Beer Blog

Canalhouse, Nottingham


I hadn’t been to Nottingham in a long while, not so as I could have a wander round and a nice drink anyway. I’ve quite a fondness for the place, having lived in The Victoria Hotel for a month or more, once upon a time.

I don’t remember any of the pub names, apart from one we used every day after work, which had something to do with canal boats, so I looked up the triple barrelled name; Fellowes, Morton and Clayton; the name of the biggest canal barge company in the land at one time.

It wasn’t hard to find, I knew exactly where it was, almost next door to the Crown Courts. Sadly it was tinned up and looked like it had been for some time. There was only one option then, straight into the pub next door, the one with the narrow boats inside.

The Canalhouse wasn’t there back in 1993, but I do remember some boats being moored up at the back of the Fellowes, Morton and Clayton. Apparently the Canalhouse opened in 2000 and according to a notice on the wall belongs to a company called Tynemill L.T.D.
I found that quite strange because the available beers suggested that it could well be the Castle Rock Brewery tap?

A bit of internet research quickly revealed that Tynemill and Castle Rock are essentially one and the same, the latter being a trading name of the former. The brewery tap is a short walk away and subject of a future tale.


I should have paid £5 for a pint of Castle Rock Harvest Pale (3.8%) and a half of Abstract Jungle Easy (4.4%) but the CAMRA discount of 20p per pint equivalent took that to £4.70.

Browsing the Nottingham CAMRA website, I see there are a whopping 41 pubs offering a CAMRA discount in the city? This caused me to search my own branch website to see how many we have in Leeds? The answer being I don’t know and in truth, I’ve never seen a list of Leeds area pubs offering discount. I know some do, but the idea hasn’t got the same kudos up here as it seems to have in the midlands.

Anyway, the beer? Absolutely spot on, confirming the pubs rightful GBG status. I’ve got both at greater than, or equal to NBSS 4. The Abstract Jungle one, an American style brown ale, would have been even better in keg format. That’s probably got one of the CAMRA National Executive members and others of her ilk frothing at the mouth, but we all know they just don’t understand anything that’s happened since the early 70’s.

Mind you, I shouldn’t say this mind, being editor of a CAMRA magazine myself, but did you see the polemic in Donny Drinker (Spring 2018) guiding members towards voting a certain way in the Revitalisation Vote, something which just proves my previous point. Oh, and they have a double page centre spread of all the discounting pubs in their branch area. Perhaps the way to a Dinosaurs heart is through their wallet!


I keep going off on tangents here don’t I, but the beer was top quality, which was obviously why some local CAMRA members were the only ones sat inside on the hottest day of the year. You can spot some of them a mile off in their beer festival and brewery t-shirts can’t you.

Everyone else was sat outside under a giant glass canopy and at 1pm it was very busy. We called in later on, much later on, like 1030pm and it was even busier then.


It was quite pleasant sat along the canal (Nottingham & Beeston) side, watching canoes, narrow boats and small cruisers drifting slowly by, sunlight blinking off the shiny bits, ducks scattering on their approach. There’s a real waterfront thing going on down here and it was all really quite pleasant.

I do love the narrow boats and their heritage, but can’t understand why you need to put a lifejacket on a dog? All varieties of which, naturally swim as soon as they get out of their depth, proving to me, not all Snowflakes are post millennials.

Top marks to the bouncers, sorry door staff, they might get offended. Seriously, they were brilliant, friendly, helpful and all with a cheery bit of banter, even later on. The Sunday Lunches looked decent too (more on Nottingham’s Sunday Lunches to follow in a later post).


The clientele were mixed, but included quite a lot of weakenders (sic) with their overnight bags and vanity cases at their sides, whose ranks I had entered myself. Only thing is, I wasn’t going to walk around three parts pissed, five abreast thinking I owned someone else’s town. Those on the previous days Beer and Pubs Forum trip to Northampton will be no doubt raising their eye brows now!

Overall, top marks for a decent drinking place with a nice atmosphere on what was a busy pre-bank holiday Sunday afternoon. I say drinking place, because it’s not really a pub. Pubs don’t have bridges going over a small dock inside. It’s more like drinking in a converted boat museum, which incidentally is what it once was.


11 replies »

  1. I remember Fellows, Moreton and Clayton back then being a Whitbread home brew pub.
    Given that boaters aren’t breathalysed like motorists it actually makes much more sense having a boat park rather than a car park. Now why haven’t other pubs realised that ?


    • My sister lived in a place called Rode Heath in Cheshire at one time. There was a canal side pub where barges on the Trent & Misery canal would park up overnight and call in for a few pints. I always fancied having a go, just cruising from pub to pub on the canal.


      • Richard,
        I did that for a week with old school friends round the Trent & Mersey, Staffordshire & Worcester and Shropshire Union in 1980 and we were moored up outside a pub every night.
        Both Tynemill and Castle Rock were founded by Chris Holmes who I remember being CAMRA National Chairman from 1975 to ’76.


  2. Great photos, particularly the little bridge. Good to see a pub so busy. Beer (Black Iris) was good when we did a late Sunday night stop there this year, but it was nearly empty back then.


  3. No, I’ve not seen “the polemic in Donny Drinker (Spring 2018) guiding members towards voting a certain way in the Revitalisation Vote” but it was probably just the Against argument countering the For argument sent to all members in What’s Brewing.


      • Richard,
        Given the shedloads of money that’s been put into the Revitalisation Project it’s no surprise that the argument put forward by CAMRA HQ came across as a compelling one.
        I’ve not seen that Donny Drinker.


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