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.
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!
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!)
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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,
such is the footfall and turnover, I reckon it works well.
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.
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.
People eat here, play darts but, mostly they drink good quality beer and lots of it.
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.
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.
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
and you find another classic pub, 394 – The Coopers Tavern DE14 1EG.
(Rod distraught as it’s not 5pm)
This is another terrific Joule’s boozer and ironically sits in the shadows of the brewing behemoth Molson Coors building.
Apparently, it was built in the early 19th-century for the Bass ‘Brewer-in-Charge’, but later became a store for special malts…
and then in 1826 a store for Bass’s Imperial Stout and became the Bass Brewery Tap House
until sold to Hardy & Hansons in 1991 before eventually ending up in Joule’s hands in 2008.
So, for Bass drinkers, this has the history of being the Mecca for the iconic red triangle…
…and, to make matters even better, you can now take your drinks next door into the Indian restaurant, Apne!
It’s a warren of rooms named Snug/Tap/William Bass etc…
(blurry picture – I blame Brexit)
and has a terrific atmosphere
with something for everyone really.
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…
…that ended with punctures and crankshafts in Burton.
We liked the pub but, on this occasion, the Bass was below par.
Of course, I had been out for a quite some while by this time and, having just left The Devvie,
my view of the pint may be somewhat skewered….
Nonetheless, I’ve been to this place many times and have great pints of both Joule’s beer
and Bass to give it the benefit of the doubt and, we were one of the first punters in at around 5pm.
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…
as they should be on everyone’s bucket list.