In the absence of the Newark Beer festival 3 pubs came together to create their own, Just Beer, The Prince Rupert and The Castle forming a 3 pronged attack; and beer festival or not, I was extremely impressed by them all.
First up was the castle, simply because I had spotted it from the car. ‘Simple food and traditional ales’ summed this place up well, mostly because it did simple food and traditional ale.
I saw no men biting dogs.
The Castle is deceptively large stretching far back and having numerous spots to sit or stand, even on a busy Saturday night we found a booth quite easily. Beer wise a strong 6 adorn the bar at all times giving you plenty to choose from, the bar staff where skilled and more than happy to get beer from the cellar (there was a festival on at the time)
This 'normal' strong line-up of 6 at the time was complimented by 3 further festival beers direct from the cellar.
The castle offers a good range of seating and small booth areas (not pictured) this was on a busy Saturday night.
Would I recommend The Castle? absolutely, it has tremendous character and atmosphere and already I was thinking about return visits to Newark…
The Prince Rupert
This wasn’t the first time I’d been to the Prince Rupert, I went on new years eve and elected to drive, so despite having an excellent selection on the bar at the time I could have a mere two halves! I said to myself the selection surely couldn’t get any better this time, I was wrong.
The Prince Rupert looks fantastic from the outside.
The normal bar line-up as you can see below was strong to say the least, I got a picture of the festival beers on sale but unfortunately due to it being Saturday night they had been absolutely torn through! A shame as Maypole – Indian Vanilla Ale was on sale, a beer that intrigued us all, alas this had sold out promptly on the Friday night.
As well as the inside, Magic Rock, Blue Monkey and Thornbridge on sale at the time, along with the excellent house bitter 'ruperts war dog'
Regardless of festival disappointment the Prince Rupert is an excellent venue at all times, with an array of drinking areas coupled with a large outdoor smoking area all bases are covered. The house beer ‘Ruperts war dog’ is worth seeking out alone, nevermind the strong line-up that regularly adorns it.
I saved the best till last, to say I was impressed with Just Beer is a huge understatement, we actually visited here before we went to the Prince Rupert but it was literally wall to wall, we opened the door ONTO somebody, which was never a good sign! Thankfully we came back later…
Just Beer, I just love how simple the exterior is, no messing.
There’s something about a pub where the staff walk round with amusing hats, the whole place just oozes simple real ale geekery, its brutal simplicity made it exceptionally easy to work out why this had won Newark CAMRA pub of the year, and that’s not to say the above two pubs didn’t deserve it, it’s just that Just Beer is literally the next level, an ale drinkers paradise.
As you can see from the picture, they strive to get different beers from around the country
Just beer is a long thin pub which reminds me of many places in Amsterdam (pubs!)
The beer selection (regardless of the festival on at the time!) was fantastic, I support CAMRA’s LocAle scheme but more often than not those I go out drinking with want to try something outside of ‘the norm’ so it was refreshing to see such an unusual and eclectic mix of beers from all over the country supported by staff willing to advise and clearly knew what they were on about.
I'm no pork pie fan, but from those that chose to partake, I'm told it was excellent
Newark then is a bit of a gem, and given the proximity of these 3 pubs ‘beermuda triangle’ festival or not I will be back soon, door to door of each is merely 2 minutes of walking and quite frankly these 3 pubs alone form a convenient trio that yet again leaves Nottingham city centre trailing behind.