Jane Stuart – Writer

Writing about real life Up North: football, ale, food and mental health – with a good dash of humour.

Burton Albion v Blackpool: The Brewers

Dear reader, I could write a book on the beautiful beers of Burton. This is one of the awaydays I will miss most of all this season. Even if the football is terrible, I know this wonderful town with its epic pubs and friendly locals will never fail to take me in its arms and make it all better. Not only that, but they sell faggots and peas at the ground. I bloody love Burton.

Last season, I visited six pubs either side of the match, which you can read all about here. But today I am going to switch my focus to the breweries of Burton. Believe me, there are some corkers.

Burton Bridge Brewery

This microbrewery is based at the Burton Bridge Inn, the pub’s brewery tap. This is very much a ‘local’ traditional pub, which even has a skittle alley.

Their core range is: Golden Delicious (best bitter), XL Bitter, XL Mild, Sovereign Gold, Bridge Bitter, Burton Porter, Damson Porter, Draught Burton Ale, Stairway to Heaven (premium), Top Dog (stout), Damn Dog (stout), Bramble Stout, Festival Ale (premium) and Thomas Sykes Old Ale.

I have to say I am most intrigued by the Thomas Sykes Old Ale – a 10% barley wine. This is a multi-award winning beer that sounds rich, fruity and warming – perfect for when the nights are starting to draw in. Definitely one to look out for (perhaps I’ll only have a third of that one, though, to be on the safe side!).

This one pops up from November, too, so I’ll be looking out for this:

I never can resist a Christmas pumpclip. Indeed, it was a festive beer that got me into drinking real ale in the first place, one fateful Boxing Day in Sheffield.

Marstons

Burton is also home to the big BrewCos, including Marstons, which encompasses (amongst others) Banks’s, Jennings, Ringwood, Wychwood, Brakspear, Eagle, Young’s, McEwan’s…and…er…DE14??? Hold your (dray) horses (yes they have them in Burton too) – this requires further investigation…

DE14

Well, well, well. I never knew about this place. This experimental ‘nano-brewery’ has been part of the Marstons family since 2016.

They brew the following: Flight Suit (orange pale), 4 Track (hopped lager), Ultra Green (cucumber and lime gose), Parallax (West Coast IPA), Husk Theory (cascara session sour), Free Fall (saison) and Morgan Silk (NEIPA).

Well, now – doesn’t THAT sound interesting? Especially the cucumber and lime gose. It has seaweed in it! I may hate it, I may love it – but I have to try it and find out! It’s a collab with Twisted Barrel – a cracking brewery with a cracking taphouse that I’ll no doubt be visiting when we next play Cov.

Tower Brewery

This really is Burton’s hidden gem. I struggle to find the door even when I’ve found the building, a converted water tower. And that’s on the rare occasion I happen to be visiting on a day (and at a time) when it’s actually open. I can’t even get onto the WEBSITE, it’s that hard to find…

It is such a treasure, though. The beers are traditional and the welcome in the tap house is as warm as you will receive anywhere in Burton. Brewer John made me feel immediately at home on my visit – and I even found a rocking chair to sit in while I enjoyed my beer.

Their beers include Imperial IPA, Salts Burton Ale, Strong Ale, Gone For A Burton and Tower Bitter. As it’s almost November, I’m hoping to summon up a Winter Spirit, a full-bodied winter warmer.

Burton Town Brewery

This place looks cool – and definitely on the map for my next visit to Burton. They have their own bar with barrels for seats and I love it already and I haven’t even been!

They brew and serve vegan-friendly cask ale.

Bottled beers are available to buy online at the click of a button (do it now!), including: Black As Your Hat (black IPA), Thomcat (American pale/session IPA), Kolsch, Modwena (oatmeal stout), Cascade IPA and Albion (pale bitter – their version of Burton Pale Ale).

Gates Burton Brewery

I confess this is a brewery that I wasn’t familiar with.

Their range is: Burton Ale (amber), Damn (ruby), Reservoir (premium) and Reservoir Gold (strong).

I’m opting for the Damn, a ‘ruby ale with chocolate malt tones and…a subtle sweet finish’. Sounds damn fine to me…

Heritage Brewing Company

Formerly the William Worthington Brewery, this is located in the National Brewery Centre (more of which below).

Their core ales are: Masterpiece IPA, Massey’s Mild, St Modwen’s Golden Ale, Victoria Pale Ale, Offiler’s Bitter, Massey’s Golden Bitter, Heritageg Red, Charrington IPA, Charrington Oatmeal Stout (mmm) and Heritage Gold.

Seasonal ales include: P2 Stout, Six Nations IPA, It’s a Cracker (‘a mahogany bitter with hints of hedgerow notes with a slight smokiness’), X Porter, Old Fireside Ale, Sole Survivor (pale), Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

National Brewery Centre

I cannot recommend this place highly enough. By which I mean both Burton itself AND the National Brewery Centre. If you like beer and/or history, you simply MUST visit this place. It’s simply fascinating. I enjoyed it even more than I thought I was going to.

Bass Brewery was founded in 1777 in Burton – and, a century later, was the largest brewery in the world. The museum tells the story of Bass – and beer -through some incredible objects – including dray horses. Bass Brewery is also the home of Marmite – a by-product of the brewing process – and (love it or hate it) you can learn how this is made.

Visitors are welcomed Thursday to Sunday and booking is essential. You can have a guided tour, walk round by yourself or – on the second Saturday of the month – attend a food and beer matching session at the end of your tour.

There’s a bar and restaurant. Here I enjoyed one of the best-kept delicious beers I have ever tasted. Despite this, I didn’t hang around on my last visit – as I had a pub map to complete – but a cursory glance at the menu reveals a ‘chip butty with ale chutney’ and I’m all over that!

There’s a comedy club on the last Friday of each month…and there’s even an escape room! I’ve wanted to do one of these for years and this one (not to mention all the breweries and all the pubs) makes me want to book a weekend (week?) away in Burton!

Dear reader, I haven’t even started on the pubs but, as mentioned above, I visited a good few on my trip to Burton last season, so follow this link if you want to know more…

Burton Albion v Blackpool

But of course we’re (not) here today for the match…

Things have started to change at Blackpool – not before time, I might add. Since the Wimbledon match on Tuesday, we have brought in Colin Calderwood as ‘Assistant Head Coach’. We have been crying out for experience and bite in the dressing room, so this has to be seen as a positive. Whilst this is a particularly testing time for Critch, he will learn from the experience of working with Calderwood. However, I do have some concerns, which I touch on in the livestream video below:

The team news was delightful, with Blackpool reverting to a 4-4-2, which many have been crying out for for weeks. Now we would get to see Madine and Yates working together in the middle of the front line, with CJ and Kaikai on either flank. Oh yes – this was exciting! Further, we gave debuts to Iceland international defender Daniel Gretarsson (who we’ve been desperate to see) and Aussie midfielder Kenny Dougall (who I’d actually forgotten we’d signed!).

Dear reader, we played so much better – and only bloody won! It was actually a joy to watch – and a blessed relief! And Yates got his first two goals! That was actually our first away win since 17th September 2019. Woohoo!

‘Jingle Bells

Jingle Bells

Jingle all the way

Oh what fun it is to see Blackpool win away’

Okay, so Burton weren’t Brazil – but neither are Wigan or Eastbourne Borough, our two opponents next week (lockdown permitting). Any chance of a little winning run pretty please Blackpool…?

#UTMP


NB All pics above are taken from the websites referenced.


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