Hog’s Head starts serving ale, off to a flyer

A quick note of thanks firstly, when we first started nottsbrew we didn’t expect much in the way of interest and where surprised in March when we nearly hit 1,000 visitors. So many thanks to you all in May, we just fell short of 2,500 visitors, not bad for a rubbish site run by two idiots.

So the Hog’s Head then, it’s in this months Nottingham Drinker magazine as now serving proper ale with no less than 5 pumps so I thought it was worth checking out.

Hog's Head

Whilst the interior of the Hog’s Head is (at the time of writing) in need of a lick of paint it still retains its large open feel with two entrances, plenty of seating and a pool table.

Hog's Head bar

Onto the ale, despite 2 being off (it was in fairness a Tuesday) the 3 available where superb, the Salopian brewery again making me wonder why more pubs don’t stock it with its superb Oracle at 4%

CAMRA members get a 10% discount at all times, meaning Tim Taylors Landlord was £2.38, and the other guests £2.25,  given the showing it’s hard not to recommend checking this out. With great prices and great ale it’s hard to see the Hog’s Head going far wrong.

Ropewalk leads fight on Nottinghams big real ale rip off.

If you haven’t read the article below this about Blue Monkeys new Canning Circus powerhouse opening in June, then do so, because Canning Circus looks like it could be turning into quite the force!

You will be forgiven for mistaking The Ropewalk as still being under its previous guise of a 'scream pub' other than the repainting of the garish yellow walls not a great deal else has changed exterior wise.

 

A great selection, this picture was taken during the mild trail hence 2 milds.

Amidst Nottinghams sea of inflated beer prices (£3+ a pint is becoming far too common, and frankly ridiculous) it’s nice to see a pub offering geniunely good deals on quality ales, and assuming it’s some kind of dosshole full of students would be quite far off the mark, it’s actually light and very spacious with a good mix of clientele.

 

Nice and open, plenty of seating.

Proper pint glasses.

So here’s the deals, and what makes this probably the most competetive in Nottingham, as the deal states above between 5pm till 9pm weeknights all beers are £1 off, when we went in this makes them between £1.75 to £2.10 a pint.

It’s also worth noting when the above deals not on, it’s 50p off for CAMRA (biggest in Nottingham) averaging the price of a pint at around £2.50, reasonable.

And no, you can’t combine the offers!

 

 

 

Mansfield Road Holy Gr-Ale turns out to be Holy-Fail

Over 100 beers? erm no actually, not really, and if there ever where it would require a myriad of *† and other cautionary disclaimer notes after the number 100… It’s possible that 100 beers where on sort of, but not at once and some pubs where paying lip service compared to others. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still worth going as they have some great beers on, but the claims of 100 beers whilst true, in a nutshell it’s not ‘all at once’.

Pea

We started at the Peacock Inn, I like this pub and we are due to do a review but I was surprised to see no beer barrels, just the bar full up to its normal quota, that was ‘it’ thankfully Bath Ales – Summer Hare was superb and pulled them out from embarrasment, they had about 7 beers on including regulars, this was not the start hoped for.

Moving onto the Golden Fleece we where greeted with this board,

Fleace

That’s better I thought, but the reality was unfortunately again not all beers being available, inside was a smaller sized menu with ticks showing which where currently on, about a third where available to buy at the time. Thornbridge Jaipur was a great pint but costly at £3.20, but hey at least thats 5p cheaper than in the center of London, because Mansfield Road and the center of London are clearly in a similar business position…

Ok so fair enough moving on to the Nags Head, they do a quality beer festival out in the great patio area they have, the board this time didn’t promise so much but at least all beers where on and available, so fair play to the Nags Head.

Nags

Not promising a massive selection, but fair play for having it all on the bar to buy.

Next off to the Lincolnshire Poacher, which roundly trounced the previous pubs with its usual great bar selection, and just under 20 on gravity available.

Poacher

£2.80 for all festival pints was again reasonable

Many will think after my previous glowing reports of the Lincolnshire Poacher that I have some kind of agenda, well I don’t! I think normally it’s over priced, but tonight again it showed that it was the best of the bunch!

We went at this point to next door,  it seems Fade and the hard to find cafe just plain pulled out, we went there to be told abruptly, and I quote,

we’re not stamping cards

They had 2 beers on, and that was your lot.

Fade

 

This was a festival/crawl that promised a huge amount and didn’t quite live up to expectation, claims of 100+ beers is deceptive given the showing we saw. We didn’t try the Rose of England or Forest Tavern but given the experience from all the other pubs, I think a mixed reaction is the best we can give it, here’s hoping that if this event is back on in 2012 some of the pubs that gave a poor showing pull their weight, as they put the brakes on what could have been a fantastic night out.

Line-up confirmed for Mansfield Road Gr-Ale

A list has been released for Mansfield Roads first crawl/festival, with over 100+ beers available, the previous post has been updated with the details!

http://www.nottsbrew.co.uk/2011/04/mansfield-road-announces-beer-festival-onlookers-confused-2/

On a seperate note I tried co-write Hoppkins’ nottsbrew IPA that he brewed from full mash last night and was astounded at how good it was, expect guides, pictures and such from him soon!

Mansfield Road announces beer festival, onlookers confused.

Mansfield Road Holy Gr-ale Festival 

Thursday 12th May – Sunday 15th

 

You have to take notice when an entire road announces a beer festival, and Mansfield Road is a huge one.

In a first for at the very least Nottingham, 7 pubs serving over 100 beers are coming together to form the mother of all pub crawls!

They are (in order of walking away from town)

The Peacock Inn
Rose of England
Golden Fleece
The Nags Head
Lincolnshire Poacher
Fade and the hard to find Cafe
The Forest Tavern

Filling in a trail collectors card gets you a free beer, if you’re out shopping on the Saturday morning and see some people covered in tears and vomit outside the Sony Centre, don’t feel sad, they probably had a bit too much to drink the night before and just rolled their way back down the hill. The only question remaining is, will you work your way up, or down?

ps, no, this isn’t an April Fool.

Ah, a list has been released, though it isn’t in any real order, nor does it specify what will be where!

Castle Rock Harvest Pale

Batemans Spring Breeze

Caledonian Double Twist

Downton Light

Exmoor Gold

Newby Wyke Summer Session

Batemans XB

Castle Rock Kiss Me Kate

Black Sheep Bitter

Harviestoun Born to be Mild

Jarrow Red Ellen

Magpie Midnight Mild

Mordue Ginger Ale

Ossett Milbridge Mild

Newby Wyke Bear Island

Priorswell Silver Chalice

Saltaire Stateside IPA

Poachers Bog Trotter

Newby Wyke Chesapeake

Titanic English Glory

Blue Monkey Original

Blue Monkey BG Sips

Blue Monkey Evolution

Bluemonkey 99 red baboons

Kelham Island Easy Rider

Kelham Island Pale Rider

Newby Wyke  Black Funnel

Abbeydale Moonshine

Newby Wyke HMS Dreadnought

Abbeydale Absolution

Oldershaw Heavanly Blonde

RCH Old Slug Porter

Oldershaw Sunny Daze

Castle Rock Screech Owl

Newby Wyke HMS Revenge

Ossett Milbridge Mild

Shardlow Reverends Eaton

Castle Rock Albert Ball VC

Nottingham Legend

Wells Bombardier

Wychwood Hobgoblin

Sharps Doombar

Flip Side Dark Denomination

Titanic Captain Smith

Oakham Inferno

Mordue Radgie Gadgie

Magpie Thieving Rogue

Dark Star Festival

Black Hole No Escape

Cotleigh Barn Owl

Shadlow Mayflower

Titanic First Class

Adnams Lighthouse

Everards Whakatu

Russels Mild

Wadworth Lilly the Pink

Shepherd Neame Canterbury Jack

McMullen Country Bitter

Castle Rock Elsie Mo

Wychwoods Elderwych

Gales HSB

Nelson Pieces of 8

Milton Dyonysus

Theakstons Lightfoot

Leeds Funfair

Holdens Golden Glow

Saltaire Trio Pale

Caledonian Flying Scotsman

Robinsons Dizzy Blonde

Shardlow Golden Hop

Titanic Life Boat

Spire Dark side of the moon

Hook Norton Hooky Gold

Magpie JPA

Nottingham EPA

Thornbridge Jaipur

Shepherd Neame Master Brew

Castle Rock Preservation

Milestone Crusader

St Austell Tinners

Adnams Broadside

Green King Abbot

Shepherd Neame Spitfire

Brains The Reverend James

Rudgate Ruby Mild

RCH Steam Pole

Castle Rock Gate Keeper

Derby Dashingly Dark

Jarrow Swinging Jibbet


Ciders

 

Broadoak Moonshine

Cornish Orchards Strong & Dry

Westons Scrumpy

Gwynt y Ddraig Vintage 06

Torkard Festival Special

Westons Raspberry Cider

Gwynt y Ddraig Fiery Fox

Mr Whiteheads Midnight Special Perry

Biddendens Dry

Gwynt y Ddraig Autumn Magic

Torkard CBC

Hecks Vintage Dry

Westons Old Rosie

Moles Black Rat

Westons Vintage

Torkard Floppy Tabs

Gwyntt Y Ddraig  Black Dragon

Thatchers Cheddar Valley

Broadoak Kingston Black

 

Perry


Moles Black Rat Perry

Broadoak Perry

Gwynt y Ddraig Two Trees

 

 

Castle Rock Harvest Pale

Batemans Spring Breeze

Caledonian Double Twist

Downton Light

Exmoor Gold

Newby Wyke Summer Session

Batemans XB

Castle Rock Kiss Me Kate

Black Sheep Bitter

Harviestoun Born to be Mild

Jarrow Red Ellen

Magpie Midnight Mild

Mordue Ginger Ale

Ossett Milbridge Mild

Newby Wyke Bear Island

Priorswell Silver Chalice

Saltaire Stateside IPA

Poachers Bog Trotter

Newby Wyke Chesapeake

Titanic English Glory

Blue Monkey Original

Blue Monkey BG Sips

Blue Monkey Evolution

Bluemonkey 99 red baboons

Kelham Island Easy Rider

Kelham Island Pale Rider

Newby Wyke  Black Funnel

Abbeydale Moonshine

Newby Wyke HMS Dreadnought

Abbeydale Absolution

Oldershaw Heavanly Blonde

RCH Old Slug Porter

Oldershaw Sunny Daze

Castle Rock Screech Owl

Newby Wyke HMS Revenge

Ossett Milbridge Mild

Shardlow Reverends Eaton

Castle Rock Albert Ball VC

Nottingham Legend

Wells Bombardier

Wychwood Hobgoblin

Sharps Doombar

Flip Side Dark Denomination

Titanic Captain Smith

Oakham Inferno

Mordue Radgie Gadgie

Magpie Thieving Rogue

Dark Star Festival

Black Hole No Escape

Cotleigh Barn Owl

Shadlow Mayflower

Titanic First Class

Adnams Lighthouse

Everards Whakatu

Russels Mild

Wadworth Lilly the Pink

Shepherd Neame Canterbury Jack

McMullen Country Bitter

Castle Rock Elsie Mo

Wychwoods Elderwych

Gales HSB

Nelson Pieces of 8

Milton Dyonysus

Theakstons Lightfoot

Leeds Funfair

Holdens Golden Glow

Saltaire Trio Pale

Caledonian Flying Scotsman

Robinsons Dizzy Blonde

Shardlow Golden Hop

Titanic Life Boat

Spire Dark side of the moon

Hook Norton Hooky Gold

Magpie JPA

Nottingham EPA

Thornbridge Jaipur

Shepherd Neame Master Brew

Castle Rock Preservation

Milestone Crusader

St Austell Tinners

Adnams Broadside

Green King Abbot

Shepherd Neame Spitfire

Brains The Reverend James

Rudgate Ruby Mild

RCH Steam Pole

Castle Rock Gate Keeper

Derby Dashingly Dark

Jarrow Swinging Jibbet

Plough Inn Radford, Nottingham / Nottingham Brewery

What a diverse area I thought, as I caught the bus from Upper Parliament street outside the ‘private triple x’ shop, and progressed my way from the city centre into Radford, destination, The Plough Inn – home of the Nottingham Brewery.

Carpark

It looks like a normal carpark, because it is. Behind this though is the brewery.

The Plough is a bit of an odd one to get to from the city centre, it requires a 10 minute or so bus ride and then a short walk that you really need to look into on google maps before setting off, with that said it is easy enough to find once you have a general idea of where you’re going* you would be forgiven for being a bit touristy in trying to find it, especially as other than the group I was with I didn’t hear anyone else talking English.

*we took the number 28 bus on the pink line and got off when we saw the white horse cafe (which looks like a pub) then walked up St Peters’ Street

 

Plough

The Plough, untouched by time.

After a stroll through modern Britain it was nice to see the Plough is an old fashioned honest boozer, much like their rivals Castle Rock the Nottingham Brewerys Plough is very much of a traditional decor, or as some would pen them ‘spit and sawdust’ the interior is what it is and after seeing the picture of one of the lounges below, you will know if it’s for you or not.

Interior

One of the lounges.

I set out to the Plough for one reason if I’m honest, to try one of my favourite all time beers again NottinghamSupreme, I hadn’t seen it in what seemed like forever, so where else better to go and get some? Well, as it turns out they canned brewing Supreme 2 years ago, this news knocked me back like a pint glass to the face (not that I have exprienced that, but it was unpleasant news) this was not the start I was hoping for.

Board

Add 4p due to todays budget.

The Nottingham Brewery do some great beer, we’re both huge fans of Rock Bitter and E.P.A, so despite the Supreme dissapointment I made my way through their card. I always get my hopes up when going to a brewtap expecting the beer to be the literal best example I have ever had, however it simply wasn’t the case; now don’t get me wrong they where good pints so perhaps I got my hopes up too high, another thing to keep in mind is I have had Nottingham beer in countless pubs round Nottingham, consuming a huge number of pints, versus the 5 on this one evening!

Which really brings me to this, despite being a very nice pub it’s hard to recommend  this colourful trip out when Nottingham beers are so freely available in the city centre.

VAT & Fiddle Review

VAT

Castle Rock – Harvest pale is 2010 CAMRA champion beer of Britain, so for somewhere to sell it for £2.30* is a good thing, but you can make a good thing better when the beer hasn’t had to travel.

The VAT & Fiddle you see is the Castle Rock brew tap, the brewery is literally right behind this no nonsense pub with a friendly cat†.
As you would expect a large cross section (6) of Castle Rocks finest adorn the bar along with 4 guests, it’s hardly surprising then that this is the place to try Britain’s champion, every pint of Castle Rock beer I have tried at the VAT has been consistently up with the best.

VATbar

No, you don't have to wear a tracksuit to get in.

It’s hard not to recommend the VAT & Fiddle if you want a decent pint, sure it’s a no frills boozer but when it’s only 3 minutes from the train station and a great way to kick off a journey into Nottingham (or indeed a good pub prior to walking to the football/cricket) it’s undoubtedly one to keep coming back to, no matter what you think of the decor.

*prices correct at time of publishing, you can get it even cheaper with Wetherspoons/CAMRA 50p off vouchers.

†the cat is worth a specific mention being as it will come and sit with whoever it fancies, whenever it fancies.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem – Review

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, or just The Trip To Jerusalem, or more realistically ‘The Trip’ so where do I start? well it’s old, infact world record old though this is contested, thankfully I went there to drink last week not a few hundred years ago.

Jeru

I won’t mix my words here, at one point The Trip was embarrasingly bad, though this was several years ago when Greene King first took over, I’ll hold my tongue on my beef with Greene King somewhat but needless to say a popular tourist attraction was serving up the blandest Greene King beer they could ship in from their HQ in Bury St Edmunds.

pine

In real life pinecone people will not serve you, sorry.

As you can see from the bar picture, this is now thankfully not the case as they have a couple of Nottingham beers on (EPA and Legend, both tried, both very pleasant as expected) not only that they have a second bar round the corner as well.

bar2

On this bar was Nottinghams Rock Mild, and the best beer they had on; Seance by the Full Mash Brewery which was one of the best pints I have had so far this year.

mix board

Calm down, you don't do that many beers.

So would I recommend it? yes, it’s a great pub with a decent smoking area and cave walls (not all real) it often has ghost hunts and suchlike and is steeped in history, it used to make tourists think Nottingham can’t brew, now it doesn’t, that’ll do from the boys from Bury St Edmunds.

Nottingham Beer Festival 2011 : what to expect

Nottingham Beer festival, 13th October 2011 -> 15th October 2011.

We will be tweeting live from the festival Thursday and Friday, if you fancy following us to get live tweets on what’s worth drinking, follow us @NottsBrew

October 2011 update : beer list released! 928 currently, click here for the list! stuck? check out our what to drink guide!

September 2011 update: 900+ beers have been confirmed as have 120 ciders/perries, get your drinking hats on people.

June 2011 update :Well it would appear that this year is indeed going to break all previous records with the organisers aiming for a monsterous 1000! Ales, ciders and perry sellections are all due to increase even further on last years gigantic selection and to cater for this a new ‘mini token’ system is coming into play, as well as a third of a pint being offered for the first time to allow for even more variety than ever.

With last years Nottingham beer festival still in recent memory lets take a look at what this years Nottingham beer festival 2011 could bring, and hopefully help attract more people from around the UK to visit. Despite last year having well over 800 beers available, yes that’s more beer on offer than even the GBBF (Great British Beer Festival) it seems a host of potential visitors are yet to sample this truely unique event, infact many still have never heard of it!

banners

Last years list met expectations of even more! as demanded from festival goers, infact so much so it’s almost daunting if you show up with no idea what to have, hopefully this year some kind of colour wheel system will be implemented to give you more of an idea of what you’re buying.

Can the organisers squeeze in more? we spoke to Steve Westby after the festival close last year and whilst the grounds are vast, the amount of usable flat land is almost up to its limit, though with that said I’d imagine they will be keen to break last years record! edit – we have recently read that they’re going to try and break their own 848 record!

If you’ve never been you can see the grounds here the main marquee area used is to the left of the castle in the main picture, with smaller marquees setup above near the bandstand.

glasses

It's easy to forget you're in a castle grounds at times, despite not being allowed to wander round inside in a full suit of armour singing 'take me home' the surrounding area constantly reminds you of how special this is.

We wrote a few articles regarding last years beer festival including our review but the best piece of advice we can take from previous festivals is get there early, if you want to try all the beers go Thursday, and if you must go on Friday late, or at all Saturday consider pre-purchasing tickets as the beer turnover rate is astonishing; the number of festival goers will be north of 20,000 so popular beers can start to sell out Friday afternoon, even if they put on multiple barrels!

2010 was hands down the best festival yet improving on every aspect of previous years, if they even match nevermind exceed last years it will yet again be unmissable.

We will keep updating this article as the year progresses (last update 6th October 2011) leave us a comment if you have any questions.

SIBA National Champions Beer Festival : Nottingham 2011

This is a compararable festival to the champions league, each region of the UK has its best beers put forward to fight it out in various categories for the SIBA gold medal, the best beer of the entire festival then being given the prestigious top SIBA award.

Halves range from £1.30 – £1.50 with NO CAMRA discount.

As per 2010, 56 handpulls on an impressive custom length bar. This was taken at 5.02pm, by 5.20pm it was completely rammed.

Thornbridge Kipling has been steamrollering pretty much everything recently and to be quite honest rightly so, but not tonight, the Kipling on offer was a good to average beer that left its self open to the competition, fortunately for Thornbridge the rest of the strong bitters category where of a similar dissapointing ilk; all failing to impress having tried the lot other than the Cairngorm – Wildcat (5.1%), that seemed to have been off from the word go. Kipling then will no doubt get this category victory but perhaps a little cheaply, regardless on the night it was in our opinion the best strong bitter.

The top award however? well, this is where the current Nottingham Beer Festival champion (and others!) is left trailing in some fashion, Salopian – Prohibition (4.6%) with its wonderful fresh citrusy grapefruit feel and a sublimely dry finish was in a different class and surely in with a good shout to top the premium bitters as well as the festival champion, closely followed by Dorset Brewing Company – Ammonite (3.8%) a full bodied pint with a lot of depth that belies its alchol content, a shoe in we reckon for the bitters & pale ales up to 4.0% category, a nod also due to a speciality beer Coach house brewing Co – Blueberry classic bitter (5.0%) beers like this can usually go one of two ways, crap, or great, it went the latter.

We are far from done though as things could change tomorrow night, we have had most, but not quite all of the beers so far!

http://www.siba.co.uk/events/?page_id=883