I didn’t quite know what to make of the Albion Brewery Bar? It’s not a pub in the proper sense of a pub. It’s actually Phipp’s Northampton Brewery Company, tap room and brewery. It was hard to determine the everyday ambience, because there was a bit of a party going on and it was absolutely heaving.
What I will say is this was the best beer I’d had all day in Northampton, quality and personal preference.
I asked for the Phipp’s IPA but it had just gone off and the guy went to change the barrel. While we were waiting one of the other excellent bar staff served Mrs C with a half of their Golden Mild. Yes Please! Only £3 a pint too. First things first, it wasn’t a mild, something Pubcurmudgeon points out in his own account.
Golden Best, someone said? Golden, definitely. It said ‘late hopped with Chevalier malt’ on the clip. It was far too hop forward for a mild and into the sort of hop spectrum I prefer. Very suppable at only 3.5% and in absolute top form, an easy NBSS 4, and probably a bit more if I thought about it. It really was excellent beer in excellent condition, to coin a phrase.
Thing was, with the jostle and din of whatever was going on it wasn’t beer connoisseur time and I only made scant notes. Clearly, with the rainbow flags and bunting, there was an LGBTQ event of some importance occurring, as the Mayor of Northampton, Cllr Gareth Earles and his consort Cllr Anna King were in attendance and kindly posed for a photograph.
My failing hearing couldn’t quite make out exactly what they were telling me, but the gist of what I got was Northampton Pride and Northampton, Massachusetts Pride linking up via video link to jointly celebrate. I’m not sure whether we’d just missed the 5.30pm link up or were just a tad early? Anyway it was spot on and had a real friendly vibe.
Getting back to pubs and stuff, it sort of made me think about the CAMRA revitalisation process and the need to spread the love and to include everyone, whatever they think, do, look like … I could go on but I’ll leave it there.
That got me thinking what this barn of a place would be like if the revellers hadn’t been there. It would have been a pretty cavernous place for just seven of us, having now dwindled in numbers as two of our team were returning to Somerset.
I’m hoping it would have been nicely busy on any Saturday tea time. The beer quality alone should dictate that, it’s in the GBG and they do a CAMRA discount (where doesn’t in Northampton?).
It’s quite nicely done out too. The bar and other fittings have obviously been salvaged from other pubs and there’s quite a bit of breweriana dotted about. The tables and chairs I could see, were a mishmash of old farmhouse style stuff and they even had CAMRA beer festival glasses?
Is this the ultimate in recycling or is the connection the tag line on the glass ‘200 years of brewing in Northampton’ and the 2017 date the connection to Phipps Northampton Brewing Company?
Phipps, who came to Northampton in 1817, is one of those regional brewers who died out when Watney Mann took them over. Then Carlsberg acquired everything and they still brew their lager on the original Phipps brewery site in Bridge Street – hence the 200 years brewing claim is quite correct. I’m not going into any more history, but if you are interested there is an excellent detailed account of Phipps NBC History on their website.
I’m pleased Phipps has been revived and if I lived in Northampton I reckon I’d be a regular here, if only to check out their excellent beers and guests, I think they do six plus two guests normally. I’m not sure how cosy it would be in the depths of winter, but it would be interesting watching the brewers behind their glass partition.
Or does everyone just go to the pub next door? Like I say, we need to spread the love with beer and pubs and I was surprised no one else wanted to call in for one apart from Retired Martin.