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The Malt Shovel Tavern (Freehouse)

Beer (sort)Average Score (sort)No. Samples (sort)
Durham - TemptationExceptional1
Yard of Ale - One Foot in the YardExceptional1
Great Oakley - Welland Valley MildExceptional1
Caledonian - XPAExcellent1
Great Oakley - GobbleExcellent1
Great Oakley - Wot's OccuringExcellent2
Consett Ale Works - Steel Town BitterExcellent1
Oakham - JHBExcellent1
Spinning Dog - Gamekeepers BitterExcellent1
Great Oakley - GobbleExcellent2
Durham - Spring GoddessExcellent1
Cains - Dark MildExcellent1
Julian Church - More Tea VicarExcellent2
Frog Island - Fuggled Frog MildExcellent2
Great Oakley - HarpersExcellent3
Offa's Dyke - Grim ReaperExcellent1
Brewster's - Rutterkin (superseded by 5% version)Excellent1
Nobby's - Biggus DickusExcellent2
Saltaire - Saltaire BlondeExcellent1
Wear Valley - Red for DangerExcellent1
Towcester Mill (formerly Whittlebury) - Golden ValeExcellent1
Consett Ale Works - StoutExcellent1
Hill Island - Peninsula PintGood1
Spinning Dog - orginal bitterGood1
Camerons - Best BitterGood1
RCH - Steam SpringGood1
Potbelly - Dark TuskerGood1
Elland - Blind AcresGood1
Empire - Royal ScotsGood1
East Coast - Bonhomme RichardGood1
Newby Wyke - BrutusGood1
Frog Island - Natterjack (aka Pale)Acceptable1
Keltek - Golden LanceAcceptable1
Orkney (Sinclair) - Latitude Pilsner (Atlas range)Acceptable1
Greene King - Morland Old Speckled HenNot Tried0
Fuller's (part of Asahi Europe) - London PrideNot Tried0
Vale - WychertNot Tried0
Salopian - Lemon DreamNot Tried0
Crouch Vale - Blackwater MildNot Tried0
Skinner's - PorthlevenNot Tried0
Oakham - Bishops FarewellNot Tried0
RCH - Old Slug PorterNot Tried0
RCH - PG SteamNot Tried0
Nightjar (formerly Slightly Foxed) - Prairie FoxNot Tried0
Picture 1. The Malt Shovel Tavern, Northampton, Northamptonshire
Picture 2. The Malt Shovel Tavern, Northampton, Northamptonshire

Visits Details

07 Jun 2013 (ChrisE)
Very busy on a Friday evening. There was a superb range of beers on offer and I have not been able to list them all. The cornish pasties looked very tempting and those of our group that sampled them said they were very good. Service was excellent.
Oakham - JHB3.80Excellent
Great Oakley - Harpers4.30Excellent
Great Oakley - Gobble4.50Excellent
Potbelly - Dark Tusker3.60Good
Fuller's (part of Asahi Europe) - London Pride4.10Not Tried
Oakham - Bishops Farewell4.60Not Tried
Great Oakley - Wot's Occuring3.90Not Tried
05 Oct 2012 (Philip Pirrip)
Evening visit. Not a seat or bar space to be had. Only criticism is that clearing of empty glasses and bottles was slow.
Towcester Mill (formerly Whittlebury) - Golden Vale3.70ExcellentRefreshing golden ale
Greene King - Morland Old Speckled Hen4.50Not Tried
Fuller's (part of Asahi Europe) - London Pride4.10Not Tried
Oakham - Bishops Farewell4.60Not Tried
RCH - Old Slug Porter4.50Not Tried
Frog Island - Natterjack (aka Pale)4.80Not Tried
RCH - PG Steam3.90Not Tried
Great Oakley - Harpers4.30Not Tried
Great Oakley - Gobble4.50Not Tried
Nightjar (formerly Slightly Foxed) - Prairie Fox5.20Not Tried
18 Sep 2012 (HSB)
Visited both before and after a tour round the Carlsberg brewery opposite. All round excellent pub.
Great Oakley - Gobble4.00Excellent
Great Oakley - Wot's Occuring3.90Good
Julian Church - More Tea Vicar3.80Good
Nobby's - Biggus Dickus4.20Good
18 Sep 2012 (ChrisE)
Two visits in one day, lunchtime and evening. I met several friends here, we enjoyed the food as well as the splendid selection of ales. This is a truly superb pub.
Great Oakley - Harpers4.30Excellent
Great Oakley - Wot's Occuring3.90Excellent
Great Oakley - Gobble4.50ExcellentIt was a bit embarassing to ask the barmaids for this but they said they are used to it. An excellent beer, shame about the name.
Julian Church - More Tea Vicar3.80ExcellentA good session ale to start the day.
Nobby's - Biggus Dickus4.20ExcellentFull of flavour, excellent. The barmaid was a Monty Python fan.
Oakham - JHB3.80Not Tried
Fuller's (part of Asahi Europe) - London Pride4.10Not Tried
Salopian - Lemon Dream4.50Not Tried
Crouch Vale - Blackwater Mild3.70Not Tried
Frog Island - Natterjack (aka Pale)4.80Not Tried
Skinner's - Porthleven4.80Not Tried
26 May 2012 (Martin the Mildman)
Busy on a warm Saturday afternoon.
Orkney (Sinclair) - Latitude Pilsner (Atlas range)3.60AcceptableVery pale, quite sharp and bitter with a dry finish. My score 14/20.
03 Apr 2011 (Ian)
Sunday evening. My god this is just about my perfect pub. Fantastic. Great locals great beer memorabilia on the walls. And more beer than you can shake a stick at. Unbelievably good and just about my perfect pub.
Great Oakley - Harpers4.30ExcellentBrown best bitter what used to be made
Empire - Royal Scots3.60GoodGood session bitter. Light and full in mouth good drying hop on finish
Frog Island - Natterjack (aka Pale)4.80AcceptableOk bitter
Keltek - Golden Lance3.80AcceptableOk golden ale
Greene King - Morland Old Speckled Hen4.50Not Tried
Fuller's (part of Asahi Europe) - London Pride4.10Not Tried
Vale - Wychert3.90Not Tried
Great Oakley - Wot's Occuring3.90Not Tried
Great Oakley - Gobble4.50Not Tried
20 May 2009 (Mick Northants)
Cains - Dark Mild3.20Excellent
Brewster's - Rutterkin (superseded by 5% version)4.60Excellent
Caledonian - XPA4.30Excellent
Frog Island - Fuggled Frog Mild3.50Good
Newby Wyke - Brutus4.00Good
13 May 2009 (Mick Northants)
Luchtime session
Great Oakley - Welland Valley Mild3.60Exceptional
Frog Island - Fuggled Frog Mild3.50Excellent
Saltaire - Saltaire Blonde4.00Excellent
Spinning Dog - Gamekeepers Bitter4.20Excellent
Spinning Dog - orginal bitter3.70Good
02 May 2009 (Mick Northants)
was a beer festival, one of two held twice yearly featuring different counties brewerys
Durham - Temptation10.00Exceptional
Yard of Ale - One Foot in the Yard4.50Exceptional
Consett Ale Works - Steel Town Bitter3.80Excellent
Wear Valley - Red for Danger4.30Excellent
Consett Ale Works - Stout4.30Excellent
Durham - Spring Goddess4.10Excellent
Hill Island - Peninsula Pint3.70Good
Camerons - Best Bitter3.80Good
22 Apr 2009 (Mick Northants)
Good atmosphere , and a lunchtime session.
Offa's Dyke - Grim Reaper5.00Excellent
RCH - Steam Spring4.60Good
Elland - Blind Acres4.10Good
East Coast - Bonhomme Richard3.60Good

About The Malt Shovel Tavern

The pub sign. The Malt Shovel Tavern, Northampton, Northamptonshire

Summary of Beer Scores



The pub is found in Northampton, Northamptonshire, NN1 1QF.

Brewery tap for Great Oakley beers, also has euro beers on draught, plus guest real ales. The current owners bought the premises in 1996. A major refurbishment programme included changing the front façade back to how it looked in the 1940s. The pub was renamed The Malt Shovel Tavern and reopened for business in late December 1996. Todayís Malt Shovel Tavern was built in 1914 by the then Northampton Brewery Company, but its history goes back to some of the earliest days of the town. The Malt Shovel stands on Bridge Street, one of the four main entrances to the medieval town of Northampton. This area, known as the South Quarter, contained small houses and probably numerous inns, with spacious accommodation for stabling and to shelter wagons and merchandise. The Malt Shovel Tavern was one of these old hostelries and, according to Speedís map and surveys of 1610, was the oldest building on the street. The original Malt Shovel and the adjacent buildings were demolished in 1914 as part of a widening scheme for Bridge Street. It was rebuilt in the same year in its present location and adopted by the Northampton Brewery Company (NBC), just across the road, as its brewery tap. In 1957, NBC merged with its close neighbour Phipps Brewery; between them they owned 1,171 pubs. Watneys bought out the partnership in 1960 and demolished both breweries in 1974, selling the entire site to Carlsberg, whose Danish lagers are still being brewed opposite the Malt Shovel Tavern today. The Malt Shovel Tavern became a Watney Mann pub, but was sold in 1981 to Michael McManus because of lack of trade. It was renamed the Tudor House and enjoyed a period of revival before being sold to John Liddington and Sons, beer wholesalers from Rugby. It quickly sold the pub on and over the following years it became the subject of a number of themed ideas, including an infamous period as Barney Rubbles. On display is a vast collection of breweriana from local and nationwide breweries. Regular live music.

We have visited this pub 10 times, seen 43 different beers and tried 33 of them.

Map location

Postcode: NN1 1QF