- 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.
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.