Saturday 14th February 2015
I have mentioned in other articles that after East Kent, the East Midlands have the second greatest concentration of newly-opened micropubs. The subject of this piece is one of the earlier examples in this area.
Actually the Beer Shack does have the slight appearance of a shack but in a nice way. It is not made of wood, but stone. I suppose that it’s a single storey building that gives the impression.
Inside we find a comfortable little pub that is a shrine to cask beer and real cider. The main door is on the right side of the pub and once inside, I could see that there were a number of varnished wooden tables along that side of the small room.
Facing these with their backs to the brick-clad lower wall were a number of comfortable looking red leather armchairs. On the other side of the tables there were wooden seats.
On the left of the room, located at the window, was a bench seat and an upright tall table. The rest of the left side is occupied by the bar counter which is quite long but very necessary because of the large number of 20-litre cider boxes that are positioned upon it. This is known as the “wall of cider”. The toilet facilities are located behind the service area and are accessed at the front of the pub.
On the rear wall is the old sign of the “Flying Bedstead”, a now closed local pub. Looking closely at the illustration I can see that it depicts the strange contraption that was the test-bed for the Harrier jump jet.
The rest of this wall is covered with pump clips as is the right side wall. This wall also has a very long shelf that is home to large number of books.
Behind the serving area is a blackboard with all of the offerings and there was quite a lot. Cask beer available were: Goff’s (Winchcombe, Gloucestershire) Lancer (3.8%); Spitting Feathers (Waverton, Cheshire) Session Beer (3.6%); Burton Old Cottage (Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire) Halcyon Daze (5.3%); Milestone (Cromwell, Nottinghamshire) Will Scarlet (3.6%) and Cotleigh (Wivlescombe, Somerset) Harrier (3.5%).
Cider is a very big deal in this pub and on this visit there was no less than fourteen available. You’ll be pleased to know that I am not going to list them all except to say they were all from small producers, not a sniff of Weston’s or Thatcher’s here! Wine is also offered.
This pub, which was last used as a Christian bookshop, was opened on 17th August 2013 by Julia Charlton and her business partner James Mansfield and has been very successful since.
This is indicated by the hours the pub now keeps. Earlier they didn’t open on Monday and there was an afternoon break, nowadays they are open all day, most days, see times below.
In fact Beer Shack is now a chain with others opened in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire and Burnley, Lancashire. I have reservations as it sounds like a franchise, please let me be wrong.
There are counter arguments here. It is a fact that these towns did not have much in the way of good cask beer pubs so it has to be a good thing that they now have micropubs. However someone recently pointed out that in some towns micropubs were taking custom from perfectly good traditional pubs, especially true free houses.
Well, Hucknall did need the Beer Shack and its subsequent success is testament to that. Also it’s in the classic mode and sells just cask beer, real cider and wines. The only food I could see were packets of crisps and scratchings, along with Chilli Rice Crackers from a big jar. Maybe there might have been pickled eggs.
I like this pub very much and have revisited with Linda who also thought well of it. It seems that the evenings are definitely the time to visit if the stories of the night before recounted in the pub are anything to go by. You must visit if you are in the Nottingham area.
The Beer Shack, 1 Derbyshire Lane, Hucknall, NG15 7JX. Tel: 07819 098030
Open: Mon-Sat 12.00-22.00; Sun 12.00-1700
Hucknall is the most northerly stop on the Nottingham tram system and so can be easily reached from the city centre. It is also a station on the Robin Hood Railway line from Nottingham to Worksop via Mansfield.
From the tram and rail station walk along station street towards the town centre.
Turn right into the High Street past the bus stops and then turn left into Watnall Road.
The second road on the right is Derbyshire Lane. You will immediately see the pub on the opposite side of this road.