The venue for the festival is The Roundhouse, barely a stone's throw from the
back entrance to Derby Station. The building was for many years at the heart of
Derby's locomotive building industry (complete with an engine turntable) but is
now a flagship feature of the Derby College campus. Here we see the queues forming in readiness for the festival opening at 11am.
The restored interior of the Roundhouse was a spectacular sight and provided a wonderful setting for all the lovely beer. Over 300 different ales were available over the course of the weekend, with some of our personal favourites being Rutland Beast, Noggin Filler, Dark Drake (Dancing Duck), Coffin Lane Stout and some Humber Bridge Black IPA. Nick (as ever) nailed himself firmly to the dark side whilst I seemed to be
ploughing a furrow of Best Bitter.
We couldn't fault the festival one bit, and an extra feather in the cap was the free
bus that was laid on to ferry visitors back and forth between the Roundhouse and
the City Centre. We were never going to pass up on a gift such as this so we
clambered on board for the short ride to the Quad, operator Trent Barton
doing the honours with much aplomb.
The afternoon would have us seeking out some of Derby's finest local hostelries as
we put the city's beer capital credentials firmly to the test. First stop was the Furnace
on Duke Street where we enjoyed some Crate Stout as recommended by a
very enthusiastic barman.
Amongst our other calling points was Ye Olde Dolphin Inne, said to be Derby's oldest
pub in that it apparently dates from 1530-odd and is reputed to be haunted.
We didn't detect any ghosts ourselves but do partake of Centurion Mild served
in traditional fashion straight out of the jug.
I don't think the Flower Pot was originally among our targets but upon hearing a
glowing recommendation we simply had to check it out. It was here that we had a
close encounter of the Zymosis kind, the beer being a real brute despite its
deceptively pale colour.
It has to be said that the centre of Derby is blessed with an array of excellent pubs,
all with their own little quirks and points of interest. There are brewery taps to be sampled - Dancing Duck's at the Exeter Arms and the Derby Brewing Company's
taphouse, the latter being where I try to explain the finer points of rugby to an
utterly baffled NW, talk about attempting the virtually impossible! We round off down
by the station getting to grips with Harold Larwood and then squeaking in
Bass from the jug to close.
What a fantastic day, so here's to Derby as a beer capital - it definitely gets my vote!