I had a few hours to kill around Nottingham last Tuesday so that obviously lead to a pub crawl. I thought it would be different to go to some of the pubs I don't often get to go in, so The Vat and Fiddle near the station was avoided in favour of a good deal of walking around. My journey started on Maid Marian Way, and I set off first on a pretty long and mostly uphill walk to The Lincolnshire Poacher.
This is another pub owned by what is now The Castle Rock pub group, but formally known as Tynemill. It is my favourite of their chain in Nottingham, and always serves its beer in great condition alongside superb food, and all at reasonable prices. It is multi-roomed having stools in the bar area; a lounge; a snug and seats in the indoor courtyard area near the toilets. As well as Castle Rock beers you can always find Batemans products as well as a handful of guests. Some pretty decent foreign bottles can be spotted also.
After here I walked almost to the other end of town to The Newshouse. I have written about here before, and today it was just as good as ever. I sat in the left hand room which I guess is the bar as opposed to the lounge but it's comfortable as has a good collection of old prints of all types on the walls, if people watching is not your thing.
From here I wandered back to the heart of the city and the 15th Century Bell Inn. This labyrinthine pub has a superb exterior with old Hardys and Hansons adverts, and has an interesting interior too. This is another multi-roomed pub and has 12th Century cellars which can be visited on Tuesday evenings. Beer is pricier here than in most Nottingham pubs, but that's what places that attract tourists are like. Having said that, the beer is always in good condition.
From here I went to a pub which is probably even older than The Bell. The Salutation inn is back on Maid Marian Way where I started, but I like the roundabout route. The beer selection on my visit was not excellent and to be fair the pub was feeling tatty also. The Christmas tree was still twinkling in spite of 12th night having passed. I had a swift half, and moved on.
Next was The Canal House, another Castle Rock pub, but possibly their most disappointing in town from a beer perspective. Only two were available today and I ended up drinking cider. The pub is large and spacious, with a very long walk to the facilities, but is worth a visit if only for the fact that the canal and a couple of barges are actually inside the pub, and you have to cross a little footbridge when inside.Next door is my final watering hole of the day. Fellows, Morton and Clayton is a brew pub, but it doesn't feel like the kind of place which is particularly bothered about its beers,and probably rightly so as they are a bit ropey, but there's usually an interesting guest or two and it is fairly near to the station so doesn't make for a detour.
As good as Nottingham is, and there are other good places I didn't get to today, it does seem to be acity where the sparkler is king, and the beers on the day were spoiled by large heads and creamy textures. No beers were awful, but only Castle Rock Black Gold in The Newshouse stood out as a beer I would have had another of. It's nice to see plenty of local beers in the pubs; half of those I sampled were brewed in Nottinghamshire and there were others I didn't try.
Nottingham is one of a triumverate of great beer cities in the East Midlands, along with Leicester and Derby. And with Sheffield only a short train trip away, there's plenty of good beer to be had in this part of the World.