11 October 2008

Bladdered @ the Brunswick

As many of you will doubtless be aware, last week (1st - 4th) saw the Brunswick Inn host its annual beer festival and, due to a change to our original plans, the Beer Monster and I had the pleasure of taking a trip over for the Friday session.

Arriving at around 1pm, we found the pub already packed out with an eclectic mix of families, scoopers, students and lunchtime drinkers; after a quick foray through the main bar area we swiftly established that seating was going to be at something of a premium and ensconced ourselves in the separate lounge area to the right of the front entrance.

We had been expecting to find around 30 beers available as this seems to be pretty much the norm nowadays, however we were in for real treat – fifty ales were on offer, and the selection was quite impressive with beers from (amongst others) Brown Cow, Old Bear, Goose Eye, Tigertops and Burton Old Cottage; for those who are interested there’s a full beer list on Natasha Moorfield’s site.

Needless to say, the pair of us were pretty soon drooling at the prospect of the quaffathon ahead and wasted no time in getting the first couple of halves in, kicking off with Phantom Mild from Tigertops and Oh Bullox from Brunswick’s own selection; the condition of the beers was excellent and pretty much reflected the standard across the board, although we did encounter a couple of slightly hazy brews later in the day.

Given that we were in Derby for the day it seemed something of a crime to restrict ourselves to just one pub and, accordingly, after getting our drinking legs nicely screwed on and putting away sixteen halves between us we decided it was time to take a bit of a mission and hit our other chosen destination, the delightful Flower Pot pub, home of Headless brewery.
I fell in love with the ‘Pot on my first drinking visit to Derby, and once again I found myself bowled over by the fine range of ales that were on – fifteen if memory serves me correctly, with the bulk of these being guests rather than Headless brews. As a first time visitor the Beer Monster found herself suitably impressed by the place; there’s been some criticism from certain corners over the slightly higher beer prices charged by the pub, however the beer selection is invariably excellent, the condition usually very good and the pub has a charming ambience, all of which more than make up for the slight premium in my opinion.

Our all too brief visit allowed us to sample nine ales from seven breweries, including the Flower Pot Special brewed by Burton Bridge alongside offerings from Full Mash, Salamander, Holland, Whim, Black Hole and Headless themselves.

With time ticking on it was back up to the Brunswick to grab a final half each and some food. Fortunately the pub had laid on a barbecue out back and were offering a choice of hotdogs or burgers at reasonable prices, so we opted to chow down with the burger option, topped with baked beans – a new taste sensation on me (I’d never have thought to put the beans on the burger, in the bun, but it works an absolute treat!)

Having finished lining our stomachs it was time for the short stroll back up to the station and the Friday night party train back to Leicester, with the pair of us feeling decidedly well oiled and very satisfied with the outcome of the day.
We’re already looking forward to the next Brunswick bash, which will be taking place around the same time next year – it’s a shame they only do one per annum, but I guess the waiting ultimately makes the reward all the sweeter…



  1. "quaffathon" - great word. Says it all really.

    Think we share the same opinions on pub festivals.

  2. Cheers Paul!

    I do love a good pub fest - they're some much more personal than the big jobs.

    The Beer Monster and I hit the Nottingham festival last Friday and it was horrendous; nowhere near enough seats, and way too many people once the evening rush started and the once a year ale drinkers descended on the venue.

    Still, I guess it's a small price to pay for the scoops...

  3. It was a decent fest - even the Brunswick specials weren't rank this year. And the daving grace of the 'Pots high prices is that the food is cheap and arrives in HUGE portions.

    As for Nottingham- I got out down to the bandstand before the crush up top. Thought it would be hectic.


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