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.


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.

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.

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


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!)

Bugmans Bar (Warhammer World, Lenton, Nottingham)

Bugmans is not your average pub.  Where there are a lot of pubs who concentrate on the selection of beer available (which is admirable) there are others who are more generic in selection but make up for it with other things like food and entertainment value. Bugmans is a Dwarf Bar.  There i said it, it’s like stepping into a medieval tavern, a dwarvish one to be exact.

Bugmans is not exactly city centre material however it’s quite quick and easy to get to and if you walk back to the city centre along the canal you come to some other great real ale locations.

The emphasis on the fantasy look stems from that this pub is latched on to none other than Warhammer World, Games Workshops flagship location which encompasses main offices, factory and free gaming area (Which while we are on the subject looks like the inside of a CASTLE) The basic idea being you can come play games using your models on their professional built tables and have a jolly good time. Other sights are the Games Workshop museum and a decent size shop to buy stuff (with the usual over excited workers inside).

But enough about Warhammer World. Bugmans. Oh yes.

This place looks seriously cool. It’s modelled to be a stereotypical dwarf tavern. Anvils, hammers, beer barrels, dead things mounted on wall…its all here.

Now first things first, Bugmans has 1 real ale at a time along with a German pilsner, other generic lager etc. They DO have Wychwood bottles in the fridge which does count for something. The beer is usually a renamed Nottingham Brewery Ale (or so i suspect) with the latest “Troll Brew” at 3.8% being what I assume is Nottingham Bitter. Very tasty, very drinkable.


They have cakes, tea, coffee, etc and the cakes are very decent. Hugest flapjacks i’ve even seen.

The food however is exceptional and one of the things bugmans do very well (which is handy since your going to be there a while if your playing Warhammer). Their burgers are numerous, tasty and well priced. The fatman burger is a terrifying combination of almost everything cookable.

The full English breakfast priced at a reasonable £4.99 is always hot and always decent. Wetherspoons is bigger and cheaper but sometimes comes not so hot which can ruin it.

gin all it makes for a decent package, while the real ale selection does let it down I guess but the other B-list drinks they have (Like the pilsner) and Wychwood go some way to making up for this. The staff are always friendly, the toilets are squeaky clean and one last thing…

The board games. Some bars like The Ropewalk give you boardgames etc to play. Bugmans has easily the largest selection of boardgames of any pub. There’s a pool table, vending machines and a cash point. In the end it’s a pleasure to sit in Bugmans with such effort to detail on the decor and great food and decent drink. Definitely worth a try.

To get to Warhammer World it’s easiest to get a bus to Queens Medical Centre and then walk for 5-10 mins. Or the canal from Town (which the Waterfront bar is on) will lead you right there. To get there:

Public Transport from City Center

From the city centre or the train station, a taxi ride takes about 10 minutes, and should cost about £6. Ask to go to Games Workshop, Willow Road.

To try Nottingham’s public transport please use to plan your journey with local services.

You can also take a 30 minute/2 mile stroll or cycle along the canal walkway. Walk from the city centre with the canal to your right and once you pass under the bridge marked with a commemorative Lenton Lane plaque head up the steps to rejoin the road. Turn right and we’re just along the road with the big Space Marine Statue! A bike rack is near the main entrance.

From Nottingham city centre Head west on Castle Boulevard – the A6005, away from the city centre. Take the first exit at the roundabout, over Abbey Bridge. Turn left at the first set of traffic lights, onto Gregory Street, just before the church. After about 1/4 mile, turn right onto Willow Road, and Games Workshop is immediately on your left.

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.