The Mad Brewer's Diary

September 20, 1995

On the way out of Warrington, we stopped at the Barley Mow for a Greenall’s Original, just the brew to hit the spot after touring the Greenall estate. On the train to Crewe, we snagged a Stones Bitter in the can for good measure. From Crewe, we took the train to Birmingham, which has a huge train station, and literally ran through it to catch a train to Burton-on-Trent.

We checked into the Station Hotel, which we had learned about through BBB. We had a huge room, with 4 twin beds, a bathtub, and no shower. The TV didn’t work, so we got another one. You never know when you might want to watch some of that mesmorizing BBC programming. Burton CAMRA pub guide in hand, we headed out for a pub crawl. Make no mistake about it, Burton is a beer town. There are breweries everywhere, and the smell of boiling wort is in the air.

First stop, Roebuck Inn, just across the street from the Ind Coope brewery. Ansells Bitter has a bitter finish, nice thirst quencher. Gargoyle is 5% ABV, and Kim liked it. Next up was Sam’s Stout, an experimental brew by Ind Coope. This was truly an eye opener, black malt and hops, loads of both, in a creamy real ale version of stout. Anyone who believes British brewing in limited to one dimensional bitters needs to try something like this to believe it. The Burton Ale had the flavor of an orange. For food, we tried the Welsh Rarebit, which was killer, and only #1.20. The Alesbury Bitter, at 3.7% ABV was fruity, but the Marston’s Pedigree was disappointingly past its prime.

Next up was the Devonshire Arms, which had a much better Burton Ale, fresh, creamy, bitter in the finish. For the less adventurous, Skol Lager. Having no time to waste, we headed down the street to Coopers Tavern, not to be confused with Coopers Ale house in Seattle. Coopers puts the "Real" in real ale. The area behind the bar is lined with casks of Kimberley Ales. The bar room is very small and intimate, and the local CAMRA hangout. Kimberley Bitter at 3.9% was smooth and tasty. The world renouned namesake, Kimberley Classic at 4.8% ABV has a kick to it, and the Kimberley Mild was dark, but translucent, water appearent, but hey, too much of a good thing can be moderated.

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