Beer drinker, beer brewer and lover of all things beer.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Gone for a Burton Part 2

After leaving Marstons my next destination was the Burton Bridge Inn for some lunch and a pint. I had made enquiries about a tour of the Burton Bridge brewery but was told that they only made group bookings, I suppose I wasn't going to get the personal treatment twice in one day! My cheese sandwich took a suprisingly long time to arrive but as the barman was keeping himself fit by running aup and down the stairs to collect the food orders I doubt the kitchen was staffed by more than one chef. The sandwich was washed down by a pint of Burton Bridges Sovereign Gold. A straw coloured ale with citruis and caramel on the nose. Very fruity on the palate with more than moderate bitterness. Light in body with a dry refreshing finish. This ale slid down nicely and gave a good impression of Burton Bridge as a brewer of quality ales.
My next destination was the National Brewery Centre, a ten minute walk up Horninglow street. The site which was originally the Bass Museum re-opened on the first of May in a joint venture between Planning Solutions and Molson Coors. The centres closure in 2008 prompted action from the local CAMRA group along with local councillors to get the centre re-opened. It was worth while as this is a gem of an attraction. Staff are all decked out in Victorian dress to add the nostlgia experience. As you enter the museum you are taken through the brewing process with short films, exhibits and artefacts demonstrating the process of making beer that is still in essence the process used today. As you follow the signs you are taken through suprisingly many different rooms and buildings with hundreds of different displays. These include a massive scale model of Burton from 1921 when the town was still the brewing capital. There is a shed with working steam engines and array of vintage vehicles used by the brewing industry. There are a couple of resident Shire horses but they are rather lively to say the least so I wouldn't recommend trying to pet them. The tour ends in the mock Edwardian pub where you can use your tokens to sample the beers on offer. You could waste these small tasters on some of the Coors lager offerings but you would be a fool. On offer was the smooth and delicious Worthington White Shield and the golden hoppy Worthington E. These beers have been revived by the much respected Steve Wellington who brews them at the museum microbrewery. I went on to the Brewery Tap restaurant/bar after and had a pint of Red Shield a lighter more sessionable version of the White Shield. My last two tokens were used on the much vaunted Imperial P2 stout. This complex 8% offering delivers quite a kick and would be a challenge to consume more than a half. This multi-layered stout is a master of the style but it's a style that is a bit too far for me as the alcohol level is too evident in the taste for me.
After leaving the centre and stepping into the fresh air I felt the P2 stout (and all the other beers) going to my head a little and I needed to clear it before returning to the train station and attempting to get on the correct train home. I took a walk back down Horninglow street to check out some more of Burton's historic brewing related buildings.

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