Tuesday 28 October 2014

A pilgrimage to Burton

I finally got to spend a day in Burton-upon-Trent last week. I'd only briefly been to Britain's brewing capital before so it was nice to have time to wander round. The big British breweries may have been bought up by multi-nationals, and sign you see mostly now says Molson-Coors, but they still make a lot of beer in Burton.

There are two large breweries in this picture that between them make around six million barrels of beer a year.

As British beer barrels are bigger than US ones that's even large enough combined output to disqualify them from the American Brewers Association craft brewery definition if the share ownership hadn't done it already.

I think one was the Bass brewery at one point:

...and this one was Ind Coope, where the wonderful Burton Ale used to flow from:

I'd already been to the museum so I didn't bother this time, but I was still impressed by the row of Burton unions you can see outside it as you walk past. When I was in the museum I studied the union cask they had inside closely and briefly understood how the damn things work. I'd didn't stick though and I'm sure I'd barely turned away before the knowledge faded.

Having a chance to go for a drink in the evening I called in at the Coopers Tavern, an excellent pub that's at least a couple of hundred years old. It's now owned by Joules, and I'd been keen to try their beer ever since they were revived as James Joule, the brewer and scientist, is a bit of a hero of mine.

The beer was pleasant enough, but nothing to write home about. I'm afraid I'd had an excellent pint of Landlord with my lunch at the Rose and Crown in Zouch and my minor obsession with it had kicked in again.

The had quite range of beer but I couldn't stop as I wanted to get on to the Burton Bridge Inn.
Again the beer was good but it was no Landord.

Notice the unsightly Northern head
Perhaps if I'd found Ind Cooper Burton Ale, which like Landlord has the distinct flavour of Styrian golding hops, I'd've been able to favour a local brew. But then again, maybe not, as it's made in Manchester now.

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