Crafty Crow crushes competition

Beer diversity in Nottingham has had a much needed shot in the arm with Nottingham’s newest bar the Crafty Crow opening this week opposite the castle replacing the old BZR bar.


The decor is large and open


So how good is it? In short, very, the Crafty Crow bridges the gap between craft and real ale by doing the simple step of offering a superb selection of both without needless pretension, furthermore the pricing structure goes from £2.80 a pint (more than fair for rip off Nottingham) up to some of the stratospheric prices often associated with craft..


The centre of the bar area is dominated by this beast offering 10 craft beers.


Each side of the bar has 5 hand-pulls (yes I know I only got 4 in shot)


Dog friendly, spacious and offering a wide selection of traditional and non traditional pub food, real ale, craft beer and other drinks it’s hard to see how the Crafty Crow can fail, is it possible to keep 20 beers on in this economic climate? Let’s hope so because this is without doubt setting a new high standard for Nottingham.


Carling and Grolsch taps are used to wash your hands.


Traditional pub food with a twist. Pulled pork scotch eggs, pricey but superb.


Friday and Saturday advanced beer festival tickets, SOLD OUT.

It’s hardly surprising is it? no it’s not. I’ve been tweeting telling people to get their tickets, I’ve been telling people I work with to get their tickets and yet some are going to have to do without. The good news is you can still likely get in as long as you turn up early enough on Friday, CAMRA have a small amount for cash only entry if you turn up before 2pm you should be ok, but I’m basing that guess on last year do I know what’s going to happen this year? no…

The really good news is Thursday is actually the best night to go as all the beers are available and it’s the best time to get a shot at ‘the full range’ with the other nights selling out so soon though don’t be surprised to see pressure put on ticket sales for Thursday now!

I (maybe ‘we’) will be tweeting live from the event, so say hello, tip us a top beer, or warn us off the terrible!

BrewDog Nottingham opens in, er, Nottingham

BrewDog Nottingham is now open, officially, as in you can go and get a beer if it’s past mid-day and before 1am.

They also do pint glasses, I know what some blokes are like.

Last night I spent the evening in the spanking new BrewDog Nottingham on what was an officially unofficially but we’re officially open night, members of Nottingham CAMRA were there too, now according to some PR and some other ‘ranty’ articles I have read this should have resulted in scenes resembling wrestlemania 1988, yet nobody was oiled up, no fight broke out, nobody got dragon punched and no scenes that would make the Jeremy Kyle highlight reel erupted, it’s almost as if those people had willingly walked in and bought a beer, funny that eh?

"Hey is that an old school gym floor on the wall?"

I make no excuses for my love of other cities like Sheffield, where 10+ beer pubs are aplenty offering greater diversity and choice, an area in which I think Nottingham still can improve; so regardless of whether you welcome BrewDog Nottingham with open arms, or a double flip of the bird, it’s undeniable that they offer a range of beers that were previously unavailable, and that’s the important bit isn’t it, beer.

The guest draft board offering beers from around the world.

Oh god the beer, In Nottinghams sea of Castle Rock and Blue Monkey (both great brewers who do Nottingham proud) BrewDog Nottingham offers a genuine entirely different choice, now you’re not stupid, you can see from the pictures it’s not cheap, but until Tesco start offering imported beers on tap like Hitachino Nest, Stone, or Flying Dog, you either buy it or you don’t, and with promised themed brewery nights coupled with the ability to go up to 16 different beers on tap at once it’s worth checking out merely for the gems they import, and I do mean gems, on sampling Hitachino Nest – Japanese classic ale (7.5%) and Stone – Oaked arrogant bastard (7.2%) I instantly fell in love, which made me wonder why BrewDog need all the silly PR when they already offer something that people can’t get readily elsewhere.

BrewDog draft beers, and a squirrely bottle of 'the end of history'

What about the BrewDog beers? well, I didn’t try all 9 on at the time (sorry) but the 3-4  I had where absolutely great, Punk IPA was very tasty, poles apart from my previous experience with it ‘on keg’ and special praise goes to Protoype 17.6, a mix of trashy blonde and raspberries, proof that cocking about can lead to great things!

Nottingham has just got another drinking choice and it’s a great one and not at all much abrew about woofing, to quote BrewDogs irritating twitter feed, ‘pow‘ pow indeed sir, pow indeed.


BrewDog Nottingham is located on 20 Broad Street, next to the Broadway cinema, remember they have an old school gym floor on the walls, yes, really.

Newarks Beermuda Triangle

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.

The Castle

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.

Just Beer

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.

Contribution required

The twitter savvy will have noticed we are looking for an additional contributor to nottsbrew, currently the site gets around 3,500 visits a month but we’re looking to expand upon that, Hoppkins is massively tied up with baby duties and I can’t do this alone.

So if you’re interested, either tweet us or email, or if you have an alternate method of communication feel free to use that.

You’ll need a camera to take geeky pictures and the ability to write in the English language (or something that at least resembles it)

BrewDog set to land in Nottingham, confirmed location in the lacemarket

Confirmed as being in the lacemarket, full press release, click here

Hello Scamps, want some Post modern aggressive turbo steampunk beer?

Actually Mr BrewDog just cut the crap and give me a pint.

BrewDogs share window is about to close so hopefully they’re going to shut up about it on their twitter feed (and I’m a share holder!) I stopped following because of this, so the news that a BrewDog Nottingham announcement is due had to be politely nudged to me from @Glasgow_Red

@Glasgow_Red thinks it’ll be a Lace Market affair, I personally hope they will take over the currently out of sorts Royal Children, but until that announcement is made, it’s all speculation.

I will update as soon as any news is released, the current buzz on twitter is strongly tipped to be the lacemarket.

Oh Sheffield, you little rascal.

Would you look at that, I’m not dead! so here I am with a proper update, it’s a bit of a one man show at the minute and I’m struggling to be perfectly honest, but what can you do.

So, when I say Sheffield what do you think of? Nevermind I don’t really care, I was just being polite.

The Nottsbrew Shalesmoor route has been steady since April (yes it really has been that long) but wiping the tears from my eyes I’m here to tell you about an addition, you might gasp, you may well spit out your coffee but yes I’m tinkering with the route, and you know what you can do if you don’t like it? You can shove it right up your a not go to the Riverside, which I have tagged on and makes an excellent stop before, or just after my favourite, the Harlequin Inn.

The Riverside

I'm well aware this picture needs updating!

In the summer this place will be unmissable, alas as you can see from the pictures our visit was very dark, cold, and wet. There are around 8 beers on and the clientel is an excellent mix of young and old (even on a Friday night when visited) the vibe was pleasant and friendly, the outside seating area was excellent and I can’t wait to go back when it’s warm, then I will take some better pictures of course.

As you’re walking from the Fat Cat, follow it round on the same side of the road as the little tesco, easy.

1 Mowbray St, Neepsend, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S3 8EN

The Gardeners Rest

A few more are on the bar at the rear of the picture

This place has a fine selection of around 12 beers with interesting nooks and crannies to sit, though in spite of this I just plain didn’t like the vibe from this place, the beer was nice enough but it was like a mortuary the group of us felt very uncomfortable. Perhaps our none yooorksher accents gave us away as imposters, but this and the fact that it’s a reasonable detour has put this on my ‘one to try again’ list for now at least.

105 Neepsend Lane  Sheffield, South Yorkshire S3 8AT
0114 272 4978

Festivals? on the runup to Christmas? finally!

Well it’s that time of year when brewers switch to the darker beers and start up the ‘special’ Christmas editions, and it’s also the time of the year when the country gets whipped up into a consumer frenzy and beer festivals just don’t seem to happen on the run-in.

2011 take a bow as December this year looks to change everything, so hats off to all those involved!

All taken from the Nottingham CAMRA festivals diary


Mon 5th to Sun 11th
The Ropewalk Real Ale Festival, 107-111 Derby Road, Nottingham. NG1 5BB. 13 Real ales all at £2 a pint, £1 a half. Visit facebook page for full beer list or Tel 0115 959 6181 for more details.

Thu 8th to Sat 10th
Dewdrop Beer Festival, 24 Station St, Ilkeston. DE7 5TE. Over 25 beers, 15 on stillaging in rear yard (Patio heaters). Barbeque.

Fri 16th to Fri 23rd
Bunkers Hill Christmas Beer Festival, Nottingham. Showcasing Festive Seasonal Beers from Local and Regional Breweries. More details to follow.

And don’t forget this weekend coming is the ever excellent West Bridgford Hockey Club festival.

A couple of changes in the city centre

I wrote about the Hogs’ head a while back, it was slowly turning its way into an excellent real ale pub thanks to the efforts of the landlord who has now gone one step further.

Hogs Head -> Major Oak

The Hogs’ Head is now the Major Oak, and as you can see above it looks rather nice, pumps have increased inside with up to 10 real ales available at once, did I mention it’s £2 a pint for all ales until November? well I did now so get yourself down there, I will do a full size article when it has all settled down.

Keoghs is a new comer and has replaced the ‘not so good’ Bensons that used to occupy the spot opposite the sony centre on mansfield road, whilst Bensons did ‘real ale’ it’s not a huge loss. Keoghs it has yet to be seen if they will serve any real ale, though with a selection of ales now brewed in Ireland it would be nice if they got some in from the Emerald isle, I’m told Guinness is £3.50 a pint.

Nottingham 2011 breaks its own records, again

Nottingham CAMRA have created a juggernaut that quite simply does not look like stopping, and the cat is now well and truly out of the bag!

We have a few pubs we need to look at but first I had to sign the 2011 festival off with a (very!) short article, despite going two out of the three days I didn’t manage to see everything the festival had to offer, I managed to catch a mere one act at the band stand and only had a nosey round maybe a quarter of the stalls set up! I did bag some curry chocolate though which I certainly hope will be back in 2012.

One massively important lesson to learn from 2011 was it’s now being finally recognised as the number 1 beer festival in at least the UK as reflected in the ticket sales, 2012 I think will see ticket sales far exceeding even this year (which caught many out) as people ensure their entry, I wouldn’t be surprised to see even Thursday becoming a lot busier with Friday and Saturday again being mostly ticket only.

How on earth does it to continue the trend of improving every year? somehow it does, 2011 had 928 beers and 170 ciders/perry; hopefully 2012 will break the magic 1000 beers mark! heres a couple of interesting takes on the festival,

eating your way through the festival

a view from daan sarf

Oh, and what beers did I rate? well I obviously rated the ones I suggested in my tips article! but I was introduced to the following and will be looking out for more!

Buxton – Wild Boar
Lymestone – Pounamu Green Stone
Sherfield Village – Threesome
Brightside – Maverick IPA
Highland – Island hopping