We went beer and cheese tasting at this Derby bar and it was perfect antidote for a miserable Monday evening

Suds & Soda on Friar Gate is a cute and cosy space that also doubles up as a craft beer shop and tasting room | Image Ria GheiSuds & Soda on Friar Gate is a cute and cosy space that also doubles up as a craft beer shop and tasting room | Image Ria Ghei
Suds & Soda on Friar Gate is a cute and cosy space that also doubles up as a craft beer shop and tasting room | Image Ria Ghei | Ria Ghei

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The epic cheeseboard and intimate venue make this Derby’s best kept secret

A dark, cold and wet Monday evening may not seem to be the best time to venture outdoors or in fact, for a date night (hello, frizzy hair?!)

But we’ve found a weekly event that will make you think twice about putting on your PJs - and instead don your glad rags instead. A beer and cheese tasting at a quirky Derby venue.

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I have tried wine flights, rum tastings, and more, but it was my first time pairing cheese with beer.

The evening called Funk & Fromage is organised by Lee from Suds & Soda which is a craft beer shop and tasting room in Derby city centre.

The motivation behind the cheesy, beery event was, Lee said, simply to try something different and get more people through the door.

It worked for me, because I am evangelical about food and drink matching and as soon I heard about the beer and cheese night, I had to check it out at the earliest opportunity.

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Although you don’t have to pay for the cheese, you are expected to purchase beer so you can conduct your own tasting at your table, in your own sweet time.

I have visited the beer shop mainly over the summer over the past few years and didn’t realise it would be transformed into a warm, inviting and cosy space on a rainy Monday evening.

There is a good selection of beer to choose from and the menu also handily lists breweries’ names so you can explore the beer range if you really like a beer from a particular brewery | Image Ria GheiThere is a good selection of beer to choose from and the menu also handily lists breweries’ names so you can explore the beer range if you really like a beer from a particular brewery | Image Ria Ghei
There is a good selection of beer to choose from and the menu also handily lists breweries’ names so you can explore the beer range if you really like a beer from a particular brewery | Image Ria Ghei | Ria Ghei

The selection of beer looked great too, but what caught my eye was the cheeseboard taking pride of place near the bar.

It was a pretty generous cheeseboard packed with a variety of cheeses sourced from local deli Milk & Honey on Sadler Gate.

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These included charcoal Cheddar, Cornish yarg, Montagnolo Affine, Green Thunder, Wensleydale with pineapple, Black Bomber, Rutland Red and Lincolnshire Poacher.

It was a jam packed cheeseboard filled with local cheeses, piquant chutneys and juicy grapes | Image Ria GheiIt was a jam packed cheeseboard filled with local cheeses, piquant chutneys and juicy grapes | Image Ria Ghei
It was a jam packed cheeseboard filled with local cheeses, piquant chutneys and juicy grapes | Image Ria Ghei | Ria Ghei

What I love about Suds & Soda is that you can buy beer in smaller glasses of thirds and two thirds.

Like tasting food menus at restaurants, smaller portions give you the chance to try a wider range of items.

This is how I managed to try three thirds of beers from three different breweries.

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If I had had three pints, I would have been full too quickly but this way I managed to tuck into cheeses and sip lovely beer along the way.

Here is what I drank at Suds & Soda Derby

  • Shiny Lager by Shiny Brewery (Pilsner style lager with mild floral hoppy aroma)
  • Faith In Futures by Northern Monk Brewery (pale ale with subtle fruity flavour)
  • Lust by Moersleutel Brewery (ripe strawberry and tropical fruit flavours)
Beer and cheese really are a match made in heaven - Lust by Moersleutel Brewery went exceedingly well with charcoal CheddarBeer and cheese really are a match made in heaven - Lust by Moersleutel Brewery went exceedingly well with charcoal Cheddar
Beer and cheese really are a match made in heaven - Lust by Moersleutel Brewery went exceedingly well with charcoal Cheddar | Ria Ghei

I am a sucker for garlic, so one of my favourite beer and cheese pairings was Green Thunder and Shiny Lager.

The fragrant floral hop married well with the roasted garlicky mature Cheddar whose buttery texture made this a hot favourite at our table.

Lust by Moersleutel Brewery also tasted great with earthy depths of charcoal Cheddar.

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Make a date

Suds & Soda’s Funk & Fromage night is more than just a time to enjoy beer and cheese together.

It is a time to decompress, breathe, and sip some excellent beers whilst trying new cheeses.

I have to mention the eclectic background music and telly streaming video of a hamster doing ‘hamstery’ things like exercising on a wheel.

It may sound a little leftfield and perhaps a little different, but it works and that is the beauty of Suds & Soda.

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It is a unique beer outfit whose different takes on food and drink matching makes them one of the leaders in the field of craft beer and artisan food done well.

Service with a smile came from Sian, a creative who also knows how to pull a mean pint.

She also designed Derby Beer Con’s merchandise so she is really immersed in Derby’s fabulous beer culture.

Suds & Soda has a really special thing going on and I can’t wait to visit again because I also enjoyed the perfect date night here.

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Funk & Fromage is held at Suds & Soda every Monday from 6pm.

Address: Suds & Soda, Friary Works, 119 Friar Gate, Derby DE1 1EX

For more information about Suds & Soda visit their website by clicking here.

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