Monday, 14 July 2008

A Wet Night in Lancaster

Steve who makes a Luddite seem progressive, is astonished when his phone rings with an unknown number which he then tries to call. I tell him about "call back" explaining the unknown call was the taxi firm telling us our cab is outside, the software having picked up his number from the call he made to order it in the first place. His look of astonishment is genuine. He almost said " well I never". We pile into the taxi in driving rain. We are heading to the Collegian Club, a CIU affiliated Working Men's Club which is Good Beer Guide listed. We are welcomed warmly, but the Bowland Brewery beer has more than a whiff of vinegar to it. Pints are willingly exchanged and just as vinegary. The barmaid is apologetic and helpless, so we bugger off, seeking liquid refreshment elsewhere. Disappointing for a club with GBG status and Beautiful Beer and Cask Marque logos outside.

The John O'Gaunt is an elegant ex Tetley house which is fading fast under the dead hand of an anonymous pub company. The beer choice is Adnams, Jennings, Deuchars and Marstons. The Adnams is stale and papery, the Deuchars tired and the Jennings Cumberland, flattish and uninspiring. Oh Dear. Nil out of two for the GBG. We scurry off into the rain which drives Steve's umbrella inside out and breaks some of the spokes. It is hastily thrust into a convenient bin. We make for the Three Mariners, but a Hydes sign is spotted up a side street. We enter The Robert Gillow which is a neat, almost wine bar type venue with a live jazz band on. The Hydes beers are in marvellous condition and we admire the various young ladies going up astonishingly steep stairs as we sup contentedly. Bitter, Jekyll's Gold and the seasonal, Bells and Whistles all hit the spot. We all get a chance to experience the stairs, as the toilets are up there. They put a strain on my arthritic right knee which I could have done without. Next up is the Three Mariners. This pub is bustling, welcoming and has an excellent range of beers. We are invited to inspect the unusual overhead cellar, which we do by clinging to a wall ladder and peering at the casks above. The cellar is immaculate, the welcome, welcoming and the clientele, mixed and pleasant. We enjoy a fair mix of beers including Jennings, Everards, Bowland and Skipton. All are well presented. We leave for our curry and step out into the beating rain with some reluctance.

We stayed at the Slyne Lodge, a Jennings pub that was pretty unwelcoming really. Pity that, though the rooms were nice.

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