Thursday, 18 August 2011

Two pubs!!!

Our Wednesday 'pub run' had a new twist this week - we visited two pubs!

Meeting as usual at The Abbey Arcade in Burton on Trent we cycled about a mile to 'The Burton Bridge' - which aptly stands just on the edge of the old bridge across the River Trent. Originally known as The Fox & Goose the Inn was built in the late 17th century and was taken over by Burton Bridge Brewery in 1982. The modest exterior hides a deceptively spacious interior with two bar areas decorated in period style with various bits of memorabilia and a couple of real fires. I sampled a pint of the most excellent 'Golden Delicious' - a pale, straw coloured beer with a dry bitter finish and then we were off. The 'Elders' had planned a route that saw us pedalling through Burton and out to Clay Mills to join a new section of the Sustrans Route 54 which took us to  Shobnall and then back into Burton to finish at 'The Coopers Tavern' in Cross Street.

The Coopers is my favourite pub in Burton on Trent - In fact it's probably my favourite pub anywhere. Although I don't visit quite as often as I'd like I probably consider it as my 'local'. It's a square, squat 19th century brick-built building hidden down a side street, it was once a sampling house for the beers of the mighty Bass empire.
Brewers would come here to taste, ensuring that their products were up to scratch. These days it’s discerning punters who come to sample great beer straight from the barrel and drink in the Coopers’ unique atmosphere.

It has a comfortable, well worn timelessness. A snug off to the left offers quiet and contemplation in its parlour-like surroundings, while the front room is a hotchpotch of brewery mirrors and old faded portraits of Burton worthies on the wall. The floor is tiled and the furniture distressed wood with comfortable settles lining the walls. Further inside there's a short corridor leading to the open bar with raised seats and barrels for tables, there's a high vaulted ceiling and more bits and pieces. There are plenty of real ales (as well as a handful of carefully picked ciders and perries) on offer tonight. My usual favourite is the Castle Rock, Harvest Pale a 'British Champion Beer' it's a lovely, sprightly drop with a dry, citrusy and bitter finish - sadly not available tonight. However I did quite enjoy the light and refreshing Joules 'Blonde' For something stronger, there’s Jaipur, a modern IPA with a waft of tropical fruit on the nose and a great big bittersweet character. Other beers include Sarah Hughes’ strong mild.
The Coopers is a historical gem and a total beer paradise - a complete and evocative experience of the English pub. This was a great Wednesday ride - we finished off with a bag of hot chips with lashings of malt vinegar - the 9 mile ride back seemed suitably fuelled.

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