Now then, neither of us are big on traditional beer festivals. Standing around for hours in a village hall or a sports centre with a luke-warm twiggy brew in a half pint pot isn't our idea of a good day out. There are exceptions though with some innovative 21st century beer fests but essentially we are both pub people.
However, this weekend sees a real highlight in the annual ale err annual with the 3 Valleys Festival. This event is now in it's fifth year and encompasses an impressive 18 pubs around this corner of North Derbyshire. Even with our ale-y expertise and local knowledge (sophistication? I've been to Dronfield), we couldn't possibly comment on all the pubs but here are some highlights:-
The Travellers Rest, Apperknowle
On the outskirts of the Drone Valley this one so bus or hike here but expect an easy on the-eye aspect and an outdoor marquee bar. Ales are scheduled to include Salopian (a rarity in these parts), Hawkshead and Fyne Ales. Plus then the secluded Miners Arms at Hundall with an inflatable pub and Pictish a-plenty is walkable too!
The Dronfield Arms
First stop for those arriving by train ought to be The Dronfield Arms. This place has been on the up since it changed it's name from the Sidings half a dozen years back but it is still improving under the leadership of Edd ex of The Bath Hotel. Ale quality has definitely been upped and the Dronny Arms is quite a tidy boozer. Expect best beers to include Brass Castle, Bad Seed, Great Heck, Waen plus locals Raw. Sure the White Swan is close by, The Three Tuns too, but the bottle experts The Beer Stop are closer and they will have handpulls a-ready too. Just don't tell anyone else about this little gem or it'll be crowded out!
The Coach and Horses
No surprise to see us recommend this place eh as it is nearest to Sheffilisation and thereby an ideal first or last stop of the day. Beautiful beers inside and out showcasing Thornbridge's finest (fancy some Tart?!) plus other highlights like Magic Rock, Brooklyn and Black Jack. And gourmet salads in the early Summer sun, or your money back!
Other top tips / sound sage advice:-
Suncream - It is wam dan Saff.
Don't get stranded at Barlow Brewery, although it is worth a visit. Take a tent.
If you manage to get a pint in all 18 pubs, we congratulate you and commiserate with your liver. Write off Sunday too.
Have fun and be careful out there!