Just a few more posts and you’ll have caught up with me, suffering for you in a £24 Guest House with faulty locks in Workington.

In complete contrast to Workington, here’s a pashmina craft bar in Ashbourne.

Not really French but you know what they’re like in Derbyshire

I’d attempted Maison du Biere TWICE already, the first causing some anguish. The second visit, which I won’t bore you with, saw me turn up at midday on a Tuesday. If I’d bothered to read my own blog I’d have known that was four hours early.


Here’s a bit of architecture for you.

Future Sam Smiths
Latin inscription reads “please use public toilets near the Waitrose”

Not only was Maison open, it was doing good lunchtime trade. One chap even bought one of those weirdly priced cans home for his wife in the Fens.

Northern Monk are best £/ABV

Note the almost mainstream German lagers and the keg beers selected for their weird names.  I like that.

Colourful beer board ahoy

You don’t see much Beartown in craftland, so the Chocolate and Marshmallow Milk Stout it was.  Stafford Paul would have loved it as much as I did it (NKegSS 4).

What I thought was a tiny shop turns out to be a rambling place, akin to Morecambe’s Little Bare, where you can hide and make a hideous mess of your artisanal pork pie and pickle.



Sure, it’s not replacing the Marston’s in the Smith’s Arms in my affections, but you can’t get marshmallow stout there.

3rd time lucky. You get what you give to ticking, you know. Which is a coincidence as this is what they were playing as I left;

30 thoughts on “ASHBOURNE – 3rd TIME LUCKY

      1. I’m sure Matthew Lawrenson would have an opinion on this, but pricing them up in random amounts like that just comes across as a terrible retailing strategy.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. I did actually wonder whether those random numbers were actually the prices of the canned murk. They do seem on the dear side.

    Since Sam Smiths dropped the brand, many years ago, I’ve never seen Ayinger on sale in the UK. I’ve enjoyed their beers at the brewery tap, in the village of the same name. They’ve also got a couple of outlets in Munich.

    Flensburger Pilsner is also well worth drinking. Never seen it on draught, and only sampled it in bottled form in Germany.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That caught my eye too. I’ve only ever seen draught Ayinger in the UK in the Free Trade, Newcastle, but a bit of Googling suggests that long established wholesalers James Clay are the UK importer and they sell an impressive range of bottles and draught.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. EP,
        I think that in about 2006 Ayingerbräu Lager was renamed Alpine Lager by Humphrey and it’s now just 2.8% for the duty saving and so only £2.30 a pint in his London pubs.


      2. Mudgie, Humphrey decided that he was paying too much for the licensing arrangement, Got the brewer to make a couple of small changes to the recipes, thus Alpine and Pure Brewed Organic Lager (formerly Ayinger Pils) were born. Alpine was as you say later reduced to 2.8%ABV as a result of the lowering of duty on weaker beers enabling him to pass on the duty savings in a much reduced price.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. EP,
        Thanks for those details.
        Does Humphrey get much of his beer into the free trade ?
        I ask because some of his lager and bottled beers have for many years been in the Beacon Hotel at Sedgley but I can’t think of any other free houses with it.
        Oh, and the Beacon has now dropped the 2halves only” rule for its snowflake.


      4. He has extensive free trade in the North, primarily in the club trade. Pretty much every club near me sells at least one Sams draught beer. In Tynemouth village alone one bar, Barca has a healthy trade in Pure Brewed and Taddy lagers, and the Club sells Sovereign and Taddy. Clubs love Sams because the beer is good, but much cheaper than the competition so they make more margin. Funnily enough I bumped into his North East rep in Barca on Tuesday evening and had a chat. Hump also does the rounds of his free trade outlets while he’s visiting his pubs.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I would like to meet Mr Smith.

        I’m glad you recognised the quality of their beers. I remember taking a mate from Cambridge to a Sam’s pub near the Sheffield Weds ground and him being blown away by the quality of the lager, never mind it was half the price of beer in Cambridge.

        It’s the OBB that’s a little inconsistent 😉


      6. EP,
        Thanks again. All interesting stuff a Midlander wouldn’t know.
        Maybe Humphrey has picked up where the Northern Clubs Federation Brewery left off a generation ago.


    1. Yes, well I think we know micropubs do in practice either keep you waiting 13 minutes or inexplicably open early for the owner’s mate, as normal commercial rules don’t apply.

      I’m sure the Rat Race in Hartlepool has very odd opening hours that coincide with train arrival times or monkey hangings or something.

      Liked by 2 people

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