Well Baked In Bakewell

To the uninitiated, a stroll through Bakewell could, perhaps, seem insignificant. That is, when it comes to beer. Its world-renowned pudding, of the same name, has attracted tourists for many years, but its sleepy appearance belies its hidden asset. One of the UK’s biggest and most prolific breweries calls Bakewell home, but few who visit may actually know that.

With a population of fewer than 4000, Bakewell does an excellent job of hiding Thornbridge in plain sight. A stone’s throw from the centre, across a narrow bridge & into Riverside Business Park, that’s where you will find them. At the side of the A6, one small sign is your only aide guiding you to the home of Jaipur; one of England’s modern classics.

It’s only when you pass Thornbridge’s many buildings within Riverside, that you begin to appreciate their scale. Since their formation in Thornbridge Hall back in 2005, they have now become a pivotal brewery in the UK, acting as a gateway for many. But for those in the know, and willing to travel, Thornbridge’s taproom is the perfect place to pay homage to Jaipur, and all their other beers of course. With the sun shining, and a thirst acquired from our walk around town, my sights were set on a pint, pizza and a place to rest…

“A pint of Jaipur please…”

A veritable sun-trap outside, with space to comfortably seek shelter inside, Thornbridge’s tap is an amazing warm weather watering hole. An eclectic mix of chairs, benches, sofas and pews fill the space, whilst the smell of freshly cooked pizza drifts gently on the breeze. With a base established next to the bar, there was only one thing for it; I needed my Jaipur fix. It would be sacrilege to start anywhere but, surely?

“A pint of Jaipur please,” I request. No need to be specific here, it’s only available on cask. Hand-pulled (and sparkled) I triumphantly return to my table & stick my face straight in. Whilst it may only be an hour away from home, Thornbridge has long been on my beer wish list, and I had finally made it. Sitting there, enjoying the deliciousness in my glass, I was filled with a sense of hope. With pints aplenty being pulled, and flight boards being carefully curated, it was nice to get lost in the moment; a moment of peace and collective satisfaction.

In a world filled with uncertainty, finding solace in a pint amongst like-minded people was joyous. Whilst rising living costs, not to mention those of beer production too, there’s an air of unease in the beer community at present. But seeing a tap room of loyal pilgrims like myself settled some of those feelings of unease; perhaps people will continue to find space in their budget for craft beer after all.

With both pint and pizza polished off, my pilgrimage was complete. Standing to leave, I got the same longing feeling as I do from many places I have visited; why can’t this be closer to home? But leave we did, and headed home across the border back into Yorkshire, Jaipur’s adopted home…

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