Saturday 14th February 2015
Marlpool is a small village connected by houses to the larger town of Heanor. It was in the middle of the Nottinghamshire coalfield that, although geologically still extant, is no longer mined. Although I remember the area quite well, I have never previously visited Marlpool. The mining connection is in the name. Marl is earth and clay; not wanted in the mining of coal of course. So it presumably was dumped into a pool.
The Marlpool brewery was opened in September 2010 in the old slaughterhouse of a butcher’s shop.
The instigator was Andy McAuley who, along with his brother Chris, established the brewery. It is a 2.5 barrel (bbls) plant and my guess is that it turns out around ten Firkins (9 gallons) per brew. The small pub attached is not the only outlet as their beers are to be found in other local free houses.
I arrived by bus and walked back to Breach Road which has the Queen’s Head on its corner with Ilkeston Road. This free house is well worth a visit so that’s what I did after visiting the Ale House. I think the little pub looks very attractive from the street with its red-painted wooden framework. There’s a small bench outside for al-fresco drinker in warmer weather.
Inside I found a fairly crowded bar which proved to be a bit challenging photographically. Yet, with patience I obtained enough images to illustrate this article. The bar counter is an old Methodist chapel pulpit which serves its new role admirably. The red-painted walls are covered with old brewery mirrors and other memorabilia. There are shelves high up that hold old bottles and earthenware jugs.
I then took a look at the back room. This houses a cast iron stove in a fireplace and there was a large wooden table with church pews. There were more framed photographs and ephemera on the white walls and more old bottles on shelves.
On the way to this room I took a look down to the cellar and observed a skeleton coming up the stairs. The brewery is in an outbuilding through the back yard but I didn’t venture out to look. In sunnier times you can drink out there.
The beers from the Marlpool Brewery were all served from hand pumps on the bar and they were: Scratty Ratty (4.4%), a pale ale; Otter’s Pocket (4.0%), an amber ale; Owd Sowj (5.0%), a traditional dark bitter; Derbyshire Classic (4.8%), a best bitter and Blind Boris (3.5%), a mild.
The name of the last is interesting. The brewery is very supportive of the Brinsley Animal Rescue Trust and Boris is a bull they look after who was born blind. Boris loves the waste grist from the brewing process.
When I called in there were four guest beers offered and these were: Blythe Brewery (Rugeley, Staffordshire) Johnson’s (5.2%); Imperial Brewery (Mexborough, South Yorkshire) 1st Impressions (4.2%); Great Heck Brewery (Great Heck, North Yorkshire) Simcoe (4.5%) and Backyard Brewhouse (Brownhills, West Midlands) Blonde (4.1%).
If all this is not enough there were three ciders: Three Cats (Ilkeston, Derbyshire) Dry (6.0%); Bramley Street (Alfreton, Nottinghamshire) Medium (6.5%) and Malvern Oak (Ledbury, Herefordshire) Medium (6.5%).
There is a fine selection of beers and ciders in this micropub. Don’t miss it if you are in the area.
The Marpool Brewery Ale House, 5 Breach Road, Marpool, Heanor, DE75 7NJ
Tel: 07963 511855
Hours: Friday 14.00-22.00; Saturday-Sunday/Bank Holidays 12.00-22.00
There are two bus routes that can be of use. The Black Cat runs from Mansfield to Marlpool via Eastwood and Heanor. It continues on to Derby via Ilkeston. It is hourly on Monday to Saturday to 18.00 with only three journeys on Sunday.
The other route is the 23 which only runs from Heanor to Ilkeston but might be of use.
It operates every 15 minutes to 17.00 and hourly thereafter but not on Sunday.
Alight at either the Breach Road or Queens Head stops. Walk to junction with Breach Road where the Queens Head is. Walk a few metres up Breach Road and the pub is on the left.
It takes only a few minutes.
Langley Mill station on the Nottingham to Sheffield line is about one and a half miles away.