Unlike Ilkeston, Chesterfield does have a decently placed railway station. The new Guide pubs, Chesterfield Tap apart, are on the edge of town though. In fact, they’re now listed under the suburbs of Brampton and Whittington Moor, the sort of movement which tends to confuse GBG completists like me. That’s my big issue for the Revitalisation debate, incidentally.
The Brampton mile along Chatsworth Road has long been a favoured Pub crawl, like the rest of Chesterfield combining traditional pubs with modern breweries. I’ve frankly struggled to keep up with the Bramptons and the Barlows; the Taps, Alehouses and Arms. It speaks volumes for the strength of the pub scene that the Peacock can’t fit in the Guide.
The Tap House is one of the newbies, and oddly a Thwaites house with Barlow’s beers on. The Everards Duke William model seems to work well, but as with the Arms the owning brewery’s beer doesn’t exactly jump out at you, submerged by micro-beers that presumably attract the tickers. I wonder what Thwaites and Everards get out of it (apart from rent).
Barlow have got a nice showcase for their beers, which are fine (Pale NBSS 3) without the turnover (on a Saturday afternoon) to show them to best effect. I must have said that in every other post this year.
QUIZ TIME – what else did I not enjoy in this otherwise attractive looking pub ?
A few yards away, the Real Ale Corner had as many customers, despite being essentially an off-licence. There was no cask beer on, the owner bravely judging the beer wasn’t up to standard yet (good man), but that allowed me to take his recommendations for a takeaway. “Something local, bottle-conditioned and strong for Mrs RM” got me (well, her) the excellent Durham Tripel and an IPA from Barlow. A well-run operation.
Chatsworth Road is hard to pin down, a bit like the A6 round Hazel Grove. Smart shops and restaurants to the north, factories and derelict houses to the south. Thanks to Urban Badger for brightening up the empty house near the Tap.
The busiest pub of the new trio is a trudge through the market and past the new football ground to Whittington Moor, which would have meant the Derby Tup in GBG times past. The Castle Rock pubs seem to be dropping from the Guide like flies. Are CAMRA folk just bored by their beers, or is quality actually dropping ?
To be fair the Beer Parlour was heaving, with something of the feel of a Huddersfield Ale House in a Micro building. It wasn’t flash, it wasn’t comfortable, and the Thornbridge wasn’t super-cool (NBSS 3), but it worked for me. Pubs are funny like that.