Derby Pubs – Spoilt For Choice


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I often wax lyrical about Derby and its seemingly unlimited supply of excellent boozers so here is another hat-trick of boozers to put on your bucket list for 2018.

All of these were visited on a Thursday afternoon and early evening as part of a stag do so, whilst none of these were packed to the rafters, they proved that Derby CAMRA has a hell of a job choosing its GBG entrants.

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201 – Furnace Inn DE1 3BX is on the edge of Derby, almost an estate pub if you look at its surroundings,

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but it has been revitalised by a chap called Pedro Menon who also runs Shiny Brewery; they have since relocated to an industrial estate in Little Eaton.

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However, The Furnace is now brewing its own beer apparently and always has a smorgasbord of options on their beerboard and it’s a boozer I like.

Furnace 29.03.18 Fun Sponge

It’s worth noting that the stag wanted to visit it for a pint of Fun Sponge (Shiny) and I’m not sure if this is keg or craft but he is under 30 and will happily neck a pint of cask but is also a fan of Brewdog. Cloudwater et al.

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Andy why not, ultimately it is about the pub experience and I’ve often said that pubs who have Carling outselling any other beer are usually far more fun than boozers just for beer aficionados.

(This one isn’t Fun Sponge!) 

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CAMRA’s revitalisation vote fallout has fallen under my radar.  For what it’s worth, when I go out for a drink with younger people (i.e. under 35) then they definitely want variety on the bar.

I’m quite happy with my cask ale but am fully aware that I’m not in the majority across pub goers in Britain so, in order to keep on attracting punters into pubs, landlords have to move with the times.

(Furnace has made it!)

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To that point, craft keg and the like are able to stay ‘fresh’ for longer (I’m led to believe) so, economically, it makes sense to stock both keg and cask.

In an ideal world there would be loads of choice and I do think keg beers have possibly attracted more people into pubs and are a decent addition.

(poker also gets people into pubs!)

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Whether or not CAMRA support them is an entirely different matter and I am interested in pubs surviving and have enough on my plate worrying about Birmingham City’s ongoing travails than internal disputes.

(random pub windows)

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I like The Furnace as it’s made a success of a pub that would probably have bitten the dust and in keeping with lots of Derby boozers it relies on the Rams for some matchday trade.

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It wasn’t particularly full so I can see the argument for cask/keg  as I could see the pros  for just bottles and keg  in the next place we reached 202 – Suds & Soda DE1 1EX.

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Again, it was fairly empty on a Thursday afternoon but this place is a bottle and keg bar and it appears to be thriving nicely.

Colston Crawford (aka the beerhunter) of Derby Telegraph fame, wrote a fantastic article on the owners of Suds & Soda and how former postman Tom Ainsley sees where modern craft bars fit in.

“There is a lot of great cask ale out there and you can get it in so many places, so we don’t sell any,” Ainsley told the Derby Telegraph.

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“It’s all about choice. We’d hope people would try them all. We’ve had people who have outright refused to drink anything on keg. A lot of people don’t like the temperature, or the carbonation. My dad comes in – he’s not so keen on the temperature either. Personally, I think very hoppy IPAs and a lot of stouts work well on keg.”  It should be noted that Ainsley is a long standing member of CAMRA and clearly thinks choice is the way forward.

The stag got involved in a long debate with a punter about the merits of bottled beer, which was entertaining as it was clearly going nowhere

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but we were reaching the end of our journey and there is certainly a good range of beers on and the owners are always welcoming.

A welcoming pub, selling beer with beermats….sounds good to me!

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Our final port of call on this ‘two-man, warming up for the real thing stag do’ was 203 – Tollgate Tap At The Post House DE1 1DD.

(last pub…!)

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I’ve waxed lyrical before about Tollgate beers and this place is not what you’d call a traditional pub but it works well.  The Post House is an open plan almost market style room with various food offerings and a Tollgate bar showcasing some of their best beers.

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The price was certainly steeper here than its Ashby equivalent with the beer coming in at round £4 (I think, I stand to be corrected!)  However, it had a laid back, chilled vibe and is something different to what Derby already has.

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It could be described as a market area that Birmingham wants…i.e. very small and compact and attracting people spending money at the higher end of the range!

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A cracking day where we visited a lot of Derby pubs with my overriding memory being that this city is a top place for a drink.

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The spit and sawdust boozers were definitely more full than the ones featuring on ale trails and in What’s On Derby but, I work on the premise that an open pub is generally a good one and the stag was given a good send-off ahead of his wedding in June!


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25 thoughts on “Derby Pubs – Spoilt For Choice

      1. You deserve an award for services to blogging. That’s why I just generally pick a couple of highlights from the day in a single blog (usually from the earlier part of the day if it’s a long one)!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Everyone has their own distinctive blogging style, and yours (Duncan) tends to be fairly terse and economical and at the opposite end of the spectrum from Simon E 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I once went in the Furnace on a very rainy day when it was a Kimberley tied house (IIRC the only one anywhere near the centre of Derby). All changed now, but back then I found a slightly edgy and threatening atmosphere, even at lunchtime, which is something I’ve rarely encountered even in down-to-earth and out-of-the-way pubs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I could imagine its still edgy on occasions as a late night walk in the surroundingarea could be lively! All quiet on our visit though…a bit like Bartons Arms in Brum…good pub but best done in daylight


    2. I have been in the Furnace quite a few times when it was a Kimberley tied house, i have never found that area of Derby edgy at all even when going to the pub when it is dark.
      Try walking round Ordsal, Higher Broughton, Collyhurst, Miles Platting or St Annes when it is dark, they are edgy during the day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s all down to personal choice on the cask v keg issue. Sadly there are many who have taken it to a Birmingham or Villa* (Insert your own local petty rivalry) type argument. All these pubs/bars look to be great places.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the second photo with Nothing ever happens in Derby in the background.
    I have been in Suds & Soda, i did not like the cold and fizzy craft murk, if you stay in there too long a beard may appear on you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Impressive training session for the real stag do…

    The Furnace sounds like a great pub in it’s current guise and that’s a cracking real ale board.

    Furnace Fun Sponge is the best beer name I’ve heard for a while – excellent.

    I agree about keg….
    …doesn’t matter what it’s kept in, as long as it tastes nice*…

    …which of course is very subjective anyway…

    *isn’t that the new CAMRA tagline following ‘revitalisation’…?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Were you aware that Tollgate Tap at the Post House has closed? However, the remaining “Taps” in Duffield, Ashby de la Zouch and Leicester seem to be thriving.

    Liked by 1 person

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