Shock Shobnall News: Tap House Open All Hours

When football is good, wow it is good.

Of course I don’t necessarily mean the Champions League semi-finals, which were remarkably good but also the likes of Insch beating Westdyke 4-0 in front of an attendance of 64 at the weekend in the Aberdeenshire Amateur Premier League.

(picture courtesy of Duncan)


I know this of course because ground hopper, GBG man and all round good egg Duncan visits some absolute classic football stadiums and, to be honest, 64 people would constitute an impressive crowd at a National Hockey League fixture.

And that’s the thing…I do like all sports, particularly cricket and football but I dislike all the lazy stereotypes that go with it.

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You know the “all footballers are soft,” kind of thing from rugger fans (not in Wales I hasten to add, who like both games) which is clearly ridiculous.

Some of the behaviours of some of the players who simulate, cheat and harangue officials leaves me cold, but I genuinely think VAR will sort this out.

As Duncan rightly points out, it is now a global problem as opposed to a ‘foreign’ problem when he succinctly notes  “Liverpool v Spurs in the Champions League is a disaster for UK television commentators with no foreign team to blame for “going down easily”, feigning injury and time wasting,”

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I couldn’t agree more with the Pubmeister but there are some fantastic players who don’t cheat.  If I go and watch Championship football with Birmingham there is less skill but less cheating and the crowd definitely want that.  I’m pretty sure Duncan didn’t see too much play acting in the Insch stadium and players like Martin Hicks wouldn’t have stood for it.

I don’t think Rugby can get on a high horse beyond respecting officials as there are regular punch ups described as “it’s only rugby” by sympathetic reporters and no end of performance enhancing steroids.  Add into the mix recreational drugs along with a bit of social media bigotry from Australian and English players.

Alex Hales’ alleged misdemeanours appear to be relatively murky so I don’t think any sport should set itself higher than any other.

Anyway, now that’s out the way I shall get down to business!!!

The reason football is the beautiful game and watched by the masses is due to the Liverpool and Spurs games in the last two evenings.
Apart from Martin, who will be watching curling/eventing or skiing on Eurosport to avoid seeing Manchester City’s conquerors reach the final, the rest of the nation has been gripped.

Late drama, goals, comebacks and full stadiums mean that no one – apart from the BBC who are contractually obliged to mention it 37,000 times per day, has spoken about Brexit…whoops a slight lapse there.

What’s all this got to do with pub blogging I hear you cry?  Apart from Dutch Paul of course who is apoplectic after Lucas Moura’s hat-trick…He’s just necking copious amounts of Grolsch!

Well, pre City’s exit, I remember them smashing a huge amount of goals past Schalke in a group game and I when I walked into the Marston’s brewery tap house, they were leaking goals left, right and centre once again on the big screen.

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I know there is the Tap House at the Museum but this is putting  itself forward and who am I to argue as 396 – The Albion Taphouse DE14 2BE has been transformed from what was a fairly bog standard boozer.

(customary sloping picture for Martin, Mark & Pete)

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This was a 2-for-1 style Marston’s boozer for years until it closed for a refurb and ‘gastro boozer’ was the odds on favourite amongst the bookies.

But, and full credit to them for this, Marston’s have turned this into a Tap House and showcase plenty of their beers.  It’s actually classed as Shobnall on the outskirts of Burton next to the Athletics track but right next to their Marston’s shop etc and there’s plenty of brewing history in the local vicinity.

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(Beers you’ve heard of…in a Tap House)

It’s now a funky tap house that is actually open all day selling pizzas, has barrels on view,

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keg lines of beer along with cask options and DE14 beermats, which is their Nano brewery offshoot.

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It would be easy to criticise and say the range of beers should be better (which it should, as they have lots of them) but this is a real step in the right direction when many pubs are becoming primarily food based, this is bucking the trend.

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I think Schalke only conceded four on this occasion much to their manager’s relief; it was early Wednesday afternoon and the place wasn’t packed but had enough passing trade to make it viable.

I still don’t get the pizza obsession but that is definitely an age thing as most of my younger pals lap them up and are quite excited by “good pizza,” whatever that is!

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Nonetheless, I remember coming here when it was a slightly tired 2-1 but the transformation is excellent and they are using a big old boozer to the best of its ability and have made a tap house that shows sport, sells both Marston’s and guest beer on cask/keg and bottles whilst selling pizzas which appear to be the go to food for a generation.

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I had a very good pint of Saddle Tank (Marston’s) as it was the lightest option but it was cool, crisp and chewy, just like a Tap House beer should be. Ignore the Marston’s haters; this place is worth a visit.


30 thoughts on “Shock Shobnall News: Tap House Open All Hours

  1. Looks like a Tap & Kitchen…

    I wouldn’t describe myself as a Marston’s hater, but I’m theoughly meh about most of their range. (Generalisation klaxon alert) The only beers that save a Marston’s house for me are the Banks’s Mild when you can find it, and that there Wainwright which can be very good, but equally can be horribly sweet. Their sweetie southern breweries I’d definitely cross the road to avoid, and I can’t comment on the nano-brew stuff because you never see it.

    This pub and its Taphouse credentials looks a good idea, but I must say, I’ve developed a very healthy scepticism about macro brewers and pubcos and their ‘taphouse’ concepts. They’ve been trying them for decades and they almost never last any great length of time. Remember that ‘taphouse’ opposite the Snibston New Inn. That! The best Marston’s houses are the ones that haven’t been messed around with by the marketing dept wizz-kids…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can’t disagree with that and I’m sure a blue sky meeting at Marston’s came up with this even if not in the best location for it…I’d like to have seen owd Roger on cask and some trial ones so that could be improved…I don’t remember that one opposite the Snibstone New Inn…what was it like??


      1. I think it changed names a few times, but last I can remember it was the Pick & Shovel, big Marstons pub on the corner opposite the Snibston New Inn. Traded as a ‘real ale specialist’ pub for a time with barrels hanging outside etc. Block of flats now.

        It’s been the same story everywhere you look since the first real ale revival. Allied had their Alehouse brand, Whitbread started the Hogshead concept, Leicesters Head of Steam closed within a year, they’ve all had a go. Trouble is it’s hard to know who the marketing suits are targeting. Beer geeks of any kind won’t be impressed by the beer range, to me they’re just another, slightly more attractive ‘chain’, and I don’t generally do chain bars/pubs, and whilst the average pubgoer might find the venue attractive, they’ll just as likely drink the Carlsberg as the real ales/craft beers. Destined to be re-furbished as a Gin Bar or whatever last years food trend was is my guess…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That was before my time I reckon as I am an honorary East Midlander for about ten years now…Actaully that’s a valid point as I’ve been in HoS in Brum and liked it but most punters were on crafty keg, gin or lager. Eventually, I suspect they will be keg and lager only but start off with cask as they feel they ought to. You are right, you’re cask ale drinker generally knows where to go


  2. Interesting to get your views on this one. I’m not convinced there’ll persuade enough cask drinkers through the door to make a large number of pumps work. The out of town location and the “it’s just Marstons beers” view is unlikely to excite the beer ticking fraternity. I was there last week and returned a poor Saddle Tank, swapping it for a keg 61 Deep.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Can’t disagree with any of that and they have a better range than on show here…on the day the saddle tank was excellent but your point about turnover is valid so we may see more keg versions I suspect


  3. Like I was saying to Martin the other day; Leeds have a better Champions League record than Manchester City, having reached the semis (I was there). I think I also mentioned I thought Marstons, and all their brands were shite. I think living in the Midlands must be like the New Forest where we are at the minute – 97.5% of pubs selling shite or old stale beer, or both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That made me chuckle again and I suspect Martin wasn’t in agreement with any of that! 😉 Not all Marston’s beer is shite pal you need to take those Yorkshire blinkers off but old stale beer definitely is….you’ll be pleased to know there was a DE14 craft keg font in operation on the other side of the bar…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I went to a Marston’s blind tasting event sampling all their different brands – the guy hosting it kept saying can you guess where it’s made yet? I got it right every time – Wolverhampton!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Both semis were wonderful games of football but it’s getting to the point where the wealth of the English clubs is so great that only they and a small number of European giants can win it. My tweet was really a go at the commentators who ignore exactly the same behaviour from English teams. Martin Hicks – now you’re talking. Great centre half then a postie in Stratford. Over 500 games for Reading and a good few own goals!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Completely agree with all that you said about diving commentators and pundits…I needed an intro and your tweet fitted perfectly!! I thought you’d like the Hicks reference 😉 I had a couple of seasons with him and a solid citizen 👍⚽

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha yes. Anton Ferdinand is like that for St Mirren now. Reads the game well but immobile. Left out in recent months as team can’t afford to leave two back when we have a corner!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha ha. Hicksy was great though and we won promotion with him at centre half…although I do remember playing Luton in the League Cup and Mick Harford broke his nose in both the home and away leg…that’s consistency for you.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Bet he played on though. Reading beat Luton 4-1 in the Simod final and got relegated in same season so couldn’t defend it. Harford scored but Michael Gilkes destroyed them with his pace. 61,000 at Wembley. Luton beat Arsenal 3-2 in League Cup a week or two later.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes, the English clubs were out of Europe at the time so it was quite a big thing at the fine. A great day but losing 3 play off finals at Wembley and Cardiff since have slightly dampened the memories…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. It took a long time to scroll to the end of 25 comments but I made it at last! Phew – need a pint now!

    Looks like a great pub and quite a contrast to the GK Scholars Arms on my recent post. I’d say Marston are well ahead of GK in providing decent pubs.

    I .love the wall of pump clips showing every beer that Marston have ever owned – impressive.

    Don’t mention Birmingham FC, by the way. The recent memory of them sealing Rotherham’s return to League One is too painful…
    …though to be fair – a season of letting too many goals in might have had more to do with it☹️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smoke and Mirrors Hermit as most of it is Duncan and I chewing the fat about Reading and Martin Hicks!!! Don’t let Rich hear you say that as believes Marston’s are the devil in disguise….In terms of what was there before it is miles better…will it last? Who knows but it is a better boozer know I reckon. I like the pump clips idea too and it works well and the fact they are trying something different should be applauded as opposed to a lot of the bland eatery style places they open nowadays.
      Apologies for sending the Millers down but it is dog eat dog and having disposed of Burton last year I am trying to relegated at least one beer blogger per year!! There woudl be some comedy value for Rich if it was Leeds next year!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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