The first available train to Alfreton on a weekday using a Derbyshire Wayfarer is the 9:06 from Sheffield. Alighting 25 minutes later at Alfreton Station it is a short bus ride into the town centre and then on to Ripley. There are 4 pubs in the Market Square including the Red Lion (CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2018), where a Wetherspoon’s breakfast was partaken together with half a Lymestone Whimsical Waterstone (4.5%).
The next stop was the Old Cock Inn for a Brampton Pentrich Revolution Best Bitter (3.8%) from the choice of four ales and three hand-pulled ciders. Nearby is the Thorn Tree with six hand pumps and traditional cider on gravity. I had Falstaff Judson (4.2%). Also not far away is the Pear Tree, which looked like a former Greene King pub in the process of changing hands. Only two of the five hand pumps were in use and I had Greene King St. Edmunds Ale (4.2%).
A short bus ride on the 147 took me to the Holly Bush at Marehay. This used to be the home of Little Bush Brewery but from the choice of five ales I chose a half of Draught Bass. Back into Ripley now and Ripley’s Little Ale House which opened at 1pm. This is a fairly small micro pub on a pedestrianised street with six tables, five hand pumps and a fair few gins. I had halves of Langton Sovereign (4.2%) and Heritage Oatmeal Stout (4%).
A little walk down Butterley Hill brought me to the Talbot (GBG 2018) with nine hand pumps and seven real ciders available. I chose Pentrich Downfall Architect Mosaic IPA (6%) and one from the Brew York X-Panda Session IPA series. From near here I caught the Rainbow 1 service to Codnor for the Poet & Castle. This is one of the Project William partnership pubs between Everards and Lincoln Green. There are 10 hand pumps containing five Lincoln Green beers and five guests. My selections were Mad Dog Third Eye Blind (3.8%) and Plain Ales Innspiration (4%).
Another short Rainbow 1 bus ride further away from Ripley is the Tip Inn micro pub in Loscoe. There are two indoor seating areas here and a garden and from the six hand pumps I had Grasshopper Knee High (3.8%) and Abstract Jungle Pale (4.9%). The Rapid One service took me back to Ripley in order to catch the 9.1 service to Swanwick and The Steampacket Inn (GBG 2018 entry) for some Blue Monkey Raspbeerry (4.6%).
Another 9.1 service took me back to Alfreton Bus Station. It is only a short walk to the Handlebar (Landlocked Brewery tap) and some of their own Experimental Lambic Sour (3.9%) and Island of the Singular C (4.7%). Midway back towards the rail station is the Prospect micropub tucked away in a residential street. From the selection I had Scribblers Rubecca (4.8%) and Amber Ales Session Pale (3.6%).
The train back to Sheffield was on time so there was just time for a last half in the Sheffield Tap. Roosters Finkle & Einhorn (4.9%) was a fitting way to end an enjoyable day, even though it was by far the most expensive of the trip at £2.25 a half.