Summer Seasonal Pub

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The Summer Seasonal Pub 2023 was presented to the Arkwright Arms (Duckmanton – Chesterfield S44 5JG) on Wednesday 23rd August. Chesterfield CAMRA Chair Steve Monaghan was on hand to present the certificate, as fellow Branch members looked on and enjoyed the great selection of Cask and Craft Keg beers on offer.

The Arkwright Arms feature – InnSpire 148.

Greetings, fellow beer hunters. Welcome to my latest real ale adventure and ongoing quest to find the best places for tasty bitters, hazy pales, juicy IPAs and even on today’s arduous journey the rare, lesser known sour. Today myself and trusty companion Julia, headed to the Arkwright Arms, a public house that came highly recommend by everyone we spoke to.

First a little history lesson… no wait, come back… there will be lots of beery goodness soon, I promise. Despite its name Arkwright Town is not a town, a scandal and at the very least false advertising. It is rather a village that is very notable for one reason: In the early 1990’s the whole village moved! The story goes that on one dark evening in late 1988, a resident noticed a blue flash of flame in an unlit fireplace and promptly called British Gas. It was found the leak was gas, no, not that kind… It was Methane. And without being too dramatic, potentially the whole village could have exploded. Houses were evacuated and long story short, within a few years the village was demolished and rebuilt on the other-side of the road. The Arkwright Arms itself has been ever-present, serving frosty beer to both villages old and new. However, for a while it was very much a village pub without a village.

Even with the new, large housing estate the Arkwright Arms is a little isolated. A lonely island in-between Arkwright, Duckmanton, Inkersall and the distant Bolsover. Despite this it is very popular with nearby residents, local walkers and bikers. A traditional Mock Tudor fronted country pub with a welcoming atmosphere and lots of benches outside. We were delighted to see a fantastic selection of chip cobs on the menu (Which unfortunately started the cob vs breadcake debate with my Yorkshire companion).

Now, this magazine isn’t really about history or the correct name for a bread cob. And, thankfully once again, the Small Gods of beer were looking down on us with a great variety of delicious ales on keg and cask. I’m a big fan of any pub with a beer blackboard. A board always gets Brucie bonus points from me as you can see the style and ABV of the beers on offer with ease. The selection was tremendous with local breweries, Thornbridge (Bakewell) and Ashover (Clay Cross) well represented.

After careful consideration I went for a beer I have never seen before. Hopton (Thornbridge – Cask: 4.3%). An English Pale Ale. Even for a cask beer I found this remarkable smooth. Hints of lime but a subtle favour when compared to similar pales from Thornbridge like Crackendale. I could have drunk a few pints of this if not for the long walk home.

Next, I tried Butts Pale Ale (Ashover – Cask: 5.5%). A Pale in the style of a West Coast IPA. Again, delightfully smooth but you could taste that it was stronger and more hoppy.

Julia our sour expert went for the Floresta (Thornbridge – Keg: 4.2%). A Berry Sour which had a nice balance. Fruity and as name suggested sour but not overpowering so there was little face puckering from Jools. Sours are often quite dramatic beers but the Floresta would be a good starting point for any novices out there. It must be noted, that not many local pubs have sours on tap, so it is a joy to find a pub so close to home that does.

With nearby pubs in Duckmanton and Staveley currently closed, it is great to see a pub doing well and sticking to it’s values of supplying great food and even better beer. A pub that celebrates real ale and more than lives up to the hype. It’s definitely worth a visit and if you smell gas, don’t worry it’s bound to be just the pub dog in the corner.