We were invited to join our friends in the Dronfield & District CAMRA branch on some of their events recently.
WIRKSWORTH & MATLOCK BUS TRIP
The first joint social was a trip on the Stagecoach X17 bus which runs from Sheffield and Chesterfield through to Wirksworth via Matlock. The service runs half hourly as far as Matlock with one bus an hour continuing to Wirksworth. Currently An all day Derbyshire Wayfarer bus pass costs £8 or single tickets are just £2 a ride thanks to a government subsidised fare cap!
Given that the longest bus ride is much more comfortably done without a bladder full of beer we started at the furthest pub away – the Feather Star in Wirksworth. This quirky pub, which doubled up as a shop selling vinyl records, offered a choice of around 6 cask ales on handpump plus a number of interesting craft beers on keg too.
After a couple of beers we jumped back on an X17 to Cromford for a cheeky half in the Boat Inn. Had it not been raining the beer garden would have been an attractive proposition here but instead we grabbed an inside table not required by diners for our brief visit before heading to the bus stop for a Trent Barton 6.1 bus, unfortunately it didn’t turn up so the opportunity was taken to grab lunch at the chippy by the bus stop and instead catch the next X17 down to Matlock Bath!
The choice pub here was the Fishpond. A limited but attractive beer range here and most tables inside were reserved for diners, however the place to be is the heated and sheltered outside area with a view of the fishpond and waterfall!
The other place to go for the real ale drinker, after walking past various amusement arcades, fish & chip shops and ice cream parlours, is the Old Banknote, a micropub with three handpumps, which on our visit featured a choice of beers from Eyam brewery.
The next move was back on the X17 into Matlock town. We had an ambitious list of good pubs in the town but limited ourselves just to Bod Cafe-bar run by Titanic Brewery along with the award winning Twenty-Ten bar, two venues almost next door to one another, before heading back to Chesterfield and Sheffield (with an easy connection to Dronfield on the 43/44 bus from Chesterfield before the X17 heads up the bypass fast to Sheffield).
MEET & GREET #1 – COACH & HORSES
The Coach & Horses pub is on the edge of Dronfield attached to the Sheffield FC football ground and is run by Thornbridge brewery and the Dronfield CAMRA branch took the pub over on the evening of Friday 6 October to meet & greet local drinkers and hopefully recruit some new members. The evening started with a beer tasting with samples of various Thornbridge beers shared around, this was followed by a beer themed quiz then live music provided by Jamie Mallender’s Swear Box. The branch also hosted a membership stand in the pub with lots of information available.
Later in October saw another Dronfield CAMRA Friday night Meet & Greet event, this time at the Dronfield Arms, which is home to Temper Brewing.
Again the evening featured a beer tasting with everyone in the pub offered tasters from Temper’s cask beer range along with a quiz. Pizza Pi, who serve from a kiosk in the pub beer garden from 4pm-9pm Thursday to Saturday also provided a few free samples which tempted many to order themselves a full pizza!
The next Dronfield branch event is a branch meeting at the White Swan on 12 December, 8pm start then:
- Sunday 7 January – Post Christmas social: Sunday carvery and a pint at the Hyde Park Inn at Hill Top.
- Tuesday 9 January – branch meeting at the Pioneer Club in Dronfield.
- Tuesday 13 February – branch meeting at the George & Dragon in Holmesfield.
More information about what Dronfield & District branch are up to can be found on their website – dronfield.camra.org.uk and look out for their “Peel Ale” magazine.
SUMMER PUB OF THE SEASON
The winner was the Cross Daggers in Coal Aston.