With September brings Oktoberfest- the German festival of, well, beer. Now a mainstay of the British ale calendar, it makes a great month for Derbyshire’s independent tap rooms and beer shops to organise their events round. Live music, German bier and street food famously make up the magic of the Bavarian festival but if you can’t get over to Munich, then our cherry-picked list of Derbyshire’s finest beer shops will help you plan your own version of the traditional folk celebration.
Not only does Oktoberfest give you a great excuse to check out some amazing independents and their wares, but the big gift-giving month of December is steadily marching towards us. You, like me, might have a person in your life who enjoys the grown-up pick-and-mix of sampling new beers from a range you just don’t get from the supermarkets.
My go-to present for my husband (birthday and Christmas within three days!) is a box of hand-picked beers from our local beer shop (The Beer Stop in Dronfield). The email goes like this: can I have a box of 8 (or however generous I’m feeling) and can you possibly you pick them for me?
The next day they’re on my doorstep (always with beers worth more than I asked) ready to be gifted. They never fail to be anything but a cracker of a birthday present (or for Father’s Day or Christmas…). A smidgen of effort and always well received. My kind of gift giving! All the shops offer bottles to take away and my advice would be this- either admit ignorance and get the experts to select based on what you know you like. Or, take armfuls of the bottles with the most colourful labels to the till. It’s a strategy that’s never failed me – style and substance.
It’s certainly worth following our great local beer shops for their up-to date events (I can’t be the only one who treats Instagram like a live events calendar for all my local interests). Here is a run-down of Derbyshire’s independent beer shops across the county:
The Beer Stop, Dronfield
The Beer Stop in Dronfield is next door to fantastic wine shop Dronfield Wine World (make a day of it?) Luke runs regular events and collaborations as well as street food (authentic German sausage for their Oktoberfest, naturlisch!). Fridges full and shelves stacked with bottled beer, the shop has over 300 beers available as well as a small courtyard outside. Conveniently a short walk from Dronfield train station – but if you can’t get, they deliver to local postcodes throughout the week. See Instagram for events and to request an up-to-date stock list.
The Beer Trap, Belper
Since spring 2018, The Beer Trap has been a much loved part of one of Derbyshire’s best high streets. Like many of these shops, there’s a strong support of local breweries as well as those from farther afield and often abroad. The great thing about such a range (200 at the last count) is that gluten-free and vegan options are always available. Try one in the shop or take away to enjoy at your leisure.
House of Beer, Ashbourne
Much like The Beer Trap, House of Beer started in 2018 (a good year for hops and shops) and have over a staggering 700 beers. If you’ve never found your beer groove (surely you could in amongst all that?) then moonshine, local small batch gin and cider might be more to your palate. Inside, there’s a beer Keller style tap room – perfect for cosy Oktoberfest feels. Check out Jo’s friendly socials for events and live music.
Brimming with Beer, Brimington
Just outside Chesterfield centre (take the A619 to Staveley) Brimming with Beer gets top marks for the pun and top marks for the constant changing beer range. Established in 2016, their website is a great place to pick then click (and collect).
Some other independent beer shops in Derbyshire include:
Stable Ales in Melbourne
Suds & Soda in Derby
Beer District in Buxton
Real Ale Corner in Chesterfield
For other alcohol goodies, find out here why Molly loved Barlow’s own spirit distillery
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