A.J. Walker


A CAMRA Trip to Chesterfield

On Saturday it was my first CAMRA beer trip for some time. As the Liverpool branch don't do them anymore it was left to the Wirral branch to wish me of to Chesterfield for an afternoon of ales in Derbyshire. It took some investigation work by Geoff on his phone to discover when we last came here with the Liverpool coach party and it was 2015. That had been one of Tony's epic multi stop trips which actually only gave us a couple of hours in Chesterfield itself—which may explain why we didn't remember many of the pubs in the city itself.

The obligatory picture of the crooked spire.

Dave had done his investigations online into where to go and gave a detailed breakdown of what kind of beers to expect in each pub and distance (in Google map minutes) from the coach station to each pub. Unfortunately the pubs are distributed largely in a straight line along one of the main roads, which while making navigation relatively straightforward didn't give us a nice circular route from start to end. I ended up in a nice little group including two of the former Liverpool Committee grandees back when I was involved (largely doing the branch website).

We headed first to one of the nearest pubs just up from the coach station by the market—and so it was indeed called the Market. They had Jaipur on. Normally if I see it I get it, but it is not ideal for a first up pint (that doesn't always stop me, as evidenced by any visit to Sheffield station). I ended up with a lighter ABV pale 'Deception' from Abbeydale. The service was good and the food looked excellent in there, but that wasn't what we there for. We spent some time looking at the map and working on the next pubs to go to, along with chats on lots of other things (far too many unfortunately on health issues of people present and not—ho hum).

First Up
First pub of the day - The Market

Next up was just a five minute straight and flat walk along to the Pig & Pump. The walk took us directly past St Mary and All Saints, Chesterfield's parish church—the famous one with the crooked spire. Of course I took the obligatory photo. The pub was a large place with some nice beers on but most were a bit on the higher ABV side and again there was Jaipur and again I decided I'd leave it until later and went for a Kelham Island Pale Rider instead—barely recognisable on the pump with the new clip design. The weather was lovely and we sat outside in the sun (a bit too warm for some) just across from the church.

Next up was set up to be the Chesterfield Alehouse. But muggins here had put The Junction in the Google maps and failed to update it to the Alehouse and so—unfocussed due to chatting and following Google Maps—we walked straight past the micropub. We decided to carry on to the Junction and go to the Chesterfield on the way back—one advantage of the pubs being along one road was we'd have to go back past it anyway. It also serendipitously meant we could sit outside.

Donning the Ascot headgear in the Junction.

Again we sat in the sun we sat outside the Junction by the water (okay, hidden by the wall, but we were by the water). Headgear may have been advisable in the sunshine but Ascot hats may have been OTT. There were only three casks on (and no Jaipur this time) and I went for a pale ale from Bradfield Brewery.

The Brampton Bierhuis

Slightly (barely) off the main road in Chatsworth Business Park was the Brampton Bierhuis. Not much room outside for drinking but I think we'd had enough sun for the day anyway. It is the site of Brampton Brewery and I went for a Tudor Rose. They had a fabulous selection of Belgian ales in bottles and Belgian keg too.

A Nod to Leicester
A nod to Leicester with a pint of Tiger.

Back on the main road (Chatsworth Road) and it was only a short hop to the Tramway Tavern. The beer choice was not fabulous, but there was Everard's Tiger on which was one of my beers when at the University of Leicester. It turned out Jean went to Leicester Unit too. I may have known that once, but who knows the mist of time takes memories hither and thither I find. So the two of us made a nod to our Alma Mater. Cheers!

Then it was just another few mins down the road to the Tap House for a our furthest pub west along the road before heading back to the coach—via the Chesterfield Arms where we had our final drink of the trip just a short walk to the coach. I never did get a Jaipur after seeing it at the first two pubs, isn't that always the way? Anyways it had been a good day in the sun with pints and fine people. It was great to bump into so many familiar faces on the coach. I need to get on some of the next ones. Up next is Lichfield on 17th August then a trip to Chorley on 26th October. We shall see.

Pubs visited:

Pig & Pump
The Junction
Brampton Bierhuis
Tramway Tavern
Tap House
Chesterfield Alehouse

I may add a map later…

A Festival of My Own is a Crawl

Didn’t make it to the Beer Expo at Black Lodge Brewery last weekend but I did make it to quite a few pubs around Liverpool in its stead, including; The Vines, Grapes, Doctor Duncans, Dispensary, Ship & Mitre, Excelsior, Vernon, Rigby’s, Denbigh Castle, Lion Tavern, Belvedere, White Hart, Engineer, Queen of Hope Street. Not a bad crawl really and it was a festival in itself—though it was spread over a few days (of course).

The weather was kind to the festival goers (after the epic sky battle that hit it on the Saturday last year) and all the people I know who went had a reliably great time. I got a bit damp on Sunday with the heavy evening rain. But I’ll live. Had some nice beers, met some good people and had a fine time—even some nice food from One Pan Band at the Ship and a Scouse Pie in the QOHS. All in all a good weekend: apart from the hearing the news about Alan Hansen, which brought me down a bit—fingers crossed he battles through whatever the issue is. What a player—and he was playing at Anfield the first time I went to a game there in the early 80s.

Anyway, whilst beer festivals have their place—and some have large and loyal followings—remember folks that the pubs are there when the festival is gone. Go and support the pubs when you can or you may not have the opportunity in year—or months—to come. Drink responsibly, drink in pubs…