Friday, 8 April 2011

A slumbering monk and some mice.

Having just spent a couple of days out in the Shropshire countryside, and beautiful it was too, we are now back at Market Drayton, a nice enough town but enough is enough. At least there is now a usable signal so a bit of back log.
Last Tuesday we got to tag along on a tour of the new Joules brewery in M.D. Anyone familiar with good ale and the canals will know that Joules was, for years numerous, a major brewer of fine ales, based in Stone. In fact the old brewery is still visible alongside the Trent & Mersey in that splendid town. About thirty years back they sold out to one of the super breweries and the fine old name disappeared, seemingly into oblivion.
However, a small pub chain purchased the Red Lion in M.D.

 and, by scientific investigation, discovered that the old well in the pub connected to the same aquifer as that which supplied the Joules brewery. It was a small step from there to deciding to set up a brewery to reproduce the long missed ales.

The result is now not only visible but in production. By consulting one of Joules brewers they obtained the recipe for their

Pale Ale, the red cross is one of the oldest trademarks still in use and the beer is just superb. Made with only English malt,

 Kentish hops and liquour (water) from their own borehole it is as the advert. says.

The mash tun,

the boiler and

the hop back. Home brewers will be familiar with these.

These are the fermentation vessels, all named after Arthurian characters and clad in oak staves, because it looks nice!
But for those only interested in the finished product they have a splendid bar and the Mouse Room. The panelling was originally commissioned for the boardroom of the old Grattons catalogue company in 1931. It cost £342 and was carved by Robert Thompson,a.k.a. The Mouseman.

The fireplace,

two of his signature mice, the bottom one is unique as it is mobile, the head nods.

A cheeky devil and a slumbering monk, the latter being the name of the breweries second beer, a bit sweeter and maltier but still delightful.
We also had one of the best ploughmans ever and several pints. Well worth the six quid it cost.
Next time you're in M.D. do visit the Red Lion, a hidden gem.
If anyone is interested the carvings today would cost over a quarter of a million quid!

1 comment:

Starcross said...

Its great to see the Joules name back again. Excellent beer and some good pubs too. Two near the canals are the Fox and Hounds in Cheswardine also on the Shroppie and the Glebe in Stoke (Trent & Mersey). They also have another in Drayton - the 1930s art-deco "Lord Hill" but I think it's fair to say this still needs some work doing on it before its back to its former glory.