Looking to re-establish myself as the market leader of musical blog titles this one just fell into my lap and ensured I am now in the top 50 Midlands Beer Bloggers ‘who incorporate musical songs into their posts.’
That is progress and throw into the mix the fact it is one of The Jam’s finest tracks and I can sense Mudgie shuffling uncomfortably in his MOR 70’s shoes as the punk onslaught continues.
“Sup up your beer and collect your fags – There’s a row going on down near Slough…” is the opening gambit in The Jam’s “The Eton Rifles” and whilst I am not sure Little Eaton is particularly close to Slough, and there was little sign of violence on a Wednesday evening, I was more than happy to sup up my beer with my drinking pal.
Of course, Dave Cameron upset the apple cart by admitting he loved this Jam track and why shouldn’t he? It’s a great tune and even the establishment are allowed to like anti-establishment songs.
Anyway, Little Eaton even had a relation to excellent pub blogger Garden Hermit, Alice Grace, who was known as the ‘Little Eaton Hermit.’
After being evicted from her home she spent 20 years as a hermit until forcibly taken to the Union workhouse at Shardlow. Apparently she was often seen sneaking out to pubs in Hampshire before her untimely death in 1927 and a new beer blog was born (he is that old, right?)
First port of call on our trip to Little Eaton, a village sandwiched between Duffield and Coxbench on the outskirts of Derby, was to the 311 – Bell & Harp DE21 5AE. It’s a multi-levelled boozer and I had a cracking pint of Pedigree (Marston’s)
whilst the five people at the other end of the boozer seemed oblivious to “I’m a Celebrity” on the big screen above them.
Harry Redknapp’s football tales and Noel Edmond’s Swap Shop anecdotes hadn’t quite grabbed their full attention but this was definitely a locals’ boozer.
I mean, fancy being that famous as Joe Dale in your local pub community that you actually get a flyer advertising your birthday!
312 – The New Inn DE21 5DR is in close proximity and was a former farmhouse that was bought by Marston’s pre war from Shardlow brewer Zachary Smith.
I reckon it was renamed in one of those Boaty McBoatface style contests and, apparently, the contest was won by big Marston’s fan, a Mr R. Coldwell from Leeds.
My drinking pal and I had last been in here about two years ago – when Saddle Tank was known as Burton Bitter – and recalled just how good it had been.
That Coldwell feller knows his stuff and it proved to be a belting pint once again as they changed the barrel just for us, pulled plenty through, and then delivered a top class pint of ale.
This place has had a refurb but still has a darts team, feels like a boozer as opposed to an eatery and also has a mightily impressive clock on the wall.
Two boozers in, a brace of cracking traditional beers but probably around 12 punters combined across two Marston’s boozers on a Wednesday evening.
However, most of the punters appear to be drinking cask if the quality of the beer was anything to go by.
313 – The Queen’s Head DE21 5DF (above) was the final boozer in Little Eaton as the likely GBG entry – The Shiny Tap – shuts early in the week, which is a pity as it’s situated on an industrial estate at the back of The Queen’s Head car park.
There’s lots to like about this place, not least the fact it is one of Everards Project William pubs, like The Brunswick in Derby and it is run in conjunction with Derby Brewing Company.
Like their other boozers, food is definitely on the menu here but also a good range of DBC beers and as I wasn’t behind the wheel thought I would treat myself to a pint of Gold Digga IPA (Derby Brewing Co), which at 6%, was lively to say the least!
It feels more of a modern style gastro boozer than the other two but had a bigger selection beers on…possibly more ales than punters as this place also had around half a dozen drinkers in, including a big dog who had a penchant for my pal’s feet!
Three excellent pubs all serving good beer and warm welcomes from the staff and locals alike. My drinking partner is always good value so the evening flowed but, it makes you wonder how long there will be four boozers in Little Eaton as there were arguably less than 20 punters across all three pubs on a Wednesday evening.
Enjoy them while you can because, as The Jam once said “This is the modern world.”