A night in (east) Dereham before a big day out with the Beer & Pubs Forum gang in Buxton; you need some practice sessions before hitting “the Brunx“.

As you’ll remember, Dereham is the home of my Curry Chum Charles, who serves the every need of this little fella.

Quietest cat in Norfolk

An April Tuesday night in the Norfolk backwaters is a time to test the very best of pubs; what we would find in Dereham ?

Not the Christmas deccies
Modern cars in Norfolk

There were no arty French language films on at the local cinema, so we just wanted to use a couple of Spoons vouchers and then head for the curry.

But the Romany Rye was rammed with gentlefolk and lads and lasses, the busiest Spoons I’ve been in since Tim was selling Youngers Scotch for 99p a pint.

I asked Charles if he’d ever been in the Red Lion.

Admit it, it looks good

Always been too busy when I’ve walked past” said Charles.

Oooh, it’s Craft Union, always wanted to go in one of those”  I said, sarcastically.

The red dustbins outside sealed the deal.

No idea who that bloke is

No-one turned to stare, anyway.  A small pub full of blokes younger than us, a few waiting to see Man United crush Barcelona in the Nou Camp.

The landlord was friendly and welcoming, despite my Cambridge Fens accent (Charles comes from Inverness, but we’ll gloss over that).

One photo sums up the pub.

Gleaming pints


What’s this ?

Wot ! No DoomBar

What should I have ?”  said Charles.

“Whatever I have the second pint of after you” I reasoned.

We had one of each, and two packets of those expensive pretzels, and found the table where our big heads wouldn’t obscure the view of Phil Jones showing up Messi.


Well, the 6X was amazing.  Cool, smooth, and leaving a superb pattern of lacings.  NBSS 3.5 and a Beer Guide cert anywhere north of Newcastle.  The Purity got a rare nod of approval too.

A  balanced meal

Two cracking pints and two packets of Snyder’s cost £6.10. Six pounds and ten pence.  I’ve paid £1.30 a packet for those pretzels recently.

We reckoned the beer was £2 a pint, the Cooking Lager limit.

How do Craft Union do it ?


And more to the point, why can’t everyone do it ?  I bet Wadworths and Purity don’t sell their beer at a loss.


NB I also though “What on earth did Cathy Price make of this place ?

31 thoughts on “CRAFT (UNION) HITS DEREHAM

  1. The day before a big day out with the Beer & Pubs Forum gang in Buxton you had an amazing pint of 6X in a Craft Union pub.
    The day before a big day out with the Beer & Pubs Forum gang in Rugby I had an great pint of 6X for £2 in Craft Union’s Coach and Horses in Stafford.
    Two cask beers on, £2 a pint – they’re probably inspired by Humphrey but haven’t got round to imposing all his rules to make them really proper pubs. .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha!

      I knew you’d trump me, Paul.

      I suppose what we saw in the Bull in Rugby was that even if only 5% or so of sales are cask it can keep beer fresher than in a much quieter pub with too many beers on.


    2. No chance if there are two micropubs nearby! Likewise I don’t think the Half Moon would stand a chance, despite it having what I thought was the best pint of the day. It was in the 1978 edition, though. Ansells Mild and Bitter (H). A simpler, happier time 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been in quite a few pubs in Dereham over the years, but not the Red Lion.

    I will give it a try next time I’m up that way. From your photo Martin, it looks like it’s near the cinema.

    ps. We have a Craft Union pub in Tunbridge Wells in the form of the Rose and Crown.


    1. I’m putting a little town map in my second Dereham post (the Bull) so I’ll mark the Red Lion on it.

      I think it’s worth us giving the Craft Union cask a go, if they have it. At £2 or thereabouts it’s worth a go.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The problem with that book of Cathy Price’s (OK, one of the problems) is that it doesn’t have an index. She said it was deliberate, so people didn’t try to use it as a pub guide. Perish the thought!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “…the busiest Spoons I’ve been in since Tim was selling Youngers Scotch for 99p a pint”

    January 2004, sale prices, if my records are correct. Although we have had Ruddles Best at 99 pence per pint in one subsequent sale.


  5. £1.19 per pint in 2009, the 30th anniversary, was about as low as it got thereafter for Ruddles Best Bitter, or for anything else for that matter.

    Vale Gravitas, 4.8 per cent, at £1.99 per pint, was very nice tonight.

    I’m not sure what ‘Spoons will do to commemorate the 40th anniversary. Possibly nothing if Brexit still isn’t sorted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seems a bit odd, to consider cancelling your ruby wedding anniversary, just because some cup tie that you’re following looks like perhaps going to a rematch.


      1. Tim might get a proper Ruby Mild on in all his venues.
        No, Sarah Hughes hasn’t got the spare capacity.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed. A place with cosy seating I’d be happy to spend an hour, football on TV or not.

      Not sure they’re all that good, Craft Union isn’t really a brand as such.


    1. Looks like I missed that one so thanks for the reminder.

      Another Brum suburb I’ve never heard of, never mind the pub!

      I think those craft union places have a much smaller range so middle aged blokes don’t get distracted by artisan gin and craft, and probably 1 in 20 pints is real ale (19 are Carling, obvs).

      Liked by 1 person

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