I was going to write a gushing piece around the Steamin’ Billy beer company who own around a dozen pubs in Leicestershire and Derbyshire hence the alliteration frenzy at the start of this post.
However, I’m not sure if 187- The Reservoir Inn LE67 1AJ is still a Billy boozer. It’s got all the livery inside…
and sells fantastic beer, the Bitter (Steamin’ Billy) was as good a pint as I’ve had this year, but it doesn’t appear to be on their list of pubs anymore if you check out their website.
Apparently this pub, situated next to the Reservoir in the village of Thornton, used to be called The Steam Trumpet back in the day due to the collision between a steam train named ‘Samson’ and a horse and cart on the Thornton Crossing, which led to the invention and use of a steam whistle.
It is now basically a gastro boozer that sells incredibly good beer whilst the bar staff are really friendly and helpful.
At around 8pm on a Thursday the first thing I noticed was that it was absolutely packed with diners, I sat in the ‘bar’ area which is basically a settee and a couple of high stools close to the bar and once I had told the barman and barmaid I was only drinking and not eating they couldn’t have been more helpful.
I like that as clearly every customer is valued and whilst this isn’t a place I would go to for more than a pint it was awash with noise as the chatter of people eating and drinking was vibrant. Maybe it’s the ‘less is more’ principle of it’s traditional opening hours but whatever the reasons, it was buzzing.
I’m not sure what the ratio of men to women is in Thornton but, apart from a Bill Nighy/Nigel Havers lookalike (with accompanying jumper) who was sitting with his better half the place was full of female diners/drinkers.
Thornton is in the (now famous) LE67 postcode and this is obviously a walker’s pub in the day and the place to eat if you live in Thornton or beyond or an evening.
It has promotions such as Pie Night, Fizz and Fish Fridays, The Great British Burger (Wednesdays) but it is clearly doing something right and I have pencilled this in already as a potential venue for Mrs BB and myself in the summer.
There is nominally a bar and dining area but it all seemed pretty similar to me but that isn’t a negative as its good to see village pubs (there are three in Thornton) packed to the rafters on a Thursday evening.
Belvoir Brewery is licensed to brew Steamin’ Billy Beer and they are doing a remarkably good job as I’m not sure what the turnover is like.
The gaggle of girls on a nearby table who were all in their twenties were demolishing Zinfandel, Stella and Chardonnay at a rate of knots in the 45 minutes I was there so the atmosphere is clearly conducive to people having a decent drink with their food as opposed to just having a meal.
I was greeted warmly (albeit initially asked if was dining) and then given a hearty farewell and asked to visit again, which was great to see as I definitely wasn’t the biggest spender that evening.
One thing I have noticed on my travels and it is a good point made by The Wickingman on his blog is the quality of beer can turn up in the least expected of places.
This pint was outstanding and the evidence was anything but as no one else appeared to be drinking cask ale and it was, to all intents and purposes a Steamin’ Billy Food pub as opposed to a Steamin’ Billy pub. If of course, it is still owned by Steamin’ Billy!
Great to see a village pub packed with punters and selling good beer…all it needs now is bench seating and beermats in that small little bar area! However, I suspect that won’t be happening but they’ve clearly found the winning formula and long may it continue.