Buxton tap-takeover at Cask
Two days ago, on an otherwise mundane Monday, The Cask Pub & Kitchen was infiltrated by some humble fellas from Derbyshire. Lucky for us, they’d brought beer. Every single cask pump behind the busy bar was squirting out the amber nectar of Buxton Brewery.
There seems to be a wave of craft beer breweries setting up shop in every single available location up and down the country. They usually fall into one of two categories: 1) Crazy long-haired mavericks with specks of dried hops stuck in their beards, furiously pushing the boundaries of what’s possible to do with beer, or 2) Hipsters with a hard-on for artisan products. Buxton Brewery feels like neither. They seem to be focused on a more traditional English style of brewing, making a range of steady ales, but doing it with a craft beer edge. Yes, their labels look like they’ve been printed by someone’s dad on his old inkjet printer. But so what? Not all breweries need to be fronted by elves, sharks, dogs and/or featuring ye-olde-worlde graphics or scribbles by trendy illustrators. There’s nothing nuts about Buxton Brewery, they just make seriously delicious beer.
At Cask they had 10 different ales on offer, as well as a very hoppy pilsner made in collaboration with The Kernel Brewery. I didn’t have the stamina to sample all of them, but all the ones I had were extremely agreeable. The most delectable ones were the Axe Edge (“this IPA is smooth, no wait, this IPA smoother than smooth”), the Imperial Black IPA (“hello Mr liquorice, where have you been lately?”) and the Kinder Stout (winner of the “Most Quaffable Stout, Ever” award). The Buxton Spa was another highlight – a light pale ale I would be happy to keep drinking until the cows come home. The only one that made me go “meh” was the Moor Top. It was a tad watery and too bitter for my taste, at least compared to the others. I’ve read good things about it though, so maybe it was just this one cask. Or maybe I just don’t know what I’m talking about.
It’s also worth mentioning that just as the evening was drawing to a close someone behind the bar had the audacity to put some Mikkeller Risgoop on tap. The monsters. Of course, I couldn’t resist, so the evening ended in a glass full of sweet alcoholic bliss. The flavour of this barley slash rice wine had me pounding the table and stomping the ground, while my mouth was trying to get to grips with what the hell was going on. Mikkeller is firmly in the crazy category mentioned earlier.
I’m really happy that someone like Buxton Brewery exists. Someone who can keep the tradition of English brewing going, while upgrading it, making it more delicious and, in the process, making it appeal to more than just a bunch of Merlins and Gandalfs. I left the pub an avid Buxton fan.