This Beast From The East is playing havoc for us pub bloggers as getting on the road to visit new exotic places (well not always) is tough in sub-zero icy conditions.
However, this is the time of year to celebrate the good old-fashioned local boozer and whilst it may be career ending for a member of the PUB (Pub Union of Bloggers), there is plenty to admire in the pub closest to your own pad.
I’ve already blogged about 29- The Swan Inn DE65 6EF but it’s under new ownership and worth a revisit as, even though it was in the GBG in 2017, it has arguably upped its game.
The previous landlord Roger Salt was a brewer at Bass/Marston’s and always kept a great pint but the new duo, Kevin and Tracey Richards have arrived with a good pedigree.
Having run the Brickmaker’s Arms in Newton Solney (pub 5) , the Devonshire Arms in Burton On Trent and a boozer in Benidorm (initially) they are well versed in good pubs and they have already made a positive impact in this tiny hamlet.
Evolution rather than revolution is the model and it is now two rooms of drinking rather than food and drink although a new menu is up and running but more snack based.
There was also a marvellous cheese board that kept people happy and it was noticeable that there were far more people in under the new stewardship.
Some new faces have followed from Newton Solney but there are also more local faces than I have seen before and they are keeping beer to match the quality of Rogers’s beforehand.
However, in stark contrast to what the ‘trends’ are saying they are stocking a greater range of beers, less food, shorter opening hours but are more full.
This boozer has also been visited by one of the doyen of beer writers – Colston Crawford – https://twitter.com/CCrawfordDT who regularly uncovers absolute gems in the Derby Evening Telegraph on a weekly basis.
The fact he’s been doing this for around two decades speaks volumes for just how much he champions Derby’s excellent ale scene. Throw into the mix the fact he loves his football and his cricket and it’s fair to say he is a top chap and his reports often shape my pub visiting habits.
His report on the new owners of The Swan Inn is here
https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/whats-on/food-drink/beerhunter-traditional-village-pub-thats-1096129 and he notes the subtle changes undergone since the new arrivals.
Anyway, Mrs BB and my youngest walked across barren fields (I love the fact that in two months these fields will be a different landscape)
A Sunday afternoon isn’t always busy but another family we knew were in and there was a steady drip feed of trade all afternoon and the cheese board was a big hit!
The beer is absolutely fantastic and I had cracking pint of Belter (Leatherbritches) which meant I turned down the Bass (!) and that’s how good this pint was.
There aren’t a huge amount of chimney pots in this small hamlet but with Repton and Newton Solney nearby there is scope to grow as long as you know your market and every time I have been in here recently it has been more full than previously.
A weekly bingo session on a Thursday and a fortnightly quiz on a Tuesday are good examples of attracting in regulars whilst Mrs BB was delighted to see some big fat Fever Tree gin bowls behind the bar.
This isn’t on any bus route but is walkable from the centre of Repton and with a huge housing development in there and Willington then hopefully the Richards’’ masterplan will come to fruition.
Me, I love the fact I can walk 15 minutes across fields and get a fantastic pint of beer in a good environment. Long may that continue.