I mentioned yesterday how quiet Market Drayton’s pubs were, the Spoons apart. To be fair, it’s quite well pubbed for a small market town with a Spoons and a Fayre & Square, though WhatPub records its share of recent casualties.
On Tuesday night, Joules brewery tap was as busy as the Spoons, as it had been on my visit last year. This is a magnificent building, standing out from the crowd as you enter the town from the south.
I particularly like the way Joules have made a visual feature of the modern brewery equipment, which contrasts sharply with the traditional pub interior.
“Don’t you love it when you enter a pub for the first time, and a new world appears” said Bernard Everitt about Yorkshire’s Cover Bridge Inn on BRAPA. The Red Lion has that same sense of stepping into somewhere completely different.
This is obviously the flagship as well as the tap in their 20-strong estate. Only Sam Smiths can make pubs that feel as timeless as this; it reminds me of their Melbourne Brewery place in Stamford.
There’s a separate function room, and a few diners, but most folk were just drinking. As the most upmarket place for miles, wine was the only competition for Joules easy drinking range. We stuck to the Pale, as good here as at the Glebe (NBSS 4). Friendly staff were offering generous tasters of their range, but even the stronger Slumbering Monk couldn’t compare.
Joules seem to have mirrored Sams by branching out into some proper lagers as well. The Green Monkey may only have been the third lager I’ve had in my life (after Fosters and Sam Smiths), but was almost good enough to convert me permanently.
This isn’t quite as great as the Coopers Tavern, but then nothing much is (serving Bass in the Coopers helps). Coupled with trips to their pubs in Eccleshall and Cheswardine, it’s all the reason you need to visit the area.