Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Day Out in West Lancs


Despite being more or less completely shattered after my German excursion, I attended a CAMRA West Lancs trip organised by my fellow blogger Tyson, who has covered most of what I would say about it in his beer blog. Croston, picturesque though it is, promised much and delivered very little. I sympathised with Tyson over this - no matter how carefully you recce these places - and I know he did - Sod's Law will dictate that you gaze longingly at the pump clip collection behind the bar, while looking forlornly at what is offered that day. Unlike Tyson, I did go to Cain's Black Horse, largely as I kind of promised Southport Drinker I would and we had been warned that the beer in the other pubs was rather mainstream. Also I like Cains. The Black Horse was gloomy and not particularly welcoming. It had only keg Cain's Mild, but the bitter was pretty good. I didn't try the Indian Pale Ale, so in short, not a lot to say about it. Sorry SD!

I was given a salutary reminder though. We went to the deserted Lord Nelson where E and I struck up a conversation with the sole barside person there apart from us. We supped modest Jennings Cumberland while we had a long and very jolly chat with him about beer, pubs in the area and life in general. We also learned from our local friend, that the aforementioned Black Horse was on its last weekend of trading, before a complete refurbishment by Cains. It needs it! The barmaid chipped in with anecdotes and I was reminded though I shouldn't need to be, of that inescapable truth, that pubs are much more than just beer. It turned out to be a very cheerful half hour, with that most old fashioned, but never out of style thing, good company and conversation.

Tyson has the rest spot on. I'll elaborate on two points though. The beer of the day for me was York Decade. I've written about it before, but really, it is just superb. Seek it out. The surprise of the day was how good Tetley Mild (the pale one not the dark one) was and the luscious, tart and quenching Tetley Bitter, which took me back to my early drinking days in Liverpool. Both cracking beers, well brewed and presented, so credit where credit is due.

My bottom picture shows Tony Allen of Phoenix Brewery, Heywood, who in addition to being an outstanding brewer, is one of our members. In the 20 odd years I have known him, I don't ever think I have seen him order a pint of anything - he prefers to order halves. He did on Saturday. The beer? York Decade!

8 comments:

Tyson said...

I think we were all taken aback by Tony's pint! Perhaps York should advertise it along the lines of "even Phoenix brewer needs a pint of this."

The Souhport Drinker said...

No need to apologise. Shame it wasn't up to scratch. Croston has been my house-hunting ambition for many a year, so disappointed that it wasn't as tip-top as usual.

I think when the Black Horse becomes a Cain's pub proper there will be better ales on (fingers crossed).

Also glad you brought up how good a well-kept Tetley can be.You'll know the Baron's Bar and Cheshire Lines in Southport and they do an excellent Tetley mild and bitter at a wallet pleasing price.

Stonch said...

The bloke in the photo looks a bit like my dad. Although my dad is (sensibly) beardless.

What is this insane impulse that leads men - including myself for a period of no less than 18 months - to grow a beard? Especially those who are bald - it makes you look like you've put your head on upside down.

Tandleman said...

Well Tony's head may be on upside down but he brews bloody good beer with it. Well you know what I mean.

Stonch said...

His tendency to order halves is very common for people who work in the pub trade - not sure if brewers are the same.

Tandleman said...

I should add that he order two halves at a time of different beers.

Tyson said...

Well ordering two halves of the same beer would be silly!

Gazza Prescott said...

I order halves 99% of the time - it's the being a scooper that does it, but it also means you get to try twice as many beers and, if either isn't to your taste, you don't have to sling as much with a half and can usually force it down...