How to see more of Nottingham through a tram window and the bottom of a pint glass
NET (Nottingham Express Transit) and CAMRA have together produced the Nottingham Beer By Tram Guide which recommends some of the best real ale pubs easily accessible from the new Hucknall-Nottingham tram route.
The opportunity to sample a wide range of local ales in some unfamiliar surroundings and become more acquainted with lesser-visited bits of Nottingham while travelling around by tram (a mere £2.20 for an all-day ticket) - how could we resist?
And thus it was that at 12.45pm on Saturday, four of us met up in The Green Dragon in Hucknall. By the third pub, The Bowman (Butler's Hill), the remainder of the hardcore majority had joined us, our numbers swelling to 13.
The plan was to try and have at least a half in each of the 25 pubs en route. Unsurprisingly, neither NET nor CAMRA recommend this, and so for legal reasons you can chalk that bit down to our own youthful irresponsibility.
We opted to give a couple of pubs (The Miller's Barn, The Park Tavern) a miss because they're out on the offshoot branch of the line that on Saturday was only being serviced by bus. It was a beautiful day and so the pubs blessed with beer gardens - The Fox & Crown, The Horse & Groom, The Lion Inn, The Vernon Arms - all scored highly in our impromptu points system. The first two did especially well owing to the presence of a resident pub dog and to the excellent large bags of pork scratchings on sale respectively.
Arriving in the city centre, the group expanded some more, and it was enjoyable venturing into some city centre pubs I'd never visited during seven years of residence in Nottingham (Langtry's, The Turf Tavern).
By this point, some of the original group (myself included) were very definitely the wrong side of sobriety, the group splintered into different factions after The Bell Inn and after another couple of pubs (only one of which was in the guide) I were ready to hit the sack, having managed 18 of the 25 and 19 in total. A sterling effort, for which my liver, head and stomach were not thanking me on Sunday.
Quite a day, all told.