County Stat Attack Week 10 - Derbyshire

It’s week 10 and we have our first visit into the East Midlands with Derbyshire. We are really talking central England here, there is a point in Derbyshire, near Swadlincote, that has been measured as the furthest point from the sea than anywhere else in Great Britain. Due to its rural, quite wild at times, landscape there are quite well preserved Neolithic tombs and burial mounds showing settlements up to 12,000 years old. The Romans were drawn to the area due to the abundance of lead deposits in the limestone hills. The Romans initially built forts at Brough and Glossop then later settled around what are now Buxton and Derby. During the Dark ages Derbyshire was within the Kingdom of Mercia with several Mercian Kings buried in the area. After the Norman Conquest the uplands in Derbyshire were subject to the forest laws, keeping the land open and available for hunting by the Lords of the day. The county really took off during the Industrial Revolution being particularly favourable for Cotton Mills with fast running water and coal deposits nearby to power the mills. The City of Derby, initially a mill town became a centre for engineering.
Most of the Peak District National Park lies within Derbyshire, the west of the county being high hills and deep river valleys. The Derwent is the longest river within the county, running from the peaks through to Derby, on its banks stand many of the now empty or re-utilised cotton mills. The east of the county was more mining based and through which the main transport links came. Canals were particularly important moving coal and timber into the main areas and manufactured goods out, subsequently this was taken on by the faster rail links.
The largest places are Derby, Chesterfield, Long Eaton, Ilkeston and Swadlincote, although beer wise Buxton, Belper and Glossop would be better known than a few of those.

On Ratebeer we have 65 Active Breweries and 37 Closed, Totalling 102. Of these 8 are Client / Commissioner Brewers.

The Oldest Brewery we have is The John Thompson Brewpub, Ingleby with brewing commencing in 1977 but they did have a break in production, recommencing in 2002. There hasn’t been a great tradition of historic breweries within the current county border, the most famous was probably Offiler’s Brewery of Derby, founded in 1876, brewing in Ambrose Street from 1884. They were snapped up by Charrington in 1965 and closed in 1966.

The largest range we have for a Derbyshire Brewery is from Thornbridge Brewery with 406 beers.

We are still looking back to 2019 for the latest Ratebeer Best, the new lists are currently being worked on. The Best Brewer award was for Buxton Brewery and also their Buxton Single Barrel Rain Shadow 2019 named as best beer. There was a New Brewery award made for Heist Craft Brew Co. who moved to South Yorkshire in 2020.

The Top 10 Beers for Derbyshire are –

  1. Buxton / Omnipollo Yellow Belly Sundae
  2. Buxton Rain Shadow Single Barrel (Bourbon)
  3. Thornbridg Hall Bracia
  4. Buxton Rain Shadow 11.8% ABV
  5. Buxton The Living End (Bourbon Cask)
  6. Buxton Kentucky Woods
  7. Buxton Moray Flow
  8. Thornbridge Hall Courage Russian Imperial Stout
  9. Buxton / Stillwater Subluminal
  10. Buxton Rain Shadow 2019 Single Barrel

The Top 5 Pubs / Bars in Derbyshire –

  1. Buxton Brewery Tap House & Cellar, Buxton - 95
  2. Coach & Horses (Thornbridge), Dronfield - 85
  3. Brunswick Inn, Derby - 84
  4. Alexandra Hotel (Castle Rock), Derby - 84
  5. Chesterfield Alehouse, Chesterfield - 83

The Top 5 Raters of Derbyshire beers are –

  1. @Fin
  2. @fonefan
  3. @imdownthepub
  4. @cgarvieuk
  5. @madmitch76

You will require a substantial 151 ratings to enter the top 50 for Derbyshire.
The person who resides in Derbyshire with the most ratings is –

@haddonsman – for those of you who don’t know, Simon was a very popular member of our community who sadly passed away quite suddenly. He will always be remembered fondly.

The highest currently active Rater from Derbyshire is - @DraftTun9

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Still miss simon you never failed to make me smile

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I never met Simon (haddonsman), but he sounded like a great bloke according to those that did.

<*))))))><

No I didn’t either … had a few chats via beer mail … wasn’t he on BA as well Jeremy in the time we were both semi active before moving here circa 2009/10/11 ?

I also took part in the charity raffle that his wife organised after he passed away.

Picked up a few nice books and a bottle of BrewDog Abstrakt AB01 !

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Yes, I think he may have been on BeerAdvocate back then.

<*))))))><

Now we are talking, I love going to and staying in Derbyshire, we tend to go annually for some sort of stay. I have walked much of Derbyshire, particularly in the Peak District. The start of the Pennine Way is there, Dove Valley and many others including the Limestone Way, which is a favourite. Apart from football matches at the old Baseball Ground and their new Factory Unit ground my initial visits were when my brother bought a farmhouse on Axe Edge, just south of Buxton and we used to visit him and his family and have trips into Buxton. Derby is a great city for pubs, there is a fine mix of styles there but I also enjoy Belper, Matlock, Buxton, Bakewell and of course Chesterfield, never got to their ground. We have also been to Beer Festivals in Matlock (very good) and Dronfield (rather odd and quiet).
I always remember that the farm next to my brothers was the first in the country to have Llamas, they required a special ‘Wild Animals’ licence at the time to get going. The public footpath to get onto Axe Edge ran from Phil’s farm and went through theirs but the Llamas used to get super defensive with the dogs. The male would run at us at speed then spit at the dogs, it was quite worrying until you got used to it. There was a very remote pub about 2 miles along the lane from his place, which was fine to get there but there was a tendency for the snow to come quickly and it caught us out a few times. He sold the farm after a few years, it was a very hard life up there.
Availability of Derbyshire beers is fairly common for us with Buxton Brewery getting into the specialist shops and supermarkets and the same with Thornbridge, also opening up a pub in Birmingham helps. A local Landlord in Banbury is a Derbyshire exile and he gets in casks whenever he can, so I tend to keep ticking over, Fin also used to get in plenty for his Festivals too.

I have 613 ratings for Derbyshire placing me in 3rd place for the county, although it would be quite a challenge to bridge the gap to the top 2, I can’t see that happening anytime soon. Derbyshire is my 6th highest county in terms of ratings and has an average of 3.32 per rating, very high for me.

I have rated beers from 76 Derbyshire Breweries placing me in 2nd place for the county, only 3 behind fonefan. I have another visit planned for the summer, if the Government aren’t still panicking, when I might be able to improve on that.
The Breweries with the most number of ratings from me are –

  1. Thornbridge Brewery – 104 beers
  2. Buxton Brewery – 51 beers
  3. Silver Brewhouse (prev Raw) – 28 beers
  4. Derby Brewing – 27 beers
  5. Shiny Brewing – 27 beers

I have 27 beers that I have rated at 4 or over, finest county so far on this tour, the best are –

  1. Falstaff A Fist Full of Hops – 4.5
  2. Thornbridge Jaipur – 4.5
  3. Thornbridge Equinox – 4.4
  4. Thornbridge Kipling – 4.3
  5. Thornbridge Chiron – 4.3
  6. Buxton Axe Edge – 4.3
  7. Thornbridge Hall Bracia – 4.3
  8. Raw / Steel City / Trulla / Shakespeare Four Horsemen of the Hopocalypse – 4.3
  9. Thornbridge Wild Raven – 4.3

The highest rated beer from Derbyshire that I have had is the Thornbridge Hall Bracia which averages 4.06, my mark being 4.3.

My Derbyshire Breweries with the highest average rating are (min 5 Ratings) –

  1. Buxton Brewing – 3.657
  2. Thornbridge Brewery – 3.573
  3. Bottle Brook Brewery – 3.529
  4. Silver Brewhouse (prev Raw) – 3.467
  5. Intrepid Brewing – 3.422

I have reviewed 49 places in Derbyshire making it my 9th highest county in that regard, my favourites are –

  1. Flowerpot, Derby – 88
  2. Buxton Brewery Tap House & Cellar, Buxton – 86
  3. Chesterfield Alehouse, Chesterfield – 84
  4. Alexandra Hotel (Castle Rock), Derby – 82
  5. Chesterfield Arms, Chesterfield – 82
  6. Dead Poets Inn, Holbrook – 82
  7. Joiners Arms Micro Pub, Bakewell - 82
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When I saw Derbyshire was the County this week I thought “Great, a county I know lots about”; turns out I don’t!

For a start I’ve had less beers from the county than some have had Thornbridge beers and my 128 rates doesn’t get me anywhere near the top 50.

Pretty surprised by my lack of place reviews too; just three, all from a day in Chesterfield back in 2014. It appears my weekend in Buxton, a boozy bus tour from Chesterfield through to Bakewell and beyond (ending up in Sheffield) didn’t see me do any writing, just drinking. Same with a between train visit to The Brunswick just by Derby station, no review.

Top Three Beers
Buxton Battle Horse
Thornbridge Cocoa Wonderland
Muirhouse Magnum Mild

27 Different Breweries, 5 of which have closed.

Top Three
Thornbridge 40 rates @ 3.25
Buxton 20 rates @ 3.29
Dancing Duck 9 rates @ 3.37

Highest Rated
Derby Brewing 8 rates @ 3.51

No real plans to re-visit Derbyshire in the near future, but I don’t have any plans at the moment, just a few ‘pipe dreams’ for beery trips I’ve wanted to do for some time. It’s a pleasant county but doesn’t really excite me enough to warrant a special trip, a drinking day in Derby would be fun though!

<*))))))><

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As Derbyshire is my second most sampled county with 261 I thought I could speak with confidence about the beer culture but now I am not so sure. Like everyone so far I have a list in which Thornbridge and Buxton stand out. They form the majority of my top 10 with an early review for the now defunct Nutbrook who did a beer aptly entitled More and a high rating of 4.0 for Abstract Jungle’s Chocolate Fudge Stout (and I haven’t seen their beer for a while). I concur with BlackHaddock’s high opinion of Muirhouse Mild. And certainly Dancing Duck deserve an honorable mention. Some of the breweries like Shiny and Tollgate I had mistakenly believed to be Yorkshire in the former case and Staffordshire in the latter. The Midlands/North has this tendency to blur into one. I have always regarded Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire as more authentically northern than Warwickshire or Leicestershire could ever claim to be and as Lancastrian, that is a compliment! I must also confess that apart from excursions by bus or train to Derby, notably for the Winter Ale festival, I tend to go into the Peak for a hike as a designated driver and this has hampered my beer sampling. Even family in Bakewell hasn’t yet permitted a tour of Thornbridge. But like others, I include Derbyshire as a place that is a key part of my world; I can’t imagine never again gazing across the limestone escarpments on a fine day. I have also enjoyed introducing visiting Americans to the birthplace of industrialization and hence of our modern life and looking at the bemused faces of Italians when the Peak District does not exactly match Alpine expectations. There are some great places and some great beers. I am following Bang the Elephant with interest for example, and Pentrich on occasion, too.

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8th most rated county for me with 31 ratings despite having never been there. :slight_smile: Mostly Thornbridge and Buxton, one each from Brampton and Raw/Silver Brewhouse

4 ratings 4 or higher:
Thornbridge Murmansk
Thornbridge Bolvig Saint Petersburg Deluxe Edition
Buxton Axe Edge
Thornbridge Hall Courage Russian Imperial Stout

Top 10 Highest Rated were sourced from:
Cask Pub and Kitchen, London (Thornbridge Tap Takeover preceding fonefan’s 50th birthday!)
GBBF 2010
Alesela, Glasgow.
LCBO, Toronto, Canada (Thornbridge Chiron)

Overheard at Valhalla’s Goat, Glasgow whilst enjoying a Thornbridge Wild Raven:
“…Sexing a chicken IS a verb.”

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Derbyshire is 7th in my league table in terms of best scoring county with a solid average of 3.45.

478 rates are on the board with almost two thirds coming from Thornbridge - 173 and Buxton - 141. Some good stuff coming out of the latter of late … almost feels like a renaissance. Quick mention to Pentrich also who I’ve really gotten into in the latter part of lockdown.

Many of my formative beer ticking was in Derby, at the Alex or the Brunswick, often whiling away an hour waiting for my train home to Wellingborough after a day out. The Brunswick back then was a brewpub (not sure it is now?).

I also used to bunk off school on afternoons in the VI form sometimes and take the train up to Derby and tick in the Brunswick … the days of half pints for 55/60p!

Hadn’t been to too many places in Derbyshire, just Derby and Chesterfield really, until a recent week in the Peak District between lockdowns. We stayed in Tideswell and visited Buxton for the day and the highly recommended blast from the past … it really is like stepping through a door 45 years ago …Three Stags Heads in Wardlow Mires. So I’ve now rated the top 4 places (or visited at least … my place backlog is way worse than my beer one!).

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At last ! A county in which I have a reasonable number of ratings ! My RB totals for Derbyshire are 88 beers from 28 breweries, and 16 places. The beers total is my highest for any county.

I was born and bred in Derbyshire, but left before I was old enough to drink beer. My high (for me) total is mainly due to continuous visits to Derby over the past 6-7 years. I call these the “Never Ending Pub Crawl”. Rather like painting the Forth Bridge, once you reach the end, it’s time to start again !

My top rated Derbyshire beers are

Thornbridge Cocoa Wonderland 4.2
Dancing Duck Seduction 4
Thornbridge Fika 4
Thornbridge St Petersburg 4
Buxton Axe Edge 3.9
Falstaff Dark Side 3.9
Shiny Cocoa & Coconut BA Porter 3.9
Pentrich Glass Half Empty 3.8
Thornbridge Jaipur 3.8
Falstaff Smiling Assassin 3.7
Littleover Panther Stout 3.7

Breweries with the most beers rated are

Dancing Duck 14
Thornbridge 11
Littleover 7
Derby 6
Falstaff 6
Mr Grundy’s 5

I have rated more Littleover beers than anyone else !

Highest Rated breweries (min 3 rates)
Falstaff 3.49
Thornbridge 3.33
Dancing Duck 3.22
Shiny 3.18
Littleover 3.17

The Best Rated Venues
Smithfield, Derby 88
Creaky Floorboard, Derby 82
Exeter Arms, Derby 78
Old Bell, Derby 76
Olde Dolphin, Derby 76

I’ve not rated the Falstaff in Derby, otherwise it would definitely be in that list. The Smithfield is (jointly) the place I have rated highest anywhere.

Looking now at my own records, I see that I have drunk 375 Derbyshire Beers from 58 breweries, including 63 from Thornbridge. The Never Ending Pub Crawl has, in its time visited 60 venues – though not all I would deem worthy of a RateBeer listing. This number includes some (surprisingly few) venues that are no longer with us. It also includes one place (Creaky Floorboard) where I was the first EVER customer !

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Ah, ten weeks in and finally one of those counties I can really sink my teeth into. Derbyshire is my third most rated county, I am sitting comfortably in 27th place with 235 rates. It’s also a county where I’ve kept up my ratings though the pandemic: 41 of my 226 English rates for 2020 were from Derbyshire. It’s not just quantity, but quality too: two of my top ten Derbyshire beers were rated in 2020 (and one in 2021). And I have a Torrside Barleywine up in a couple of days…

I’ve tried beer from 30 breweries, the most being Thornbridge (60), Pentrich (25), Buxton (24), and Leatherbritches (21). Nice to see I’ve the third most active rater for Pentrich (thanks to the Blue Boar tap takeovers) - a brewery I’ve liked for a while now and is finally getting the attention it deserves - and top rater for Leatherbritches, a more old-fashioned but usually solid outfit.

My top 5 beers are:

If you get a chance to try Valour, which is based on an old Courage (geddit?) RIS recipe, you should jump at the chance.

I’ve rated 47 Derbyshire places, many of them excellent. I’ve not been to Buxton, it’s on my bucket list but it’s just been too far out to go for a day and maybe too close for a longer trip. I have found out-of-the-way gems in smaller towns as well as the metropolitan giants of Derby and Chesterfield. As of yet, the top 3 are:

Alexandra Hotel, Derby (88)
Chesterfield Alehouse, Chesterfield (88)
Coach & Horses, Dronfield (84)

Plus a bunch at 82: the Brunswick Inn (Derby), Beer Trap (Belper) and the Burnt Pig & Crafty One (Ilkeston). To be honest I could go down to 10th or 15th and still see pubs better than many counties’ top 5: the atmospheric and very beery Black Bulls Head in Openwoodgate, the isolated gem of Heist Craft tap in Clowne, the surprisingly amazing Tom Said in Ripley.

A lot of places have since opened in Derby since I’ve last been, and I’m keen to go as soon as things start opening up again. It’s not just pubs but the whole feel of the place, it’s like a love letter to England. Even the cathedral feels like a Valentine to my heart and soul.

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Always think I should have more Derbyshire ticks but it’s I guess I have been focusing a lot on my more local counties.

45 beers from 10 breweries.

Top Rates Beers:

Torrside Monsters Imperial Porter Centennial 4.2

Buxton Stronge Extra Stout 4.1

Pentrich Dead Earth (8.0%) 3.9

Torrside American Barleywine 2018 3.9

Buxton / Omnipollo Original Chocolate Ice Cream Brown Ale 3.8

Torrside Monsters Perfect Circle 3.8

Buxton King Slayer 3.8

Torrside Monsters English Barleywine 2018 3.8

Torrside are a brewery I keep meaning to pick up beers from. They’re a real favourite. And that one Pentrich beer was impressive enough for me to want more. I think 10 or so of my Thornbridge ticks are from the Rose & Thistle in Frimley Green. They are one of those Stonegate faux craft beer themed pubs which are usually in larger towns/cities. They had a Thornbridge tap takeover that lasted weeks because they weren’t selling the beer that quickly.

Breweries:

Thornbridge - 20
Buxton - 9
Torrside - 8
Falstaff - 2
One each from Brunswick, Collyfobble, Derventio, Grasshopper, Howard Town and Pentrich

I have made one visit to Derbyshire, in order to Protz 300 tick off Brunswick Triple Hop (2.7 - if a more recent tick would have probably been a 3.0 - 3.2) at the Alexandra Hotel. I asked my Geordie mate to get me a ticket when Necastle were away to Derby. It was a 5:30 kick-off so arrived in Newcastle at around midday to make sure the Geordies had enough beer before the match. Got to the Brunswick Inn only to find that the other we were not allowed in because it’s a Derby fans pub. I put on my most Hampshire of Hampshire accents, demanded entry and of course the bouncers acquiesced. Had my Golden Ale and then walked down the road to the Victoria Hotel. I had far fewer ticks than I would now as I still drank pints.

Later when we arrived at the ground I discovered that I was sat in a different stand from everyone else so went back the Brunswick instead of bothering with the football. Realise now that I didn’t actually rate either of the places.

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412 rates puts me in 9th place for ticks. Around 300 of those are from Thornbridge and Buxton. Buxton are smashing the BA stuff out the park at the minute. Thornbridge Bourbon BA Bracia is my highest rated cask beer, and got an easy 4.6. Truly memorable beer I had in the Thornbridge owned Hallamshire House in Sheffield a few years ago. Ashover are a bit of a favourite too, brewing solid traditional styles extremely well.

I’m lucky to live just a 10 minute drive from the Derbyshire border and visit (Covid permitting) on a weekly basis. The Longshaw NT estate is my favourite spot to walk the dogs and get away from the Sheffield noise and fuss.

My first ever drink of beer was a sip of my dad’s Ward’s Best Bitter outside the Royal Oak at Millthorpe when I was about 14. It’s unmistakable sulphur notes very nearly put me off beer for life, before I’d even started! I pulled through though, and spent a big part of my early drinking years round pubs in Hathersage, Hope, Castleton and dozens of others. Stones and Wards were prevalent then, as well as Whitbreads, and the odd Mansfield boozer. Robinson’s were also to be found if you fancied venturing further West.

I love Derbyshire and the Dark Peak, and it makes the occasional gripe of living in Sheffield very bearable.

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So pleased its our first visit to the East Midlands Region which I call home. However I never really consider Derbyshire to be in the Midlands.

Derbyshire is one of counties with the most rates it is 6th in my list with 382 rates, which puts me 11th in the top 50.

33 beers I have rated over 4 which is quite high. Like many other people Buxton cover a lot of the top rated beers, but also Thronbridge, Pentrich, Torrside and Ashover have beers I rated over 4.

The top 5 are:

Brewery wise I have tried beers from 68 which puts me 3rd in the list. Top of the list are:

Brewery Rates Average
Buxton 84 3.77
Pentrich 20 3.69
Thornbridge 67 3.48
Ashover 22 3.46

Surprisingly I have only been to 6 places. Like others the top rated place for me is the Buxton Tap.

I have been to the Derby Winter Beer Festival. It’s a great venue right next to the train station, but that does mean I haven’t been into the city centre.

After lockdown I think a trip to Derby is in order!!

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One of my favourite counties in the UK. I am so glad that Derbyshire has popped up this week, for a number of reasons I guess. It’s been a county that I’ve visited frequently and this was prior to my dad moving there about 14-15 years ago. I really love the county, it’s fantastic for walking, wonderful scenery, great architecture, I love the old mills in particular and above all some great breweries and fantastic pubs. Regarding pubs, there really are some fantastic places, I’ve done plenty of pub jaunts with my dad both urban and rural and it’s a county that’s awash with micropubs. Even close to my dad I simply cannot believe the bewildering choice of fantastic pubs that he can literally walk to within an hour from his home and yet he lives in a village, without a pub (albeit a village with great public transport options)

I don’t really try to hard with a lot of my county ratings, I certainly could certainly do better, but with Derbyshire I have made an exception and I really have had the bit between my teeth. I have jostled for top spot with Jan (fonefan) for a few years, he was top, then I was top, then he reclaimed it and after a 2-3 year period of playing catch-up I really made an absolutely huge push last year and overhauled him in November/December. A big thanks to Thornbridge, Buxton and also to Hoptimism the latter for the likes of Pentrich, Torrside and Bang the Elephant beers, and for all of these places sending out to me in Germany sometimes within 48hours. I’m not sure what will happen now, I suspect that things will dry up for me but never mind it’s been a good run.

I am a big fan of this counties breweries, Thornbridge and Buxton seem to have been around for a very long while and don’t always command the respect they deserve, they just get on with brewing great beers. We used to get casks from Thornbridge for our beer festival in Merton. One day when Thornbridge were still brewing up at the Hall we rocked up in the camper to pick up some beer only to bump into Simon (Haddonsdman) and Ian (Harrisoni) who were up there brewing for the day. I would love to see Thornbridge Bracia make a return, it really was an incredible beer, I also echo the comments of Gary and Colin and agree that Buxton are really on the rise again.

I have 77 beers over 4.0 and aside from the big two, Pentrich, Torrside, Bottle Brook, Bang the Elephant and Whim all feature. Btw if you like smoked beers or barley wines then try Torrside they are great across all styles but particularly those two, Chris Clough one of the three brewers is a big, big smoked beer fan. If you like NEIPA then Pentrich are right up there in this category, they can and do brew other styles but this seems to be their area of expertise, I would like to see them do some West Coast IPAs

I really miss Haddonsdman, (Simon) he really was one of Ratebeers characters, his blog was great, some of his ratings were very funny, he was hugely entertaining, so, so funny *his craft beer manifesto despite being many years old is still super true. I used to meet up with him and occasionally his wife Rebecca when we were up to see my dad for the weekend, he loved Thornbridge, but I also remember his fondness for Marble Dobber and on another occasion at the Derby Winter Beer Festival where pretty much on his own he completely lay waste to the Orval stocks at the Foreign beer stand.

771 ratings puts me in 1st place for Derbyshire.

Top rated breweries and number of ratings (see below) this will almost certainly be the only county that I have rated over 100 beers from three different breweries.

Thornbridge - 180
Buxton - 163
Torrside - 106
Shiny - 37
Pentrich - 29
Leadmill - 24
Derby - 20

I’ve had beer from 51 different breweries of which sadly 16 are no longer brewing

Top five beers

  1. Thornbridge Hall - Bracia 4.5
    = 2. Thornbridge - Love Among The Ruins 4.4
    = 2. Buxton - Kentucky Woods 4.4
    = 3. Thornbridge Hall - Courage Russian Imperial Stout 4.3
    = 3.Buxton/Omnipollo - Yellow Belly Sundae 4.3
    = 3. Buxton - Rain Shadow 2016 4.3
    = 3.Buxton/Omnipollo - Anniversary Coward 4.3
    = 3. Buxton - Rain Shadow Rain Shadow Single Barrel Rye 4.3
    = 3. Buxton - Tal 2020 Single Barrel Masters Series 4.3

I’ve rated 44 places which puts it in 6th place on my England place table. My top places are below.

Redwillow Buxton 88
Old Oak (Leadmill brewery) Horsley Woodhouse - 84
Torrside, New Mills - 84
Burnt Pig, Ilkeston - 84
Dead Poets Inn, Holbrook - 82
Buxton Taphouse - 82

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So Derbyshire then, a Northern county in the Midlands I’d say. Lovely place, rolling hills and valleys and some nice towns along the way. Sounds like Derby ought to be a beer venue when the madness ceases (although it’s a bit of an arse to get to). I have a (for me) very solid 10 rates from the County, 5 from Thornbridge and 3 from Buxton (and a couple of nonsense ones from Direct Beers that we don’t really talk about!), so it sits 5th in my England County list. No place rates as I’ve not been there since I started to even think about that kind of thing - my memories of the Buxton tap house, and other boozers in Buxton, Bakewell and Matlock Bath are all pleasant, although cannot recall what beers were sampled!

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A week in the Peak district, a CAMRA pub crawl around Derby, and many visits to Buxton and Long Eaton speedways with pub visits pre-meetings all pre-date my (more serious) RateBeer days so my token contribution to Derbyshire place rates is the Boot Inn, Repton - a quick visit and a 3.6 (or 72) whilst touring with a couple of the Danes as we headed through the county on the way to somewhere much more exotic. Crewe.

And until very recently, Derbyshire was not an area I’d ever really sought out beer count wise, with no recent stays in the area plus I’ve not been to a beer festival in the county. It is below mid-table in my beer rating count and was one of the last English regions for me to get over 100. I’m now at 130 (with 20 or so in stock) so am aiming for the top 50 at some point in the near future.

My highest rated beers are all 4.2’s:

Thornbridge Necessary Evil: Coconut Edition
Buxton Stronge Extra Stout
Buxton Rain Shadow 2019

Only other thing to add is that my parents honeymooned in Derbyshire back in the early 60’s. Other more exotic locations (Crewe included) being outside their modest budget at the time.

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84 Derbyshire rates for me making it my 10th top county. Only 5 breweries rated though, and like most people I’ve Buxton and Thornbridge making up the bulk of the ratings. Don’t seem to drink much from either brewery these days though.

My top rated beers surprised me. I’m one of those generous raters but some of these seem a little high even for me. I rated Hall Bracia when I was still relatively new to craft beer, I really did enjoy it but do wonder if I’d rate it as highly today. I definitely wouldn’t rate the vanilla ice cream IPA so highly now as I’ve really gone off super sweet milkshake IPAs like that was.

Thornbridge Hall Bracia 4.7
Buxton / Omnipollo Anniversary Coward 4.6
Buxton Extra Porter 4.4
Buxton / Omnipollo Double Vanilla Ice Cream 4.3
Buxton Axe Edge 4.2

Other breweries I’ve rated are Pentrich and Torrside.

Pentrich were a pleasant surprise last year. I’d honestly not heard of them before that but they seemed to be a very traditional brewery, and then suddenly they went full modern craft beer mode (endless amounts of big hazy IPAs). I had the first three they canned and was pretty impressed, picked up a couple more a couple of months later and they seemed fairly average then, not had anything since.
How come they’re listed as a commercial brewery rather than a microbrewery?

Torrside always doing interesting beers but they’re not always to my liking so they’re not one I keep an eye out for.

Shiny look to be one that’s potentially quite interesting and worth keeping an eye on, not yet had anything from them.

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20 rates for me making the region my joint 9th top county.

Of all the regions where I have double digit ratings Derbyshire is top on 3.58. Unsurprisingly this is down to Thornbridge and Buxton which combined make up 18 of my rates. Therefore I can only concur with comments above regarding the quality of these breweries. They may have some of their beers in supermarkets now but its not yet affected the overall quality on offer.

Despite living in the Midlands all my life I’ve never actually been to Derby. I’ve been to the Derbyshire part of the Peak District several times but it seems the nice scenic part is now classed as ‘the north’! I guess its only a mater of time before the Malvern Hills will be ‘the south’!

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