Oakham Ales Brewery Tap - A beer lovers paradise in a sea of mediocrity

You may have noticed a lack of posts since early last week, the reason being that I was working away in Peterborough, a dull trade show type thing the less said about the better. These working weekends don't usually allow me much opportunity for drinking a nice beer or two and it's generally a Pizza Express or the like (perfectly fine IMO) with a few colleagues and maybe a pint or two of Guinness afterwards if I'm lucky.

That said though, Peterborugh is particularly lacking when it comes to decent places for a drink (if I've missed a craft beer Mecca then please let me know below), I've never seen a town centre with so many chain pubs, it's like a who's who of crap chain drinking holes. Yates? Check! O'Neills? Check! Flares!? Check!

Luckily on the Friday night I managed to persuade my colleagues that The Brewery Tap in Peterborough would be a perfect place for something to eat and a few drinks, saying it had been 'reccomended by a friend who lives in Peterborough' (it hadn't, I just want to drink some Oakham Ales and eat Thai food!).

The Brewery Tap is owned by Oakham Ales, a fantastic brewery who seem to be getting a decent amount of attention amongst beer bloggers and drinkers alike, with their simply named 'Citra' pale ale coming out as a particular favourite.

So what about The Brewery Tap itself? Well, it's a seriously huge place that has a long snaking bar home to 15 cask hand pulls (admittedly a few repeats of the Oakham brews) and 15 keg taps (mostly pretty standard macro beers but a few half decent ones like Leffe), plus plenty of sofas and other seating, and even a stage area where bands are regularly on. Then you look up and things get even more interesting... There's a mezzanine level first floor, accessed by a wide wooden stair case, that's home to a fully fledged Thai restaurant. It's a fantastic idea and a combination that, for me personally, is a match made in heaven.

We rang ahead and booked so were seated upstairs straight away, despite the place starting to get really busy (around 8pm), and quickly ordered a few drinks - a pint of Oakham Ales White Dwarf (4.3%), a lightly hoppy, pale 'English Style' Wheat Beer. It was nice and dry yet thirst quenching, plus it went really well with the spicy food, really good and an absolute bargain at an incredible £2.35 a pint. I'm a fan of
Wheat Beer with Thai food and this turned out to be such a good choice I stuck on it for another pint, saving the all too tempting Citra Export for later...

We enjoyed some crunchy Thai Prawn Crackers (darker, spicier and more wholegrain tasting than their Chinese cousins) to accompany our first pint and perused the really well thought out menu. I ordered a classic Thai Red Curry with beef and Sticky Jasmine Rice, sat back, sipped my pint and soaked up the atmosphere.

As you can just about see from my slightly dark photo a nice touch is being able to see the beers on offer from your seat in the restaurent, so when the waitress takes your order you can just have a quick look at what you'd like. The restaurent staff then go down to the end of the bar and a few designated bar staff pull the pints and bring them up to the table - a simple yet effective system that meant we were never left waiting for our drinks, no matter how busy the bar downstairs got.

When the meal arrived it was excellent - a Thai Red Curry on par with any I've tasted (and believe me I've had my fair share) - hot with chilli, slightly sweet with coconut milk and rich with fish sauce, lemongrass, ginger, garlic and coriander, plus a nice bonus of aubergine, courgette and thinly sliced thai veg to accompany the super tender quick-braised beef. An aboslute winner that is making me salivate as I type.

After the chilli of my meal subsided on my tongue I decided it was time to tackle the beer I'd been eyeing up since my arrival, the Citra Export - A slightly suped up version of their excellent 4.2% Citra Pale Ale.

Citra Export weighs in at a slightly increased ABV of 4.7% and delivers big grapefruit and mango hop aroma as you'd expect from this much praised new hop variety. It's just a classic citra pale with a subtle mango flavour but mostly grapefruit, lime citrus and crisp dryness that last and last. Despite that sharp citrus/grapefruit kick it is ultimately very drinkable and not too full on as you might expect from the 'Export' tag. It's really nice and for me a slight improvement on the standard Citra. Makes me wonder why they don't just make this the regular Citra? Or Citra X perhaps.....

As you may have guessed I absolutely loved The Brewery Tap, it reminded me a little bit of The Hop in Leeds run by Ossett Brewery due to the unusual layout, but that said is also really unique thanks to the addition of a great restaurant. It's a fantastic pub and compared to most of the other places I was dragged into in Peterborough it was an absolute diamond in the rough.

Highly reccomended.


*The first photo, i.e. the best one, is courtesy of The Brewery Taps website, cheers guys!

10 comments:

  1. I had the white Dwarf this weekend too at a festival, certainly my beer of the weekend, lovely pint.

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  2. It's a great beer and The Brewery Tap were serving an excellent pint of it.

    Which festival were you drinking at?

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  3. still trawling through everyones blog posts after a good few days away from the computer so hadn't yet read this!

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  4. Oakham's Beers are almost always excellent. Would love to visit here though!

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  5. The Brewery Tap is a great place. As are Charters, The Coalheavers Arms, The Hand & Heart and The Palmerston Arms. All of these pubs are within about a 10 to min walk from the city centre. All you had to do was ask a fellow drinker or a member of staff at the Tap for recommendations. You could have even done a spot of research on Beerintheevening. Bit of a crap post. I thought all city centres had chain pubs. Blah blah Citra...

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  6. Tom all City Centres do have chain pubs, Peterborough however has them back to back and with no normal pubs in sight. Even 10 mins walk from the city centre is more than most cities who have decent pubs in the centre.

    also, what does blah blah citra mean? If your referring to the hop itself than thats very sad, are you implying because it's popular is it no longer cool? or that its been discussed to death on the blogs? Because ask your average drinker what 'citra' means and i imagine you'll get a blank stare in return i.e. it is still worth discussing. I'm trying to promote good beer, not geekify it.

    that said, thanks for your recommendations of some decent places to drink, will try these when i visit peterborough again.

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  7. Would sure love to pay this Tap a visit. First discovered Oakham ales on a pub crawl a few months ago in Nottingham (in the King Billy to be precise) and was blown away by their Citra. So hoppy I could smell it being poured at the far end of the bar!

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  8. Yeh Citra is an absolute cracker! The Tap is well, well worth a visit. It's ace

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  9. I think if the missus asks what I fancy doing for my birthday then a trip out to Peterborough might be on the cards. Oakham's Citra inspired me to try and brew something similar myself and it turned out to be the best homebrewed ale I've ever made. It's also got the geek in me wanting to brew a Brewdog/IPA is dead styled series of single hopped pale ales so I can experience each hop in more depth. Citra will be a hard act to follow though.

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