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Handpulls at The Smithfield at Derby

Timekeeping Masterpiece
After wandering down the riverside walk and past the ugly newspaper building, we stumbled on The Smithfield, an unusual-shaped building that was once operated by Offiler's Brewery. The Smithfield is a fairly new name for the pub - it was originally called The Cattle Market. No doubt the place was once packed with farmers and stinky Wellington boots. The bar in this free house had arguably the best selection of golden beers I have ever seen in a pub. Deciding what to order was a bit of a problem when I clocked the pump clip array of: Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted, Oakham JHB, Hopback Thunder Storm, Burton Bridge Bitter, Harviestoun Schiehallion, Fuller's London Pride, Oakham Bishop's Farewell, Hartington IPA and Leatherbritches Hairy Minger. The pub has a large bar with the curved exterior wall. The two items that lodged in my memory bank were the flagon from the Three Tuns at Bishops Castle and the massive clock above the counter - probably to remind farmers years ago that it was time to haul their arses back home and milk the cows. The smaller rear lounge has some old settles, a display of brewing memorabilia and an old time recorder - they like their timekeeping in here! Another room is a bit of a games area. There is a beer terrace that overlooks the river. Judging by the roster on the bar board, The Smithfield looks like a venue for bluesy/pub-rock bands so I'll stick to the lunchtime sessions ta very much. Apparently the nosh is filling but we weren't enamoured with the menu card which was filthy. Indeed, the pub itself is a bit riffy so if you're a fussy type then don't go in with an army barrack room inspection mentality. Apparently, the place is going to be refurbished soon but I hope they don't lose what makes this place such a good boozers pub. We were a tadge Hank Marvin and needed some stodge to soak up the beer so we ordered chip butties which were excellent. All in all, an fine boozer with a top selection of beer. Note: The Smithfield scooped Derby CAMRA Pub of the Year in 2003.
Kieron McMahon 25th May 2002


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