Friday 5th September 2014
I am not totally sure about this, but it seems to me the Cask & Pottle has the smallest frontage of any micropub I have yet encountered. That said, it is not difficult to find as it is at the top of Tutbury’s compact High Street near to the town’s major crossroads. The exterior is in traditional style and inside is a wonderful little pub. It was formally a sweet shop and before then a video store and probably many other things before that.
Partners Jane Thompson and Gary Hopper had their first experiences of micropubs when they lived in Kent and were regulars at the Just Reproach in Deal, one of the first. They retired from normal employment and came to this Staffordshire town where they have relatives. As the concept of a micropub was not fully understood here, there were a few objections to the planning application, but they were resolved amicably.
The pub opened in October 2013 and has become a popular venue since then. You may wonder what a pottle is. Well, in the long distant mists of time when I was at Junior School we were taught that two pints make a quart and four quarts made a gallon. It was relevant then as beer from off-licenses was often sold in screw-top quart bottles. Yet it never occurred to me that there was a measure of two quarts. Well apparently there is, and it is the pottle. Surely it must have only been used in very limited circumstances, assuming it is not a hoax.
Inside the pub adopts the classic Kentish layout involving fitted high wooden benches around the walls facing across tall tables to those customers standing opposite. This concept is to encourage conversation between drinkers as they are approximately the same head height as those facing them; I think it works. On one wall the bench seats sneak round several corners. Of course, there are many cushions for sensitive bums!
On one wall there is a nice painting directly on to the plaster depicting two men carrying a barrel from a stave. It seems somewhat Germanic to me.
There’s also a diagram showing the relationship of the pottle to other liquid measures and several other framed posters. As in many similar pubs there is no bar and beers and ciders are fetched from a cold room signed as the apparatus room at the back of the pub. This can be seen through a small window.
I understand there are normally four beers available but on this occasion when Linda and myself called in there were just three on offer. They were Brampton (Brampton, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire) Golden Bud (3.8%) and also their Golden Bud Speciale (5.8%). The third was Slater’s (Stafford) Premium Best Bitter (4.4%). We had the Golden Bud and enjoyed it a lot.
Cider drinkers were well looked after with several from Weston’s (Much Marcle, Herefordshire) Wyld Wood Organic (6.0%), Family Reserve (5.0%) and Perry (4.3%). There was also Thatcher’s (Sandford, Somerset) Traditional (6.0%). They also serve wine and a range of Fentiman’s soft drinks. Snacks are provided by the normal range of crisps and nuts. More substantial fare is offered in the form of Peak District cheeses with crackers also pork pies, when available.
All in all, a great little pub that comes highly recommended.
The Cask & Pottle, 2 High Street, Tutbury, Staffordshire. DE13 9LP. Tel: 07595 423614
Open: Monday Closed; Tuesday-Thursday 12.00-14.30, 17.00-21.30;
Friday 12.00-14.30, 17.00-22.30; Saturday 13.00-22.30; Sunday 13.00-16.00
Tutbury station is around 15 minutes walk to or from the pub.
It is served by East Midlands trains running from Derby to Stoke via Uttoxeter.
The frequency is about hourly for most of the day Monday to Saturday.
It is two-hourly on Sunday and the service doesn’t kick off until around 14.00.
Buses pass the station on their way to and from the town. The routes are No 1 from Uttoxeter to Burton-on-Trent operated by Arriva which runs hourly to around 22.00 Monday to Saturday and every two hours on Sunday finishing about 18.00.
There is also the V1 that also runs around hourly and is operated by Trent-Barton.
It also finishes around 22.00 and is two hourly on Sunday finishing about the same time.