A Grand Good Friday Day Out

Today’s day out again made use of the Derbyshire Wayfarer ticket.

A leisurely train ride to Derby, bus into the bus station and then the Trent Barton 6.2 service deposited me in Belper in time for the 11am opening of the George & Dragon on the main road through Belper for their St. Georges Beer Festival. Seven hand pumps were on the bar but only 3 were in use today as another 20 had been separately stillaged for the weekend.  This is a well-positioned friendly road side ale house with a garden out back, parking and letting rooms. From the list I had halves from Falstaff, Froth Blowers, Rufford Abbey and Leatherbritches.

From Belper it was another Trent Barton 6.2 to Ripley and then the 1A to Waingroves for the festival at the Thorn Tree on Church Street.  Although the pub is advertised as not opening until 4pm in the week I was optimistic that common sense would have prevailed during their Easter Bank Holiday Beer Festival as it had plenty of beer to sell, but alas, it had not. The pub was shut and the sign at the side said “Beer Festival open at 4pm”.  This in my view was very short-sighted given that it was Easter Weekend and the weather was set fair. Anyway, I was now ahead of schedule and a short(ish) walk took me to a bus stop to catch the Rainbow One Service towards Langley Mill rail station. I had about 15 minutes before my train to Chesterfield.

Walking into the centre then catching the 82 service to Sutton-cum-Duckmanton took about 30 mins and I arrived at the Arkwright Arms (CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2019 listed), which had also opened at 11am (as normal) for their Easter Beer Festival. This large imposing pub stands at a crossroads and offers plenty of outdoor seating, a play area, food and parking as well as a vast array of handpulled ale and traditional cider.  Sampled here were beers from Ashover, Great Heck and a couple from Intrepid. Back on the bus in to Chesterfield and a walk through the marketplace to catch the Stagecoach service 90 to Brampton.

The 9th St. George’s Festival at the Rose & Crown (GBG 2019 entry) was very busy with a full garden in front. The main bar selection was supplemented by a separate stillage.  From the festival list I sampled beers from Nomadic, Bad Seed and Neepsend before another Service 90 took me back into Chesterfield for the short walk to the Chesterfield Arms for their North v South Beer Festival.  The numerous beers on the main bars were enhanced by a further selection in the rear festival bar. Beers from Bristol Beer Factory, London Beer Lab, Pig & Porter, Pentrich and another from Bad Seed were enjoyed.  I decided against any further imbibing in Chesterfield and instead had a pleasant Thwaites Nutty Black back in the Old Queens Head in Sheffield Interchange. It was good to see a number of pubs having festivals over the weekend. It’s just a shame that I couldn’t have visited all 5!

Andy Morton

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