This month our beer correspondent goes in search of multi pub beer festivals in Newark by bus and train.
From Woodhouse station it is only a twenty minute journey to Worksop. There was plenty of time for a cooked breakfast in café on the platform before crossing over the line to the Mallard for opening at 11am. The occasion was their 14th Winter Beer Festival. Nineteen beers were available from both hand pump and cellar together with four traditional ciders. I sampled halves from Mallinsons, Oldershaws and Jolly Boys as well as a very tasty chocolate stout from a local home brewer whose beers go by the name of the Shed Brewery, one of which is usually available at the Mallard festivals. The next festival there starts on Thursday 27th April.
Seventy five minutes later it was time to take the short ten minute journey to Retford station followed by a leisurely walk into town to find Retford bus station, the purpose being to catch the hourly service 37 to Newark operated by Marshalls of Sutton on Trent. A return cost £5.60 and the return element was valid for three months. The journey took around 50 minutes and I disembarked at Newark bus station, which was only a couple of minutes from my first pub stop there.
The 6th Newark BeerMuda Triangle Beer Festival was hosted by seven pubs in the town and Just Beer was my first point of call. A CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2017 listed micropub, it is long and narrow with the bar at one end and arriving there at about 2pm, the pub was quite busy. Seventeen beers were available via hand pump and gravity and I chose beers from Almasty, Framework, Odyssey, Ferry Ales and Fallen breweries.
Next up was the Flying Circus (GBG 2017 entry) and beers from Pentrich and Reunion were sampled. There was only time for a quick Hopshackle Jaramillo in the Prince Rupert (GBG 2017) before the final visit in Newark to the Fox & Crown for beers from Maregade and Castle Rock. Time did not allow visits to the Castle Barge, Organ Grinder or Vaults, but all pubs on the festival circuit had additional beers available for the event with no duplication.
Furthermore, all pubs were within an easy walk of one another.
The reason for my haste was that the last service 37 back to Retford left at 18.15. Arriving back just after 7pm allowed sufficient time to visit a couple of pubs in Retford before a train back to Woodhouse.