As my stay in Derbyshire was drawing to a close, an evening out at the pub on my last night was the best way to end the week.
Tucked away behind the spa town’s crescent in Buxton is the Tap House. It’s a small pub with a modern atmosphere, catering to locals, tourists, dogs and, at 6pm on a Friday, commuters straight off the train from Manchester in need of a drink to round off the week, and perhaps a bite to eat too.
Good food will always be one of my priorities and the Buxton Tap House was able to deliver. It’s not fine dining, but that would seem out of place in a noisy pub environment and American classics like burgers, pulled pork and smoked pork ribs are the order of the day. Normally, a rack of ribs isn’t something I’d order, but I’m glad I did: smoky and tender with a barbecue sauce that lacked the cloying sweetness that normally puts me off. And with change from £10 for all that meat, good value for money that you’d struggle to find down South.
The star of the show though, as it should be for a pub, was the beer. The sheer wealth of choice could be a little intimidating to the more inexperienced customer, with offerings from across Britain, continental Europe and trendy American craft beers too. Thankfully, you can get a taster first, but sticking to the drinks from the pub’s own microbrewery, Buxton Brewery, won’t leave you disappointed. Going by my father’s recommendations (around 40 years of beer drinking experience must count for something), I tried the Moor Top and Buxton Gold.
Normally I opt for lighter beers with a lower alcohol content so I was very surprised to find the 5.2%vol Buxton Gold so easy to drink and was my preferred of the two. Both were full of flavour though, which makes me want to seek out more craft beers from the rest of the country, especially local to me in Devon (recommendations welcome!).
All in all, I’ve really enjoyed all the visits I’ve made to the Derbyshire (especially this most recent) and I hope you haven’t been bored rigid reading about the place. My Southern friends are a little sceptical of the thought of good things happening North of Milton Keynes, but the Peak District is definitely a hidden foodie gem in the heart of England that deserves more recognition. So if you get the chance to go, do!