There’s a lot of nonsense written about choice. In the good old days you could exercise choice by walking between pubs selling Bass or Robinson’s or Holts or Hydes, rather than expecting the pub to spread it’s custom between 6 pumps and do the work for you.

I choose pubs on the quality of their cask, not the width of a range I’ll never try. The Beer Guide does the hard work for me.

Proper pub

I’m on a night out in Derby, doing a few straggling GBG entries.

I asked the Old Boys in the new micro where I could get good Bass.

After arguing with me over where Bass is brewed (still Burton, but who cares), one of them said the local CAMRA branch had found a good drop in the Woodlark. I’d never heard of it.

I stumbled across it, looking for a cashpoint. It’s your archetypal backstreet local, tucked away off Friargate near Derby University buildings.

It looks like an Enterprise local, but isn’t. Half a dozen old boys sit round the bar at 3pm, but I get a proper Midlands welcome.

Normal pub for normal people

“Pint of Bass please”

Handle or straight glass”   “Straight”

Sparkled or flat”  “Wow. Flat please”


It’s flat, not quite from the jug flat, and the flavours seeps through. A beautiful pint, NBSS 3.5. Get it in the Beer Guide (they offer CAMRA discount if it helps).

This is a real pub. They play David Gray’s “Babylon” and the blokes at the bar sing along. For a moment, this is the best pub in the world.

What strength in depth Derby has.

You even get choice in the Gents.


  1. I’m glad it tastes nice, because that pint of AB-InBev, brewed by Marston’s, still purports to be Bass looks absolutely Gopping! I know why you’ve got so many followers in the USA now, it’s American isn’t it!


    1. “I’m glad it tastes nice, because that pint of AB-InBev, brewed by Marston’s, still purports to be Bass looks absolutely Gopping!”

      Hang on. Weren’t you the one that said recently a can of Guinness was ok? (even though that’s now brewed by Diageo). :)*

      * – teasing!


      1. No your right Russ – the thing for me is there’s no illusion with Guinness, it’s a global brand and has been for a long time, for quite a while the UK Guinnes was brewed in the UK and not in Ireland. You never hear anyone waxing lyrical about Guinness, it is what it is, it’s okay. Yet still people bang on about the perfect pint of Bass; it doesn’t exist, it ceased to exist years ago, it’s just a brand now. Granted, if people like it then that’s fine, but please don’t elevate it to a level where it can no longer belong. If people think I am out of order saying this then please tell me. If enough people say that I’m wrong then I will gladly set off on a quest to find the best pint of John Smith’s Smooth in the UK – would people be interested in that?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Richard,

        Apologies if I hit a nerve. That was not my intent.

        It’s an interesting topic, re: how beers change over time – for whatever reason.

        I was actually reticent for a while about admitting I was no longer a Guinness aficionado (for a few years on some blogs being a Guinness drinker kind of defined me). Was it my tastes that changed; or was I being a beer snob; or was it down to corporate idiocy? Your guess is as good as mine.

        And yes, I’ll admit that there are certain beers that would be way down on my list of things to order unless I really had to. 🙂

        Suffice it to say I try not to be swayed by marketing (or reverse marketing for the matter – i.e. be against a beer merely because of who brews it). I try different beers to see if they’d be nice to have on a regular basis. And yes, price plays a part. The beer I’m having right now I initially purchased as it was 30% cheaper than other beers of the same type. But I’ve actually come to like it when I don’t want to drink too quickly (which is the case with my current favourite).

        This would be a great conversation to have in a pub… providing they had more than one beer on tap. (LOL)


        Liked by 1 person

    1. “Babylon” is a sentimental, slightly mawkish track that can catch you unawares. I doubt the Old Boys would be caught singing along in the micro pub where this real pub was recommended to me !


  2. If the Northern Premier League outfit Mickleover Sports based in a suburb of Derby were ever to progress into the later rounds of the FA Cup and meet up with Derby County this would be known as a Derby derby.
    Not many people know that …

    Liked by 1 person

      1. If County had ever been managed by the late Johan Cruyff it would have been known as the Derby and Johan club.
        You’re welcome Martin.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “They play David Gray’s “Babylon” and the blokes at the bar sing along. For a moment, this is the best pub in the world.”

    One of my favorite lines I’ve read on your blog. I have absolutely had that feeling, had that moment: when a certain song comes on, and you’re drinking something you like, and all is well with the world.

    Do you know the David Gray album “A New Day at Midnight”? Love that record, pretty much every song on it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I looked up “Babylon” on Youtube and found it was a song I had heard playing in the background occasionally. But still one that doesn’t really speak to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In general it’s a real background song. Delta Airlines play it everytime they land a plane, apparently. But there’s a real aching quality about it that gets you after a few pints.

        Just remember, Mudgie, some folk don’t “get” “Spirit of Radio” by Rush 😱


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