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!

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


50p taxbreak on 2.8% or lower beer from Saturday.

Just a quick post incase you haven’t noticed as of Saturday a carrot is being dangled to make more low % beer, it has goods and bads of course!

Will it help get people back into the cheeky lunch time pint? maybe, will it increase the price of ‘normal’ strength beer and decrease the selection, probably.

Are we likely to see the real 50p discount ourselves, or a sly increase on ‘normal’ strength beer citing this new ‘weak’ stuff as a cheaper option? Oh well, let’s see how it goes…

FFF – Festival Fringe Fortnight line-up confirmed.

Incase you have been living under a rock, in a closet, in Narnia, the Nottingham Beer Festival 2011 is less than a month away and the 2 week ‘pre festival fringe fortnight’ naturally returns once again.

The chaps at Nottingham CAMRA have outlined the pubs in this excellent in depth article on what each pub is doing but if you can’t be bothered to click that the long and short of it is from Friday 7th October to Sunday 23rd October the FFF will be happening at,

Sir John Borlase Warren

Hand and Heart



The Approach

Cross Keys

Keans Head

Bunkers Hill


Here’s hoping they all put a proper effort into the beer and not just whack a sign up outside expecting more customers for no extra effort! (though all the special food they’re doing does look nice!)

Royal Children continues to be a royal mess

It’s never easy when your bigger brother is a lot more successfull than you are and unfortunately the Royal Childrens’ bigger brother the Salutation Inns ever strong popularity has given the Royal Children an absolute mountain to climb.

To let, let's hope someone does. This was taken on what should have been a busy Friday night.

So much has been tried here but it just never seemed to work and yet believe it or not the Royal Children 2 years or so ago had the best beer selection in Nottingham with all 8 pumps serving quality ale; and they where quick to pick up on the popularity of the Thornbridge stable offering 2 or 3 of their beers at once.

As time went on however the selection of beers began to drop noticeably likely due to them unfortunately not selling, the blues bar and live music didn’t even seem to get many people in, as the end drew closer Fridays would often only have a handful of paying customers. Towards the bitter end all the ale was pretty much gone, with 1 pump offering some generic rubbish, and the rest being a Fosters-fest, massively sad, and we hope to see this great pub with massive potential back on its feet again soon.

The mixed blessing – the third of a pint.

Your money, everyone wants it, the missus (or fella) your kids, your pets and most definitely your landlord!

Thirds of a pint then, with more and more brewers emerging and thusly selection on bars swelling around the country, the third of a pint is creeping into many pubs as an option to ‘try all the beers‘ sounds great doesn’t it? I can certainly see the appeal in pubs serving ale selections into double figures; though perhaps not so much when a whole pub range can be exhausted in 6 halves…

So what’s my beef? well right now I have no beef, but be warned such is the world we live in driven by pound notes that it’s not too difficult to predict what is going to happen here, and infact I’m afraid to say the profit wheels are already in motion.

Halves aka 284ml. The classic size to try a beer.

How? What could possibly go wrong with all this? I hear you ask, well for many many years in any good pub you the consumer can ask for a sample of beer before commiting to a purchase, it seems perfectly reasonable and a system that works for both sides of the bar, you end up with a beer you like, they end up with a happy customer. Then along comes the game changer Mr Third O’tpoint, you see to me this all looks like a very sharp double edged sword, I mentioned earlier that the profit wheels where already in motion, alas they are with the announcement that the Nottingham Beer festival will be politely refusing samples, citing that third of a pint options where now available. Of course the organisers have absolutely every right to do this at such a massively busy festival as enough people waste bar peoples time and frankly take the mickey walking round getting tanked off samples! But how long before this is seen elsewhere? how long will it be until pubs slowly begin to flat out refuse to give you a sample citing thirds are now available?

It all just seems like a way to charge you for a taster to me, maybe I’m wide off the mark with all this but I’d bet you a pint that this taster charging behaviour slowly creeps in over the next couple of years.  So, don’t forget to ask for a sample at your favourite pub whilst you can, and if you like it buy it!

You may suggest I’m missing the point of the ⅓rd, I do ‘get it’ but a sample allows you to make an informed decision on your purchase, and comes free at the cost of a normal half, or a pint.

Blue Monkey to open flagship real ale pub, “The Organ Grinder”

View our exclusive look inside by clicking here


UPDATED PIC AS OF 25th May 2011

Looks like The Organ Grinder is coming along!


Recently on the way to work I noticed a certain closed down pub near Canning Circus (*COUGH* The Red Lion) had a familiar logo in the window as below:

Ok, its blurry…I was in a bus so sue me…if you need a further clue as to which brewery is taking over this pub how about this

If you need more clues then you must be colour blind. I dont mind hiding i’m totally stoked about this being a huge fan of the Blue Monkey Brewery…

Blue Monkey have taken over ownership of the red lion pub near canning circus and are totally rennovating it into a real ale haven. John from Blue Monkey kindly shared this press release with us.

Stay tuned for more news as we get it and obviously stay tuned for a review of the pub as soon as it opens!


The Organ Grinder Comes to Canning Circus!

You may well have heard the rumours about Blue Monkey opening a pub in
Canning Circus, and we can officially reveal that they are true. The Red Lion
at the bottom of Alfreton Road (opposite the Running Horse) has been bought
by the brewery. They have renamed it ‘The Organ Grinder’, and are investing
a significant amount of money to totally renovate it and turn it into a Mecca for
real ale fans. The new pub looks set to build on Canning Circus’s cracking
reputation for real ale, and should be a real boost to the area.

Blue Monkey’s John Hickling said “We’re currently doing all the structural
stuff that’s been neglected for years, such as re-tiling the roof, sorting out the
electrics and installing a new heating system. Next we’ll be moving on to the
décor, which needs a lot of work. We’re aiming for a proper ‘pub like’ feel to
the interior, but with a modern twist – anyone who knows how grotty the pub
was when it closed six months ago will be in for a pleasant surprise! I love
real fires in pubs, so we’ve opened out the old fireplace and fitted a lovely cast
iron log burner, which will be roaring away come Autumn.”

“I’d like to think that Blue Monkey has a great reputation for brewing
consistently good beer, and I’m absolutely determined that we’ll carry that
forward into selling and serving beer in a first class pub. So the first job was
to rip out all the beer dispense equipment which was filthy, and start from
scratch. Unusually, we’re paying for all the cellar and dispense equipment
ourselves, so we’ll not be in any way tied to a particular brewery or distributor
– it will be one of only a few genuinely free houses out there. The plan
is have the best range of ales in Nottingham, kept and served in perfect
conditions. I think we’ll launch with 8 ale handpulls, maybe 10 if I’m confident
that the turnover of beer can justify it. The pub has a massive cellar, cut
deep into the sandstone, so it’s perfect for a real ale pub – having plenty of
storage space we’ll be able to make sure the beer is really well conditioned
before it goes on sale. Obviously we’ll have plenty of Blue Monkey beers
on, but also about half the pumps will be given over to other great breweries
from near and far. I want to make the ale range really distinctive, so we’ll be
going to quite some effort to bring in beers that you won’t find anywhere else
in Nottingham. As for other drinks, we’re still finalising the details but we’ll
definitely have several unusual real ciders and perries available, a distinctive
range of keg beers that you’ll not find elsewhere and a quality wine range
available for the non ale drinkers.”

All being well, the pub will be opening in late June. At the time of going to
press, a manager is still being sought for the pub so anyone with solid pub
management experience, a great personality and a passion for real ale should
get in touch with John at Blue Monkey if they fancy a new challenge.




Ruddington Beer Festival 2011 dates confirmed.

The white Horse inn has now confirmed the ever popular Ruddington beer festival will be taking place from Thursday 2nd of June till the Sunday 5th June.

Rudd 11

Don’t forget this coming week sees the SIBA beer festival come to Nottingham (opens Thursday 5pm), and going head to head with this is the first Hucknall beer festival.