Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Organ Grinder

It feels like it's been a long time coming but The Organ Grinder is finally open.

You'll find this pub in one of my favourite parts of Nottingham to go drinking, at the top of Derby Road on Canning Circus.
Someone has made a fine job of redecorating the place and there are several Blue Monkey logos scattered around the place to remind you what to drink.

The opening night was very busy, and it was great to see such a mixed crowd enjoying the beer. Several casks were drained and replaced during the night; Organ Grinder, BG Sips, Ape Ale, 99 Red Baboons and Guerilla were all flowing.

The kegged Thornbridge Jaipur and Brooklyn Lager were both refreshing and flavoursome as usual, and a lot of drinkers were sipping the draught La Chouffe.

I'm already looking forward to heading back soon.
If you wanted to crawl your way up there you could do no wrong by starting in town at The Malt Cross, head towards The Roundhouse by the castle, then out onto Derby Road to stop off at the Hand & Heart to drink in a cave, get a pint of Sierra Nevada Pale at The Ropewalk before crossing to Canning Circus.

The Organ Grinder
21 Alfreton Road

Monday, 20 June 2011


Can't bloody stand amateur drinkers.
OK it's not entirely their fault. I'm sure a lot of them don't even want to be in the pub half the time but are forced into it by circumstance.

Here's a short list of the times I loathe going into a pub because it will be full of AMATEUR DRINKERS.

The obvious one is St. Patricks day.
Who would wear a comedy hat and spray the streets with pavement pizza but the Amateur Drinker? The worst thing about being in Leicester at this time of year is it usually falls on the same date as Leicester Beer Festival, so some of them stray into the festival or you can't visit a pub on the way to or from the fest without bumping into a Guinness swilling sheep.

Christmas (or the Leaving Do)
For some reason work colleagues decide they must go out with one another during the last days of work leading up to their Christmas holiday.
Crowding the bloody bar not knowing what to order.

Even in a decent pub that has a selection of cask ales or impressive imported lagers alongside the industrial swill you will hear a conversation like
"What would you like?"
"Lager please"
"Which one?"
"Any, anything will do"

You may also hear someone order "A pint of bitter please" when there are several different ones on handpull in front of them.

Pub Quiz nights
My biggest bugbear, particularly if they are held towards the end of the week when the pub should be full hardened professionals. Pub Quizes should be on a Monday when the professional boozer is still nursing the hangover from his or her four day binge.
I can't stand being in a pub when one of the staff is jabbering into a microphone and the pub is full of customers that aren't there to drink but to show off their ability to answer utterly banal questions.

Valentines Day
If Valentines Day falls on a weekend and the pub you're going to serves food just don't bother leaving the house.
Stay in and share a bottle of Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek with your partner.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Poppy and Pint Vs The Victoria Hotel

Off on another beer tour by bike. This time to check out a pub that's only been open about two weeks, The Poppy & Pint in the Lady Bay area of West Bridgford, Notts.

Formerly the British Legion-affliated Rutland Sports & Social Club, Castle Rock Brewery have spent a shedload of money on turning it into a pub in this affluent suburb.
I expect it will do well.

I didn't like it.
Outside it's painted a garish poppy red. It looks awful. There is nowhere to lock bicycles. On my visit I counted seven other bikes that were either locked to the fire escape or the wire fence belonging to the tennis courts next door.

Most of the interior has been knocked out into one expansive room with a wooden floor. The wooden floor combined with the high ceiling creates a heck of a lot of echo, and it was very difficult to hold a conversation in there without shouting. Its stark, it's hideous.
There were about 12 handpulled ales on, mostly Castle Rock. The guests were of the uninspired Bateman's and Thwaites variety.

One pint of Harvest Pale was all I could stand in this unbearable hell-hole. There was only one thing for it, we had to get to the best pub in Notts, The Victoria Hotel in Beeston.

Cycling through the wind along the River Trent, we paused briefly to check out the Trent Navigation. Another pub that had a load of money spent on refurbishment. It now appears to be closed.

The Vic at Beeston has long been one of my favourite pubs. It's my pub of choice for great inexpensive food.

Some of the cask beers on today were Dancing Duck 22, Phoenix Mayfly, Blue Monkey Original, and Derby Brew Co. Penny Porter.

I needed a big herbal whack from draught Jever Pilsner.
Then a few samples on a Taster Tray before finishing with a pint of the peachy-flavoured Mayfly.

The Victoria Hotel is conveniently close to Beeston Railway Station, so you can time your drinking to within about five minutes of your train arriving.

The Poppy & Pint Vs The Vic. Vic wins.