A Grand Day Out

Catching the first available weekday train service from Sheffield to Derby using a Derbyshire Wayfarer allowed for a few minutes in Derby before boarding a train bound for Burton. On arrival there it was a ten minute walk in to town to catch the Midland Classic service X12 to Lichfield. A slight hold-up on the A38 meant I missed the Arriva service 60 from Lichfield to Cannock, and had to make do with a scenic but slower number 62 bus to Cannock instead.

When I arrived at Cannock Beer Festival in the Prince of Wales Theatre it was nicely busy and with many of the seats taken I chose to stand at the bar, although there was still some seating available. This was a smallish festival of about 60 beers, plenty of them locally brewed. I had cask ales from Kinver, Davenports, Beowulf, Vine and Ironstone breweries plus two from Franklins and Lodden. There was a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere and mention must be made of the food that was available, which comprised curry, chilli con carne and chilli scotch eggs amongst other things, at very reasonable prices.

I allowed myself plenty of time for the ten minute walk back to the station to ensure I caught the service 60 back to Lichfield.  The stop before Lichfield Bus Station drops you conveniently outside the Brewhouse & Kitchen.  I sampled two halves of their in-house brewed beers here, an Oktoberfest Amber Cask Lager (5.5%) and the Spellman Sam (4.4%). The quality was good and a CAMRA discount was available. After a short stop here I caught the X12 back to Burton.

Rush hour buses drop you slightly nearer to the rail station so a quick dash was made to catch the next train into Derby. Another bus took me to Derby Bus Station for a late-running Trent Barton Swift service to Ashbourne.  Ashbourne Beer Festival, held in the town hall, is another small and fairly intimate festival offering around 40 cask ales plus some cider.  From the cask beer list I chose beers from Leatherbritches, Burton Town, Bartrams and two from Caveman Brewery before another late running Swift service back to Derby and the train home.  There was just time to drop into the Sheffield Tap for a very nice Northern Whisper Beltie Stout before the bus home.

Andy Morton

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