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.

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.

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…

Fox and Crown Basford / Alcazar Brewery

Well there are plenty of newcomers to the brewing scene in Nottingham, but rather than get swept up in all that let’s take a look at one that’s been around for a bit, brewing from the Fox & Crown in Basford the Alcazar Brewery.

Alcazar started brewing in 1999, whilst that’s still relatively recent they’ve been brewing since well before the recent real ale resurgence, though you would be forgiven for not knowing who they are as I have only ever seen their beers on sale at the Nottingham Beer festival or the Fox and Crown itself, but then they are a small brewery.


 This lack of exposure doesn’t mean they do ale not worthy of it, far from it, they have a good stable of beer with Sherrifs Gold and Black Fox both excellent session choices though I will admit to not having tried the whole range due to availability! It would be nice to see them spread out a bit more, but the Nottingham real ale scene is becoming a tremendously fierce battle ground, it seems to survive you need to get some brews with the popular US and NZ hop imports, let’s hope they do.

They show sky sports, which isn't for everyone, but most ale pubs nowadays choose not to.

The Fox and Crown is a great traditional pub in easy walking distance of the Basford tram stop, and it would be rude to not goto the also excellent Horse and Groom whilst you’re in the area!

As Radfordlad points out in the comments below, CAMRA discount is 25p off a pint, and they do thai food though I have yet to try it.

33 Church Street, Old Basford, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG6 0GA

*Note Alcazar beers are available in bottles, I have tried a few and whilst being passable as with most bottled beer they’re nowhere near as good as on draft.

The Goosebury Bush, reborn a Wetherspoon

Ah Mr Wetherspoon, we meet again.

Goosebury Bush Nottingham

The Goosebury Bush has a lot of work to do, and seems to be doing it so far, the other Wetherspoons’ in Nottingham city center are in an embarrasingly ropey state and are long overdue a complete overhaul, the recent opening of the TBI only further highlighted just how bad its city center counterparts are. Both the Roebuck Inn and the Joseph Else in my first hand experience have been guilty of having a pint returned to be tried by the barman, him commenting on how it ‘tastes of vinegar’ offering a replacement pint, and then leaving the other ‘bad’ one for sale until assumedly it runs out. No wonder many people are put off drinking real ale.

Goosebury Bush Glass Window

The pub has some interesting features including artwork, stained glass, and some odd woodworked tables, that made balancing a pint tricky!

Previous owners Varsity ended up selling to Wetherspoons, it’s worth pointing out at this point that the Goosebury Bush, or what once was Varsity is about 2 minutes if that from Nottingham Trent University; I would have thought it would be easy to hoover student money up from a pub placed here, or maybe it was and they wanted to cash in, who knows? and thinking about it, who cares? So what’s it like…

(if you’re wondering how to find it, follow the tram tracks out of Nottingham, turn right up the hill when you see a cemetary)

Goosebury Bush Interior

As you would expect from a brand new pub it’s all very tidy, how long this is set to last for remains to be seen, I just hope it doesn’t fall foul of student abuse! There are many very comfy leather sofas and soft chairs and plenty of dinner tables dotted around, including some in the unique overlooking point of the pub, alas it only overlooks a carpark, oh well.

Goosebury Bush Pumps

One half of the ale selection, note that this is opening day and running off its 'starter pack'

Goosebury Bush Pumps

This picture is as blury as this side of the bars ale is generic

10 ale pumps sets the tone and whilst the selection is currently somewhat generic this is more down to the ‘starter pack’ new ‘spoons pubs get given, speaking to the barman revealed that only 2 are ‘must stocks’ where as the other 8 are open to guests from Nottingham and further afar, given time this could be a bit of a gem, and it hopefully increases pressure on the other city center Wetherspoons dossholes.

Is it worth a visit? yes, even more so when the beer selection gets into gear, we will revisit in a couple of weeks and see what’s what, until then the Dr says drink some beer.

Exclusive : Inside Blue Monkeys new powerhouse, The Organ Grinder

The Organ Grinder opens this Friday at 4pm, with free pork pies assumedly while they last!

Organ Grinder

There’s been a lot of talk, and given our web stats a lot of interest in Blue Monkeys new flagship boozer The Organ Grinder; head honcho John Hickling himself was kind enough to let us have a nosey round and answer a few questions this afternoon.

Blue Monkey Organ Grinder bar

8 pumps, beers facing away on the corner right are the regular Blue Monkey beers BG Sips and Guerilla

4 Blue Monkey beers will be available, 2 rotating and 2 regulars. The other 4 being proper guests, not just sourced from around Nottingham. John himself was enthusiastic about the selection, with beers and lagers (more about that in a moment) coming from all over the place backed up by a landlord with over 30 years experience, 2 of which running the award winning Crown at Beeston, it’s not hard to see why!

Money is being talked about more than ever, if you want a cheap pint Batemans XB is always on at £2.20 a pint, it’s a steady drink, and that’s a good price for the budget conscious, Blue Monkey beers vary in price but the excellent session beer Original will be £2.50 a pint, again a reasonable price, and if you can’t get a good pint of it here I don’t know where you will.

Lager lager lager...

A highly polished (literally) section of Lagers and speciality beers accompanies the ale selection. And yes, that's Jaipur on nitrokeg, somewhat of a wild card! Be warned though, typical speciality beer prices.


Constantly rotating cider and perry.

Being a freehouse allows you to do what you wish with your drinks, and it’s nice to see such a fine selection of lagers, ciders, and fruit wines, these are often overlooked by other pubs. The saying goes you can’t please everyone all of the time, but they’re giving it a go! They’re even going to be doing tea and coffee…

A proper fire

Yes that burner works, and will be on "as soon as it's cold enough"

Work was still ongoing during our visit, but it looks set to be easily one of the best pubs in Nottingham and is likely to be the jewel in the crown of a canning circus pub crawl that must be looking more and more tempting than ever!

Doors open Friday 24th June, 4pm

Address: 21 Alfreton Road, Nottingham.  NG7 3JE.

Opening hours: From Midday every day.

Manager: Angus Clark

Click for official site.

Horse and Groom, Basford – Review

I like local beer and support the LocAle scheme but variety is a good thing, so it’s nice to see a traditional pub that serves local ales but isn’t shy to reach out to other parts of the country. The Horse and Groom at Basford is one of these quality pubs offering a good mix with excellent variety and is a good place to visit if you fancy a proper ‘guest’ beer.


Occasionally further ale is offered direct from the cellar.

With open fires and multiple quirky rooms it’s always a pleasure to visit, especially if they have a festival on as they tend to open up the large function room at the rear.

As well as bold beer choices from around the country it’s one of few pubs to offer a permanent mild pump, which is very nice to see as it caters for all drinkers.


Just some of the seating area, there's plenty more.

Being only a very short tram journey from the city center it’s a pub anyone who likes their ale should be trying, or indeed as we did you can even combine it with other pubs to create a tram pub crawl, as long as you drink responsibly of course.

You can find out more about this great pub and its interesting history (based next to the old Shipstones brewery) by visiting the official website,

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.

TBI – Trent Bridge Inn, the Wetherspoons way


It's a 'spoons Jim, but not as we know it.

Today marks the re-opening of the ‘World Famous Trent Bridge Inn‘ after its acquisition by Wetherspoons, clearly not messing around they chucked well over £1,000,000  at it giving the place a complete refurbishment. Whilst a little dark in places it’s full of artwork and cricket memorabilia, with the occasional Pies and Forest shot thrown in for good measure; given the size of this thing this is clearly the target audience as this is the largest Wetherspoons I have ever set foot in, if not the biggest pub, in places it’s massive, one of the rooms is like an assembly hall!

lounge lower

The decor is dark, and changes throughout.

lounge up

The top floor bar.

Last year prior to take over this famous building was a shambles and to be quite honest had been for quite some years, the beer ‘selection’ was practically none existent, the decor was tired and every time England had a cricket match next door the place was nothing but an embarrassment to Nottingham. Wetherspoons love them or hate them have swooped in and done a great job in modernising and making good use of the space, hopefully this will stand the test of time.

But enough about the decor, this isn’t Homos Homes under the Hammer, what’s the beer like? and this is where it gets a bit interesting, it depends what bar you go to, the TBI has a split bar as you walk in, another bar round the back, a bar on the left of the upper floor and a bar on the right of the upper floor, so that’s five bars, yes, the TBI now has FIVE bars.

bar lower

The downstairs 'hall' bar

bar 5

The top floor bar.

The beer selection changes with each bar, I only managed to get shots of 2 of the less impressive bars as the downstairs areas where packed, the main ale selection is as you walk in on the side bar. Unfortunately however even with the ‘full selection’ available at the side bar it’s quite disappointing. The ‘guest’ beers are the Wetherspoons generic uninspired choices such as Batemans XXB and Caledonian Deuchars, coupled with the normal snore festival of Abbot, Speckled Hen and the rest of the Greene King crew there was actually only 2 real beers that caught my eye, and one had just gone! Perhaps this will change, it is opening week. The beer selection is much better now the pub has had time to get into its stride, the usual Abbot, Speckled Hen etc generic beers of course adorn the bar, but 3/4 proper guests are now in action.

Nottingham Brewery thankfully have brewed a special bitter aptly named Trent Bridge Ale, now after 5 pints I can confirm confidently that this is a fine beer and I hope to see it on here all the time will continue to be brewed for the pub. Perhaps what I didn’t expect was the pricing, guest ales where £2.45 which is quite a bit more than the prices some will be used to from Wetherspoons, competing local landlords will no doubt be happy to hear this as all their business won’t be scalped from them!


Correct as of May 2011. Pricier than most Wetherspoons pubs.

Pay and display?  yep, Euro Carparks seem to own the (tiny) carpark at the side of the TBI, and they charge £1 an hour, the longest ticket you can buy is 3 hours.

pay and display

Note sly, 'have you paid and displayed' sign on the left!

So a half decent boozer then, but with the mediocre selection of ale I won’t be in any rush to get back, and those of you thinking you can sneak a view of the cricket unfortunately below is the best you can get, still you can see the scoreboard eh?