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Message from the Editor Hello everyone and welcome to the 71st edition of Ale and Hearty. I am Pam your editor (that’s me on the right just in case you wondered what I look like) and I am looking forward to receiving original articles and photographs from you for future editions, please don’t send copied articles as this infringes the copyright. At the time of writing it is coming up to Halloween where Southport has a name change to Spookport, have any of you tried the spooky beers that seem to appear at this time of year. Wychwood and Moorhouses being two of the breweries brewing these. Moorhouses has bought out a Ruby Witch 4.6%ABV a dark ruby, full bodied ale, with a flashing pump clip you can’t miss it.They now have 10 witch brands from Black Cat the dark ale to White Witch the blonde ale. Wychwood’s website is pretty scary try downloading their ghost train screensaver.

Congratulations are in order to Paul Bardsley of Southport Brewery, They have won Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in the North West Independent Brewers Awards. Dark Night has won gold in the mild category, Golden Sands silver in standard bitters and bronze in cask best bitters. This will go through in August next year to the national judging of SIBA awards. Well Done Paul. The front cover shows photos of some of us helping to get ready for last years beer festival. Finally can I thank, Heatons Bridge, Cricketers Ormskirk, Upsteps, Grasshopper, Guest House, for allowing us to hold our meetings there. Cheers Pam Editor

Chairmans Bit Welcome to this our Autumn / Winter 2016/7 edition of Ale & Hearty. First of all can I wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

experts backed by the Temperance brigade that if they do, that come February they might not have a pub/bar to go to because are local licensees rely on business 12 months of the year not on 11 months and that that restraint could be the last straw for them resulting in closure of your local.

2016 has seen a couple of new bars and micro pubs opening in the branch area with very few closures so over the year we are actually up but sadly our more rural parts have seen the loss of a very much once loved and very thriving real ale pub close in the Martin Inn in Scarisbrick.

Also don’t forget that you can still get to most of our local pubs and bars by public transport so meaning that you don’t have to worry about driving and then the possibility of drink driving. For details of public transport please go to the very helpful website www.traveline.info open seven days a week or phone number 0871 200 2233.

Our five local breweries all seem to be thriving with 3 Potts planning to expand into new premises again. Can we also ask our readers to remember that if they take part in the No alcohol in January campaign being pushed for by our so called Medical

Doug Macadam Branch Chairman

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is the CAMRA Southport & West Lancs Branch’s magazine, published three times a year and distributed free to pubs, clubs, beer festivals, tourist offices and other outlets in Southport, Formby,West Lancashire and beyond. We produce 4,500 copies, and each one is read by several people. Ale & Hearty is funded entirely by our advertisers, whom we gratefully thank.

CONTACTS Editor Pam Kelly

07515 824539

E-mail: pamhad60@sky.com

07714 265096

E-mail: macadamdoug@gmail.com

07766 687743

E-mail: RD.MerseyCheshireNWales@camra.org.uk

Finance Doug Macadam

Branch Contact Ian Garner

Items for inclusion to Editor, please email: pamhad60@sky.com. Cut off for editorials for the next Ale and Hearty is 31st Dec Name and contact details required: anonymous correspondence will not be considered, although your name can be left out of the magazine with the editor’s agreement.

BRANCH WEBSITE AND FACEBOOK For more local news about CAMRA, pubs, beer and breweries go to: www.southportcamra.org.uk. You can also follow ‘Southport and West Lancs Camra’ on Facebook. ‘Like’ us for updates.

USEFUL CONTACTS •

CAMRA HQ 230 Hatfield Road, St Albans, AL1 4LW.

01727 867201. Website: www.camra.org.uk

SEFTON TRADING STANDARDS Sefton MBC (Environmental Protection Department), 1st Floor, Magdalen House, Stanley Precinct, Trinity Road, Bootle. L20 3QZ. Email: consumer.advice@sefton.gov.uk (0151) 934 2089   Fax: (0151) 934 2106

SEFTON LICENSING AUTHORITY Sefton MBC, The Licensing Authority, Magdalen House, 30 Trinity Road, Bootle, L20 3NJ. 0151 934 4015 Fax: 0151 934 4276

LANCASHIRE TRADING STANDARDS Trading Standards Service, County Hall, Fishergate Hill, Preston, PR1 8XB. 01772 533569 (General Enquiries). E-mail: tsgeneralmail@lancashire.gov.uk

WEST LANCASHIRE LICENSING SERVICE West Lancs Borough Council - Licensing Service, Robert Hodge Centre, Stanley Way, Skelmersdale, WN8 8EE. Email: licensing.enquiries@westlancs.gov.uk 01695 577177 Fax: 01695 585126

The opinions expressed in Ale & Hearty are not necessarily those of the Editor, the CAMRA Southport & West Lancs Branch or CAMRA Ltd.

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Sandgrounder Beerfest… to Be or Not to Be? help – the more volunteers the better – less work for the others! The existing members would be happy to work alongside any new volunteers until they get the hang of things.

… That is the question! I pen this item not just to CAMRA members, but to all our readers who might help our quest – so all can feel free to join us if they wish. Since the year 2000 we have had an annual Southport Sandgrounder Beer Festival, that is 16 events up to now, all financially sound. They have been held at the former Southport Arts Centre, the Scarisbrick Hotel and the St John Ambulance Hall. Our problem is that this year we have not been able to hold one, due to several of our small organising committee having been beset by personal problems (including myself, who had an argument with a car whilst crossing the road near the Richmond Hotel last January – don’t do it – I’m still immobilised!). This branch of CAMRA has more than 650 members, some of whom we never meet, even though we should like to do. Our problem is this: all the regular committee members have served the branch for many years (myself for 32 years) and we do need some help, especially for the beer festival – we should love to run it again next year, but need some recruits to

A new team could introduce new ideas – there are many jobs to do: organising and budgeting for the beers, ciders and perries; administration and finance; organising staffing for the event; seeking out sponsors to reduce our costs and increase income, contacting press and media to report and cover the Beerfest; arranging a venue; canvassing for new members, running raffles and providing entertainment and catering, plus many other sundry jobs. I ask all readers and members to consider the problem – there are now many other beer festivals, in pubs, breweries and elsewhere – perhaps we should seek help outside for a type of joint venture or sponsorship – though ideally we would like to run our own CAMRA festival. We could rename it as an Oktoberfest, but there are already a few of these. So please think about my comments and do contact me if you have any ideas or would like to help – we would aim to hold a special volunteers’ meeting early next year, but we need input before then to decide if this would be worthwhile. So please email me on mikepcamra@gmail.com or my telephone is 01704 573768. Do give me call, please. Mike Perkins Southport & West Lancs CAMRA Editors note: We now have a meeting arranged to discuss this on January 17th 8pm Grasshopper everyone welcome. Pam

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AND NOW WE ARE SIX Due to popular demand, the once seasonal White Witch (3.9%) has been added to our championship core list - for even more Moorhouse's magic in North West pubs.

  

     Publicans should contact Stuart Hayes on 07791 337727 or email: stuart.hayes@moorhouses.co.uk 6


Breweries Keep Increasing The number of breweries has increased by 8% to around 1700 in the past year with research indicating a surge in popularity of craft beers. Breweries are for the most part profitable and are targets for acquisition according to accountancy group UHY Hacner Young. Drinkers appear willing to pay premium price for a perceived luxury product such as craft beer. James Simmonds of UHY Hacker Young said “Craft Beer is leading the way in the surging popularity of artisan products and has pushed aside other brands in high street bars. Many are now firmly established household names”

“This increasing popularity has transformed many microbreweries into high profitable businesses for entrepreneurs looking for a niche position in the food and drinks market “As a result of their success microbreweries across the UK have also become attractive acquisition targets for larger breweries” In the last year 5 new breweries have appeared in Merseyside. 3 Potts from Southport, Craft from Southport, Neptune from Maghull, Red Star from Formby and Rock the Boat from Little Crosby. There are a number of breweries across the land as intimated above that have decided to produce craft beer in preference to cask ale. Surely a choice should be offered to customers although the high price of craft beer seems to be affecting the price of cask ale in certain establishments.

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GO WITH THE FLOW… Taking its name from an island on the Thames, two miles away from our famous Chiswick brewery, Oliver’s Island is a smooth cask ale with a crisp and refreshing citrus flavour.

Aroma – Citrus and f loral

Taste – Biscuity grapefruit, crisp and refreshing

Cask: 3.8% ABV Bottle: 4.5% ABV

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#OliversIsland


Brewery News No News Pam Hadfield They have won Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in the North West Independent Brewers Awards. Dark Night has won gold in the mild category, Golden Sands silver in standard bitters and bronze in cask best bitters. This will go through in August next year to the national judging of SIBA awards. Well Done Paul. Doug Macadam

Colin Hadfield Red Star Brewery is one of the first local breweries selling its beers in the Houses of Parliament. in a special event “Formby IPA” ale was served by brewer Glen Monaghan to two local Merseyside MPs Bill Esterson and Steve Rotherham in the Strangers Bar which is frequented by MP’s in the House of Commons. The Casa in Hope street Liverpool hosted a special one off brew named “viva la casa” to coincide with a fund raising premier event, to raise funds for the venue. Red Star have been hosting numerous “meet the brewer“ evenings throughout the Southport and Merseyside area. the most recent event was on 21-10-16 at The Willow Grove Wetherspoons pub on Lord Street Southport @8pm. Red Star brewers have joined forces with students at John Moores University Liverpool on a research

project on brewing methods involving yeast and light. In october the brewery won a gold award at the society for independent brewers association (siba) for their Partisan bottled beer in the category of dark beers and stouts small pallets. Simon at the brewery says that things are going well, so much so that the current space that they brew in is not practical any more. They are looking at suitable units in and around Southport and plan to move in the next few months. When the new premises are secured, they will be installing additional fermenters to satisfy demand and expanding their customer base. An improved cool room will be installed as more of their beer now go into casks. The current range of cask ales will be expanded, including some session friendly ones as well as their Keg offering in the form of Keg Turbine. There will also be a few more limited edition of beers as with their recent collaboration with “Tap & Bottles” Beer Club. All the above will keep them on track with their mission of “Small Batch Beers Brewed in Southport” To whet your appetite tasting notes for the current 3 beers are as follows. Sprocket IPA – 5.5% ABV. An unrefined IPA brewed with US Summit and Simcoe hop to balance the malt base with juicy flavours. Turbine IIPA – 7.4% ABV A Darker IPA brewed using Chinook and Azacca hops from the US. An unrefined beer with fruity notes Furnace – 6.5% ABV An unrefined single hopped American stout utilising Cascade Hops and darker/ chocolate malts. Simon can be contacted by email on Simon @3potts.co.uk. Fred Harris BLO 3 Potts

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Úna Mcbride

Úna McBride, local charity fundraiser, passed away earlier this year at the age of 59. Úna had deservedly been in the news because, despite terminal cancer, she raised large sums of money for charities such as Queenscourt Hospice and MacMillan Cancer Support, culminating in a special ‘Courage and Sparkle’ event in St George’s Hall, Liverpool. Six years ago, Úna was involved in an entirely different campaign: to reopen the Becconsall pub in Hesketh Bank. The Bec, as it was known, was originally the hunting, shooting and fishing lodge for the local aristocratic Hesketh family. It eventually became a pub and was run for 25 years by Úna’s parents, Frank and Úna McBride. Being the only local pub, it was central to village life, although in latter years it went into decline. After it closed in 2009, Úna began a campaign in the name of her elderly mother, known locally as Mrs Mc, to reopen the Bec, not just as a pub, but as a community social enterprise for use by local groups and residents for meetings and functions. She set up the ‘Save The Becconsall’ committee which quickly became very active and was able to attract interest in the project from a pub entrepreneur. Úna and her team worked tirelessly to resurrect this fondly-remembered pub, hoping to provide a valuable asset for the community. Her campaign was extensively covered at the time here in Ale & Hearty. Maureen Baldwin from the action group said at the time: “The Becconsall was always a very attractive

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family pub when it was owned by the McBride family and it would be great if we could recreate that once again.” Sadly that was not to be because a structural survey revealed that the building had been so badly neglected by its final owners that it was beyond economic repair. Demolition soon followed and the site was then redeveloped into houses and flats. Despite her own battles against cancer, Úna later applied her formidable campaigning skills to raising thousands of pounds for health-related charities for which she was honoured just a few months ago at the Merseyside Women of the Year Awards. The local CAMRA branch admires her inspiring fundraising work for good causes undertaken when she was seriously ill herself, but also remembers her earlier work as a highly committed pub campaigner on behalf of her community in Hesketh Bank.

Pubs giving CAMRA discount to card carrying CAMRA members Pubs giving CAMRA discount to card carrying CAMRA members Tap & Bottles 20p off a pint 10p off 1/2pint Sandgrounder 30p off a pint of Real Ale Bold Arms Churchtown 20p a pint Real Ale Freshfield 25p a pint Real Ale Railway Formby 20p a pint real Ale Phoenix 10% off Real Ale Park Birkdale 10% off pints and halves Cross House Formby 10% off pints Grasshopper Hillside offer a discount scheme I am sure this list is not exhausted and if I have missed anyone out of Southport and West Lancs area or you decide to start offering discount please let me know at pamhad60@sky.com This list will be a permanent feature of Ale and Hearty hoping to try and encourage pubs to be included.


Hebden Bridge Back To Normal It is hard to envisage that last winter the pleasant town of Hebden Bridge was under water. On visiting the annual Calderdale Beer Festival nearly all the pubs appeared to be open and certainly the ones I visited had a lot to offer. The beer festival itself was a little disappointing insomuch as on the last day a number of the more interesting beers had gone but hey I should have expected that. Calans is a delightful micropub run by a pleasant couple. The beer there was Dunham Massey East India Pale Ale at 6% ABV a trifle pokey but the best beer I had all day. A five minute walk bought us to the Old Gate Bar and Restaurant. This is a

modern establishment with 10 real ales plus on this occasion an additional bar featuring 20 beers from the Manchester area. There were some beers never seen in the Southport area and I indulged in a Sorachi beer from Tweed brewery. Quick visits to the intriguingly named Drink? The Albert and finally the Sports and Social Club followed. I did manage to find a friendly Yorkshireman to sign me in the latter venue and enjoyed a pleasant half of Goose Eye Chinook. Hebden Bridge has a number of independent shops as well as an eclectic mix of pubs and is well worth a visit as long as the floods keep away. Incidentally the chanty at the beer festival incorporated flood protection which is well worth supporting.

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Liverpool Beer Festival 2017 The annual Liverpool Beer Festival will be taking place as usual in the fabulous surroundings of the Crypt Hall of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King on Brownlow Hill in Liverpool from the 15th February to the 18th February 2017 with over 200 beers, ciders and perrys. As an experiment the festival will open on the Wednesday night as well this year but there will be a limited choice of at least 50 beers on but this night will be free to CAMRA members and for non CAMRA members will cost £5.00 for entrance and this will include a free glass and all tickets will be available on the door. As usual the other nights will be all ticket only with tickets being available on Eventbrite from the 5th December 2016 for Liverpool branch members and from 7th December 2016 for Halton, St Helens, Southport and Wirral branch members and from 9th December for everybody else. For local branch

members to get their tickets they will have to have their membership number when booking. The prices will be Thursday evening £7.00, Friday afternoon £8.00, Friday evening £10.00, Saturday afternoon £9.00 and Saturday evening £8.00. Volunteers will be needed for set up on Saturday 11th February and then from when we are open from Wednesday 15th February to Saturday 18th February and then for take down on Sunday 19th February. To volunteer you must be a CAMRA member. For more details and further staffing/volunteer information please see www.liverpool.camra.org.uk. Opening Times Wednesday 15th Feb 1830 - 2200 Thursday 16th Feb 1830 - 2230 Friday 17th Feb 1200 - 1600 & 1830 - 2230 Saturday 18th Feb 1200 - 1600 & 1830 – 2230

GREAT BRITISH BEER FESTIVAL 2016 OVERALL WINNERS GOLD Binghams - Vanilla Stout SILVER Old Dairy - Snowtop BRONZE Tring - Death or Glory

FULL CATEGORY RESULTS :- GOLDS MILDS Williams Bros - Black BITTERS Timothy Taylor - Boltmaker BEST BITTER Surrey Hills - Shere Drop GOLDEN ALES Golden Triangle - Mosaic City

STRONG BITTER Heavy Industry - 77 SPECIALITY BEERS Binghams - Vanilla Stout CHAMPION WINTER BEER OF BRITAIN CATEGORY WINNER ANNOUNCED IN JANUARY 2016 AND CONSIDERED ALONGSIDE THE 6 WINNERS ABOVE

Porter Elland 1872 Porter Facers North Star Porter STOUT PLAIN ALES Incognito - Stout and Wibblers - Crafty Stout BARLEY WINES & STRONG OLD ALES Tring - Death or Glory Darwin - Extinction Ales OLD ALES AND STRONG MILD Old Dairy - Snowtop Marble - Chocolate Marble

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Local Developments There are a number of changes to report in outlets selling real ale in the area covered by Southport & West Lancs branch of CAMRA. On Manchester Road in Southport the Rabbit has become the Cock and Rabbit with apparently one real ale on sale. At the north end of Lord St the Inn Beer Shop has expanded into the Picture Framing shop next door and called it Beer Heaven. Further along the block what was Molloys furniture shop is now called Peaky Blinders and has 5 real ales on sale usually 3 from Robinsons, Landlord and a varying guest ale. One example recently was from Nethergate Brewery in Essex. On the opposite corner the Bold Hotel is now a boutique facility and has been extensively refurbished. On a recent visit there were 4 real ales including one from Lancaster Brewery plus Timothy Taylors Golden Best. Four doors along in what used to be a restaurant is now a bar called Corridor. There are over 4 real ales including their own called unsurprisingly Corridor and apparently brewed by Thwaites plus a guest ale which on my last visit was from Rock the Boat. In Hillside there are now 2 micropubs one on Sandon Road opposite the chip shop and called Grasshopper. This has 4 real ales usually but not always from local brewers. A CAMRA discount is offered.A recent CAMRA banch meeting was held in a separate room to the bar area. Around the corner in Hillside Road is The Pines which is very popular when the sun shines.. Two real ales are available. On my last visit they were from Southport and Salopian Breweries.

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Adjacent to Freshfield Station on Victoria Road there is now a micro pub called Beerstation owned by Ian Walsh, formerly of Red Star brewery and run jointly with his son Keir Walsh formerly from the Freshfield and the Endbutt. 3 real ales are on sale invariably from local breweries.


Ribble Valley Revisited On a recent visit to the Bridge Bier Huis in Burnley I picked up the latest edition of East Lancashire CAMRA’s informative magazine Witch Ale. The local information contained therein is always excellent but this edition notified the world at large that Bowland Brewery had opened a brand new beer hall at their new premises at Holmes Mill, Greenacre Street Clitheroe. There were seemingly no less than 42 hand pumps. These were not in one long row but split up in 6 or 7 banks. Bowland beers were there in force but there were also 6 ciders and I think24 real ales from other breweries mostly from the Northwest. From further apart were Stringer’s, Rooster’s, Lincoln Green, Titanic, Saltaire, Vocation and York. Prices range from £3.20 to £3.90 depending on ABV.

bakery and patisserie are due to open soon and plans are for a hotel to be in place in the future. This is a very interesting concept, larger than the Hawkshead Brewery Beer Hall at Staveley and I hope that visitors appear in the numbers required to sustain the number of hand pumps. On the way home I called in at Whalley and was pleased to see that things seem to have returned to normal after the winter floods. Certainly the Dog Inn on King St was very welcoming with 5 real ales on.

The Beer Hall has three main areas – the bar area which is vast, the Engine Hall with an enormous Cross Compound Stream Engine from 1910 as its centrepiece and the Chimney Hall which was the warmest area of the mill. There are many seats although the settees are easier to access than the table seats Opening times are 11.00am to 11.00 pm Monday to Saturday and 12 noon – 8pm Sundays. Food is available from noon all days if a tad on the expensive side. There are deals on Monday and Tuesday for half price beer and circumnavigation tickets exist for journeying around what is claimed to be the largest bar in Britain. A first class ticket of 24 pints for £64.00 valid for 14 days, a second class ticket consists of 24 halfs for £34.00 valid for 7 days and a third class ticket consists of 24 thirds for £24.00 valid for 2 days. On the day I was there their function room was booked by the local Chamber of Commerce. The brewery is visible from the beer hall in fact all the doors are transparent glass and automatic. The

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Unit If You Want To Early in 2016, the Chief Medical Officer for England (CMOE) stated that ‘the hard science’ had persuaded her that it was necessary to reduce the recommended guideline for alcohol consumption for men from 21 units per week to 14, thus bringing it in line with the figure for women. She stated that every year, over 20,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with cancer caused by drinking alcohol, adding that excessive drinking can cause other health problems too. How does this ‘hard science’ actually stand up to scrutiny? Proving a link between an activity, in this case drinking, and ill health isn’t always straightforward. For example, if a drinker gets cancer, it does not automatically follow that the cancer was caused by the drink. Even where a link is suspected, proving it is not always an exact science, which is why the figure of 20,000 needs to be treated with caution: if you can’t be precise about the causes, it follows you can’t be precise about the statistics either. No one would argue that excessive drinking is riskfree. However, while a diagnosis of cancer is always a serious matter, it is worth pointing out that government figures show that you are 25% more likely to be knocked down when crossing the road than get cancer through drinking. This puts the risk into some kind of perspective. There are of course many other risky activities in life, most of which don’t get the same attention as drinking: mountain climbing, sailing, pot holing, rugby, boxing, not wearing a seat belt, driving too fast or singing ‘The Sash My Father Wore’ in a Sinn Fein pub. It has often been said that moderate drinking can sometimes have health benefits, but the CMOE contradicts this by declaring that there is no safe level of drinking at all. Talk about mixed messages: either 14 units is safe or there is no safe level at all – the CMOE can’t have it both ways. The health benefits of moderate drinking have recently been dismissed as old wives’ tales. Have any alcohol

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campaigners reassessed all the relevant research that had previously stated there were benefits to determine where and how it had all gone wrong? If they had, I’m sure they would have told us to add more weight to their arguments. In fact, no one has claimed to have discredited the earlier research. So where did these units come from? Several years ago, one of the scientists on the team that produced the old 21 and 14 limits admitted that the figures were more or less plucked out of the air. He emphasised that he wasn’t suggesting that drinking was a risk-free activity; he was simply stating there wasn’t any real science behind these particular numbers. According to the Office of National Statistics, around 2.5 million people in Great Britain - 9% of drinkers consume more than the new weekly recommended limit for alcohol in a single day. Organisations such as Alcohol Concern cannot understand why their constant attempts to persuade drinkers to limit their intake to the equivalent of one pint of ordinary strength beer a day are being so widely ignored. The reason is simple: hardly anyone believes in the units – they lack any credibility. Considering the ‘back-ofthe-envelope’ method by which the limits were set, the public is right to be sceptical. The UK limits are among the lowest in Europe. Are we the only ones who are right? With such wild variations in the recommended limits, it’s difficult to believe that hard science was involved in any of the countries concerned. Interestingly, only five other countries in the world prescribe the same drinking limits for both men and women: Australia, Netherlands, Albania, Guyana and Grenada. Is the CMOE saying that the rest of the world is wrong? Furthermore, does anyone actually believe the ‘one size fits all’ approach? Do we seriously accept that a burly 6’ 4” rugby player can drink no more than a 5’ 7” male weighing 9 stone? Or – dare I say it? - are


Country Bulgaria Croatia Czech Republic Denmark Finland Germany Netherlands Poland Slovenia UK

Weekly units - male

Weekly units - female

14 18 18 21 18 21 9 13 18 14

7 9 12 14 9 14 9 6 9 14

we being subjected to gross oversimplifications? In my opinion, yes we are. The closer you look at the units and the ‘hard science’ behind them, the less convincing they become. Regrettably, our media tend to accept the official propaganda about alcohol uncritically. Four years ago, when the BBC quoted completely inaccurate figures in a programme about the effects of alcohol on older drinkers (they exaggerated the risks, but this was a mistake by the university researchers, not the BBC), I asked them to correct the information in a later broadcast of the programme concerned. They said they’d corrected it on the website, and dismissed my point that most people who had seen the programme probably wouldn’t look at the website. This is the TV equivalent of a newspaper publishing a story with massive headlines on the front page, only to print the subsequent retraction in small print at the bottom of page 42.

CAMRA advocates responsible drinking. The problem is that we are not presented with information, but propaganda from organisations whose real agenda borders on the prohibitionist. Their approach defeats their own objectives, and fails to give the public reliable and impartial advice. Never mind: having failed so conspicuously, they can always go and drown their sorrows. Neville Grundy

I concluded that they think it’s all right to broadcast inaccurate information about alcohol without correcting it, as long as that misinformation supports the alcohol campaigners’ cause. I’m certain that if the errors had gone the other way, the Beeb would have caved in to pressure from alcohol campaigners to broadcast a correction on air. Although the original mistake was genuine, it became dishonest when they refused to correct it in the same form as the original broadcast. So much for investigative journalism. For all I know, the inaccurate findings in that programme are still being quoted as fact.

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Top of The Form in Formby Wassail Cider and Perry Drinkers October is cider month and cider producers are busy making cider. One of my roles in my job description as RCC, is to carry out observations for the branches in our area. The Cross House in Formby was brought to my attention by Southport Branch, I feel a responsibility to this branch as they do not have a cider officer. Off I go, on my way; Not to far from the local transport.

The taming of the kilderkin. This pub was very good for CAMRA aims, cosy very helpful staff, Good food, and behold five boxes of Cider all different CAMRA discount on beers, but not cider, yet Black Dragon, personal favorite, I tried twice Devon Mist, Apples and Pears, Sunset, Rosie’s Pig, Complemented with cheese and biscuits. I did talk about a real Perry, they will consider it, I would urge cider and Perry drinkers to visit this venue. So glad I did, wonderful afternoon. Regards Linda Harris RCC MERSEYSIDE AND CHESHIRE

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It may not appear hostile. But the Taylor’s cask is well known amongst landlords for its tendency to erupt and drench the unsuspecting if not handled correctly. We still brew our beer the traditional way, which means it undergoes a vigorous secondary fermentation in the cask. This extra conditioning results in a cleaner and crisper beer. But it also means that our casks demand extra time and care. So when you see Landlord in a pub, you know you’re in the presence of a landlord who has tamed the beast to bring you that Taylor’s Taste. Please thank them for their endeavours.

All for that taste of Taylor’s


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The Chairman & Vice Chairman’s Winter Sojourn Wednesday afternoon on 25th November 2015 saw my long-awaited trip with our leader Doug Macadam to Newton Stewart in Dumfries and Galloway. The reason for the trip will become apparent as we go along. Back in January 2015 I had been on a Shearing’s coach holiday with my wife Yvonne, and I vowed to go back again, mainly because I had not had the chance to visit many of the pubs I wanted to get to, one of the reasons being that public transport in this part of Scotland is limited in the winter. Also, when I told Doug about our trip in January, his reply was “well I go to Dumfries and Galloway regularly” (of course he would being an avid twitcher), “so would you be interested in going again next time I plan to go”, to which I immediately replied “yes”. So, once Doug had finished work after an early shift we were off, driving in the first instance from Southport to Moffat, where we arrived about teatime to be faced with a very interesting hotel, the Star Hotel, but sadly a disappointing choice of beer, with just one real ale available in the form of the ubiquitous Old Speckled Hen from England. I had a pint all the same, it cost £3.40 and it was fairly average. Moffat, incidentally, was the town where we stopped off on a CAMRA Southport excursion to the Isle of Arran in October 2001 to present Isle of Arran brewery with our Beer of the Festival award for the 2001 Southport Beer Festival. However, on that occasion we visited the Black Bull Hotel for a meal and drinks as it was the Good Beer Guide entry at the time. So Doug then drove to Thornhill, and although I had been there before, he had not, so we called into the Buccleuch & Queensferry Hotel, a well-appointed hotel that I had stopped off at on a visit with my mate Dave Taylor on the way to a return visit to the Isle of Arran in 2005. It still sold good beer, even

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though my previous visit had been ten years ago, and I tried halves of Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted (that’s a favourite beer of my Evertonian friend and CAMRA National Director Ian Garner – all Liverpudlians will get that) and another half of Inveralmond Lia Fail. Both were very good although again were £3.50 a pint! Our final port of call before getting to Newton Stewart was the excellent Clachan Inn at the quaintly-named St. Johns Town of Dalry. I had a superb pint of Fyne Ales Hurricane Jack, which at £3.25 was the cheapest pint so far but easily the best, raising the bar to a new height for the rest of the week. Thursday 26th November saw our first day out on public transport, when our plan, with Doug’s expertise in reading bus timetables, was to get to the Isle of Whithorn, a rather remote part of Dumfries and Galloway. After an excellent full Scottish breakfast at our guest house, we set off for the main bus station, a five minute walk into town. From there we caught the 415 Isle of Whithorn bus via Wigtown. A short walk along the harbour took us to the Steam Packet Inn, a pub which won the Champion Pub of Scotland award in 2015, and in my opinion deservedly so. An exceptionally friendly pub, I chatted to a lovely old man who had moved to the Isle of Whithorn from Carlisle due to the peace and tranquillity of the area, whilst I quaffed a pint of Five Kingdoms Doctor Rudi. A superb pint, brewed on the Isle of Whithorn and good value at £3.00 a pint.This was a pub I could not just drink one pint in, which is what I usually do on pub crawls, so I went back to try the Five Kingdoms Equinox, Kelburn Pivo Estivo and finished with the superb Five Kingdoms


Dark Storm Stout, the best of the lot! On the return journey Doug and I stopped off at Wigtown to try a pint at the GBG-listed Wigtown Ploughman, but this was disappointing after the Steam Packet Inn, as we were faced with Hobsons Choice as the only real ale was Morland (Greene King) Old Speckled Hen which was to both our trained palates way past its sell by date (and I gather the pub has subsequently closed). Catching another 415 bus back to Newton Stewart, we decided to visit some pubs in the town, none of which were in the Good Beer Guide but which nonetheless all sold real ale: the Galloway Arms Hotel (two Sulwath beers), the Cree Inn (Portpatrick Foghorn) and the Creebridge Hotel. Easily the best of these pubs was the Cree Inn, which had two added bonuses: first of all, a brand new beer from a new Dumfries and Galloway microbrewery, and a chance meeting with Linda and Alan, a lovely couple from England who had moved to this part of the world and were good friends with Eddie and Phyl, the couple who we were staying with for the week at Corsbie Villa with whom Doug had stayed on a number of occasions. Amazingly, in an act of instant friendliness, Linda and Alan told us they were having a party on the Friday night and that we were welcome to come! We had only met them half an hour ago and they were inviting us to their home! Wonderful hospitality. Anyhow, we bid farewell to each other, with another busy day to come on the Friday. Doug and I rose early for breakfast, and then departed Corsbie Villa for the short walk to the Newton Stewart bus station, where we caught the 9.40 430 bus to Stranraer. We then got the 367 bus to Portpatrick, where I had stayed in January, and visited the Crown again. This time, however, there was a better choice than Courage Directors, in the form of Hadrian & Border Secret Kingdom. Still only one real ale, but no complaints as it was in good nick! We timed it so we knew the bus times, so after a couple of pints we got the return bus back to

Stranraer, where we visited the Grapes. Here we watched Andy Murray playing in the soon to be victorious Great Britain Davis Cup team whilst supping pints of Orkney Corncrake Ale and Alchemy Rhapsody at £3.00 a pint good value, but even better at the Grapes because we got 10% off for being CAMRA members, saving us 60p. each! This is where I got the chance to visit a pub I could not get to in January, as the daytime bus services in Dumfries and Galloway are better than in the evening. We were able to get the 408 bus along the shore of Loch Ryan which stopped right outside the Blue Peter. However, we had to wait for it to open due to the pub not being open in the afternoon, another reason why I could not get there when previously staying in the area in January. Here we had a meal and a couple of pints of Hadrian & Border Jetsam. Again £3.00 a pint and not bad beer. Timing the return bus to perfection, we got the 408 back to Stranraer and tried a pint in the Ruddicot Hotel before catching the 500 bus back to Newton Stewart before setting off on foot for Linda and Alan’s party. By then I’d had more than enough beer and only managed one bottle of beer at the party, so I was not too much of a drain on our guests’ hospitality. Saturday 28th November: our last full day. Another busy itinerary, we had another hearty breakfast and then caught the 9.45 500 bus from Newton Stewart to Castle Douglas on another rainy day. Here visited the GBG-listed Sulwath Brewery Tap. We were the first visitors of the day and were able to chat to the barman and brewer. However, despite being advised that the beers were superb, even the keg ones, and being given tasters of them all, I’ve got to say that the Sulwath beers were not to my taste. I tried the Tri-ball Tribute, Solway Mist, The Grace and Reinbeer, and it was only the latter that I rated. Maybe it was just me, but I found the beers distinctive but unusual. After an hour or so at the brewery, we ventured back into the inclement weather for a walk down the High Street to catch the 501 bus to Dalbeattie. Here we had a wait for the bus, so we stopped for a

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pot of tea and a haggis roll in a local teashop, a nice change from all the beer. We then walked to the little bus station before catching the mini Houston bus to Kippford, a little village on the banks of the Rough Firth, and one of the most remote pubs we were to visit during the week. Here we visited the Anchor Inn, where the favourite beer of all Evertonians, Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted was a little pricey at £3.50 but nonetheless excellent. A quick stop in Kippford was necessary so that we could pick up the not-too-frequent bus back to Dalbeattie and on to the Haugh of Urr, a little hamlet on the B974 with a pub and little else. However, the Lawrie Arms was an excellent pub, a highlight of the week, and the Fyne Ales Jarl at £3.20 was superb. We left after an hour, thinking we had timed the bus to perfection, chatting to the landlady on the way out, being the only customers. However, on leaving the pub the bus sailed past be4fore we could get to the stop. Looking at our bus timetables (or should I say Doug looking at one), we contemplated how long we would be stuck at the Lawrie Arms before the lovely landlady, seeing our dilemma, duly offered to run us back to Dalbeattie in her car: what a service and what a pub! This gave us the chance to get back on schedule and catch the 502 bus to Kirkcudbright bus station at the harbour. A short walk got us to the Masonic Arms in Castle Street and then the Selkirk Arms in nearby High Street. In the former the only real ale was Sharps Doom Bar, and, although Doom Bar is not my favourite beer, being a little sweet for my taste, it was in very good condition, and we realised that in this part of the world you have got to be grateful to get any real ale, especially in winter. The Selkirk Arms Hotel was a revelation. I tried the Sulwath The Grace, but Doug and I could not believe the other beer on offer: Parker Saxon Red Ale from Southport!!! How did it get here? That was the talking point of the week for us both. We could have brought it with us! After leaving the Selkirk Arms, we walked back to the bus station and caught the Houston bus company 372 to Gatehouse of Fleet (you will need

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a road atlas to keep up with me here if you have never been to this part of Scotland), and here we tried a half of Sulwath Galloway Gold at the nonGBG listed Masonic Arms. Again, not my favourite beer of the week and probably needed to up its quality to be considered for the GBG. After a long day it was back to Newton Stewart on the 500 bus. So that was almost it. One last full Scottish breakfast in the morning and we were off after paying our bills and thanking Eddie and Phyl for a lovely week. However, there was one last request from me, and Doug duly obliged by driving from Newton Stewart to a place called Bargrennan and the House o’ Hill, a rather remote pub just off the A714 and at the western end of the Galloway Forest Park, and a pub that would have been impossible to get to on public transport. This was by now the only Good Beer Guide pub in Dumfries & Galloway I had not visited, so it completed the set with a pint of Orkney Raven Ale. Bargrennan had not exactly been on the way home, so we left and doubled back towards Newton Stewart before taking the A712 and then A75 back towards England and stops at another couple of pubs on the way home. The best of them was the Drovers Arms in Monkhill, on the outskirts of Carlisle, where I had three thirds on a beer platter including the excellent Carlisle Brewing Co. Silverback.And, lo and behold, the Drovers Arms was then announced by CAMRA as having reached the last four of the Pub of the Year competition, making it officially one of the four best pubs in the whole country in 2015, so that had been quite a coup! Anyway, thanks go from me to our Chairman Doug Macadam for a brilliant week in Scotland, and if you have not visited this unspoilt part of Great Britain and like some peace and tranquillity, this is the place for you.

Dave Williams


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Past Ale & Hearty No. 22 – August - October 2000 Past Ale & Hearty The Generation Gap - This time back 16 years to 2000, when the lead article entitled “The Generation Gap”, penned by Ian Wareing, covered the then proposal by ScotCo to spend £4m setting up Theakston Cool Cask, which was a plan to invent a new real ale to tempt younger drinkers from lager to real ale, but there was more to this than met the eye! The new ale was designed to be served at 10°C – two degrees cooler than the usual then specification for cask ale. Adnams of Southwold were also proposing a Trinity beer, of the same temperature specification. It seemed that every trade intention at that time was aimed at younger drinkers, such as theme pubs, café and sports bars, nitrokeg, etc. Ian recalled that when younger he sampled the drinks his contemporaries did, such as Double Diamond – was it 4U or K9P? With age and experience drinkers including Ian became more selective and choosy, and perhaps turned to cask beers. In 2000 many pubs were converting old premises into modern one room drinking areas and concentrating on nitrokeg beers, and one wonders whether Cool Cask and Trinity ever saw the light of day. Ian related to the demise of the traditional pub and conversion into eating houses, and referred to the decimation of the traditional Bay Horse in Formby (others have since followed suit). Since this article things have developed with the growth firstly of Wetherspoon’s pubs with their own character, and more recently the massive

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increase in micro breweries, now around 1,600, and lately the growing number of micro pubs. Maybe at last the message is getting over to younger, and perhaps some older drinkers. Diary Items – that autumn the branch had visited beer festivals at the Red Lion in Newburgh and the (now closed) Railway Tavern in Hoscar, also a social to the Ossett Brewery near Wakefield in West Yorkshire. The latter visit was to award the Festival Best Beer Award from our very first Sandgrounder Beer Festival in May 2000. Many Beers Drunk David Williams wrote an article about a West Lancashire pub crawl the previous April organised by social secretary Ian Rogers. Pubs visited included the Blue Bell at Barton (now closed), with beers from Ushers, Mansfield and Fremlins. Next pub the Martin Inn, once a branch favourite, that day serving only Tetleys and Pedigree beers. Then to the Red Lion in Newburgh for Burtonwood, Cains and Batemans beers. Last stop the Eagle and Child in Bispham Green with Moorhouse Black Cat, several other cask beers (but Dave forgot to note them!) and some draft cider. Note that 16 years ago – very few micro brewery beers available. The First Sandgrounder Beer Festival Dave Williams had produced an article about our very first branch beer festival held on 11th - 13th May 2000. We were very new to this task, and then we trekked all over to pick up the various beers, including Yorkshire and Cumbria. The event was held in the Southport Arts Centre and the late Tony Taylor was the Beer Manager, whilst Dave himself was the Staffing Officer. There were around 60 beers on offer, and we struggled with beer cooling, with iced cloths! it was very warm May weather. How beer cooling methods have changed! Music was provided by the Strong Beer Band, and 33 new CAMRA members


were signed up. Dave thanked all whose who helped and our first attempt, though difficult, was successful and made a financial surplus. We decided to run a beer festival annually and have had 16 up to the present date. This year we have had to take a break as the organising team have suffered some difficulties due to personal circumstances. Featured and Classic Pubs These articles, again penned by the prolific Mr Williams covered the featured Prince Albert in Westhead which is on the 375/385 Wigan bus route, and is still worth a visit. We had recently gained some West Lancs territory and this pub was a welcome addition. Dave sampled Phoenix Arizona and Hydes Hair Raid, with Cains, Golden Fox, Wingatherer and Tetleys Bitter and Dark Mild often available. When visited the pub had an excellent good value food menu, with separate rooms and real fires in winter. Dave’s Classic Pub was the Cock at Broom in Bedfordshire, which had at that time been in every Good Beer Guide since the first in 1974. The pub

was a many roomed village local, with two snugs and a games room, with games of skittles ongoing. The front room had real fires, wooden tables, with lots of beer bottles and low beamed roof. The pub was in Greene King ownership and had their Abbot, IPA and Triumph on offer. The pub then had a dining room, beer garden and no juke boxes or fruit machines. It sounds like a great pub, and one wonders what it is like now – if anyone knows, please contact our editor. This edition of the magazine had 28 pages, including 20 adverts (3 were pubs now closed, and one for the Arriva Night Rider bus service, later discontinued) – it was printed on single red font on white matt paper.

Mike Perkins

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Chorley - Beer Destination As the squire of Walton-le-Dale Mr Gordon Hicks said to me the other day “it’s a real pleasure to come to Chorley to seek out new beers, it has become a beer destination par excellence”. From Southport the 347 bus takes about half an hour leaving at 10-40am and returning at 3.20pm. My first port of call is usually the Bob Inn located at Cabin 24 in the indoor market. It makes the Lakeside Inn look huge with room for about 10-12 people but mine host Steve Cooney has taken over an adjacent unit as a lounge with additional seating. There are 5 hand pumps with 2 ciders and 3 cask ales with beers from anywhere and everywhere. A CAMRA discount is available. No food is provided apart from crisps and pickled eggs but there are several stalls nearby selling good wholesome food and customers are welcome to bring these into the Bob Inn. Steve is always happy to provide a taster of any cask ale on sale. The reason I started at this particular pub is that it opens at 10.00am. It is however shut on Wednesdays and Sundays. In Friday Street near the Railway Station The Malt’n’Hops opens at 12.00 noon and has made a comeback after some years in the wilderness. There are invariably 9-10 cask ales from breweries such as Elland, Bank Top, Salamander, and Ossett. The lunchtime snacks are amazingly good value with barm cakes at £1.00 and pieces of pork pies at 50p. The Crown in Chapel Street is popular with shoppers and opens at 11.00am. It often has Fuzzy Duck beers on and of late has had some interesting cask ales from such as Goddards from the Isle of Wight. The clientale varies greatly in age and people seem very happy to sit and chat. Further up Chapel Street opposite the bus station – yes Chorley does have one-is the new kid on the block called the Ale Station. Opened this summer it has 5 hand pumps with beers from Crosby’s Rock the Boat invariably on tap. The other 4 can be from anywhere. I remember South Hams from Devon,

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Mordue from North Shields and Cambridge brewery from well Cambridge. Almost directly opposite and adjacent to the bus station is the Shepherds Hall Ale House. Remarkably and deservedly this Central Lancashire’s Pub of the Year and Tom Hardyman and his brothers deserve great credit for providing 5 or 6 cask beers , always in good shape and never predictable. Their locals have trips out usually by public transport to venues such as St Helens, Lancaster and Southport! Two other pubs in Market Street are well worth a visit, the White Bull and Pearsons- the latter selling cask ale at £2.10 per pint. A little further out of the town centre is a new micro bar called Bootleggers in Bolton Street. As you can see the big problem is fitting in these very good pubs/micropubs in under 4 hours if you decide to get the bus back to Southport at 3.20pm.

STOP PRESS Another new micro pub has opened in Market Street. Called D’Ould Ale House I met Anthony Dowling and liked what I saw and heard. There are 3 real ales on – Blue Monkey Funky Gibbon, Bank Top Flat Cap, which will vary in future, plus Cumbrian Legendary Ales Loweswater Gold which he intends to be permanent. A further micro pub is about to open near the police station.

Dave Wright


QUIZ JUST FOR FUN

The Answers

In which British Town or City are the following JD Weatherspoon outlets located

The Hedley Verity………Leeds The Wallace Hartley……..Colne The Sir Henry Tate…….Chorley The Alexander Graham Bell………Edinburgh The Woodrow Wilson…….Carlisle The Richmond Crompton……….Bromley The Thomas Drummond………..Fleetwood The Eric Bartholomew…………Morecambe The Rupert Brooke………..Rugby The Robert Shaw……….Westhoughton

The Aneurin Bevan……….Cardiff The Robert The Bruce…….Dunfries The William Wilberforce……..Hull The John Logie Baird……..Hastings The Joseph Conrad……….Lowestoft The Wilfred Owen……….Oswestry The Lady Chatterly………..Nottingham The Rohan Kanhai……….Ashington The John Laird………Birkenhead The Sir Norman Wisdom………Deal

How many did you get correct???

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CAMRA Southport & West Lancashire Social Trip To Wigan At a recent Southport CAMRA meeting at the Inn Beer Shop on Lord Street, I volunteered to organise a social trip in the absence of an official Social Secretary. I chose a date, that of Saturday 28th May, and a destination, with Wigan my choice. It was close by, inexpensive to get to and there were, I was assured, some damn good pubs to go to. Also, I had not been to Wigan on a pub crawl for some years, and the pub scene had obviously changed, which was reflected in the fact that there were three pubs listed in the 2016 Good Beer Guide that I had never been to, so there were some potential new “ticks” for me. We agreed on a train time and a meeting time after a few e-mails. My next plan was to contact the Wigan local CAMRA branch, and I received a nice e-mail from Carol Worthington, currently Membership Secretary of CAMRA Wigan. We met at 10.30 to see how many people would turn up and caught the 10.51 train. Thankfully some loyal members arrived in the form of Chairman Doug Macadam, Derek Tasker, Colin Hadfield, Phil Morris and partner Julie, and, last but not least, Neville Grundy. Oh, and yours truly.We paired up to get the benefit of the “It Takes Two” tickets, which means that if you travel in pairs the second passenger travels for half price, which meant that those without Senior Rail Cards paid just £6.35 each. Carol and her husband Ken (Wigan Vice Chairman) duly got the bus into Wigan and met us at the station. My idea was to start the crawl at the furthest pub from Wallgate station, and with Carol and Ken’s local knowledge I did not even need a map, so we simply followed them. Turning left

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up Wallgate, we passed the Anvil (a really good Allgates pub), and walked for about ten or fifteen minutes before arriving at Doc’s Symposium on Mesnes Street, one of my unvisited pubs. Doc’s made us especially welcome, particularly as they do not normally open until noon, and we had arrived at about 11.45. My pint of Wily Fox (a very new local brewery) Crafty Fox was excellent, and I bought our chaperones Ken and Carol a pint for looking after us. After a quick half of Prospect Silver Tally I could have stayed longer, but more customers had joined us by now, so we bade farewell for a walk to a part of Wigan I remember well: Upper Dicconson Street. We did a social to Wigan many years ago, and Wigan branch stalwart Barry Seale and others met us on that occasion. Barry has for many years been a volunteer at the Southport Beer Festival, and likewise many Southport CAMRA members have helped out at the Wigan Beer Festival. However, Upper Dicconson Street had changed. Ken and Carol suggested a pint at Docherty’s, which was run by the same guy who ran Doc’s Symposium (hence the name). Not only that, he was in the process of setting up a new brewery at the rear of the pub. This was the first time I had been taken on a tour of an unfinished brewery, so watch this space and look out for the latest Wigan micro-brewery coming soon. In the meantime, most of us tried the local Mayflower Douglas Valley, an excellent beer at the excellent price of just £2.50. From here we walked to the main road and a pub which Ken told us was worth trying, the Fox and Goose on Wigan Lane. I just had a half of the only real ale which was ready, Bootleg Lawless, which was better than I expected. As we were continuing on our crawl, Ken kept asking us where we wanted to go, and, as you will no doubt realise, I had not really planned anything


other than the first pub, but there were two others which I wanted to tick off. But more about them later. Remarkably, we had all stayed together at this point, but a few of the party were feeling peckish, so Ken’s suggestion at this point was to head back to town, and we went to a pub which I had not frequented for a long time: I am talking about the 1980s I think. It was the Raven Hotel on Wallgate, which had a good selection of beers and food which was good value. It ranged from Derek’s steak and chips (he knows how to live!) to burgers and other pub grub. Doug and I had a half of the wonderful Thornbridge Jaipur (but at 5.9% it was dangerously drinkable and I still had other pubs to visit) whilst Colin waited and waited for his food. So Doug and I left with Carol and Ken following to find the John Bull Chophouse. By the time we left the Raven Colin (a member of the breakaway pressure group known as the Campaign for Dark Beers) was looking decidedly grumpy at the lack of milds, stouts and porters and the poor service in the Raven.And that was the last we saw of him, because he went home in a huff. He was later to regret that, as will be revealed shortly! Ken had recommended the John Bull Chophouse, a popular haunt with the heavy metal brigade (which I was once a member of incidentally) and the local branch POTY (Pub of the Year) in 2015. Here I was able to relive my youth, listening to AC/DC and Led Zeppelin on the jukebox whilst supping the pint of the day: I had been sceptical about the choice of beers in this pub. Although listed in the Good Beer Guide and my second new GBG pub of the day, it was a Thwaites tied pub, and I have thought for a number of years that Thwaites had lost the plot since the days of the 1980s and 1990s when they brewed two excellent milds and other good beers. However, my choice of “The New Black”, a superb 5.2% strong beer which was as black as the Ace of Spades, was a great decision. Colin would have loved it! This pint was fantastic, but sadly the music was a little loud for one or two of our party. So we left for another new pub to me, the Tap ‘n’ Barrel at Jaxon’s Court, Hallgate in Wigan’s Victorian Quarter and the home of the Martland Mill brewery

beers. A number of their beers were available, including another stout, so Colin was missing out again. Here I went back to a light beer, the excellent Spinners Gold which was my cheapest pint of the day at £2.40 and excellent value. By this time I was glad Carol and Ken were still with us, as I was likely to get lost as I was losing count of how many beers I had supped. But we had planned to catch the 18.18 train back to Southport, and by now it was about 17.30, so we headed for Wigan Central for a last pint (or in Neville’s case a last two or three)! Wigan Central is a pub which was created out of a redundant railway arch in Queen Street, Wigan. It has been so successful that they were opening an extension to the pub the following day, so we just missed out on an even bigger selection of real ales. However, no complaints, there was still plenty to choose from. By this time when I do a CAMRA pub crawl, my notes regarding the beers are becoming illegible and my memory getting worse, so I forget which beers were on offer other than the superb pint of Prospect Nutty Slack which went down a treat. Here we met a lovely couple who were about to became new members as Carol was about to sign them up, and the great and the good were all in Wigan’s in place, including local Branch Chairman, the one and only Peter Marsh. Where was Colin? He was missing out on another great dark beer, and it was not keg Tetley mild! I think we had saved the best to last! Wigan Central is the latest winner of the Wigan CAMRA Pub of the Year, taking the award off the John Bull Chophouse. However, it had been a great day. Good beer, good company and good pubs. Thanks Carol and Ken, and thanks to the other Southport CAMRA members who supported the day. We’ll be back again sooner rather than later. Cheers,

Dave Williams

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