Life After Football (BeerMat to his Mum) is desperate to post about his trip to Coalville last week, where we met to discuss at length Birmingham City’s triumphs* and put the world of pubs to right.

But he’s waiting to see what I write first. The world of pub blogging is as competitive as a dead rubber in the Anglo Italian cup, you know.

So I’m going to stretch this out, leaving the pubs till later and starting with a pictorial run-through of the most unsung town in the Midlands (though Mansfield Woodhouse may have something to say about that).

For context, here’s Coalville on the map.

National Forest, a publicly owned Trent-based soccer team

Five minutes from the M1, twenty from Burton, and on the edge of the National Forest. How could it be anything less than wonderful ?

But, Halifax’s top blogger Chris, and A511 expert BeerMat apart, no-one goes there. And the only Guide pub I’d ever been to in 25 years of ticking was the Pick & Shovel, and that’s now houses.

As a former mining town it shares similar characteristics as Cinderford or Motherwell, though I guess at least you can understand the accent in Coalville.

So, let’s start with the bear. It’s actually in Hugglescote, but let’s not quibble.


The Long Walk into Coalville is exciting and instructive.

Surely Proper Pubs just round the corner
Future micro
Coat of arms shows BeerMat running to get to pub before closing

Although the Pick & Shovel is the only tick, I’d actually dragged the family here several times to enjoy Snibston Discovery Park, which once had a weird Vivienne Westwood exhibition that won’t easily be forgotten.

Snibston’s museum lasted longer than the Earth Centre, before the cruel council decided that a million quid was better spent on social care (or possibly diversity training).


There is much for the adventurous traveller here, even before we get to “The Pub”. Bingo, street art, “Disco Polo Night”…

BeerMat missed this

The town centre was actually quite vibrant on Thursday afternoon, packed with shoppers of all ages. I was surprised to get charged £2.30 for four Pink Lady apples (£1 in Bedworth).

Truer to expectation, the tiny WH Smith devoted as much space to alcohol as books.

Expect craft beer in WHS anytime soon

The Spoons, oddly named Monkey Walk in a nod to their twinning with Hartlepool, was exactly what you’d expect.

I had a half-rack of ribs and three flat whites here, admiring a tremendously vibrant atmosphere. The chap next door was filling in his bet on the 3.15 at Uttoxeter (it lost).

Pint Man

I’d been here before, a stop on the way back from Conference Play-off at Burton (2-2). They had Olde Empire on then. Today it was pure exotica.

Welcome back Mansfield

Wouldn’t it be great to have a pub selling Mansfield Cask in the Beer Guide /

Anyway, time to meet Mr BeerMat.


*This took 27 seconds.


      1. As no one could match the colourful Ms Westwood the act would be known as Virginia Plain.
        Aaaargh,I’m beginning to pun like Russ now.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. RetiredMartin meets LifeAfterFootball – this is going to be a classic…!

    You wouldn’t think it was an old mining town with a name like Coalville would you…?

    Does Disco Polo involve posh people on horses (including Prince Charles) with long sticks…

    …and I’m pretty sure that the purple guy on the mobility scooter is saying watch out m’duck Retired Martin’s coming…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Never seen a branch of WH Smith selling alcohol apart from at motorway services, but I suppose they have to cater for local demand.

    It’s a fair assumption that Mansfield Cask is brewed in the hallowed halls of Wolverhampton. Not sure I’ve ever seen it, but I’d certainly try it if I did. I used to like the old Mansfield Bitter.


    1. The volume of booze was startling. It’s not as if Coalville lacks cheap drink outlets. And that photo shows the ENTIRE book selection, most of which are reference books and maps.


    2. Stockie Mudgie,
      I find Mansfield Cask to be one of the more subtle beers in the Marston’s range.
      Far more often I see England’s Pride, a beer mainly brewed for the Dorbiere pub company, which is now badged Mansfield but can taste remarkably like Hobgoblin.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think 27 seconds is being generous! Unless of course you include our pre season 1-0 win over Villa in 83/84 to lift the Birmingham Senior Cup….those pictures encapsulated Coalville perfectly 👍didn’t know Mansfield was on in the spoons…best get down there asap

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “s as competitive as a dead rubber in the Anglo Italian cup, ”

    You do realise ‘rubber’ over here means a condom? 😉

    “National Forest, a publicly owned Trent-based soccer team”

    I think some folks might get their faces in Notts over that. 🙂

    “and A511 expert BeerMat apart”

    As Coalville is on that route I shall not comment that the A511 is merely the stepping stone to the A514. 🙂

    “Surely Proper Pubs just round the corner”

    Yes but which corner? One of them is obviously coming from the pub whilst the other is on their way.

    “Future micro”

    And it will be open from 3pm – 4pm every day, but the pub is at the top and there is no lift, so by the time you get up there they’ll be closed!

    “Coat of arms shows BeerMat running to get to pub before closing”

    Good Lord! Is that his John Thomas in his left hand?

    ““Disco Polo Night””

    I’m imagining dancing while wearing one of those fake horse thingies from the Benny Hill shows (or was it fake grandmas?)

    “Anyway, time to meet Mr BeerMat.”

    This is my jealous face.
    (applies to both of you) 🙂


    PS – “(BeerMat to his Mum) is desparate to post ”

    Either he’s dying to post (desperate) or he’s dying to post entirely different posts (disparate). 🙂


  5. More sense on this comments thread than I’ve seen for a long time. Yes folks, Marston’s badge one homogenous basic, old fashioned brown beer recipe up as many different Bitters. I went on a tour of Bank’s brewery with several of the erudite commentators above and wondered why there was no gyle number or any indentifier on any of the FV’s in their brewery? It’s obvious now, they don’t need any, it’s all the same.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. And of course, in GOC we have the Rat Brewery, who make some nice beers, but in reality are Ossett Brewery in disguise and when you see through the smoke and mirrors, an excuse to keep under the small brewery excise relief threshold.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Richard,
      No, it’s because the brewers at Wolverhampton are so passionate about their trade that they remember what beer went into each fermentation vessel and when and so don’t need the gyle number or other indentifier on any of the FVs that less experienced brewers rely on.
      Also, having perfected the recipes years ago they don’t need to keep experimenting with new beers all the time. Yes, there’s a “nano-brewery” across at Burton where they “brew 600 pints of a new beer every week” but I think that’s just as a spare time hobby for one of the staff whose wife wanted her kitchen table back.

      Liked by 2 people

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