“People have been really excited about this place since it opened…I never used to drink in Ashbourne but I come here all the time. It’s fantastic.”
I need to start this post with some breaking, and quite frankly disturbing news. It would appear that not everyone in Britain likes classic old fashioned, wet led pubs and earthy boisterous boozers may actually stop people drinking!
Before the American/Canadian alliance throw all of their big artillery at me along with the People’s Republic of Stockport, the Fenland Massive, the Hampshire/Hull Mafia, Scotland (!) and the Winshill Warriors, the punter in 267 – Maison Du Biere Ashbourne DE6 1EA might just have had a point.
(Books and games – is that a Micro?)
Mrs BB, the kids and I had just completed a cracking circular seven miler from Ashbourne to Thorpe and Mrs BB spotted what I thought was a bottle shop just as we were approaching the car.
(every day is a holiday in Ashbourne…)
Now whilst I may think I have got this blogging lark cracked, Mrs BB reckons I have missed a trick by not including regular Gin updates in a ‘One For the Ladies’ style.
Whilst older readers (i.e. everyone looking at this blog) might start shifting uncomfortably in their seats at thoughts of ‘One For The Ladies’ I am positive Mrs BB was referring to Gin palaces as opposed to readers sections of well-known Ford car manufacturers magazines in the eighties and nineties.
She also takes far better pictures than I do so if the quality of pictures is Crilleyesque in this post then I have to confess it isn’t my own work.
Anyway, back to the bar itself…it has only been open for a month and is a combined bottle shop and bar situated in a former antique shop.
I have to say, it was an absolute corker of a place. Dogs and kids were more than welcome and the gaffer was almost horizontal he was so chilled out, but had great beer knowledge.
I had a fantastic half of Claw Track (Buxton)…
followed by an equally quaffable sour beer Dame Melba Phantom (Beavertown)…
whilst the conversation flowed downstairs in a setting that wasn’t traditional but, ultimately, comfortable and welcoming.
Our kids worked their way through Jenga and a veritable array of board games whilst we sparked up a chat with a friendly couple with a pair of huge Labradors (no euphemisms Russ).
He was a South African who had been living in London with his better half and they had fallen in love with Ashbourne… his better half was firmly in the Mrs BB corner and putting away a good selection of gin (Manchester Raspberry appeared to be a particular favourite), which probably means that price isn’t a major issue.
However, despite looking like a brick outhouse he didn’t share my love of earthy boozers and said that this place was terrific as “we didn’t drink in Ashbourne until this place opened.”
And he confirmed this was true for quite a few of his drinking buddies so maybe, just maybe, craft beer bars where the gaffer obviously cares about his punters, looks after his beer and creates a warm, friendly atmosphere could be the future of British boozers?
Barnsley CAMRA think so as, according to the Maison Du Biere website, their Elsecar bottle shop/boozer has been awarded their pub of the season
Apparently, it is the first craft only tap in the UK to receive an award from CAMRA so maybe I have seen the future.
In which case, bearing in mind it had ten belting beers on and the gaffer knows his stuff, I fully expect Duncan, Martin and Si to be visiting this part of Derbyshire in the 2020 GBG!
The walk itself was another classic with boozers in Thorpe and Mapleton en route along with an absolute plethora in Ashbourne. Nonetheless, you know if big South Africans are getting excited about drinking in a new bar in Ashbourne then the tide is changing and that might not be a bad thing if pubs in some way shape or form survive.