Nottingham city centre had a visit from the Kelham Island team this week, an evening which turned out to be not only enjoyable but fruitful too. Tuesday night was the evening of Castle Rock's annual awards, held in the stunning Canal House pub which is in fact sat over the canal with real life I-kid-you-not canal boat access. Definitely a unique and quite astonishing pub feature which outdoes the odd quirky bar/fireplace/cellar.
Pale Rider is Kelham Island's 'Champion beer of Britain', officially crowned so in 2004, and celebrated through many awards since. This strong (at 5.2%ABV) pale ale is packed full of vibrant flavours, with a strong fruit hop aroma and lingering but well balanced bitterness from North American hops. This beer is a popular choice for a guest ale across the midlands and North of England, and has been featured in beer festivals nation-wide.
Castle Rock awards are voted on by the consumers, not critics, beer writers, publicans, or anyone else in the beer industry. These awards are a true measure of a beer, awarding only the single product and nothing else. We were really chuffed to be awarded first prize for 'Beer of the Year' in Castle Rock pubs for exactly these reasons.
Dave Wickett (right), owner and founder of the 20 year old brewery, proudly stepped up to collect the award from Castle Rock's Managing Director, Chris Holmes (left).
Whilst Iain (head brewer), Stuart (sales giant - quite literally) and I, were heading to Nottingham, we made the most of the day. In an attempt to get our beer in to more Nottingham pubs, we went on a sales drive in our finery. Well, I was in my finery but the less said about other two the better.
We managed to hit five pubs, one of which I would definitely recommend for a visit - the Hand and Heart.This is a lovely pub built in the caves of Nottingham. It has a quaint, antique feel which immediately welcomes you in. One aspect we loved was that you could walk in to the cosy bar area and have a drink just soaking up the atmosphere, or you could venture into the caves for what looks like a delicious meal in an unusual but intimate restaurant. There were three ciders and at least 4 ales on the bar with a range of wines too. All in all, a golden find in Nottingham and well worth a try.