Ales & Trails: 10 of Nottingham’s Greatest Beer & Ale Attractions

A Pint of Castle Rock Ale

Nottingham has had a longstanding love affair with ale and beer. When the sandstone caves which lay beneath the city were first dug in the medieval era, they were quickly discovered to be the perfect temperature for brewing and storing ale, and so began a dedicated passion for folk of Nottingham.

Castle Rock Brewery Mash Tun

Mash Tun at Castle Rock Brewery

Known throughout the country for its excellent brews, even in the 17th century word got around. Cecilia Fiennes, a traveller whose expeditions are well noted in her published journals, spoke of visiting the cellars at the Crown Inn (now thought to be one of Nottingham’s oldest pubs The Salutation Inn).

She wrote, “Nottingham is famous for good ale, so for Cellars, they are all dugg out of the Rocks and so are very coole. Att ye Crown Inn is a Cellar of 60 stepps down, all in ye Rock Like arch worke over your head: in ye Cellar I dranke good ale.”

There are several historic pubs which still store ale in the caves beneath. Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, carved snugly in the rock on which Nottingham Castle sits, is one such example. Karl Gibson, landlord of ‘the Trip’ explains the dedication of Nottingham brewers and pubs: “I’m passionate about real ale, especially local ale, so we try to champion as many local breweries as we can. In Nottingham they take care of the ale differently – it’s an expectation because of the history here and an experience that people come here for.”

Karl Gibson, Landlord of Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem in the Beer Cellar

Karl Gibson, Landlord of Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem in the Beer Cellar

While during the mid 20th century some of Nottingham’s larger breweries such as Shipstones began to decline, over the past ten years micro breweries have popped up all over the city, and reignited the city’s love for good ale.

While the popularity of the long-established British pub may be waning, micro-pubs such as Doctor’s Orders offer a new classic in the standard traditional drinking hole. In these cosy low key bars you’ll usually find that value goes more to a great range of ales and beers and a friendly atmosphere than fruit machines and loud music.

We’re sure you will have some of your own ways to celebrate #InternationalBeerDay, but if not we have compiled a list of some of Nottingham’s greatest beer and ale attractions.

  1. Take a tour of Castle Rock Brewery with Robin Hood to see the brewery in action. Hear the history of brewing in Nottingham, learn some tricks of the trade and pour your own pint of crisp ale in the Vat & Fiddle.
  2. Pick up some goodies at the Blue Monkey Brewery Shop where you can buy all manner of products, from gift packs to t-shirts, and get a glimpse into the on-site brewery too!
  3. Make your own pub crawl with these Beer & Ale Trails based in towns and districts of Nottinghamshire.
  4. Many of Nottingham’s pubs and bars are situated in some buildings which feature stunning architecture. Follow the Nottingham Architecture Ale Trail to impress your friends with your fancy knowledge! Available to download here or pick up from Nottingham Tourism Information Centre on Smithy Row.
  5. The annual Robin Hood Beer & Cider Festival returns to Nottingham Castle in October for another weekend of sampling over 1000 different ales! Grab your tickets fast as it’s often a sell-out, available from Nottingham Tourism Information Centre.
  6. For those who enjoy a dash of history with their drink, take a Historical Pub Tour with Madame Parboiled. Joining the executioner’s wife for a wander around Nottingham’s oldest pubs, you will be regaled with stories of Nottingham’s past, from tales of curious commoners to dramatic events at Nottingham Castle, all with a crisp drink in hand. Read our recent blog here!

    Canal House Beer Garden Nottingham

    Canal House Beer Garden Nottingham

  7. There are some truly cracking beer gardens in Nottingham to while away sunny afternoons and warm evenings under twinkly lights. Read our blog featuring our favourites.
  8. Challenge yourself to try every one of Nottingham’s award-winning beers and ales. (Perhaps not all at the same time).
  9. Raise your tankards and enjoy the amazing atmosphere of Nottingham Oktoberfest at the Forest Recreation Ground, with German beer, food and live entertainment over five days!
  10. Extras for experts! To discover the all ins and outs of beer, how to perfectly pair it with food, or even study the science of beer at the University of Nottingham, take a look at our Brewing Education page!
Posted on 04 August 2017
Featured author: Sophie

Writer and amateur local historian with an affection for English eccentrics. Returned to Nottingham in 2013, only to fall in love with the creative and cultural goings of the city.

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Featured authors

  • Sarah Louise

    A very lucky marketeer in her dream job. Passionate about all things Nottinghamshire and firmly believes if you work really hard and are kind, amazing things will happen!

  • Kinga

    Addicted to music and learning languages. Loves reading, gardening, travelling and everything new media related.

  • Alistair

    Originally from Preston – but now calling Nottingham home – Alistair’s a St Helens rugby league fan who loves travel and music.

  • Natalie

    Proud to represent the county I grew up in. Travel loving devoted mum of two who carries a torch for the city’s unsung hero, Captain Albert Ball VC.

  • Sophie

    Writer and amateur local historian with an affection for English eccentrics. Returned to Nottingham in 2013, only to fall in love with the creative and cultural goings of the city.

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