“ Brewery Museum. Horninglow Street,Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire. DE14 1YQ. tel = 01283 511000 „
I suppose we have all drunk a little drop of that brown liquid but just how is beer made? The Bass Museum in Burton upon Trent has been set up to show the story of brewing and the history of the Bass company. There are also a whole collection of other attractions at the museum that make it a very interesting day out. The brown visitor direction signs are all over Burton so the museum is easy to find and it has a large free car park behind the museum. (Do remember to pick up a token on your way out from the museum as only visitors to the museum can get out of the car park free). Admission to the museum is £4.95 for adults, £2.50 for children, £3.50 for OAP or £15 for a family. This price includes a free half pint drink (for over 18’s) or a tea/coffee, under 18’s get a free soft drink. On the day we visited the museum we were also given free adult tickets for a future visit, so overall we felt it was quite good value. You are given a coloured plan of the site, which has been very well prepared. so it is easy to find your way around. The first part of the museum is the story of brewing. There is an information leaflet showing the brewing process and I would suggest you pick up one of these as it puts all the exhibits into context. There is also a video show in this section which talks through the brewing process. From here you can visit the different parts of the museum and these include displays of a Cooperage, and a bottling hall. There is a collection of vintage brewing vehicles although unfortunately you cannot get into any of the vehicles. The Shire horses are of course a great attraction. These wonderful animals stand proud in the stables and whilst we were there the horses were brought out for grooming, which showed what gentle giants these really are. For me one of the highlights is a large steam engine. The Robey Steam Engine is in full working order and is “steamed up” on
Sundays and Bank Holidays. It is a magnificent site in full steam and kept in immaculate condition. This is one of the two steam engines that used to power the whole brewery and you can accept this when you see the power in the 13ft flywheel. The old joiners shop is a three storey building that shows a history of the Bass company and how the company influenced the development of Burton, particularly in the heydays of the railways. On the top floor there is a great model of Burton with working model trains running around the town. At these times apparently there was over 30 level crossing within the town. There is a very comfortable bar, which serves a wonderful pint of the local brew, and an excellent restaurant that serves very good, reasonably priced meals. I am sure the staff will tell you that this is the same beer that is sold in their pubs, but I can tell you this was something very special. On the day we were there a group of Morris Men and Country Dancers were giving displays in the courtyard, although I think they spent as much time in the bar as they did dancing! Also in the courtyard there are some pens with small animals in them including rabbits, guinea pigs and Shetland ponies. The museum shop sells souvenirs of the brewery, but we did not find anything outstanding or unusual here and we felt the prices were a little bit high. Overall we found the museum a very pleasant place to visit, but there did seem a bit of a lack of hands-on exhibits, that made the visit a little staid for our children. If you want to find out more about the museum then you can have a look on their website at: http://www.bass-museum.com I think we will return again, but we shall consult the website first in order to find a date when then is a special event on, of which there are quite a few during the year.