Beer in Derbyshire, UK

Beer in Derbyshire, UK

This past weekend, MrsBeerSnob and I had the pleasure of attending one of our oldest friends wedding in Belper in Derbyshire.

Now, expecting a similar dearth of craft beer, as is usually experienced here in Ireland, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the hotel itself, had it’s own Ale served via handpump, and a range of bottles from local brewery Peak Ales


I tried a few of their beers, and I enjoyed the Bakewell Best Bitter, with a matching pint glass no less, and all for a very reasonable £3.80 a bottle. so approximately €4.50. No craft tax here, infact, it was cheaper than Peroni!

The house ale, Makeney Ale, was cellared a little too cool for my liking, but it had a vibrant nose, and was easy at 3.8% volume. A nice little beer, and did the job nicely. I must give the hotel credit here for supporting a locally made product. Something our own could learn a think of two from. Even my golf club doesn’t stock the locally made beer.

It’s utterly hypocritical of Publicans and Hoteliers to expect it’s patrons to “support local” when they themselves only pay that sentiment lip service. In a lot of cases they’re getting food from local suppliers and producers, but in the main the beer is usually your mainstream nonsense. Given that nearly every county  has a brewery now, why not stock their product? Even if it was bottles! Anyway, I digress. dsc01093-collage

While we were there, we discovered a lovely bar at the top of a hill called Holly Bush Inn, a very typical English country pub. A range of ales on the pumps, simple bar snacks available, such as pork pies, cheese and meat boards, and  pickles! The lounged serving food also. The beauty of this type of bar, is it’s simplicity. It just does simple things right.

Janice saw an old favourite on the bar, a Timothy Taylor Landlord, and she just had to have it. I went will a beer by Abbeydale called The Sipper. A Session IPA, or SIPA! Do you see what I did there? The Landlord was it’s usual dependable self, but the SIPA was a bit of a surprise, being an eminently sessionable beer at 3.7% it was full of flavour and definitely one you could sip on all day.


Another striking thing was that dogs were more than welcome, and MrsBeerSnob wasted no time making friends with a Pug named Penny, and a Setter called Eric.

We’d one more there before we left, basically Thornbridge, while we see their regular stuff here, these were two specials. ExAlted, a collab with Magic Rock – a modern take on a German Altbier, and Fika, a big breakfast stout, brimming with coffee & chocolate flavours.


On our way back for our flight from Manchester, we stopped in the town of Buxton in the Peak District. There was only going to be one stop on the agenda, Buxton Tap House, the tap room of Buxton Brewery. It’s long been on our agenda to get a stop there.


On a dull dreary Saturday afternoon, we got there early, we were there for 12 and there was a nice little crowd in, a mix of people taking a break from their shopping, to people sampling the alcoholic wares of the establishment.

First up for the Mrs was a lovely fresh Axe Edge, one of Buxton’s several IPAs. I’d a lovely Americano made with Hasbean Coffee. I was looking enviously at the draft list, and spotted the Omnipollo Bianca Blueberry Gose and figured i’d have a third. At a low ABV of only 3.5% this was a lovely refreshing drop. In fact they serve in 1/3 measures up to Pint, and 2/3 for the stronger stuff. It’s the stuff that Beer Tickers salivate over!  Of course from a more practical perspective, it allows you to taste more beers. Even where they suggest a half of a strong beer, you can ask for a third and be charged appropriately. Why, oh, why, do we not see a similar option here?

We sampled several of Buxton’s beers over the course of the lunch stop. Which by the way was amazing, we just had a light enough bite of Nachos and Mac N Cheese with Candied Bacon. But the show stopper of the afternoon was MrsBeerSnob’s Chocolate Ice Cream Brown Ale, which is a collab with Buxton and Omnipollo. The trick here is to ask for it with Ice cream. What they do is pour half from the tap, and the other half from a slushy machine. It sounds so bonkers it shouldn’t work. But it does. Not only do you get the chocolatey flavours from the ale, but you still get the bitterness there. A truly unique experience and one i’d love to try again.

All in all, we were most impressed by our visit, and it certainly will not be our last.

Golden Pints 2014 – The Podcast Edition

This year, rather than the traditional written scribe of Golden Pints, we decided to do it as a podcast. 

It’s up on Itunes now, the feed link is for those on Android or don’t use Itunes, and the direct link to the MP3 for download is here

We broadly followed the same format as the Golden Pints, and ramble on a bit too.

So here are some of the areas we cover.
  • Best Irish Beer 2014 – Keg / Bottle
  • Best International / UK Beer 2014 – Keg / Bottle
  • Best Beer in Can / Bottle
  • Best Cask
  • Best Pub
  • Best Beer Experience
  • Best Off licence

Having listened back to the podcast, i’ve decided to summarise here (Janice’s in Italics)

My Best Irish Beer 2014 – 8 Degrees Full Irish – a full on hop forward pale ale – deliciously drinkable. Honourable mentions to Bo Bristle Imp Red and their Double IPA
Bo Bristle Imperial Red – big malty hoppy beer that we were privileged to have at Snobfest in Navan

Best Uk / International Beer: Brewdog – Black Eyed King Imp what a great dark beer, barrel aged version of Cocoa Psycho essentially – as mad as it sounds, and tastes amazing. Honourable mentions to Gamma Ray and Black Betty by Beavertown, and Magic Rock – Cannon Ball
Beavertown Gamma Ray – on Draught and Can one of my absolute favourites

Best Can – Gamma Ray – Beavertown – honourable mention for Oskar Blues G’Knight
Same as Wayne – Gamma Ray

Best Cask – Brú Autumn Ale was fantastic, as well as their core beers. Honourable mentions to Stone Barrel with their fantastic Day Trippin’ American Pale
Brú Autumn Ale – really enjoyed this at the ICBCF

Best Pub – This year, for me Farringtons  The Norseman, have stepped it up a gear – not only do they have a huge range of craft with macro to keep everyone happy they do nice food and have a massive whiskey selection – the new website really sends them over the top. Honourable mentions – Brewdock (aka my 2nd Home) Smyth’s on the Square Navan, The Oarsman Carrick on Shannon, and PJ Kavanagh’s Portlaoise. 
Smyth’s on The Square Navan – Huge Range of Craft in Bottles, and Arthur is such a great host

Best Beer Experiences, you’ll just have to listen to the podcast 🙂

Best Off Licence: Drinkstore, both for Offline and Online dealings – Superb. Honourable mentions to Smyth’s Navan, The Winehouse Trim, and Probus Wines which gave me one of the best experiences of 2014.
Carryout in Tyrellstown because they’ve a great range of craft, but the added bonus of the growler station – meaning we can enjoy some great draught only beers at home

Please share yours with us. Merry Christmas to all our readers/listeners, hope your 2014 was as good, and that 2015 is a great year

Irish Beer Snob Podcast – Episode 3 – Craft Beer Growlers

Here we have the 3rd Episode of the Irish Beer Snob podcast, here we have Janice and Wayne discussing the merits of “Growlers” and how they are a good addition to the Irish Craft Beer scene.

Having intially come across the Pegas system at the Alltech Brews Festival in Dublin, Wayne was excited to see that this has finally reached the retail environment in Dublin 15, in the Carry Out off licence in Tyrellstown Dublin.

There is currently one outlet in Ireland serving Growlers through the Pegas system, and it truly is a great sight to see. Janice and Wayne enjoyed their filled growlers of Black Donkey Sheep Stealer & Metalman Pale Ale with a smorgasboard of cured meats and Irish Cheese.

If you are in the Dublin 15 area then you should call in to Carry Out, and not only do they have the growlers, but a great range of international craft beer in bottle’s and cans.

More info on the Craft Beer Growlers system is at on stockists and how it works

As always the feed is if you want to copy and paste this to your podcast player.

Also available on iTunes, and Stitcher Radio