We spent the best part of Friday night and Saturday checking out some of the great events going on for Nottingham Craft Beer Week. We love a good craft beer so feel really lucky to be in a city with such great breweries, pubs and mad beer scientists.
On Friday night the newly-refurbished Bunker’s Hill pub in Hockley was the haunt of choice, lured in by the Magic Rock Brewery takeover (and general nosiness at the new decor/menu!) I have to say the place is looking incredibly swanky – a really smart and clean interior has really brightened up the place and their beer selection gets better every time we go.
Leeds-based Magic Rock always get it right, their Contortionist sour is the favourite here, it’s delicious. Salty Kiss and Highwire Grapefruit are other beers for sour and citrus lovers, while Cannonball is a wicked IPA.
We didn’t eat but our friends did – two had the Nashville Predator burger, which was a southern fried chicken fillet topped with bacon, smoked cheddar and bourbon bow sauce. The burgers got rave reviews, really tasty though the fries on the side were over salted to the point of being barely edible. Considering salt and pepper were bought to the table with the cutlery, maybe forgo the salt and let people put it on themselves?
Our other friend had the chilli nachos which were also tasty and a generous portion. The chilli was spicy and beefy but we did wonder if it was homemade. All in all a great snack and sharer to have with casual drinks.
On Saturday, we started off at the small but perfectly formed Kean’s Head pub in the Lace Market. We make a regular beer pilgrimage to Buxton to visit the Buxton Brewery Tap House (their beers are just THAT good) so imagine our delight to learn there was a Buxton Brewery tap takeover at the Kean’s Head on Saturday. There was a great crowd there, including some Buxton brewers.
No one makes a sour beer like Buxton, so I was thrilled to see our favourite gooseberry sour Trolltunga on keg. It’s a deliciously sharp and fruity sour that really will make your tabs laugh! We also had their wickedly hoppy and bitter IPA Axe Edge but didn’t sample the Belgian beers they had also bought as we’re not really a fan of wheat beers.
We then wandered over to the Kraft Cavern event at Hopkinson antique shop near the station. Sherwood based bottle shop and pub Kraftwerk and city centre bottle shop Brew Cavern joined forces in this kitsch and quirky venue to bring the masses some seriously crazy experimental beers by some top breweries.
What was on offer:
Between the three of us, we tried most of them.Yep, we tried the pepperoni pizza beer and yep, it did taste like pepperoni pizza! It was a deeply smoky porter with a chilli kick and it was actually very nice (if a little odd).
Another favourite was the Hobo Chic; strong, hoppy, citrussy and embodying everything a good double IPA should be.
There seems to be an emerging trend for sweet, dark beers heavy on flavours such as coffee, chocolate, caramel or vanilla that make them a sweet rather than savoury experience. Our favourite of the ‘dessert-style’ beers was the peanut and lactose milk stout. Although very sweet (I couldn’t have drunk much more than the third I had) it had a delightful and complex marriage of flavours with the peanut adding something unique and delicious to the mix. Very indulgent and tasty, it was like a pudding in a glass and I can imagine it with an ice cream float!
Food truck allstars Smoqued were also outside at the event, offering up refined old school bbq with a twist out of their brilliant yellow van. We had just eaten so didn’t get to sample the food but the Korean brisket sounded especially incredible. Check out their Instagram for drool-inducing food porn.
After we had our full of insanely creative beers, it was time to drag our tipsy selves home – satisfied and certainly entertained. This was a great little event at Hopkinson’s, we never would have visited this antique-lovers’ haven if it hadn’t been for the craft beer event, but it’s such a cool place. They even have a vintage hair and makeup salon upstairs! It is literally an Aladdin’s cave of treasures from antique jewellery to McDonalds Happy Meal toys from days gone by (seriously).
Can’t wait for #NCBW 2017 already!
Emily and Stuart (and honorary third wheel/guest contributor, our good friend Ken).