Thursday 13th August 2016
The Tap House is the second of Brampton’s brewery taps. I had just come from the tap of the Brampton Brewery, the Rose and Crown (see article), and now I had arrived outside the Barlow Brewery’s outlet. I admired the colourful hanging baskets of flowers surrounding the black painted entrance. In contrast the rest of the pub’s front wall is whitewashed.
This is an old pub that looked as if it dated from the second half of the nineteenth century. I’ve been able to find only a small amount about its previous lives. In a photograph probably taken during the 1970s it is clearly a Whitbread house. This might indicate that it was a tied pub of Whitbread East Pennines. This was based around the former brewery of Tennant Brothers in Sheffield.
This was founded in 1820 at the Exchange Brewery alongside the River Sheaf. That was taken over by the Tennant brothers in 1840.
Whitbread acquired them and 700 pubs over in 1961 yet continued selling their bitter and mild under the Trophy name although it was almost certainly still made to the original recipe. They also brewed bottled Gold Label Barley Wine which Whitbread went on to making a national brand.
It is not absolutely certain that this was a Tennant’s pub but it does seem to be the most likely candidate. More information would be gratefully received. Back then it was known as the Three Horseshoes. Whitbread ceased brewing at the Exchange Brewery in 1993 and got out of brewing altogether in 2001. They still own a number of pubs yet also sold on a considerable amount more.
Most were disposed of to the newly-formed pub companies which came about as a result of the ill-conceived Beer Orders.
Whether that was the route this pub was guided along is not known. But what is, is that by 2007 it was a Thwaites’s (Blackburn, Lancashire) tied house named The Brampton Ale House selling three of their beers. In fact, it is still owned by Thwaites’s yet leased to another brewery.
That brewery is the Barlow Brewery, founded in January 2010 at Church Farm in the rural hamlet of Barlow, near Dronfield, Derbyshire with a five barrel (bbls) plant.
They leased the Brampton Ale House from Thwaites’s in February 2014. Since then it has sold Barlow beers along with a selection of beers from other small brewers and also one from Thwaites’s.
The pub was completely redecorated inside and out during 2016.
Once inside I turned to my right and settled on one of the tall tables. Some of these are rectangular, others circular. There is also a mixture of high chairs and stools.
The bar counter spreads across the whole front of the pub and looks pretty good with overhead shelves supported by brass columns. There is also a brass hand rail around the bar top as a foot rail.
The far left end of the pub there is a nice fitted corner bench with built-in cushioning. On the shelf behind there was a glass vase of flowers. Above all this is a flat screen television for sporting events. The loose furniture is wooden and a mix of round and square with both stools and chairs. This end of the room they are all of normal height.
They had a fine selection of beer including three from Barlow. These were: Betty’s Blonde (4.0%), Beyond the Pale (4.0%) and Three Valleys IPA (5.0%). There were four guest beers as follows: Stancill (Sheffield, South Yorkshire) Stainless (4.3%); Acorn (Wombwell, South Yorkshire) Hoptathlon (4.5%); Kelham Island (Sheffield, South Yorkshire) Pale Rider (5.2%) and Muirhouse (Ilkeston, Derbyshire) Magnum Mild (4.5%).
Finally, there was one from owners Thwaites of Blackburn, Lancashire; Lancaster Bomber (4.4%). This brand is now owned by Marstons and is probably brewed in one of their breweries, although still supplied in Thwaites’s pubs.
There is also a reasonable selection of traditionally-made ciders. When I called in they were Thatcher’s (Sandford, Somerset) Cheddar Valley (6.0%); Gwynt y ddraig (Pontypridd, Glamorgan, South Wales) Haymaker (6.5%); Sheppey’s (Bradford-on-Tone, Somerset) Blackberry & Elderflower Cider (4.0%) and Lilley’s (Frome, Somerset) Mango Cider (4.0%).
Food is not a big deal here with the exception of pork pies which come from Watson & Brown butchers of Whittington Moor and also a cheese board. Of course there are the usual pub snacks in packs. Wines, spirits, soft drinks, tea and coffee are also served. This is a good traditional pub with a great selection of cask beers.
The Tap House, 318 Chatsworth Road, Brampton S40 2BX. Tel: 01246 234731.
Monday-Thursday: 16.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday: 12.00-24.00; Sunday: 12.00-23.00.
The pub is around a mile west of Chesterfield town centre and is easily reached by bus from there. It’s to be found at the junction where Old Road separates from Chatsworth Road. Alight at is Barker Road.
From the stop walk forward in the same direction and you find the pub on the left.
There are a number of bus routes that pass the pub with varying frequency. Most routes are reduced or do not operate in the evenings and Sundays. There is the 80 (every half hour during the day and evening); the 90 (half hourly during the day, hourly in the evening). Both of these two routes are hourly on Sunday.
There is also the 170 route that operates hourly on Monday to Saturday until 18.00.