Yes, life’s big questions. Apart from “Was that referee at Stamford Bridge last night really Delia Smith in disguise“.

Today I say “Thank you, Derby CAMRA” for picking GBG pubs on the basis of beer quality, and giving us the White Swan in Littleover. a village-cum-suburb that BeerMat brings us regular reports from.


White Swan

It looks plain from the outside, and inside is your modernised Greene King informal village dining pub. The sort that rarely gets in the Guide these days unless it’s Scotland and they’re desperate.

My desperation levels rose as I approached the bar and saw no sign of the promised Pedigree.  That’s my excuse for the shaky photo below.

Bury St Edmund’s finest, but no Pedi

Do you have Pedigree ?” I squeaked at a cheery barmaid oblivious to my pain.

Yes ! We hide it round the back !”    Some of that is true.

Straight glass or handle  ?”  Oh, straight glass please.

Then she shouted from the lounge bar (she sure could shout).

Sparkled or flat ?”    It took me seconds to realise what she meant.

The hidden Pedigree

Anyway, it was nearly nectar, and clearly reserved for the groups of gentlefolk gorging on giant fish and chips.  It wasn’t the only beer hidden in the lounge.  I think you’re supposed to read a giant “beer board” or some such nonsense.

What would you choose ?

Some ignorant folk, mainly Yorkshiremen, have never had Pedi at its best, without the sparkler.  This was an NBSS 4, perhaps only bettered by a few rural pubs south of Belper.

It’s not as good as it wasthey said.    Yes it is.

I enjoyed being in a real pub, where the front bar was full of lager lads playing darts to a soundtrack of “Knock on Wood” and “Different Drum“, and the barmaid was dispensing helpful advice on girlfriends.


Would you say I’m brunette or blonde ?” said Mme Pedimeister.

I never found out the answer to that question.






    1. Have you blogged on it Ian. I put a link to one of your 3 posts but I guess you’d done this earlier. Your posts have reassured me that you can get good established beers in the bid Midlands cities.


  1. “the White Swan in Littleover.”

    Littleover eh? Let me guess. Years ago when folk wanted to know where they were located the locals replied:

    ‘just a little over to the west of Derby’.

    Am I right? 🙂

    “Bury St Edmund’s finest,”

    Would that be the Olde Trip or the IPA? (please don’t tell me it’s the Old Speckled Hen).


    Liked by 1 person

      1. “Thought you were driving ? Or is it driverless cars there ?”

        I wish! No, my better half needed a quick nap. Not sure why she couldn’t do that in the car. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pedigree in the Midlands is, I believe, mostly proper Union brewed, with a good Burton snatch. The rest get something different and certainly less ‘Pedigree’, just like the ridiculous pump clip.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know about different places but they don’t have enough Burton unions for all they brew at Burton. An ex Marston head brewer said 90% is made in normal fermenter.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved the whole part where you started talking about the lager lads, and the Knock on Wood, and the advice on girlfriends. Almost feel I was there, trying not to let anyone see me jotting down notes about the overheard conversations. 😉

    I listened to a podcast where a pub landlord claimed that the use of the sparkler was unfairly maligned, and that it enhanced the flavor of some beers. Are you ever in favor of it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like pubs like this with proper conversation, where you feel you could join in or not.

      The sparkler definitely works better on some beers than others, and brewers generally indicate how they think their beers should be served, though I can never get too worked up. It’s just I’ve had “flat” Bass and Pedi in the past and thought them the pinnacle of cask.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. You need to be careful. There’s a southern metropolitan type goes in my local and asks for a pint of OBB with the sparkler off? The landlord has actually considering barring him, it’s just not right is it? The point in question is, the whole village is talking about him and he is becoming reviled. It’s got to the point where people are victimising him by going out of their way to say hello to him whilst he is walking round the village!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A bloke in the pub the other day swore to me that you only get proper Abbott in East Anglia. The rest of the country gets stuff that’s reconstituted from a concentrate (called 10X, he said). GK simply doesn’t have the capacity to brew enough of the proper stuff, innit?


    1. “A bloke in the pub” stories are the basis for 90% of my (and BRAPA’s) blog, so I won’t knock them. Greene King do use a stronger beer as the basis for some of their beers but I can’t be bothered to get beery. There’s plenty of capacity at GK; it’s Doom Bar I’d worry about, but of course no-one drinks that !


  6. Scotland might actually change slightly from GK food places in the next couple of years, Marstons are starting to open foodie places that far north. One just opened in Peterhead, god alone knows what market that is aimed at.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s so little competition it could well get in the Guide (the Marstons not the Mikkeller). There really is no sense looking at the Mikkeller price list, is there ?


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