The Alan Winfield Trail: Alvaston

Whilst Alan is sadly no longer with us his name lives on forever as a pub blogging legend.  I can’t imagine Alan would ever go on any Ale Trail or follow the crowd for that matter, but I was always amazed at just how many ‘estate’ pubs he could find a pint of cask ale.

(proper estate pub cask)

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Being a native of East Brum/Solihull then estate pubs in my early years were pretty much keg only so I’m always amazed when East Midland estate boozers have a cracking pint of ale on.

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Mind you, Stapleford’s finest pub man didn’t limit himself to pubs in Nottingham he was a nationwide blogger and a flavour of his pub blogging style can be found here, as he navigates his way through various backstreet pubs in Stoke on Trent.

I was thinking that there really should be an Alan Winfield Trail where you could hop on a bus and take in lots of pubs in Derby and Nottingham suburbs that rarely get any PR from CAMRA or local authorities.

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368 – The Needles DE24 0UQ on an estate in Alvaston, a suburb of Derby, is a prime example of a pub that would fit the bill.

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Accessible by bus, lots of chimney pots in close proximity, based on a housing estate, next to a co-op and a newsagents, this is proper pub.

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A Marston’s pub, formerly owned by Banks’s it still has lots of Black Country livery and I reckon this was built in the eighties.

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Pool table, dart board, multi-level, one-room and most definitely a pub for locals

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it also delivered a killer pint of (Butcombe) Original Bitter.

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The beer really was unexpectedly good as I was the only punter in there at around 2pm on a Thursday.

(lacings)

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The barmaid was chatty and the gaffer soon arrived to discuss operating a till with her (I suspect she was relatively new in post) and I was left with a screen showing Cheltenham in all its glory in the background.

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Bench seating was de rigeur as you’d expect

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and a bit of quirk on the walls showed a gaffer who is prepared to add his own personal touches.

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A couple arrived to spend the grey pound along with a couple of likely lads at the bar who looked as though they might be fun if they were staying for the duration.

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I could imagine Alan walking through the estates of Alvaston to find this boozer and he would be pleased to know it was still selling cool, chewy beer at £3.10 a pint, as opposed to the “John Smith’s cold crap” he so detested.

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Banks’s built a fair few pubs in the eighties and I reckon this was one.  It might have been swallowed up into the Marston’s empire now but the locals on this estate are still enjoying a night of music (up to NYE) and beer at The Needles as it is alive and kicking in 2019.

22 thoughts on “The Alan Winfield Trail: Alvaston

  1. Fair play to you Beermat most of the rest of us who write about pubs (as opposed to beer) write about those in the Good Beer Guide, or at least those with interesting beer choices. But you find these gems that rarely, if ever, feature in any Guide or Ale Trail, so are keeping that aspect of Alan’s writing alive. In so doing you create a valuable, permanent record of such places.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. What Duncan says. Never underestimate the worth of these bloggings, not just for 20 years time but for the visitor today. Also, I know Landlords and Landladies occasionally get half an hour to scour the internet and always appreciate the efforts put into these writeups of their pubs that get overlooked by “official” CAMRA.

        Do you notice you still get a decent pint in estate pubs that only have one or two beers on and nothing “whacky” ?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great question and I reckon it will be different for many people…There are either estate or backstreet pubs whcih are set within lots of houses nearby so, by their very nature, attract a lot of regulars/locals. They are often the sort of pubs people don’t seek out unless they live by them. They don’t usually have a massive array of cask ale on – if at all – and the atmosphere is defintely one of people having a laugh and raucous as opposed to quiet reading.
      More often than not they will have pool and darts on offer but that isn’t always the case. An estate pub is always about the pub as opposed to the beer and you will often get pals who operate on the fringes of the accepted norm popping in…
      I think that covers it!!!
      I’d be interested to hear what other people think about this…

      Like

      1. i think a lot of estate pubshave a slight feel of the smart working mans club about them too. Certainly The Roebuck in Marchwood was like that for me. Another Marstons pub with an excellent Ringwood Brewery Old Thumper on cask as well as other Ringwood beer.

        Your Alan Winfield Trail idea is a cracker and perhaps real ale trails is possible idea for CAMRA to consider promoting beyond just the pubs in the Good Beer Guide.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That sounds like a terrific plan….it doesn’t have to be everyone but one well kept pint is plenty…or is camra quite middle class movement really? I don’t know I’m just asking….good point I reckon a working man’s club is s good description

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  2. “Whilst Alan is sadly no longer with us his name lives on forever as a pub blogging legend.”

    Agreed. And, may I say, his spirit lives on as well.

    “and a flavour of his pub blogging style can be found here, as he navigates his way through various backstreet pubs in Stoke on Trent.”

    Thanks. I’m saving that link for later.

    “I was thinking that there really should be an Alan Winfield Trail where you could hop on a bus and take in lots of pubs in Derby and Nottingham suburbs that rarely get any PR from CAMRA or local authorities.”

    (doffs hat) – What a great idea!

    “this is proper pub.”

    I think, with respect to Alan, one other criteria would be John Smiths Extra Smooth. 🙂

    “multi-level, one-room”

    I got a bit dense there for a second and couldn’t see how that was possible. (blush)

    “Bench seating was de rigeur as you’d expect”

    Well of course. You did mention ‘proper pub’ above. 🙂

    “who looked as though they might be fun if they were staying for the duration.”

    (chuckle)*

    “as opposed to the “John Smith’s cold crap” he so detested.”

    LOL. See my comment up above. 🙂

    Cheers

    * – Chavs? (rolls eyes)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always get a John Smith’s quote in during an Alan blog!! Chavs? I shall take you to task on that one Russ as that terminology sets up Jack Wills and Crew Co clothing people looking down their noses at Stone Island people and I don’t get how it is an acceptable part of the vernacular these days!!

      Like

      1. I stand suitably abashed. I blame my lack of knowledge on the lack of knowledge over here vis a vis chavs etc. (blush)

        You can have one of my winning Doom Bar pints back.

        Cheers

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like a little pocket of the Black Country has landed in the East Midlands there Beermat. Agree with your observations about estate pubs – they often go unheralded so great to give them some attention. I think an estate pub often has a certain look – plainer builds dating from the 50s to the 80s, with added bonus points for a flat roof. All the best, Paul

    Liked by 1 person

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