Hard Rock in Derbyshire

Us pub tickers believe the Good Beer Guide exists for our sole benefit and therefore all pubs should require to be open 24/7, 365 days a year. In turn we would reward their dedication with a quick half.

The reality is, of course, somewhat different and some open so infrequently that the logistics of visiting become challenging. The Rock Mill Brewery in New Mills, Derbyshire is open for six hours a week – 5-8 on Mondays and Tuesdays – and its inclusion in the Guide caused much grumbling and cursing as a result. Especially when combined with the fact that, for me, the next nearest requirement, the Packhorse at nearby Hayfield, doesn’t open on a Monday or a Tuesday, thereby necessitating two lengthy trips. I love it really.

Despite such reservations the Rock Mill Brewery in New Mills is an absolute delight. It is tucked away down a lane off the main road, with a small outdoor seated area.

The entrance is unassuming.

There are a couple of tables inside.

The higgledy-piggledy nature of the room is not a pre-conceived, designer-calibrated micro mess. No, it may be a mess but it’s a charmingly authentic mess. At the helm is Ray, a retired cabinet maker. He has been brewing for 5 years, for a while running the cabinet making business next door concurrently, before concentrating on the brewery. His skills came in handy when building the bar.

There are five cask beers served by handpump , the fifth of which is cunningly located away from the bar. That one served the delicious Miller’s Mild, which was the pick of a decent set of ales. The beer list of displayed outside on the er…electronic screen.

Ray had told pal Alfie he was going to be open last Bank Holiday Monday so we prioritised a visit and went through the beer card. Younger readers may not recognise Ray’s notebook and till system for sales. There is a loyal local following, as can be seen by the pots behind the bar, and several local pubs take his beers.

If you can’t make it during the six hours a week he is open then the good news is that he is planning to open on the last Saturday of each month but check first before visiting. You won’t be disappointed.

6 thoughts on “Hard Rock in Derbyshire

  1. Is it just coincidence that your first post in a while hits on the day RM is apparently MIA? You have to give the local branch some credit for including an eclectic outlier like this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Personally Dave, I think the local CAMRA branch have taken leave of their senses. Including this “hobby” pub in the Campaign’s prestigious national “flagship” publication, really makes a mockery of the whole GBG concept.

      No doubt that some on that committee thought they were being clever, and whilst one has to admire the tenacity of tickers like Duncan, by the same score it’s almost as if the inclusion of what is literally a “man in a shed” was intended as a deliberate challenge to the pub ticking brigade.

      Surely there must have been other local outlets, with more orthodox opening hours, that were worthy of inclusion in the guide? 🤔


      1. Thanks Paul, I agree that GBG entries should be accessible in terms of opening times within reasonable limits. There has obviously been an increasing trend for many not open lunchtimes/ midweek but 6 hours a week, however good, can’t be described as accessible. Not quite as bad as the brewery tap in St Helen’s that opened one day a month. By the way, tenacity is not the word my wife uses to describe all this!

        Liked by 1 person

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