A Couple Of Classics In Derby & Burton

I know that Martin often feels the weight of expectation when visiting a ‘classic’ boozer as you’re never quite sure you can do it justice.

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If you visit a pub fairly regularly by blogging standards (i.e. more than twice a year) then you can get a flavour for a boozer so, I’m taking the plunge and ticking off a couple of ‘classics,’ albeit with a lot of pictures as padding!

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One of the ‘station’ pubs in all of Britain must be Derby’s 393 – The Brunswick Inn DE1 2RU.  One of the Everards’s Project William boozers since 2001 that’s proved a real success and a boon for a company that, for whatever reason, doesn’t always get a good press in the blogging world (or it might just be Rich, I’m not sure!)

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Colston Crawford, Derby Telegraph beer guru is a fan of the project and, whisper it quietly, it appears that breweries are working collaboratively together to make it a success.

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Brunswick Brewing Company are currently brewing for Everards until their refurbished brewery is finished later this year (see here) and the history of the place is magnificent.

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If you come out of the front of the station in Derby and walk for about three minutes you can see the Brunswick, which was built in 1841 by the  North Midland Railway Company,

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In 1974 it was in disrepair, and marked for demolition but the Derby Historic Buildings Trust convinced the local council to sell the buildings to the Trust for renovation.

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The HBT ran out of funding and the work on the interior could not be completed despite initial work in 1982 and it looked dodgy again until a local businessman bought it from the Trust and it reopened as a boozer in October of that year.

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It now has Grade II listed status along with the nearby cottages and Alan Pickersgill is the man at the helm along with his most recent purchase The Dead Poet’s Inn in Holbrook.

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Anyway, enough of the history lesson but I’ve been there just after midday twice in the past couple of months and, on both occasions, there were quite a few in.

There is a MASSIVE election of beer and they brew their own range but,

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such is the footfall and turnover, I reckon it works well.

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There is a good mix of young and old and it is definitely a Derby County boozer on matchday as the chatter between the gaffer and his staff was around how many fans would be coming in on a Saturday.

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I love the layout as it is a series of rooms that, unsurprisingly feels like a line of narrow railway carriages and there are quieter or louder options.

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People eat here, play darts but, mostly they drink good quality beer and lots of it.

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I had a terrific pint of Scarlet Macaw (Oakham) and was with my drinking/walking buddy John and we both agreed we could have stopped here for far longer.

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I can’t recommend this highly enough to anyone going for a drink in Derby and it still figures in Derby CAMRA despatches every year, which is no mean feat given its competition.

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If you travel a distance of 13.3 miles down the A38 you move into a different county, Staffordshire and the home of Brewing, Burton on Trent

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and you find another classic pub, 394 – The Coopers Tavern DE14 1EG.

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(Rod distraught as it’s not 5pm)

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This is another terrific Joule’s boozer and ironically sits in the shadows of the brewing behemoth Molson Coors building.

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Apparently, it was built in the early 19th-century for the Bass ‘Brewer-in-Charge’, but later became a store for special malts…

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and then in 1826 a store for Bass’s Imperial Stout and became the Bass Brewery Tap House

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until sold to Hardy & Hansons in 1991 before eventually ending up in Joule’s hands in 2008.

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So, for Bass drinkers, this has the history of being the Mecca for the iconic red triangle…

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…and, to make matters even better, you can now take your drinks next door into the Indian restaurant, Apne!

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It’s a warren of rooms named Snug/Tap/William Bass etc…

(blurry picture – I blame Brexit)

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and has a terrific atmosphere

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with something for everyone really.

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Now, on my most recent visit, it was the end of the line for Rod and I after our abortive attempt to cycle from Willington to Alrewas on the towpath…

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…that ended with punctures and crankshafts in Burton.

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We liked the pub but, on this occasion, the Bass was below par.

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Of course, I had been out for a quite some while by this time and, having just left The Devvie,

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my view of the pint may be somewhat skewered….

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Nonetheless, I’ve been to this place many times and have great pints of both Joule’s beer

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and Bass to give it the benefit of the doubt and, we were one of the first punters in at around 5pm.

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Dick, Dave, Russ, Paul and any other overseas readers, such as Duncan if the SNP get their way, you really need to visit these boozers if you come to England…

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as they should be on everyone’s bucket list.

 

29 thoughts on “A Couple Of Classics In Derby & Burton

  1. The Brunswick is such an old favourite, pretty-much ‘the’ reason to stump up the £2.90 rtn from Leicester back in the early 90’s. I still remember the taste of the pale, Midlands style 1st Brew and Porter, far better than just about anything you could get in Leicester at the time (Hoskins houses with their Ma Pardoes excepted).

    There have been times when it was a pub to walk past on the way to groovier new openings in Derby, but I’m pleased to say we generally either start with one, or finish with one in the Brunswick these days. Alan & Philippe are sorely missed in Uppingham though, their old pub The Crown has gone to shit recently.

    Similarly, the Coopers is a favourite, but in common with so many pubs and micros in particular, it’ll have to remain a distant favourite with those weekday opening hours. Wouldn’t touch the Bass anyway, Derby pour 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oi you can’t hammer the Bass 🔺😀😀 I’m glad it’s back on your radar as a great place and good gaffers make all the difference…not been to that boozer in Uppingham but sorry to hear it’s going down the pan 😮 on this occasion I wish I’d had the Joule’s pale ale in the Cooper’s as a great pint

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  2. Dick and I have visited Coopers twice together and Brunswick once. I love both pubs. Apne was standout on a trip where we visited some great curry houses. I would love to visit Derby again. We did not do it justice.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s a funny thing, but, while it has many of the features that tick my boxes, for some reason the Brunswick never quite “clicks” with me. I tend to prefer the Alexandra next door.

    I have to admit I have never been to the Coopers Tavern, possibly due to the lack of a direct train service between Stockport and Burton. Hopefully at some time in the future that can be remedied with a Beer & Pubs Forum day out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The locals in the Alex are definitely more likely to engage you in conversation, but that conversation is highly likely to be about locomotives. Something about the Brunswick, the locals have always seemed a bit scowly to me…

      The Alex is a good place to be on an afternoon when the football crowd are in, but the rabbit in the lounge could put people off.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The rabbit in the lounge is bizarre! I remember taking my Mrs there once and the barmaid was having her head shaved and the rabbit was in the room and I got that look!! Like both of them to be fair and had no hassle in either but Brunswick building does it for me 🍻

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