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!
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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