Phantom & Firkin (Loughborough)

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Phantom & Firkin, 1/2 Leicester Road, Loughborough, Leicestershire.

Brewing commenced 1994 ceased 1999.

It was originally the Cross Keys.

Mike Brown writes:-

In 1809, the Cross Keys was described as “lately built”. The tenant, John Sugden, bought the pub and brewhouse for £600. In 1848, when Henry Dougherty was the victualler, it was described as being on the corner of Pinfold.

By 1870 Joseph Woodward was running the Cross Keys, where in 1877 Mrs Emma Woodward was listed as the brewer. By 1884 it was run by the Harford family, but with no mention of brewing.

The Cross Keys then became an Allied-Domecq brew-pub, called the Phantom & Firkin. This opened in 1994 and also supplies the following Firkins:-

  • Fuzzock, Leicester
  • Fourpence, Leicester
  • Fraternity, Oadby
  • Fullback, Leicester
  • Physio, Leicester

The Head Brewer is Steve Jones, using a ten barrel plant with a maximum output of some fifty barrels per week. The three core beers are Best Bitter 3.8%, House Bitter 4.3% and Dogbolter 5.6%, together with a monthly guest beer. The beers are brewed from a full mash and English cone hops.

However, an earlier Cross Keys had famous connections. According to Colin Owen's book on Bass, in 1766 William Bass bought the assets of John Farrow of the “Cross Keys Inn” at Loughborough. This was presumably to extend his business as a carrier, since he did not enter the brewing industry until 1777.