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.

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

Return to the steel city, a real ale trip from Nottingham to Sheffield, part 2


This is called nottsbrew, so why are you banging on about Sheffield again?

Yes yes yes, fine fine, good point I put my hands up and admit it, I’m raving on about bloody Sheffield again but it’ll be the last time, honest guv! And besides, Notts County are playing Sheffield Wednesday this weekend at their place, so it’s a useful bit of info for ‘pies fans!

Following the last writeup I did regarding Sheffield
, Radfordlad suggested an alternative route, could things get any better? well they certainly got more expensive! As per last time we headed past the Sheffiled Tap on  platform 1 and out into Sheffield, we walked to all of these pubs from the station in the order of review, this entails a fair bit of walking (30/45 minutes) but obviously there are many stops on the way. At the last pub we just found a tramstop near by and headed back to the centre.

The Rutland Arms

Don't let the artwork put you off (if it does, I think it's great!) this is a pub that appeals to all ages.

Rutland Arms 86 Brown St Sheffield S1 2BS 0114 2729003

The Rutland arms is a real gem and was a great way to start this crawl, you need to walk left out the station and work your way into Sheffield, the walk is around 10 minutes but not to worry when you get there they do a great range of beer and do all kinds of food from the ‘Slutty Rutty Butty’ to brownies, alas the brownies whilst good value at £1 are not the same as the ones they do in Amsterdam. It’s an excellent pub with a traditional inside and a large garden area, some great beers where available Acorn – Stingo setting a very high early benchmark. I suggest whilst you are here you buy the real ale guide to sheffield book which is £4.99 and has detailed maps and information.

The Devonshire Cat

Yes, an amazing looking bar, so let's have a closer look...

Bottles from all over the world are also available

Wellington Street, Devonshire Green, Sheffield South Yorkshire S1 4HG

If they could move this pub to Nottingham I would help them dig up the bricks and carry some back myself, this is easily one of the best pubs I have ever been to. Acorn – summit ipa and Milton Brewery – Pegasus where both remarkably good.

The Devonshire Cat has an almost european feel to it with air conditioning and open doors onto the street (in summer!) with sleek furniture suiting the bar area. The selection of beers is nothing short of superb but be warned it’s noticably more expensive than anything on the Shalesmoor crawl; don’t let this stop you though, despite the expense everything is kept in fine order and if you somehow manage to exhaust the bar a worldwide bottle selection is also available.

Red Deer

The Red Deer was another fine pub with small garden area and as you can see above another great beer selection, which according to one barman I overheard they’re looking at making even greater; out of shot is a lot of bar space, if they increase the number of pumps it makes this an even more attractive prospect.

The Trippets

89 Trippet Lane, Sheffield, S1 4EL

Thornbridge recently bought this pub, need I say more? what do you mean yes.

The Trippets is as you would expect similar to the sheffield tap in that it serves mainly Thornbridge beers, this is hardly surprising of course, it does however still have 3/4 guest beers on coupling with the excellent stable of Thornbridge beers, with a pleasant quirky open interior you’re onto another sure fire winner.

Bath Hotel

Bath Hotel, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S3 7QL

The Bath Hotel doesn’t offer as wide a variety of beers as some of the above but more than makes up for it with its unique interior, which alas I didn’t really get a picture of! (will update this when I do) Tetley on hand pull striked me as odd as did some of the regulars! But nice people they where, prior to coming here we had been told the landlord was a top bloke, and he certainly is! despite being in this game for years his passion and enthusiasm is still obvious and worth seeking out the pub for alone!

That concluded our trip, we went to a few other pubs but they didn’t make the cut, we got a tram back to the station and as you can imagine spent a bit of time on platform 1…

The Beer Temple : Amsterdam

Just a quickie here, this months Nottingham Drinker has an excellent piece on Amsterdam (aside from The Gollem now being shut) but it didn’t cover the audaciously named The Beer Temple, which is a shame because in short it’s bloody brilliant.

Beer Temple Amsterdam Board

Those taps go on, there's 30 in all.


This has been opened by the same people who run t’arendsnest which itself focuses on Dutch beers, The Beer Temple however focuses on American beers though you will find quite a bit of brewdog amongst others in there, including a brew containing viagra, though I can’t say I needed that one.

Beer Temple Amsterdam Inside

Beer Temple Amsterdam Inside

A second board showing the full selection of 30 on tap.


Beer Temple Amsterdam Inside

Each of those boards lists bottles you can purchase from the bar!

As the pictures above show, the bar has 30 on tap and the bottle selection is bonkers, I think it’s into the hundreds, the only downside as everywhere in Amsterdam is the expense, but if you’re going out there armed with your Nottingham Drinker don’t miss out on this place, the Flying Dog beer on sale here is worth the trip alone.

Nieuwezijds voorburgwal 250
(020) 62 714 27

Nottingham to Sheffield, Real ale in the steel city.


One thing I had to keep telling myself whilst writing this report was ‘the grass is always greener on the other side‘ yet no matter how much I kept reminding myself of this fact I can’t help but think that’s utter rubbish, because when it comes to real ale Sheffield mercilessly pans Nottingham into the floor, and then some.

Not only did the steel city offer up a wider selection, but it was significantly cheaper than most of the pubs in Nottingham, the cheapest round coming to £6.75 for 3 pints (no, not in a Wetherspoons) this brings a lot of things into perspective, not only does it appear Nottingham is overly expensive for no real reason, but a lot of Nottingham pubs could really do with bucking up their ideas. It’s worth keeping in mind this trip was taken on a Tuesday, not a weekend, if you drank this kind of time mid-week in Nottingham you’d be lucky to get a few beers on, with many turned round preparing for Friday.

We started the day off in the Bankers draft, which is an easy walk from the train station and right outside the tram network, this is a large Wetherspoons/Lloyds #1 with a hotel lobby feel to it, it’s large, well decorated, modern and clean, something that makes you realise just how bad the likes of other Wetherspoons such as Nottinghams Roebuck Inn, really are.
Hawkshead – Cumbrian 5 hop
was the drink I started the day off with, and it was superb, it turns out that was just a taste of things to come, we went outside, then got on the blue route tram to Shalesmoor.

Additional; I went to Sheffield again recently, 4 can go using a group saver ticket for £23, that’s £5.75 each including return!

The Wellington

The Wellington is just literally up the road from the tram stop at Shalesmoor, making it the perfect place to continue proceedings, the tram ride was under 5 minutes and was £1.50.

Wellington, Rear

Beer barrels at the rear suggest this is more than an elaborate Skoda advertisement.

The Wellington, Sheffield


Wellington, Little Cart

As you have probably gathered from the above picture the Wellington is home to The Little Ale Cart and as expected many of their beers are on the bar, many even now are around £2.20 a pint, which belies just how good they are, more on that in a moment though.


Bar, The Wellington, Sheffield

A proper bar, reminds me of the Dewdrop in Ilkeston

Wellington, Sheffield, Interior

The Wellington is a no nonsense pub serving around 10 ales at once, it’s basic and the focus is on the beer as you can see above, of note was a beer the Little Ale Cart brew called Father Ambrose, which was fantastic. Though I can have no complaints about the other 4 beers I tried.

After finishing up in the Wellington we looked at proceeding to the next pub, thankfully this is viewable from the Wellingtons doors, easy enough!


Wellington, to the Ship Inn

The Ship Inn, as viewed from the tram tracks outside the Wellington

The Ship Inn

The ship is one of the oldest pubs in Sheffield I’m told, but I wanted a pint then, not 100 years ago, so less of the history lesson.

The Ship Inn, Sheffield

Ship Inn, Sheffield Inside

The Ship had the smallest range of the day, serving around 4 ales, however the two tried where yet again up there with the best,  Thornbridge – Chiron being another quality beer from the Thornbridge stable, but it was well beaten by Bradfield – Farmers Blonde, I wanted to sample more from the Bradfield brewery, but there’s only so much a man can drink so we set off to the next pub, these are a little tricky to find but the barman of the ship was nice enough to point us in the right direction, top bloke.


Fatcat, Kelham Island

The Fat Cat & Kelham Island Tavern are either side of this road, the Fat Cat on the left, Kelham Island Tavern on the right.

Kelham Island Tavern


Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield

Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield, Bar

Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield, Bar

The Kelham Island Tavern offered another large selection of just over 10, the pick of the bunch here being Bank Top Brewery – Sir Henry Morgan (pictured with the skull and crossbone) One mistake I did make was not trying the Branta as pictured above, we assumed it would be on at the Sheffield Tap, wrong! Another thing to note about this pub is they have signs up saying that you can be refused further service for swearing, so watch your mouth! Oddly enough we didn’t spot a single Kelham Island brewed beer on.

Additional; after a further visit to Shefflied this week, I can confirm that the majority of beers are priced at £2.10 a pint in the Kelham Island Tavern.


The Fat Cat

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

Go nuts

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

The other half of the main bar (with nuts)

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

The side bar with questionable clock

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

This used to serve Kimberley ales, not now though obviously

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

Proper home made pork pies

The Fat Cat was packed full of character, I thought the Wellington reminded me of the Dewdrop in Ilkeston but this did even moreso. The Fat Cat with its wonky floors and strange bar layout was probably the most unique of the day, serving up even more quality beer,  Prior’s Well – Gardener’s Tap being the pick, another pub I could have happily spent the rest of the day drinking in.
I’m assured the pork pies where top notch, and Monday nights sound interesting, where between 8-11pm a select Kelham Island beer is £1.30 a pint!


The Riverside

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 Harlequin

Harlequin, Sheffield

The Harlequin is the creamy coloured building on the left.

Harlequin, Sheffield

Harlequin, Sheffield

My beer of the year so far Nevada, next to the very pleasant Red Ghost IPA

Harlequin, Sheffield

Harlequin, Sheffield

Proper cobs

Harlequin, Sheffield

I tried to get the whole bar in shot, I failed.


Harlequin, Sheffield

The decor is spacious and comfortable.

The Harlequin again offered up a selection worthy of spending the rest of the day trying, it had the greatest selection with around 15 pumps and many craft beers in bottles (a full range of the tasty yet expensive Flying Dog brewery) this was also the largest pub with multiple seating areas.
It’s fair to say the standard was already pretty high, but Sheffield hit me for six again with local boys The Brew Company – Nevada being easily my best drink of 2011 so far, ‘hopped with citra’ it said, you can hop it with whatever you like when it tastes as good as that!

Sheffield Tap

We concluded the day by re-tracing our steps back to the station where they just happened to have yet another brilliant pub right on the platform.

Sheffield Tap

Sheffield Tap

If you like Thornbridge, you might want to get on a train to Sheffield

Sheffield Tap

You can see onto platform 1 whilst drinking, so no excuse for missing the train.

Sheffield Tap

Interesting decor with a shimmering look on the tiles, it changes colour as the light hits it.

Sheffield Tap

View from the platform

The Sheffield tap concluded the day nicely, not only did they have a great range of Thornbridge, they had 5 titanic beers on the other side of the bar, I couldn’t get a shot of those, but in all again they had around 10 beers on.
A beer of note for me in here was Matuska – Raptor IPA, which weighed in at 6.2% and was brewed in the Czech Republic, it was lethally drinkable, thankfully the train was due, a day on that would test the best of drinkers…


Oooh, that was a long un! Well that concludes the longest post on Nottsbrew by a country mile, I think I will take a break now as this has taken me an age to piece together! Sheffield really is worth the effort to try, the train fare is cheap and it’s under an hour to get there. I hope from the pictures and my small write ups on each place it gives you an idea of what it’s all about, quite honestly you could spend a full day drinking in any of the pubs above, I’m not sure I could say that about too many in Nottingham…

Review: D.B.A (New York City, USA)

Another great bar in NYC which is off the beaten track so to say which myself and Mrs.Hoppkins  set out to find is D.B.A.

What D.B.A stands for is a long standing mystery it seems, or perhaps the landlord just winding everyone up. But common theories are:

Don’t Bother Asking
Drink Better Ale

As much as i would like to think its the latter I’m sure the landlord is cackling behind the bar the whole time at the hilarity of the gag….possibly….who knows….anyway

First off if your looking to get to this bar prepare for some confusion unless you’re actually from New York. Me and my wife came out the subway and immediately set off in the wrong direction. After we got our bearings and found a good landmark to work from (Katz Delicatessen from “When Harry Met Sally”) we found the place.


This small and dark looking bar holds possibly the largest beer selection I have seen in any pub in any country. It is phenomenal…

As you can see from the below pic it doesn’t end at beer…they stock a gob smacking selection of Whiskey, Tequila, Vodka…you name it.


I dived in and had half of an excellent Japanese Beer (which tasted distinctly Belgian) which was matured in sake kegs. It was veeeeeery heavy but absolutely delicious…and cold…which in the heat it was that day was a pleasant thing i can tell you (About 32 degrees Celsius plus and very humid)

sake beer!?

The bar is quite small, dark and cramped but since you can drink at the bar and there are numerous small tables and a nice beer garden its not an issue. For its size the bar is stocked like its ready for war…on your liver.

I would of got a picture but I’m not sure people sitting in a veeeery dark room would of appreciated a camera flash going off in their eyes.

If you drink at the bar you get a complimentary cheese platter at certain times (Check website@ DBA Website for details of times of any offers)

Despite the majority of the beers on offer being bottled there is a pump selection seconded only by the Bree Louise in Euston, London (UK)

Not even Wetherspoons has a real ale selection this wide and this place is 1/10th of the size of an average spoons. The beer was kept beautifully and although the price is high, its the price you pay for excellent real ale (more importantly in my opinion the price you pay for great ale you have never seen)

Another redeeming feature of this great bar is they have a sit down pac man machine (Dr Lovesale will appreciate this I’m sure being a fervent pac man lover)

In short this is a bar not to be missed if you swing by New York which has a great selection, great atmosphere with friendly staff.

Easiest way to get to DBA is:

# F Train – The Second Avenue stop is closest to d.b.a.
# 6 Train – Take the #6 to Bleeker Street and walk to First Avenue.
# R Train – d.b.a. is equally close to either the Prince Street or 8th Street stops.


The London Connection

Apologies for the lack of any kind of update last week, I was down in London and hoppkins was busy with real life stuff.

Castle Rock – Harvest Pale as you likely know is supreme champion of great britain, some accolade and a great thing to associate with Nottingham other than ridiculous gun crime stastics and how women outnumber men 3/1.

I’ve lived in Nottingham all my life and have never had a gun rammed into my side by a bikini wearing, pistol toting madwoman, shame.

So there I am on Sunday at the trainstation waiting for my boss whilst listening to a recorded message of how the whole place had been evacuated and that I should run for my life, so I did, to hooters. It goes without saying it’s somewhat unecessary to review hooters, one for a different website perhaps.

On returning to the station the trains had been delayed for another hour, so off the VAT and fiddle we went, it turns out this was going to be the last Harvest Pale I saw for the week.

Londons a massive place, I won’t pretend to have gone on some incredible mega tour ticking off all the pubs whilst frequenting the relevant hospitals for liver replacements and stomach pumpings as required. Even with the two of us it’s an impossible task, but it soon became clear that in our nations capital there’s either literally none, or very little Nottingham beers on sale, and to make things worse of the 10 or so pubs we frequented, Derbyshires Thornbridge – Jaipur was available in 3 (it’s worth noting the most expensive Jaipur we saw in the heart of London was £3.25)

I was left puzzled, I had asked a few CAMRA members down there if they knew about supreme champion of britain Harvest Pale and was left with blank looks, like I had just asked them if they had an appreciation of flower pressing. It wasn’t until Thursday in The Bree Louise did I get a better picture of what was going on.

Bree Louise

If this is Eustons best kept secret then tell nobody nothing, of the times we visited including a random Tuesday it has always been packed!

I won’t get into re-reviewing The Bree Louise, but if you have never been it absolutely is the best pub I have ever been too. I spoke to the owner Craig, a passionate man who clearly loves his beer, he told me that thankfully Nottingham beer IS on its way to London, it sounds like Blue Monkey will be gracing the shelves of the Bree Louise in the near future, a deal which surely will work well for both sides.

But with this all said and done, there’s a lot to be done in London, Nottingham CAMRA run the largest real ale festival in the UK, but not to Londoners, they’ve never heard of it!

Do you know anywhere in London serving Nottingham beers? are you a Londoner who loves the Nottingham beer festival? let us know!

Review: The Bree Louise (London)

Sometimes you go in a pub which genuinely makes you say “wow”. On recommendation from Dr Lovesale who heard from the landlord of the Dewdrop (Chairman of CAMRA in Erewash) that The Bree Louise in London was the best pub in the UK.

So when I was visiting my brother in London I printed off a map and dragged my wife over to see this mighty pub. It did not disappoint.

outside bree louise

From the outside you know your in for a treat. Yes that’s SIXTEEN ALES DAILY. That’s as many as some smaller beer festivals…every day.

It’s not on a main street in London either rather set back a few streets from the insane roads full of cars. So it’s nice to sit outside on the benches if you can find a spot. Judging by when we went that’s unlikely at any time on a weekend.

Inside Bree

Inside the decor is decent as above. Nice tables, chairs and carpet. Fairly decent toilets.

But you don’t come here for the decor…you come for the freakishly large selection of beers, wines and spirits on offer (mainly the beers)

There is a large selection of pumps and also a pretty huge selection of “festival style” barrels which are dispensed directly


The food is standard fare such as filled rolls and cheese boards but there is a wide selection of real meals available. Click HERE for the full menu.

Sadly I cannot recall many of the beers I had since it was a couple of months ago now but they did a great pint of Punk I.P.A which is one of my favorites. Generally all the beer was kept EXCELLENTLY which is what you would expect from a pub with such a wide selection.

The pub itself is a very short walk away from Euston Street Station (which is very near St Pancras where most trains come into London)

All in all this is a pub NOT TO BE MISSED and easily lives up to the reputation which it apparently has accumulated.

Click here for Google Map of location

Loughborough great central railway beer festival 2010

Band tent

Beer and trains, I’ve never been much of a railway person but there’s no doubting I was intrigued by this festival, and they had 40 ales on, so that was pretty much the deal sealed right there.

I was pleasantly surprised at the layout of the festival, I didn’t think it would be literally laid out on a train platform; a period wedding meant people where milling around in pre-war attire, add that to a live brass band and you have quite the atmosphere, certainly unique, and certainly enough to make me want to attend future festivals.


It wasn’t perfect though, despite a good mix of beers (all sourced from locations on the route) nothing stood out as exceptional, Rebellion – Mutiny, a beer I have enjoyed many times just didn’t taste on form at all to me but that really is nit picking on what was a great day out.


My picks from the festival,

Nottingham – EPA
Castle Rock – Harvest Pale
Boggart Hole Clough Brewery – Rum Porter

The festival is accessible from the X9 bus from Nottingham city center and a 10 minute walk, click for the gcrailway website.