Last week I headed south of the border down to the Peak District for my little cousin’s wedding. On the way back up I thought it would be rude not to stop by the lovely historical spa town of Buxton. I convinced my family it was to see the beautiful Georgian architecture and learn a little about the history of the town but I knew this was a lie. The only reason we made the hour long detour was to stop by the Buxton Brewery Tap House.
The Buxton Brewery
Founded by Geoff Quinn and Richard Garnett back in 2009 with a brew, made in a family garage. They stepped it up a gear later that year when they bought the Wild Walker Brewery. Back then they used the 5 barrel set up to focus on their Buxton SPA, Buxton Blonde and Kinder Sunset. In fact, it was the SPA which first introduced me to their fantastic beers. In 2014 with the help of a funding package from RBS they were able to build a custom brewery at Staden Lane in Buxton. This 100 barrel modern brewery allowed them to expand their range and introduce sours and barrel aged beers. Some excellent international collaborations also happened with the likes of Omnipollo, Evil Twin, To Øl and Arizona Wilderness to name a few.
The Buxton Brewery Tap House
The Buxton Brewery Tap House opened its doors in September 2013. Situated in a historical part of Buxton right next to the Opera House and The University. It has 18 beers available on draft, 16 on keg and 2 on cask. Also, it offers a good selection of bottles, some limited editions from the brewery itself and also some special stuff from other breweries.
If you’re hungry they have a nice looking menu but I was there on a Sunday where they do a roast dinner. When in England on a Sunday, you eat a Roast dinner I’ve been told. I’m not one to complain so I went for Roast pork and Black pudding with all the trimmings.
Lemon Meringue Ice Cream
Having been to a wedding the night before with my family, all of which drink a tonne of booze, I was feeling rather fragile. So I thought the best thing to start with would be an easy going number. Having tried the Lemon Meringue Ice Cream beer last year in bottle, I thought that would be a good place to start. It was part of the Buxton and Omnipollo ice cream series, you know the ones with pictures on the front that looked like a jobby with legs. It was brewed with lactose and has had sugar added.
Trying it fresh from keg was a delight. On the nose, it has bags of ripe tasting lemons, bonbons and sherbet. The palate is refreshing with balanced acidity and a creamy body. The taste has more sherbet flavours mixed with vanilla ice cream. I did find the finish a little bit lacking but as a pre-noon tipple, it’s very drinkable.
Single Barrel Rain Shadow – Jalapeño and Cacao Edition
After some food, I thought I would step it up a gear with one of my favourite stouts, Rain Shadow. The one that’s available on tap at the moment is a single barrel version that has been aged with cacao nibs and smoked jalapeños.
On the nose this is massive, notes of molasses, coffee, burnt sugar, smoked peppers and dark chocolate. The palate is really boozy with bags of roasted coffee bitterness and spice. The finish is long and develops into a warming smokey spice kick from the Jalapeño. An expensive beer but definitely worth it.
Got a growler of the Buxton and To Øl collaboration Sky Mountain to take back home. I ended up getting back to Glasgow around 8 pm and poured myself a glass before hitting up my local Pub with a friend and then heading back to mine to finish off the rest of it.
This is a beer I really enjoy drinking when it’s available. The nose offers apple and sourdough notes while the palate is bone dry and super tart. Nice long finish for the low abv and very moreish.
Yellow Belly Sundae
Finally and by no means last, one of the most sought after beers Buxton do, Yellow Belly Sundae. I shared this with my fairly drunken mate, which was probably not the best idea but why the hell not. This is a barrel aged version of Yellow Belly, which is a peanut butter & biscuit imperial stout that Omnipollo collaborated on in the first Rainbow Project series. This bourbon barrel aged version has been aged on cocoa nibs and vanilla pods for at least 9 months. The nose has vanilla, biscuits, milk chocolate, roasted peanuts and subtle toasted oak.
The palate is huge and sweet but still balanced with bitter boozy character. The barrel ageing has not really added a massive oak character but more helped integrate the complexity of the base beer. After drinking this both me and my friend were absolutely pissed and ended up having a massive argument over VAT or something silly like that and he stormed out the door. All in all a very fun day out, thanks to the Buxton Brewery Tap House.