We’re edging ever closer to the opening of Derby CAMRA Winter Ale Festival 2020 on the 19th February. To whet your appetite for what’s to come we’ve compiled a list of the best local beers on offer at the festival.
All of these beers are cask ales and are brewed within the city of Derby or the county of Derbyshire. If you haven’t already, we strongly recommend planning your trip to this year’s festival as you won’t want to miss out on the fantastic selection available – this can be found in its entirety here.
1. Dark Drake by Dancing Duck Brewery
Brewery: Dancing Duck Brewery, Derby
In at number one, we have Dark Drake by Dancing Duck Brewery – a prestigious ale brewed right here in the city. This rich oatmeal stout packs a punch with chocolate, coffee and spicy notes whilst maintaining a smooth easy-drinking feel. “Drake” has won a number of awards including a national Gold at the CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain awards and is the breweries most highly-decorated beer.
2. Thunder Bridge by Shiny Brewery
Style: Session IPA
Brewery: Shiny Brewery, Little Eaton, Derbyshire
Next up is Thunder Bridge by Shiny Brewery. Shiny are famed for their experimental beers packed with flavour, based in Little Eaton on the outskirts of Derby. This ale is full of the tropical, fruity flavours we associate with all good IPAs. Brewed with Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe and Zeus hops this pale offers all the flavour with a modest alcohol content – the perfect festival beer.
3. Tropicana by Derby Brewing Company
Style: Pale ale
Brewery: Derby Brewing Company, Derby
We head back to the city for the next instalment in our list with Tropicana from the Beardy Brewers at Derby Brewing Co. With plenty of New Zealand hops, this beer rightly earns its exotic name, with a combination of Maris Otter malt and Nelson Sauvin and Pacifica hops from NZ. Another light but refreshing beer that won’t rock the boat too much!
4. Koebes by Littleover Brewery
Brewery: Littleover Brewery, Derby
Enjoy a taste of the Rhineland with this tasty number from Littleover Brewery. Influenced by the traditional beers of Cologne, Germany, this ale is single hopped with Hallertau Blanc hops and has a very low gluten content. Sharp, crisp and dry with a medium-strength, this is the perfect beer to kick off this year’s festival – but it won’t be around forever so get in there early to avoid disappointment.
5. Black Sabbath by Brunswick Brewing Company
Style: Dark Ale
Brewery: Brunswick Brewing Company, Derby
Be sure to check out the delectable Black Sabbath from Brunswick Brewing Company. Brunswick is Derby’s oldest surviving brewery founded in 1991 and all beers are brewed on-site at the Brunswick Inn in Derby’s historic railway quarter. This strong and devilishly dark ale is loaded with malt, liquorice and coffee culminating in a spicy and slightly bitter aftertaste.
6. Tick Tock by Muirhouse Brewery
Style: Best Bitter
Brewery: Muirhouse Brewery, Ilkeston, Derbyshire
We venture toward the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire border for our next tipple from Muirhouse Brewery. The gold award-winning Tick Tock impresses with a delicious edition of a traditional English Best Bitter. Well-balanced, moreish and not too sweet, you might be heading back to the bar for another one of these!
7. Chatsworth Gold by Peak Ales
Style: Golden Ale
Brewery: Peak Ales, Chatsworth, Derbyshire
We’re sure you’ll enjoy this delightfully gold beer from the gang at Peak Ales based on the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire. Infused with honey from the estate, the delicate sweetness of this drinkable golden ale is perfectly matched with Goldings and Fuggles hops for bitterness. Winner of a Great Taste Award 2015.
8. Vicious Tradition by Pentrich Brewing Co
Style: Extra Special Bitter
Brewery: Pentrich Brewing Co, Pentrich, Derbyshire
Feast your taste buds on this Extra Special Bitter from Pentrich Brewing Co in Derbyshire. Enjoy delicious flavours of caramel and toffee with additional spicy and fruity notes coming through from the East Kent Goldings hops. Pentrich are one of the fastest growing breweries in the country and this beer serves as a fantastic introduction to any newcomer.
9. Astryd by Thornbridge Brewery
Brewery: Thornbridge Brewery, Bakewell, Derbyshire
It’s impossible to compile a list of Derbyshire’s finest ales without including the inimitable Thornbridge. This edition is an unfined juicy pale which is both naturally hazy and vegan friendly. The hop profile of Crystal and Mosaic gives this beer a finish of tropical fruits such as Guava and Mango. Be sure not to miss this one.
10. Chok Porter by Tollgate Brewery
Brewery: Tollgate Brewery, Ticknall, Derbyshire
Next we have the delicious Chok Porter from Tollgate Brewery, brewed in the heart of the National Forest on the Calke Abbey estate in Derbyshire. This beer is full-bodied and velvety smooth with the chocolatey aroma and flavour that has become so common in English beers. This is no run-of-the-mill porter though and another must-try at this year’s festival.
Drooling yet? While you're here, why not check out our list of the Top 5 Craft Beers to Try at This Year's Festival!