Saturday 6th January 2018
Following on from East Kent the micro-pub revolution next caught on in a big way in the East Midlands, notably Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. The centre of England’s brewing industry, Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire was not to remain immune from this trend for very long. Especially as the River Trent is the natural boundary between Staffordshire and Derbyshire. There is a bit of Burton on the other side, however.
There are now three micro-pubs in the town and the first was the Fuggle & Nugget. The motivation behind this example are Jane Laws and Shaun Rose. Both lovers of cask ale they were looking around for a suitable property to take their interest one step further. They eventually settled on this property in the Bargates area of the town right at the far end of the High Street.
It was formerly the Manse House of the adjacent Riverside Church and is Grade II listed. Its last commercial use was as a hairdressing salon. They then had the hard work of converting it to its new function and I have to say they’ve done a good job, maximising the space well. They finally opened the door to thirsty Burtonians for the first time on 17th November 2015, so it had been open for just over two years when I called in. Of course it is named after two hop varieties and cartoon characters of Fuggle and Nugget are depicted on the pub logo.
They say first impressions are important so I have to say that this pub was instantly likeable. It is quite colourful with many cushions scattered around. The door is on the right of the building, set back from the street. Inside, I could see the rest of the front on my left was occupied by a fitted bench seat with two small loose tables on a slightly higher level in a C-formation where customers have their backs to the windows.
The bench continues at a lower level along the left side of the room and there are two wooden tall tables opposite. These are in the classic micro-pub style so those seated can be faced by standing customers. Moving along this left side of the room we come across what I suppose is a large alcove with fitted benches around three walls with three small tables in the middle of the space.
The two toilet facilities are at the rear of the building. On the way you pass the shelves for storing glasses on the left. On the right is the “service area” which consists of a table to place drinks upon. Behind it is a small window through to the cool room which is accessed through a sliding door.
Bottled beers are displayed here and the walls are covered by pump clips of beers past. Between here and the entrance is another fitted bench faced by two more high tables.
There are normally three or four cask beers on sale served direct from the barrel. When I visited they offered: Ashover (Clay Cross, Derbyshire) Font (3.8%); Taphouse (Smisby, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire) Kingdom (4.5%) and Froth Blowers (Erdington, West Midlands) Riverside Stout (4.8%).
Cider drinkers are well looked after here. They had Worley’s (Shepton Mallet, Somerset) Red Hen (6.2%); Gwynt y ddraig (Pontypridd, Glamorgan, South Wales) Happy Daze (4.5%); Lilley’s (Frome, Somerset) Mango (4.0%); Thirsty Farmer (Sutton Bonington, Leicestershire) Blackcurrant and Snailsbank (Bishop’s Frome, Worcestershire) Rhubarb & Winter Spices (4.0%).
There are also two keg beers from Samuel Smith (Tadcaster, North Yorkshire): Mild and Organic Lager. Sam Smiths also supply the pub with a wide range of bottled beers including four from their fruit range.
There is a small range of spirits and they have an additional “Gin of the Month”. Non-alcoholic offerings include soft drinks and tea / coffee.
This pub comes recommended and is well worth visiting if you are in the East Midlands. Add in that is just around the corner from the excellent Burton Bridge Inn, home of the Burton Bridge Brewery and a short walk from the National Brewery Centre, and you are on to a winner. However a word of caution. Hours are somewhat limited and I was visiting on the only day that they are open at lunchtime. See below for times.
Fuggle & Nugget, 81 High Street, Burton upon Trent DE14 1LD. Tel: 07805 526322.
Hours: Sunday-Monday: Closed; Tuesday-Wednesday: 18.00-22.00;
Thursday: 17.00-22.00; Friday: 17.00-22.30; Saturday: 13.00-22.30.
There is a reasonably frequent bus service from central Burton. Alight at the Meadowside drive stop.
From the stop continue walking in the same direction as the bus and you will find the pub on the same side. To return to the centre cross the road and turn left. You will then see the Bargates Bus stop.
It is probably best to do a two-pub crawl and catch a bus out of town and get off at the Severn Drive stop.
The Burton Bridge Inn is just across the road. It is a short walk around the corner to the Fuggle & Nugget.