby there is still plenty to discover, and much to enjoy in this fabulous city of pubs and ales.
*the Lion of many unspecified colours was the Golden Eagle, so Matt tells me. But whadda arr norw......