Yesterday I found myself in one of those patches of the UK with more breweries than Good Beer Guide pubs, the type which make a bit of a nonsense of the GBG App when you’re looking for the nearest pub. It won’t be too long before Guide entries are outweighed by breweries, few of which will have recommended outlets for their home-brew.
On this scale North Derbyshire is rivalled only by Calderdale, though at least that has towns overflowing with great beer.
My trusty Explorer extract may look a little “yellowed” , but that’s just the way Philip designate the Peak District, not curry spillage.
Not only is there a brewery/pub imbalance, there’s a bit of a GBG desert in the northern Peaks, if you get my meaning. Just the three between the edges of Stockport and Sheffield; the stalwarts of Longshaw and Hope, and a newbie in Bamford that’s run, very well it seems, by the local community.
Castleton looks like it must have good pubs, but has to make do with a winding road and some holes in the ground to attract folk obsessed with walking in the worst possible weather.
A first time in Bamford, which is odd as I must have passed the station dozens of times over the years. It’s not unpleasant, with attractive stone cottages and unpleasant farmhouse smells. But it lacks a central core except for a small triangle containing some decorative pottery (or possibly a urinal, hard to tell).
The other highlight, keeping up the theme of “robust” shops I started in New Mills, was this cracker of a bakery, sadly closed at weekends to avoid tourists.
The other throwback to a bygone (rubbish) age was in the carpark of the Anglers Rest, a row of classic cars that were being fawned over by the other members of the Mansfield Classic Car Society (they really were). I can tell their cars by the number of wheels, the rest you can work out yourself.
The draw was the adjacent café with its giant gurgler of a coffee machine. 20 people in the café, 2 in the pub. That’s where we are in 2017, folks.
The back room is a particular gem, not least for the posters advertising “Bring Your Own Vinyl” nights ranging from Punk to Phil to Prog (top).
The sense of pride extended to the pumps, which positively sparkled. Acorn, Barnsley and that Abbeydale is a good range; the Outlaw was a touch above cellar cool but tasty enough (NBSS 3).
The whole enterprise is topped off with a Post Office. Now that Britannia Music Club is no more, I have absolutely no idea what a Post Office is for.