One of the things I love about British culture is the way it often kicks back at what is expected of it. Whether or not you agree with it, Brexit was a prime example of sections of society saying up yours to people telling them what they should do.
I think the British public in general are like that. We are a bolshie bunch who don’t like being told what to do and the example of Dry January or #Tryanuary is a case in point.
Whilst Dry January has some commendable causes attached to it, along with Stoptober, there is always suspicion amongst the Brits that it is the creeping ‘normalisation’ of anti-alcohol and that’s why, I am sure, there has been a kickback.
#Tryanauary started in 2015 and has really kicked on to such an extent that social media is flooded with the hashtag. This means the beleaguered beer industry gets some extra footfall (hopefully) and people try out new beers without getting totally wasted, start fights, or become alcoholics and any of the other scare stories I often read about.
One place that doesn’t appear to need any extra footfall, however, as it is pretty full every day is 138 – The Boot DE65 6FT in Repton.
The South Derbyshire village is dominated by its Independent school and this place appears to have got the mix just right. It is the final part of the trio of Bespoke Inns along with The Dragon in Willington (pub 15) and Harpur’s in Melbourne (pub 116) and this is their brewing hub.
As you would expect from this chain, it has some plush rooms that parents can stop in whilst visiting their kids and also has some gastro food for those wanting to indulge.
But it also has a cracking range of beers as this is where Boot beer try out all their new brews and there is definitely a bar section and an eating section.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very middle class bar and whilst kids are very welcome space means it isn’t particularly (young) child friendly in its layout in the bar area (stick to the restaurant kids!) so it always feels quite hectic.
However, when I entered with Mrs BB and the kids on a Sunday afternoon it was happy hour (3-7pm) and that meant I could have pint of top class IPA (Boot) for the fantastic sum of £2.80!
But Mrs BB’s G&T more than made up the difference and this place appeals to many of the locals as well as the tourists.
Bizarrely, despite being the brewery ‘tap’ it is the only one of their chain to be without beermats and is firmly in the napkin corner regards table decoration. But that is being pedantic, as we managed to bag a table, very unusual in this place, and suitably amused ourselves for a good hour with a crackling atmosphere.
The building itself is a 17th Century coaching inn and it is great to see it revitalised as it looked to be on the way out until Bespoke Inns took it on around three years ago. It’s not situated in the perfect position as parking is limited nearby but they have proven that if you get the mix right, know your audience, then people will come flocking.
I am following in esteemed footsteps as fellow blogger https://twitter.com/StymieSi visited the Boot in the past 12 months and saw someone he described as ‘jumper man.’ I recognised him from the picture but, this was one of the rare occasions he wasn’t in here (I have a great story about him Si!)
Anyway, I was happy, in the spirit of #Tryanuary to try a different beer from a different brewer and was rewarded with a pint of absolute nectar.
They are a relative new kid on the block in terms of brewing but their beers are consistently good and they have an ever expanding range.
This is a place to visit for a pint on your own or with your family for food. I can’t see a dart board or pool table coming any time soon but that won’t worry them as the tills keep ringing and the beer and G&T keeps on flowing.
Anti-establishment is great when the establishment is clearly promoting their own agenda. Let’s hope this brewery keeps sticking the boot into sobriety for many years to come.