If you should find yourself travelling along the A52 between Derby and Nottingham; particularly if you’re not behind the wheel and you’re within opening hours, then Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer are here to suggest that you do whatever it takes to incite a stopover at a great Micropub in the Derbyshire village of Draycott…
The Draycott Tap House, which celebrates its first birthday on 1st March 2018, is an excellent example of the growing micropub concept: a more genteel, less ‘blokey’, and therefore much more female-friendly alternative to many of today’s pubs. If you haven’t visited a micropub before, we thoroughly recommend you make the stopover in Draycott. Just be sure to check opening hours before you go. At the time of writing the Tap House is closed on Mondays. However, if you live in the Derby/Nottingham area, you have no excuse for not visiting during opening hours: Draycott is well-served by bus from both cities and points in between.
For Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer, the Draycott Tap House and its associated brewery, the Draycott Brewing Company, represents an incredible example of how important it is to never underestimate how true the saying “it’s a small world” truly is. Both the tap house and brewery are the brainchild of Greg Mastalick, an American professional musician and educator who after living and working in Britain for twenty years took early retirement to bring his skills as a lifelong amateur home brewer to a wider audience. But what does the ‘small world’ saying have to do with this? Well, Greg and Mrs Fueled by Beer graduated one year apart from Fox Chapel High School in Pittsburgh and one of Mrs Fueled by Beer’s closest friends from that era went on to marry Greg’s brother. After so many decades, and two very different paths from Pittsburgh to the East Midlands of England: try telling Mr Fueled by Beer it’s not a small world!
Naturally the Draycott Tap House serves as Brewery Tap for Draycott Brewing Company, and Draycott beers feature prominently, but not exclusively. On any given visit the real ale lineup should feature a selection from Draycott Brewing as well as some local guest breweries. The real ales—up to eight at one time—are served by gravity direct from casks that are kept in tip-top condition in the cool room behind the bar. Draycott Tap House also offers a range of real ciders, gins, prosecco and other wine, and soft drinks. Light snacks like crisps and nuts provide the accompaniment.
It’s also worth noting that Draycott beers, which have appeared on cask in better ale hostelries in the Derby and Nottingham areas for a while have been showing up recently at CAMRA beer festivals both within the East Midlands and further afield. Such was the case at the recent Hucknell (Notts) and Ely (Cambs) Winter Beer Festivals. Ely is where Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer had the pleasure of pouring two of Greg’s beers: Heisenberg’s Principle and California Steam. Both went down well at Ely and just this past week a total of six Draycott beers were well received at Derby CAMRA’s Winter Beer Festival, where Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer enjoyed a rare Saturday afternoon on the ‘punters’ side of the bar.
To capitalise not only on the increasing exposure of Draycott beers at beer festivals; but also through his active participation in the Derby, Erewash Valley and Nottingham branches of CAMRA, and his regional involvement with SIBA, Greg is exploring several opportunities to grow his existing 2 BBL brewing operation in 2018. The future for the brewery, which is currently set up in farm buildings at nearby Dale Abbey, Derbyshire, looks bright.
On a side note, Greg Mastalick’s Draycott Brewing Company is not to be confused with “Draycott Brewery” whose beers sometimes appear mixed up with Greg’s beers at rating sites like untappd.com. Draycott Brewery is a small home brewing outfit located in Buckden near St Neots in Cambridgeshire. As far as I can gather their beers come in bottle only and are usually branded with some variation of “Buckden” or “Dunster Beach” on the label. The other giveaway is the reference to “Est. 2009” (see photo). Greg’s brewery was established later.