We could tell we were in Derbyshire. No sign of the landmarks that we identify with Lancashire. Not a steaming cesspit, open cast mine or black pudding in sight. Picture box cottages and lots of green rolling hills.
First stop for refreshment was the Millstone Inn at Hathersage. No time for dithering, it’s a question of getting the first one down your neck and settling yourself for the rest of the day. Bradfield Blonde, at £3 a pint, was the top pick here.
The Red Lion at Litton is a quaint, multi-roomed, village local that nestles on the green. Some people were tempted to tuck into the excellent food on offer, but having been prepped by a Spoons breakfast; I could concentrate on the issue at hand: beer. Blue Monkey BG Sips, despite nearing the end of the barrel, was tasty and the top pick here.
A long five minutes drive (it was actually four) took us to an old friend-the Three Stags’ Heads at Wardlow Mires. This is a CAMRA purist’s fantasy pub. It’s 300 years old with two small rooms, stone flagged floors and only opens 7-11 Fri and at weekends. And there’s no draught lager. Oh and there’s an apostrophe on the pub sign.
No ferrets to entertain us this time, but plenty of puppies. And the house beer-Black Lurcher. This was labelled at 8% but I have reason to believe it’s only 7%. It’s a complex mix of Maris Otter, Pale Ale malt and wheat malt with roasted barley and chocolate malt. It tended to divide opinion but did lead to the comedy trip of the afternoon.
The Anglers Rest at Millers Dale dates from 1753 and has a beautiful ivy covered frontage. I thought the Adnams very tired here but the Sheffield Paradise Pale, being fresh on, was a lot better.
Final stop was another old friend-the Old Hall at Whitehough. This excellent pub usually has a Thornbridge beer on amongst its range and people were looking forward to a hoppy finale.
However, someone managed to finish off the last of the Halcyon that was on the bar; yes, sorry about that. It wasn’t as good as the Kipling I had last week anyway. Marble Pint came on stream then and everyone was happy. Except perhaps Stopwatch Sid for whom it was a beer too far, forcing me to finish his barely touched pint. That’s what friends are for.
Back home there was just time for a visit to the Trackside. The absence of Cheddar Valley led to some grumbling amongst some of the posse but I had my eye on Acorn Pacific Jade IPA anyway. Although served too warm, this NZ hopped 5% was a real treat and the perfect aperitif before some whisky in the Art.