This past Friday we took a trip over to The Ned Ludd which is just up from the Market Square on Friar Lane, it is occupying the building that until recently was housing a tapas bar and restaurant. It has only been open a couple of weeks, but when you go inside you would imagine it had been there for ages. I heard about the place both by word of mouth and also at the recent Nottingham Beer Festival, I arranged to meet up here based on the really good beer list that they had on the website and I was expecting some sort of real ale pub filled with the sort of people that drink in those sort of pubs. I was initially a bit surprised as it was more upmarket than I was expecting, the early Friday evening crowd was mostly made up from the young professionals and office workers from the city. I was liking the difference to my Friday night already.
I was very happy to see the extensive beer list and it was as promised on their website lots of craft beers and “no factory made beers”. You could also buy the beers in third of a pint glasses so you could get three different ones for about the same price as an expensive pint, about £4. At this point of proceedings I didn’t realize that we would be working our way down the entire list of 14 craft beers and odd cider that they had on offer, but in the end that was only about 4 pints each. It did feel a lot more by the end.
I started off by trying a couple of the craft beers from the Camden Brewery, a Camden Hells described as ‘A classic lager that’s exactly what it should be: easy-drinking, crisp and dry with beautiful bubbles”. That was pretty much how it was, mostly crisp and dry was what I got from the sup. Think posh Fosters with actual flavor and you would get the idea and no hangover. The other one was the Camden Gentlemans Wit which is “A Belgian Brew with an English Accent. Classic White Beer spiked with roasted lemons and fragrant with Bergamot”. Bergawot? apparently Bergamot is ‘a fragrant fruit the size of an orange, with a yellow colour similar to a lemon’. I quite liked this beer, it was most definitely ‘lemony’ think Staropramen with a lot of lemon and you might be close.
I then went a bit outrageous on the pocket by paying £4.10 for a third of “Flying Dog Raging Bitch”. I have drunk some of the Flying Dog beers before, they are a small craft brewery based out of Frederick in Maryland. You can get a good range of their bottled beers from the Hopology shop in West Bridgford. Ok lets get back to talking about this Bitch, the craft beer menu describes it as “They’re calling it a Belgian IPA. It has that hop bite from a big, bad American IPA with the banana and bubblegum from the Belgian Yeast”. Yeh I know, I think that they just made that all up as well. This is the sort of beer that tastes strong, it sticks the roof of your mouth as you drink it, and even though it tastes supurb you are so glad that you only bought a third as you just know it would do some serious damage to your head by the following morning.
Even though we did continue to sample our way down the menu, which I will continue talking about later, we did realize that we were going to need to order some food to assist our bodies in soaking up the beer. It does say on their website that “The Ned Ludd’s menu concentrates on high quality, locally sourced, artisan food – done simply but using imagination, with beer, wine or cider matched perfectly to each dish by our staff.” It was going to be hard for the staff to match our food choices as we were going to be sampling all of the beers.
I ordered the Beef Brisket for £5.75, the menu says that it is marinated for 24 hours in Navigation Stout and then slow cooked, with bacon, silver skinned onions, and herbs. After it came the waitress said that they use the Camden Ink Stout, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you which they used, but I will say that it made for a really rich and tasty gravy. Actually it wasn’t even really gravy it was more like a soup stock, very delicious and I could have drunk a whole bowlful of that on its own just with a bit of crusty bread and butter. It came served in a metal camping tin, which I gloss over and totally forgive due to the fact that the dish was really top notch. Also after I had eaten it I was told that they plan to do a much bigger version served in a bowl with mash potato, which was good news as that is where the brisket deserved to live and show itself off. I loved the tenderness of the brisket chunks, the crispy bacon was quite sublime, and I even didn’t mind the small onions, they kind of went well with the whole dish and everything did complement each other. The star, as I already hinted at, was most certainly the sauce.
My companion opted for the “3 Mini Ned Ludd Beef Burgers” for £6.75, a much more restrained choice. The waitress did say that they were really small, and they were, but they were actually twice the size she mimed, so it all worked out.
The food at the moment is very much served in a pub tapas style, which is ironic since this pub is housed inside a former tapas bar. We did wonder if it was still a tapas bar, that was now serving craft beer as well, and that they had just stuck a new exterior on the place, but that perhaps is an outrageous thought. We did find out though that there are plans in the coming months to turn the upper floor into a proper larger restaurant area, so I expect that the menu and food serving style may be different up there. It would be good to think that they would retain the pub tapas sharing plates theme down in the bar as well. I guess that is something to look forward to and see how it all pans out.
As we ate, we continued to work our way through the craft beer menu, third, by third. There were a couple of nice beers from the Thornbridge Brewery, Tzara ‘an ale / lager hybrid’ and Chiron which was a nice golden pale ale. We also surprisingly enjoyed a taste of Kirkstall Framboise, a Raspberry Favoured beer. The beer menu indicated “…A great raspberry hit leaves an incredible but not overpowering tartness on the palate”. Even though we ordered this just to complete the menu, we both had to concede that we would have quite enjoyed drinking a whole pint of it (well maybe a half lets not get carried away). It probably would pair quite well with a pudding dish.
I also enjoyed the Magic Rock Canonball, another one of their stronger beers on the list. This was described as “..an Indian Pale Ale in the true tradition, high in alcohol and massively hopped. Tropically fruity, resinous hops compete against a sweet malty backbone, our hop bomb might just blow you away…” To be honest I don’t really remember the fruity part of the taste, I did like it though and it was a shame that it was the last beer on the list that we tried, it deserved to be further up.
All in all, both beer wise and food wise we thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to The Nedd Ludd and we reckon that it may well have found its way onto our Friday night rotation. You can follow the Ned Ludd activities on their Twitter feed and Facebook page where you will also get more real time updates on beer availability.
Last Nights Beer List