This was going to be a piece on drinking in Nottingham but I became distracted.....
Nottingham has to be one of the most underrated drinking cities In the UK. Possibly second to Sheffield as the best beer destination.
Derby Road itself has 6 pubs if you start from The Falcon and work your way to the Gatehouse. Some good, some not so good, but you're guaranteed to find some excellent beers.
Nottingham CAMRA is responsible for starting the LocAle scheme so expect to find a bucket-load of locally brewed beer in just about every decent pub you visit.
I usually fit in a visit to a pub I've never been to before on each trip, but more often than not I'm happy to stick to Derby Road; the main reason being I know I'm going to end up with something by Blue Monkey.
I first drank Blue Monkey beer (they'd only brewed one then - now known as Original) at the Robin Hood festival in 2008. I enjoyed it so much I went back to their bar and bought another. Fast-forward a year later and I did the same, this time with their fantastic Guerilla Stout.
They seem to be constantly expanding to meet demand after winning a load of awards from SIBA, CAMRA, and for just being popular with thirsty Midlanders because the beer is so tasty. It's obvious from the first sip of one of their pints they're using top-quality ingredients.
My favourite has to be BG Sips. 4% abv and brewed with Brewers Gold (BG, geddit?!) hops.
Blue Monkey beers can always be found in Nottingham in the Hand & Heart (my favourite Derby Road watering hole) and The Roundhouse on St. James Terrace. In Derby you'll find them in the Old Silk Mill. In Leicester you'll often find them at the Swan & Rushes.
It seemed like everyone was drinking Pollards Milk Coffee Stout at the Sheffield Tap last Saturday.
Pollards is a 5% abv stout by Thornbridge brewed using whole coffee beans supplied by Pollards Tea & Coffee of Sheffield.
Gorgeous, silky smooth and a pleasure to sink. I'm sure it's a myth that coffee beers sober you up as you get drunk, but can you explain why I awoke the next morning at 4:30am craving a big mug of cappuccino?
The first week in July usually means Stamford Riverside Festival. Live music and beer on the Meadows between the railway station and town.
I'd been going for a number of years and decided to have a break after a couple of years of drinking a ridiculous amount (13 pints) of ale. This year it was time to return.
After a brief visit to the Green Man it was time to head to the festival.
This year I'd promised to myself to be sensible and stick to erm less than previous years.
When I saw the list at the beer tent I decided to stick to about 4 ales. Not four pints, though.
There were 44 ales on but I was only interested in the Oakham and Newby Wyke. The new Tranquility IPA by Oakham was on the list, as was the old faithful Attila. All the ales were £3, so it seemed a good idea to stick with the higher abv ones. Attila at £3 a pint? Bargain!
Beer of the day had to be Tranquility. Gorgeous mouthful of peachyness.
On the way home it's a tradition to stop off at the Swan & Rushes. We had to as Oakham Chinook was fresh on that afternoon. Mmm. Summer is here.