January. What a month.
Decided to have a month off the old beer tourism due to saving pennies. Stay local is what I'd told myself. Then the opportunity to visit a brew-pub on the South Derbyshire and Leicestershire border cropped up.
I've been intending to visit The Tap House in Smisby for months. Just over 12 months, in fact, as they started brewing in October 2010.
First impressions of the actual pub were of going back in time to the early nineties, with a carvery in the dining area and the smell of roast meat under hot lamps pervading into the bar.
I was here for the beer, and more to the point, the pub's own brewed stuff.
There were four on the bar;
Gold 4% abv
Ashby Pride 3.8 % abv
Dark and Dangerous 5 % abv
Malt Teaser 4.6 % abv
The Gold was impressively hoppy and bitter. Yes, the brewer had certainly used bucket loads of hops in this brew. I had another swig. Yes, HOPS!
After the glass was drained I wanted to try the other extreme so I ordered the Dark and Dangerous.
A rich chocolatey porter that ticked all the right boxes. I will definitely have to return to try the other brews.
Time for a nose around the brewery before we headed off and surprise as a familiar face appeared from behind the Mash Tun. Ed Allingham, Leatherbritches brewer and host of the legendary Booze 'n' Blues festivals at Fenny Bentley was here.
The Leatherbritches brewery kit had recently been installed in place of the Tap House one. Ed is brewing for The Tap House and Leatherbritches. The day I was there was the first brew on the kit since its move from Ashbourne.
If you find yourself in this part of the country, make sure you check out the beers too.
The Tap House