Solihull and District

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

A tour of Derby’s Best pubs

Friday 10 June 2022

A misnomer for a title as there are plenty of great pubs in Derby, too many to do in a single day. However, our usual Friday band of CAMRA members tried a few. A 15 minute walk from the station brought us to one of my favourites, The Smithfield.

Always with a great range of beers it did not disappoint. Beers by Three Brothers, Vocation, Thornbridge, Brass Castle, Bingley, Ashover, Mallinsons Waimea and Marble Persephone, the latter 2 of which were my choice and scored an easy 4 out of 5. The pub has won many awards as Derby CAMRA Pub of the Year 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 and East Midlands Pub of the Year 2019. Although not in the most of salubrious of area it is one not to miss.

Our next port of call was the Exeter Arms. A multi roomed traditional pub which serves food, it is the tap for Dancing Duck Brewery. A Raspberry Ripple Cider from Snails Bank was passed over for beers from Dancing Duck, Thornbridge, Marstons and Whim. Whim’s Flower Power earned another 4.

Moving on we went to a Derby institution, The Flowerpot. A top music venue in Derby it also has an extensive range of beers. Oakham, 2 Whim, Marstons, Little Critters, Brass Castle, Sharps and my selection, Lenton Lane Pale Moonlight and Vocation Chop and Change, both earning another 4 out of 5.

Perhaps Derby’s most historic pub The Old Bell Hotel was next on our list.

An old coaching Inn dating from the 18th century, it is well worth popping into the Tudor Bar, closed when we visited. Sitting in the modern, sterile bar there were 5 handpumps of which only 4 were in use. Stancill, Bass and 2 Acorn. I tried Acorns Summer Pale, not to my taste as it was quite malty but I could not fault the quality, another 4! I resisted their other beer a Raspberry Porter, not my style.

Heading back towards the station we had just time to pop into the Alexandra Hotel, just next door from the Brunswick and another favourite of mine. Owned by Castle Rock it is very much a local’s pub through and through, the bar supported 8 beers. Torrside, Burton Bridge, 3 Castle Rock, North Riding Brew Pub, Acorn and finally my choice, Bang the Elephant Chevy Chase and West Coast Trail a strong 5.9%. a hoppy, bitter, unfortunately cloudy but full of taste, 4 again. Just a short walk brought us to the station for our return to Solihull. What a great day, particularly with all my choices scoring a consistent 4 out of 5.

Steve Dyson