Buxton Brewery are amazing. I understand that this could easily be taken as hyperbole, but I’d like to assure you, dear reader, that the statement is meant literally. We’ve been amazed with their beer an ample amount of times, not least at their open tap last year. Even recently we sat down and had a pint of Far Skyline in a bar in Didsbury, looked at each other, and said ’Wow’. The decision, then, to visit the Taphouse in their home patch and taste that beer at its freshest seemed like an obvious one. To add a sense of occasion to the day we set out to cycle the distance – aiming to arrive tired, thirsty and victorious at our destination.
Ok, we cheated a little. We took the train from Levenshulme to leafy Disley to avoid getting lost and flustered somewhere in Tameside. The roads in that part of the world make for some fantastic cycling, and we made such good progress that we decided to stop for a refresher in the lovely little town of Whaley Bridge. Sitting in a Robinsons pub with a Dizzy Blonde (a beer we’ve drunk and enjoyed many times) it was nice to think that it would probably be the worst drink of the day.
Cycling up the first steep hill of the journey we had two realisations: the Peak District has quite a lot of peaks, and the interim pint was a bad idea. Regardless, the views at the summit of our journey were incredibly rewarding, a mix of green rolling hills and distant toy villages .It was interesting to catch a glimpse of some of the scenery which has so obviously inspired Buxton Breweries beers and branding.
The downwards cycle was a rare treat, if a little bumpy, and we practically skidded to a halt directly outside the taphouse. We had expected a dark and dingy brown room; a little offshoot of the brewery for beer fanatics to gather and sup. On the contrary, we were greeted by a bright, clean and modern open space meant for sampling the Buxton range at leisure. There’s definitely a country cafe vibe too, with an excess of wingbacks and sturdy furniture. We saw a patron relaxing with a half pint and laptop, and if anything it seemed more natural than typing away with a coffee. I’d hazard a guess that we were the biggest beer nerds in the room as nobody else seemed quite as excited or quite as loud.
The beer menu was on point as expected. Granted, we knew there would be a lot of beer on (six keg, six cask – decent) but having practically the whole of the buxton range in bottles as well as some well selected foreign bottles was a nice discovery.
We got a chance to drink Tsar - Buxtons heavy hitting imperial stout - on tap and were not disappointed. In the glass its dark to the point of obscenity, seeming to gather and destroy all surrounding light. There is something especially foreboding about a dark beer with a dark head The initial flavour is massive, a big punch to the mouth of treacle, dark chocolate, coffee, The aftertaste is incredibly long, the beer seems to coat your mouth and gradually release all these fantastic rich flavours. Knockout stuff.
Besides the black stuff, they had a decent IPA on tap as well as an interesting experimental brew. However, the real the star of the day was the Red Raspberry Rye: a gorgeous berlinerweisse with a massive raspberry addition. It’s tart, and fruity at first, with an immensely satisfying zingy finish. The rye element gives this final astringent flavour which both balances the sweetness and keeps you coming back for another sip. Typing this is making me incredibly thirsty, actually.
When it was time to leave we grabbed a few bottles of triple R for the train and it was bloody magical. Cheers, Buxton.