Doncaster, South Yorkshire:
Doncaster Brewery Tap
Sunday 19th March 2017
Whilst travelling from Thirsk in North Yorkshire down to East Kent on a Sunday morning I wanted somewhere to stop off for a few pints and picked Doncaster. There are five very good pubs within 400 metres of the station. However today I wanted to go somewhere different so I picked this pub in the town centre and I wasn’t disappointed.
I arrived on platform 1 at 11.56 (very good timing for a Sunday lunchtime!), yet before I left the station there was something I wanted to see on platform 3b. An old refreshment room here will soon be home to a new micropub to be known as The Draughtsman. As I peered in I could see that the bar counter was almost complete. I would estimate its first opening would be within a couple of weeks of this visit. I will say no more because I want to provide an article for BeerVisits.eu as soon as possible
It will be the second micropub in Doncaster as my destination that day, Doncaster Brewery, was the first to open.
The lease was obtained in January 2014 and the pub opened on a temporary basis in March 2014 although its official opening came on 7th September of that year with local MP Rosie Winterton doing the honours. However the story starts earlier when garage owner Ian Blaylock started to build a 15 bbl (brewer’s barrel) brewery from scratch. He began moving it to this location from that January and it took until May 2014.
They always say that the best way forward for a microbrewery is to have its own tap room because it provides a guaranteed income although at the size this brewery is, other accounts are essential.
The equipment Ian constructed is to be found in a room behind the main bar room. He and his wife Alison are both from the town so the name of the brewery was almost inevitable and most of the names of their beers have names that reflect local history.
As I approached the green-painted frontage of the former shop I noticed a table and a few chairs on the pavement outside. The entrance door is on the right side. Inside I went straight to the bar before finding a seat in the middle of the pub. Then, I had a good look around. Right by the door there was a piano. On top of it was a guitar and two ukuleles. A lot of things go on in this pub so I would guess they are used.
Moving along the right wall in an anti-clockwise direction I saw there was mid-height wood panelling with a large table in front. Then in the top right corner was a large fitted high table with high stools in front and a long shelf behind. On the table was a good collection of reading material.
On the back wall there was a glass-fronted door leading to the brewery. Taking up the rest of the back of the room is the bar counter with no less than twelve hand pumps.
On the left of the room there was firstly a table on which was laid a buffet. This was completely free to patrons and was of very high quality with a great selection of cheeses, sliced pork pie, back pudding, sausages and a lot more. Between the buffet and the front window there is a fitted wooded bench along the wall with loose cushions. The remainder of the furniture consisted of small wooden tables with soft seats all cushioned an attractive dark maroon colour.
There is a function room upstairs as are the facilities and to get to this area you pass through the brewery itself. Whilst I did this Ian was working there. I spotted some small vessels amongst the equipment and asked him if it was a pilot brewery. He confirmed that and said it was his little baby.
There are six hand pumps dedicated to cask ale. Their normal arrangement is to have two beers from their core range and three from their seasonal range plus one genuine guest beer. The two regulars were Sand House Blonde Ale (3.8%) and Cheswold Bitter (4.2%).
The specials were: St Georges Minster Pale Ale (4.0%); Stirling Single Coffee Stout (4.5%) and the massive (in name and strength!) Town Fields Belgium Style Pale Winter Ale (6.6%). The guest beer was Lost Industry (Sheffield, South Yorks) Milla Vanilla Milk Stout (4.4%).
There are six hand pumps for cider and on this day five of them were in use dispensing: Sandford Orchards (Crediton, Devon) Pear Shaped Perry (7.0%); Pulp (Cragg Vale, West Yorks) Plum, Orange and Ginger Cider (4.0%); Hallets (Crumlin, Monmouthshire) Heartbreaker (7.0%); WM Watkins (Grosmont, Monmouthshire, Wales) Twisted Oak Cider (7.2%) and Cornish Orchards (Duloe, Cornwall) Vintage Cider (7.2%).
It’s no wonder that this little pub won CAMRA Yorkshire Cider Pub of the Year 2016.
I would imagine that there would have been a lot of competition there. The awards trail began with CAMRA Doncaster branch Pub of the Season in 2015 and then CAMRA Doncaster branch Pub of the Year 2016. I suspect that won’t be the last. It’s totally recommended for its beers (and no doubt, ciders and perries) and I will be back.
Finally, let me emphasise this is a community pub even though it’s in the middle of town. So, allowing for Monday closure, here’s what happens for the rest of the week: Tuesday: Quiz (19.30); Second Wednesday: Have a Crafty One (Craft Evening). I’m not sure what it is, probably a gathering of Doncaster’s Hipsters (not many, I would think!) to drink gassy bottled / keg beers and pronounce them (and the beers) to be fantastic.
Thursdays have something different on each day. First Thursday has Singing Together; “an evening of music with a guest singer”. Second: “Well Spoken”, a spoken word evening; Third: “Stammtisch”, German conversation evening and on the last there is a Book Club evening discussing their book of the month. Friday: Cheeky Drinker’s Club (I can’t possibly think what this is about!).
On the third Saturday of the month there is a Ukulele Club (so that’s what they were there for). The last Saturday hosts an open Folk session in the main bar. Every Sunday lunchtime finds their customers with the pub buffet that I thought was excellent. Finally, every second Sunday sees live music in their upper room at 16.30. So, these are the many faces of the Doncaster Brewery Tap.
Doncaster Brewery Tap, 7 Young Street, Doncaster DN1 3EL. Tel: 01302 376436
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 17.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 12.00-23.00; Sunday 12.00-17.00. Monday: Closed.
The pub is around ten minutes walk from the station. Exiting from the ticket hall, cross the car park.
You will be heading towards the pedestrian crossing. Use this and turn right on the opposite pavement. Almost immediately turn left into West Laith Gate, passing the Plough and the Tut ‘n’ Shive, both good.
Then turn right into Printing House Street. At the end the Lord Nelson is on the right, go to the other side.
This is Young Street and you will find the pub on the left hand side.
Doncaster is a railway hub. Trains to London, Leeds, York, and Edinburgh are run by Virgin East Coast. Grand Central also run to London as well as Halifax and Bradford. Hull trains also go to London and Hull. Northern Trains operate local trains to Leeds, Sheffield, Wakefield, Lincoln, Selby, Goole, Grimsby and Hull.
Cross Country run north to York, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
They also go south-west to Sheffield, Derby, Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth and Cornwall.