Burton upon Trent

On our way north to visit family, it’s always difficult not to stop off for a night at Burton-on-Trent, one of the homes of British beer. It’s here that the Bass brewery was born in 1777. It was to become the largest brewery in the world, and the recipient of Britain’s first ever trade mark – the Bass red triangle. The local water, rich in sulphates, was ideal for bringing out the hop flavours in its pale ales.



Today, Burton still retains its brewing heritage. From certain vantage points the gigantic metal vessels of the Molson Coors brewery dwarf the buildings on the high street. Many well-known beers are brewed under licence here, but there are smaller breweries too, and a plethora of pubs to enjoy. We had time for only two, the thoroughly traditional Coopers Tavern and the modern, bar-like Beeropolis.

The Coopers Tavern:

  • Joules Slumbering Monk (4.5%). A delicious collision of malt and fruit from one of Burton’s older breweries.
  • Joules Corker Stout (4.8%). Everything you want a stout to be: rich, chocolatey and roasty.
  • Allsops Celebration IPA (7.5%). I’d call this an old ale or a barley wine. Almost intimidatingly rich, but somehow more-ish. Definitely one for sipping, not guzzling.
  • Bristol Beer Factory Belgian IPA (5.9%). A combination of fresh hop character and the funkiness of Belgian yeast yields flavour in abundance.


  • Titanic Raspberry Pale (4.7%). The tartness of raspberry marries well with the pale ale base. A zingy counterpart to the fruitiness of their fabulous Plum Porter.
  • Mobberley Brewhouse Dark Winter (4.6%). A warming stout with a hit of sweet toffee.
  • Cloudwater Breeze Sour (7.0%). I profess not to like sours, but this raspberry and passionfruit concoction seems more sophisticated and less in-yer-face than most. I’ll have a half!
  • Cloudwater MCI Imperial Stout (11.0%). What if you put a stout on steroids, but the steroids were also on steroids? Here’s the answer. Drink with a pipette.

We might have sampled a couple of others. I … er … can’t quite remember.

Written by Richard Salsbury

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