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Message from the Editor Hello everyone and welcome to the 74th 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. I am sure you will all wish Jackie Parker every success when she takes over the chair from Colin Valentine after 8 years next April at CAMRA’s members weekend AGM and Conference in Coventry. Congratulations to The Grasshopper for winning our Summer Pub of the Season 2017 see front cover. The next one is going to be the Winter Pub of the Season.

Letter to Editor Dear Editor, I enjoyed Dave’s article about pubs around Stoke On Trent & Newcastle Under Lyme, having lived in that area for many years I knew and had visited most of them myself. The purpose of this e-mail is just to let people know, who are tempted to follow in Dave’s footsteps, that rather than buy a £4 Potteries Day Ticket from the bus driver, one can save a pound! By popping to the Railway Station booking office and asking for a £3 “Plusbus” ticket which will be issued on production of a valid rail ticket for the day ie Dave’s Northern Trains promotional ticket would have validated a plus bus ticket bought from the station ticket office. Plusbus would have covered all the places visited by Dave on that day. Other places are covered by plus bus too. I know it’s only a pound saving, but it adds up over a few trips.I have no connection to plus bus other than being a thrifty user over the years! Kind Regards, Ken Oldfield

I see Higsons Brewery is making a comeback in Liverpool in Bridgewater Street. The Brewery closed in 2015 but many pubs in Liverpool still have Higsons signs. I think the Yew Tree in Ormskirk has one. It was famous for its beer mats of Old Higsonians like Ann Field Field, Wallace E Tunnel and Clayton Square. Of course my husband has some in his collection. Finally can I thank, Barons Bar, Guest House, Grasshopper, Zetland, and Fleetwood for letting us hold our meetings there. Pam Editor

Inn Beer Shop

Get the real taste of Ramsbottom

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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 Hadfield

07515 824539


Chairman Doug Macadam

07714 265096


Branch Contact Mike Perkins


Items for inclusion to Editor, please email: Cut off for editorials for the next Ale and Hearty is 30th April 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: You can also follow ‘Southport and West Lancs Camra’ on Facebook. ‘Like’ us for updates.


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

01727 867201. Website:

SEFTON TRADING STANDARDS Sefton MBC (Environmental Protection Department), 1st Floor, Magdalen House, Stanley Precinct, Trinity Road, Bootle. L20 3QZ. Email: (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:

WEST LANCASHIRE LICENSING SERVICE West Lancs Borough Council - Licensing Service, Robert Hodge Centre, Stanley Way, Skelmersdale, WN8 8EE. Email: 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.


Chairmans Bit Welcome to this our winter Ale & Hearty for 2018, first may I wish you all a belated Happy and Prosperous New Year. By the time you read this we should all know more about the e proposals are Revitalisation Project and what the for it and how it will affect all CAMRA members in the future. It started about 4 years ago now as a project to look at where CAMRA should be heading in the years to come and whether it should be widening its remit to campaign for all types and styles of beers. A lot of people think that Real Ale as a cask product has been well and truly saved over the years, and I know that today’s keg beers are a completely different cup of tea compared to what we were being served in the late 1960/70’s but the British cask ale is a unique product to Britain. I do feel that in the future we could see more and more pubs and bars introducing the craft keg beers as they are so much easier to look after and have such a superior shelf life compared to casks shelf life of about four days. The cask ale has so many facets to its taste and

the way it can change during its four days on sale, where the keg is the same from start to finish. Also I hope that most of our readers will have heard about the CAMRA online pub guide called “What Pub”. It is just kept up to date by all the local branches of CAMRA and for some small branches with just a small number of active volunteers it can be a big job to get round all the pubs, so we ask that when you are in a pub/bar and see a mistake with one of the most important being opening hours which in this day and age change regularly we ask that you feed back any updates to the local branch in the updates section in the guide. Also if you are a CAMRA member that you score your beers that you drink in the pub/bar in the pub scoring section. The Southport and West Lancs branch will be holding its AGM on February 28th at the Grasshopper in Hillside and anybody interested in helping on the committee will be more than welcome. Doug Macadam Branch Chairman

Lancashire Day at The Grasshopper The Grasshopper, Sandon Road, Hillside celebrated Lancashire Day on Saturday, November 25th. Mine host Angela Frith dressed as Southport and Coronation St legend Hilda Ogden, while others donned flat caps, braces and red roses etc. Traditional Lancashire beers were provided by Southport, Lancaster, Bank Top, Melwood and Moorhouses. There was plenty of Lancashire Hot Pot, tasty Lancashire cheeses and Angies home made pork and black pudding platter certainly tickled the taste buds. Spot prizes of bottles of Lancashire beer, t-shirts and Lancashire crisps were kindly donated by Parkers, Southport, Lancaster and Fiddlers Lancashire crisps. Phil Morris read the proclamation and provided the ukulele

entertainment with colleague Steve Roberts and the evening ended with a good old fashioned singalong of Lancashire songs etc. The proceeds from the hampers of Lancashire Goodies raffle will be donated to Queenscourt Hospice on what was a very enjoyable evening.


Can Music Affect The Taste Of Beer? A neuroscientist has demonstrated that music can alter the way we taste. Experimenting with food, he discovered that a change in music, such as pitch, tempo, volume or instrumental, alters diners’ wider perceptions. For example, people tended to eat more quickly when the music had faster beats and consequently did not taste the fuller range of flavours in the food. The opposite effect occurred when the music was slower. It was suggested that food pubs may wish to take advantage of this finding. We tend to think of our senses as separate, but they are all inter-connected. For example, when tomatoes were dyed blue, test subjects said they didn’t like them, even though food dye is odourless and tasteless. Another experiment was with Pringles. Test subjects were told to taste them in a sound booth with headphones, through which the sound of the crunching was modified by boosting or muffling particular frequencies, or the overall volume. Test subjects then described some Pringles as fresh and others as stale. In fact all were exactly the same. What applies to food should logically also apply to drink. It is certainly true we all have places where we prefer to have a drink and some we tend to avoid. While other factors come into play, such as comfort, the presence of people we know and the ability to have a chat without shouting, I wonder whether a prominent musical background can affect the way we actually taste our beer. I have no scientific way of determining this, but seeing that there does seem to be a link between hearing and taste, perhaps drinking in, say, a rave with fast beats and rapidly flashing lights might make our pint actually taste different than if you drank it in a heavy metal concert with slow ponderous chords. Does the absence of all


music alter the taste again? Some pub regulars aren’t especially fond of music in pubs, and there are certain beer festival goers who like quiet sessions so that they can appreciate their pint properly. While ‘properly’ is a matter of opinion, I wonder whether from this research we could conclude that it’s possible the simple presence of music of any type might affect how we actually taste our beer. Although this research suggests that could be so, in many cases a preference against music might merely reflect a dislike of the particular music being played, or even of music in general. However, it does suggest one possible scientific reason, among a few non-scientific ones, for the varying attitudes to music in pubs and beer festivals. Neville Grundy


Brewery News SOUTHPORT BREWERY No news this edition from Southport Brewery Doug Macadam BLO

THE PARKER BREWERY Following from the success from last year, the seasonal ale ‘Boadicea IPA’ will be returning for the months of February, March & April. The brewery is looking at some new seasonal ales which will be produced during the summer. The brewery held its first ‘Drink, Food & Music Festival’ in September and was a huge success, with over 200 people attending. Plans are already underway to have the 2nd festival in May or June this year. The brewery bar will be open from 11am till 10.30pm and along with cask ales there will be a selection of wines, Prosecco and spirits available. Outside there will be live music throughout the day and several food stalls, from woodfire Pizza’s to BBQ’s. It is free entry and all are welcome. The brewery is continuing to have their popular brewery tours every month where you get a tour of the brewery, lunch and unlimited ale to drink in the brewery bar, tickets are £15.00 per person. Booking is essential as places fill very quickly. To find out when the next tour is, contact the brewery on 01704 620718 or Email: Colin Hadfield BLO

RED STAR BREWERY Greetings real ale drinkers of Formby and beyond. Red Star have recently launched another 2 cask ales: Coney Island is a 4.2% traditional malty ale that was recently given beer of the year at Liverpool’s


oldest pub Ye Hole in Ye Wall and Hunky Dory which was also well received across the North West region; this 4.9% premium pale ale is made with a blend of English hops. The popular Brewery tours continue to be a great way to spend a few hours on a Saturday afternoon and the next one on 27th Jan quickly sold out, but people can keep up to date with future tours on. Facebook and twitter or by contacting the brewery direct on Julie Squires, Brewery Liaison Officer, CAMRA

3 POTTS BREWERY No news Simon is still looking for new premises. Fred Harris BLO

THE CRAFT BREWERY The CRAFT Brewery are continuing to grow and are expanding in to new regions further afield (outside of Lancashire). it’s hoped that All the local Southport bars and pubs that have supported us so far will continue to support us and order on a more regularly basis allowing us to plan for our future expansion. Pam Hadfield BLO

HOPVINE BREWERY. BURSCOUGH Just brewing 3 Beers and they now have a new logo. Doug Macadam BLO

Enjoy a taste of Robinsons Brewery Visitors Centre

Robinsons Visitors Centre, Apsley St, Stockport, Manchester, SK1 1JJ


Past Ale & Hearty Number 35

We go back to Ale & Hearty no.35 this time, which was published for the period November 2003 to January 2004. The front page read: How many drinking days left till Christmas?”, and also highlighted several items including a Record number of New Members joining the Branch, and Beer of the Festival Award, as we had recently held our 4th Sandgrounder Beerfest at the Arts Centre in Southport (now the Atkinson). SOCIAL TO WEST LANCASHIRE PUBS 17TH OCTOBER 2003 Dave Williams was our Branch Chairman at the time and produced an article about a social visit by coach to West Lancashire pubs, organised by Ian Garner. First stop was the canalside Slipway at Burscough, with a presentation for 2003 Best Summer Pub, next to the Yew Tree in Ormskirk, a well-known locals’ pub, then to the nearby Hayfield (now a Holt’s pub). The coach finally took the party to the isolated Derby Arms, south of Aughton, where I believe the same landlady Janice is still in power. There weren’t as many microbrewers then, but a good choice of beers was available and all enjoyed the outing. AROUND THE WORLD IN AN ALE-Y-DAZE Michael Hoey was once the editor of the magazine and used to pen many items about his many business trips around the world, and he found time to visit many bars and breweries. His latest item was about his pilgrimage to


Tsing-Tao. He was visiting the port of ChingDao, which was another way of spelling TsingTao – it’s the pronunciation that gets you! After some words with an armed guard (this is China) and struggling past an absurd bottle pouring fountain, and humourless women in Mao outfits they arrived at the courtesy bar and sampled draft Tsing-Tao beers. Despite multi-labelled bottled beers the contents were all the same, and a quite short brewery tour followed and also the bottling plant. Michael later visited other cities, including Cheng-Du where more varieties of beers were available. Sadly we don’t see much of Michael now as he moved to Faversham, next to the Shepherd-Neame brewery some years ago. SMOKING IN PUBS Stuart Elliott wrote a detailed article about smoking in pubs – TIME FOR ACTION – which covered many detailed points as to why the practice ought to be terminated. He may have influenced some people, but whatever, new antismoking legislation was introduced covering pubs and other indoor personal environments. The trade was affected at first, but most have become accustomed, and the interiors of pubs are now much healthier. FOURTH SANDGROUNDER BEER FESTIVAL An article was produced by Chris Kettle, the then Beers Manager at our fourth event – sadly later Chris was not so well, and he is no longer with us. He did provide an amazing selection of beers and we should remember him for that. This festival included 70 beers, 6 perries and several assorted fruit wines. The festival had just moved from May to September and that was considered a bit better for keeping beers at a cooler temperature. Hart Brewery Valediction

was voted Beer of the Festival, and that would result in a presentation to the brewery, then in Little Eccleston (now Preston) in due course. The festival was a ďŹ nancial success and we look forward to reinstating the event in 2018. SOUTHPORT PUB CRAWL I include this following article as a suggested itinerary for readers if they are interested. The Chairman Dave Williams wrote an article about this, organised in the town centre as a suggestion for visitors at our 4th Beerfest and pubs to visit included The Old Ship in Eastbank Street (once our regular meeting venue), then opposite, the Wellington, then into King Street for the Coronation followed by the Falstaff. Further down the street to the famous Cheshire Lines, one of the town’s oldest pubs. Then to the Sherbourne Hotel and Nigel’s Bar (no longer with us, sadly) followed by the not long opened Wetherspoon’s in Lord Street – now named the Sir Henry Segrave. Further along to the Scarisbrick Hotel and Baron’s Bar, always a popular CAMRA haunt and a Good Beer Guide regular. Across Lord Street and northbound to the Mason’s Arms in Anchor Street, then to the largely unspoilt pub atmosphere of the Guest House in Union Street – this pub, a former Higson’s was and still is run by Gail, one of our well-known licensees. Further out and into Queens Road was the Berkeley Hotel renamed as Blake’s Hotel & Pizza Pub, a quite old building and very cosy – but now no longer a pub. Further out of town was the London in Windsor Road, an Edwardian house with Oakwell’s Barnsley beers – now demolished for housing. Out of town by bus or train Dave also recommended the Bold Arms in Churchtown or the FreshďŹ eld in Formby. Most of these pubs are still open, and there are now also many mini pubs, the latest trend and they are deďŹ nitely worth a visit too. MAKING THE MOST OF IT This unattributed article appeared describing a visit to Berkshire, which I think was penned by the then editor of Ale & Hearty. In Bracknell he visited the Wetherspoon’s Old Manor House, but had problems with the food he

ordered. Next to the New College in Eton, where Badger beers were on offer. Beers sampled included Tanglefoot, Fursty Ferret and King & Barnes Sussex Bitter. Still in Eton to the Crown & Cushion (a former Brakspear’s), but only Courage Directors available. Finally to Maidenhead and the Vine, where Brakspear’s beers were available The issue had 36 pages on matt paper, with a one colour font – how things have changed! The Editor was Phil Morris and there were 25 advertisers – some no longer with us are the Berkeley Arms, Martin Inn, Plough (Crossens), Blue Bell (Barton) and Cain’s Brewery. If any reader wants a copy of the full text of any article referred to above, please contact me for details. Mike Perkins Branch Contact



JANUARY JOLLY TO MAGHULL January 6th saw four of us meet up at the bus stop to catch the 300 Arriva bus and embark on our “January Jolly” to Maghull. Another meticulously timetabled trip organised by Phil Morris that promised “to banish those post festive season blues”! We were scheduled to visit the newly opened Marston’s pub The Old Duke so a few stops out of Southport we disembarked at Tesco and crossed the carpark in the brilliant sunshine to find the Old Duke .It was very much as we had expected, a brand new restaurant pub with Wainwright and Pedigree on offer which we sampled, bustling with a steady lunchtime eating trade including mostly families. Doug took a picture for Whatpub and we caught the bus to Lydiate. Obviously the Scotch Piper could not have been more of a contrast and did not disappoint. Three excellent beers and roaring coal fires with an equally warm welcome from the landlord, a real winter pub. Timothy Taylor Bolt Maker enjoyed by me whilst the others partook of the Piper Ale. The bus picked us up directly outside the pub and we set off for Maghull. A change of bus and discussions about the nearest stop took us eventually to the Wetherspoon Frank Hornby. A quite different pub, clinical décor with a quirky Meccano and Hornby toys theme, mixed reports on the Jaipur but the seasonal chestnutty ale was well received by Doug and myself. Next stop was The Hare and Hounds an Ember Inn with attractive coal effect fires and comfortable pleasant surroundings. A busy pub with some excellent Timothy Taylor Landlord which we all enjoyed. We could not


have imagined the adventure we were going to have next! It was reportedly a short stroll to the Running Horses but only if you cross the canal at the correct bridge. A slight confusion took us to a community hall which was closed but Doug came to the rescue with his satellite navigation system telling us it was a short walk along the tow path to the next bridge and the pub. It seemed further on the muddy path in the pitch dark, Stuart made a good decision to give this a miss and go straight to the Kings Arms. The Running Horses was a welcome warm and comfortable shelter eventually. The menu looked extensive but unfortunately the beer selection was limited and we resorted to Doombar which was perfectly alright. We drank it quickly wondering what Stuart was up to! We finally arrived at the Kings Arms which turned out to be the crowning glory of the whole trip. Stuart was comfortably installed with a pint, roaring real fires and friendly locals, Phil had provided various potential bus times to take us back to Southport but the fact that we caught the last possible demonstrated how much we were enjoying the hospitality. The Oracle was well kept and as good as any that I have experienced which explains why they sell so much we were told. We recruited two locals to come along to future branch events. Any post festive season blues were truly banished and everybody definitely had a Jolly time.


Southport Snippets Towards the end of 2017 the Sandgrounder bar on Lord b Street closed S suddenly. The s new owners n have promised h a rebrand under the th name of the Potting Shed P but a start on refurbishment has yet y to be made. The nearby Sir Henry Seagrave and the Phoenix on Coronation appear to have benefitted from the closure. The Sir Henry Segrave has begun to sell excellent local beers from the Bamber Bridge based Beer Brothers.

The Cocoa House (ex Ellis estate agents) continues to have 2 real ales on usually Southport Monument ale and an offering from Red Star brewery. Corridor is C a popular destination both d for fo food and real ale. Salopian a beers are often b to be found and at least one a beer from Coach b House brewery. Mild appears to be brewery Gunpowder Mi a constant. The Inn Beer Shop has been re-named the Bottle Room. Beers vary whereas under the previous ownership Southport brewery beers predominated. Recent samples were from Pennine and Mayflower breweries and the décor has been changed as have the prices slightly.

The Cheshire Lines is very busy at weekends especially on Karaoke nights. On a recent visit Martland Mill beer Wobbly Weaver was an unusual sighting whereas the house beer Chesh Ale brewed by Paul Bardsley at Soiuthport Brewery is a constant choice. Further on Lord Street Barons Bar continues to have 9 beers on o tap invariably several from s Moorhouses and sometimes a various Slaters v beers viz Haka, b Top Totty, T Premium. P

The Guest House continues to provide a good selection of beers and has the best lunchtime bar snacks in town. The Old Ship in Eastbank St has been closed for some weeks ostensibly to provide for permission to open earlier to provide breakfasts. Some real ale might help to improve footfall. Finally an exciting development awaits in spring with Parker brewery intending to open a micro bar in Duke St close to the level crossing in the former Southport Computers shop. Sadly the Shakespeare, long deserted is scheduled for demolition.

Dave Wright


A Weekend in Scunthorpe Yes, I can imagine the readers’ first thoughts – Scunthorpe!!! Well, the reason I ended up in Scunthorpe, which, after all, is not the most popular holiday destination for most people, goes as follows. I and Liverpool Beer Festival Manager Doug Macadam had taken advantage last year of an offer run by Johnston Press in conjunction with Northern trains. And so, after discussing where we could go on the train from Merseyside, Doug suggested Cleethorpes and Grimsby on the Lincolnshire coast, which can be reached on Northern trains from Liverpool or Southport via Manchester and Sheffield. On this we decided that, rather than apply for a £10.00 ticket for one day, we would apply for a weekend ticket for two days and have an overnight stay. Hence the decision to look for some cheap accommodation, and that was the Travelodge at Scunthorpe, which ticked all the right boxes: it was cheap, it was central, and there were also a few local pubs to visit in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Now fair play to Doug, this was a great idea and I was up for it. In fact I had been looking forward to visiting lots of new pubs in an area I had not been to for a number of years. However, that was until a dispute ensued between railway operators such as Northern trains and Merseyrail and the RMT trade union, all over the issue of introducing guard less trains on certain lines, with Northern trains being right in the thick of it. Therefore we learned some weeks previously that there would be a train strike from 8th-10th July, the weekend we planned to go away. Anyhow, it was time to think out of the box, and Doug decided to drive to Scunthorpe instead. It was going to cost more, as another friend


backed out, which meant higher accommodation costs, paying for petrol and buying a bus ticket. Anyway, what the hell, I wanted to go anyway, that was until Doug decided he wanted to start off at 6 o’clock in the morning. So there I was, still eating my muesli at 5.55 on Saturday 8th July, when I heard a tap on the window. Now how is it that Doug, when there is a CAMRA meeting taking place at 8 o’clock in the evening on the second Wednesday in the month always gets there late, despite chairing the meetings, but when it comes to giving me a lift at 6 o’clock in the morning gets there early! What’s that all about? Anyway, I finished my breakfast, put on my shoes and we were off on time, Good Beer Guide and some money in my rucksack and an overnight bag due to the luxury of having the car. We duly arrived in Scunthorpe at about 8.15 a.m., and waited for the next Stagecoach Bus from the industrial park near our hotel, which was due at 8.22. However, it was the story of my life with public transport, because the bus did not turn up, so we waited for the next one at 8.42. However, the later bus got us into Scunthorpe town centre before 9 o’clock. We changed at Scunthorpe bus station and caught the 103 Cliffsider bus to Lincoln at 9 o’clock, an interesting route which went along the old coast road. However, due to the reclaimed Fenlands, the coast these days is actually much further away. On the way we called into RAF Scampton, famous as the home of the Dambusters, and the airfield where the famous raids took place during WW2. We also passed the Dambusters Inn, a GBG listed pub which I had previously visited on the way back from a memorable brewery trip to Batemans in Wainfleet.

We got to Lincoln and changed in order to catch the number 10 bus to Louth at 10.40, which duly arrived right outside the GBG listed Wheatsheaf at 11.45. After a half of Pheasantry Lincoln Tank Ale, we decided to take in a little local culture before our next pub. The Wheatsheaf was in the shadow of the 295 feet high spire of St James’s church, the highest church steeple of any parish church in England. After taking a few photographs, we headed for the Gas Lamp Lounge, apparently one of only a small number of pubs (22 to be precise) in the UK still lit by gas lamps. There had been some changes here, evidenced by the CAMRA certificates adorning the walls. Awards had been won for beers brewed at the pub by the Fulstow brewery, but although the name Fulstow lived on in the name of one of the beers, the brewery had changed hands, and so for instance the former Fulstow Marsh Mild was now Firestone Mainwaring’s Mild. Whether it was the same beer I don’t know, but the mild was past its best and only just drinkable and disappointing. Another brisk walk took us to the Brown Cow, a smart and friendly pub where we sampled the Axholme Kesar. Yes, like me, you have probably never tried this beer and there were lots of locale (sic) beers to be found in Lincolnshire. Our last port of call in Louth, a typical Lincolnshire market town, was Wetherspoons’ Joseph Marton, named after a local industrialist. Here the Newby Wyke Black Squall was in excellent condition, and was the best pint of the day so far. Continuing to get value for money from our £9.00 Day Out Lincolnshire Stagecoach tickets, we then caught the 51 bus from Louth bus station to Scartho and then waited for a no. 9 bus to Waltham, where we visited the Tilted Barrel. This was going to be a quick visit, so after a half of Batemans legendary XXXB we went for the next bus about 15 minutes later.

This time it was a no. 10 bus which took us to Grimsby. Our intention had also been to visit Cleethorpes, but we were not going to have time. So we alighted at Grimsby bus station, where we could see the Barge virtually next door. And it was called the Barge because, yes, it was a converted barge, moored at the head of the River Freshney. However, despite a local couple being very friendly as many pubs in Lincolnshire had been, the choice of beers was extremely disappointing, as here it was Wells Bombardier or nothing. So we supped a quick half and it was off on the next bus, a number 4 to Cleethorpes. Now I know I said we decided to skip Cleethorpes, but locals said our next pub, the Spiders Web, was in Cleethorpes. However, the Good Beer Guide had it listed under Grimsby. Personally, I have been to the two towns before but I still don’t know where the boundary is, and in fact the locals say that Grimsby Town actually play in Cleethorpes and not in Grimsby. Anyway, the bus stopped right outside the pub, and we both sampled the Sharp’s Atlantic. Not bad, but another pub with a disappointing choice of beers. Now Grimsby might have the best fish and chips in the land, but I think it needs a bit of CAMRA campaigning to get some more interesting beers into the pubs. I think we probably should have gone to Cleethorpes after all. However, instead we caught the Humber Flyer bus from around the corner after Doug checking the times of the bus. There was one due in five minutes, so once we had established that we were going in the right direction, we caught the bus to Barton-upon-Humber, a small market town in the very north of the county, directly opposite Hull on the other side of the River Humber. On nearing Barton, we realised that the buses were going to find it difficult to keep to schedule, because we happened to arrive on Barton Bike Night, a motor bike lovers’ festival which attracted over 20000 visitors in 2016. However, things were not so bad. Although the


pubs were all heaving and it had taken an hour and ten minutes to get from Grimsby to Barton, we managed to get into the George Inn, order a couple of halves of St. Austell Cornish, and we even got a seat. What’s more, the whole event, despite the massive crowds, was managed very sensibly, and we were even allowed to drink from glasses as we were not going outside. Leaving the George, we then got some fish and chips from one of the many chippies doing a roaring trade, some setting up temporary stalls, before walking across town to the White Swan, winner of a number of local CAMRA Pub of the Year awards. Here I got Doug a dark beer, Great Newsome Holderness Dark, whilst I opted for a lighter beer called Upham Desert Gold which was excellent. On leaving the White Swan, we were amazed to see a train waiting at Barton-upon-Humber railway station, as we thought the trains were on strike. Well they were, but Northern trains had obviously managed to run some trains, probably prioritising this line because of the Bike Night event, but it had originally been our intention to get to Barton by train. Instead we waited for a 350 bus back to Scunthorpe at 19.56, which eventually arrived half an hour late. This was my second poor bus experience of the day, but the wait was apparently because of an accident. So we skipped a planned stop off at Winterton to make our way straight into Scunthorpe town centre and the Blue Bell, a JD Wetherspoon pub where I tried a half of Newby Wyke Marie Celeste which was good. Now although it would have been logical to go to the Malt Shovel next, one of the three Good Beer Guide pubs in Scunthorpe, we had to head back towards our hotel next in order to get to the Berkeley Hotel, a wonderful art deco 1930s style out of town pub. With notepad and pen in hand once we got to the pub, it was a delight. A CAMRA National Inventory pub (which means it is a pub of


historic or architectural importance); it had an outdoor drinking patio outside the ballroom. There was another room on the right with a ladies cloakroom and a room on the left with a gentleman’s cloakroom, the latter rather grand. Perhaps not quite in the same league as the Philharmonic Dining Rooms in Liverpool (although I know I am biased), it was nonetheless rather grand. And not only all this, but the beer was just £2.00 a pint, and it just happened to be my round! Of course seasoned beer drinkers may have guessed, but this was a Samuel Smith’s public house, and they sell the cheapest beer in the land. The choice was Sam Smiths Old Brewery Bitter or nothing, but who’s complaining at those prices! The bar has a real open fire (although not lit while we were there, as it was one of the warmest days of the year), the Berkeley also sells good food, has free Wi-Fi, its own car park and ensuite bedrooms. In fact, if I ever book a flight again travelling from Robin Hood Airport (Doncaster/Sheffield airport) and need overnight accommodation, I will take my wife Yvonne there (I will have to now if she reads this article). I am not sure if anyone out there fancies a weekend in Scunthorpe, but if Liverpool or Everton (or Tranmere Rovers or Southport for that matter) gets drawn in a cup tie this season away to Scunthorpe United, then this is a mustvisit pub. We went to nineteen pubs this weekend, and this was the best by a country mile. A gem, an absolute delight and a national treasure. Who would have thought you could find a pub like this in a town best known for being home to the UK’s largest steel processing centre? Anyhow, although I could have stayed in the Berkeley for the rest of the night, and especially as it was walking distance back to the hotel, we opted for one last bus ride on the same 31A bus out to the Malt Shovel in the suburb of Ashby,

a journey around Scunthorpe housing estates taking half an hour. However, the Malt Shovel did not close until midnight, so we able to tick off one last GBG pub. Fortunately, it was worth the effort, because we had a pint each to ďŹ nish off the night, and Doug and I both opted for Great Heck Voodoo Mild. I gave this nine out of ten, and it was the best pint I had supped all day – superb.

Family brewery crafting tasty of St Helens ales in the heart he

V isi t Us!

After being entertained by a couple of local singers and the locals bopping away to the music, we duly left at 11.40 to catch the last 31A bus at 23.46, and fortunately this bus arrived on time for once to get us back to the hotel. What a day! We had visited twelve new pubs and ended on a high, and I for sure slept well that night. Cheers, Dave Williams Tel: T l 07921 83 88 31 3



Cornish Pub Crawl On Monday 13th November I travelled to St. Ives for my first trip to the far away land of Cornwall for many a long year. I’ve now done so many trips with my favourite coach firm Shearing’s that I have now been sent some sort of loyalty card, and this was the latest holiday with them.

shipping line which had its headquarters here in St. Ives. Maybe not quite as big as the Liverpoolbased shipping lines such as Cunard, White Star and Bibby Line to name just a few, the Hain Line was obviously a major employer in St. Ives and Cornwall back in the early 20th century.

Anyway, I will spare you the details of the journey there as it’s a long trip, but Yvonne and I arrived about 6.30 in the evening after a couple of stops on the way. After a welcome dinner I decided to go for a walk on my own in order to get my bearings before our first excursion in the morning. I walked down the Terrace, the main road where you could hear the waves cascading onto Porthminster beach, and the railway line could also be picked out due to the street lighting. It was only about half a mile to the town centre, and without the aid of a map I reached Fore Street and a pub I had visited many years ago called the Union. However, just a few doors away was the Good Beer Guide listed Castle Inn, which was very busy as the weekly pub quiz had just started.

Anyhow, I tried a pint of Bays Breaker Ale, a beer from nearby Devon, as there did not appear to be any Cornish beers on sale. Not bad, and just £1.40 with my 50p. CAMRA voucher. I already had the feeling that I would be back again before the end of the week!

I tried a pint of the usually superb Rudgate Ruby Mild in here, but sadly it was gravity drawn straight from the cask and not a patch on the beer when it is drunk in Yorkshire and hand pulled. I can recall a trip to Cornwall on my first visit there with two friends in the late 1970s, and I still remember the fact that the beer was generally a lot flatter in the county than beers in the north due to most of them being served using gravity dispense. However, my next pub was better. After just one pint in the Castle, I headed back up Fore Street to the Market Place, along the High Street to Tregenna Place, where a new pub was which didn’t exist the last time I visited Cornwall. It was a welcome new Wetherspoons pub called the Hain Line, which gets its name from a major

Day 2 of our holiday was a trip to Falmouth, which features in another article I have penned for Ale & Hearty. After breakfast we were taken by our driver by coach to the only city in Cornwall, the city of Truro. Here we alighted the bus and all boarded a boat which was moored by a jetty off a tributary of the River Fal. The Fal was a bigger river than I thought, and if you look at a map you will see it has all sorts of tributaries. I recall visiting Cornwall back in the 1990s when Yvonne and I visited a classic pub called the Pandora Inn, which we could not see from the boat, but the pub was easier to reach by boat than by road as it is situated in a little place called Restronguet Creek. However, after a boat trip of over an hour, during which we needed to wrap up with woolly hats and gloves, we sailed into Falmouth, a town I had not visited before. It had been an ambition of mine for years to visit a pub called the Seven Stars, and this seemed the ideal opportunity and one of the reasons I liked the look of this holiday. Despite the fact that it was November and the holiday season was well and truly over, I was pleasantly surprised to see that most pubs in Cornwall were open all day, even in winter. However, I quickly checked my Good Beer


G Guide to see what the opening hours of th the local pubs were. th Falmouth had four F pubs listed in the p G Good Beer Guide: o one which opened a at 10 o’clock, two which opened at w 11 o’clock and one w which opened at 12 o’clock. So we headed for Beerwolf h Books. Books I thought 10 o’clock was w early for a pub to open (unless of course it is a Wetherspoons pub), but was this a pub selling books or a bookshop selling beer? Anyway, that was the reason why it opened so early, as Beerwolf Books is quite unusual. The shop opens at 10 o’clock (they must like a lie-in in Cornwall), and therefore they must also get the bar ready to serve alcohol at the same time. I tried a beer called Shiny Tombstone Chocolate ate Orange Stout in here, here and it was rather good. It was all the way from Derbyshire and was bit more expensive that the Hain Line at £3.80 a pint, so I tried a quick half. Our next port of call was the CAMRA National Inventory-listed Seven Stars, a pub with a historic pub interior which you can read about in my Classic Pub feature in this issue of Ale & Hearty. I could have stayed in this pub all day, although again the Sharps Atlantic was served using gravity dispense. However, it was my first Cornish beer of the week, brewed in a place called Rock near Padstow. After a pint in the Seven Stars I left Yvonne to go shopping whilst I walked up Trevethan Hill to a pub called the Boathouse. However, here I came unstuck for the only time on this trip, as the pub was closed. I checked the opening hours in the Good Beer Guide, and this is an area where the


guide could be improved and made clearer. The way I read it the pub was open from 12 until 11, but on closer inspection it appeared that it only opened at 4 o’clock in winter. However, the sign outside said it was not open until 5 o’clock. But whichever way I analysed it, the pub was clearly closed, and I was not in a position to wait until 5 o’clock, so it was one that got away. Instead I phoned Mrs. Williams and we walked to the other side of town to alert the coach driver we were not going back with him and decided to go for another pint and get back to St. Ives by train. This gave me the chance to visit a pub called Front, located on Custom House Quay, not far from Falmouth’s Maritime Museum. Now I was going to take in a bit of Cornish culture here, but why was it £13.00 for each of us to visit a maritime museum when Liverpool’s much bigger Merseyside Maritime Museum is free! I would only have spent less than an hour there, and after airing my grievance at the cost I declined the opportunity to enter. I was told my ticket would be valid for twelve months, but when was I going to visit Falmouth again? IT could be years before I even visit Cornwall again as it’s so far. But back to Front (if you will pardon the pun – I like that one!!!). This was easily the best pint I had tried so far, a lovely hand pulled pint of Tintagel King Arthur Pendragon, referred to in the Good Beer Guide as a “smooth golden ale with powerful citrus hop nose”. With an ABV of 4.5% it was excellent and my type of beer. H However, at this p point we had to leave in order to catch a tr train from Falmouth T Town station to Truro. A Although St. Ives was n not that far away, we h had to change trains at T Truro and get another tr train to St. Erth, so it to took two changes to g get back to St. Ives.

However, the last leg of the journey was picturesque, as St. Erth to St. Ives took us along a beautiful stretch of the Cornish coastline where we could see miles es of golden beaches beaches. If this was what it was like in November, I could only imagine what it would be like in July or August. Day 3 was a trip to Helston and Porthleven. I knew we were going to Helston, but Porthleven was a bonus. As soon as we were told about the extra stop, my Good Beer Guide came out. There was a pub there, and it would be open. Yvonne sighed “not another pub” but she knows me well. Our drive took us on the relatively short journey from the North Cornwall Coast towards the Lizard Peninsula on the south coast, stopping off at the delightful town of Helston, probably best known for its Furry or Floral dance festival in May each year. Helston is situated 12 miles east of Penzance and 9 miles south-west of Falmouth. However, if you are a real ale drinker, Helston is best known for the famous Blue Anchor pub, which I visited on my first-ever trip to Cornwall in the hot summer of 1979. Maybe not quite as hot as 1976, but this was an era when you could still rely on good weather on a holiday in England, and me and my mates Colin and Frank had the sunburn to prove it! After a cultural visit to the Helston museum, I decided to slake my thirst in the J D Wetherspoon pub the Coinage Hall, which did not exist the last time I visited Cornwall. Here I tried my third Cornish beer of the holiday, and a beer from a new brewery for me: Cornish Chough Kynance Blonde. At just £2.29 a pint, I got a further fifty pence discount with my Wetherspoons CAMRA voucher making it just £1.79, a bargain. With only an hour or so stop in Helston, I left after one pint to visit the Blue Anchor, also on Coinagehall

Street, a classic pub which had been in every issue of the Good Beer Guide the last time I visited it in 1985, so this was my third visit to a pub which Peter O’Connor once featured in a Classic Pub article in Ale & Hearty: one of the few which I have not personally written. Anyhow, the Blue Anchor was just the same as I remembered it when I first visited it in 1979. They still brew their own beer, and the pub still has the same stone floor, cosy little nooks and crannies and a lovely little room at the back with a roaring hot coal fire, although it was the first time I had been in the pub in the winter. I tried the Spingo Middle, their most popular beer, but I was trying to remember whether it was as strong as it used to be. Back in 1979 I seem to recall trying a pint of the Spingo strong beer (they only brewed three beers, ordinary, middle and strong) and the beer was so strong back in the 70s that I staggered out! I wasn’t used to strong real ales in my twenties, in fact I must have been just 22 years old that summer! Those were the days. So it was a quick pint in the Blue Anchor, which brought back great memories, and then all we had to do was cross the road and the coach was picking us up on Coinagehall Street for the next leg of our journey to the beautiful village of Porthleven, a port on the Lizard Heritage Coast. Now this was a bonus, because I did not know we were coming here, and Porthleven was not a place I could have got to on public transport very easily. W had another hour We h here, so there was p plenty of time to find th Ship Inn, which the w easily spotted on was th opposite side of the th harbour just along the fr from a local Rick Stein re restaurant, which I g guess would have b been a little bit dearer Ship than the food in the Ship.


This pub is in a wonderful location overlooking the harbour, and the outside drinking areas and named after decks on a ship. The pub is accessed via a steep flight of steps and is a seventeenthcentury fishermen’s inn. The pub was so picturesque that it is one of the few pubs I have visited where I actually took some photographs, so hopefully there will be one to accompany this article! Here I supped a Cornish pint of Skinner’s Porthleven, as I thought a beer named after the place I was in would be as local as it gets. Very good it was too, and I kept looking around thinking how lucky the local people were to be able to go to this wonderful pub every day. The food looked good too, but sadly I only had time for a drink and not to stay for lunch, as I could have stayed in the Ship for hours. This had to be my favourite pub so far, and that’s saying something, as this was the third of three really special pubs I had visited in two days. Our last day of this short holiday was Thursday, and this involved a trip to Penzance, the most southerly point on the railway network. In fact I got the train to Newquay in 1979, when there was a direct train from Liverpool to Penzance, which has long since been discontinued. Our coach driver left us in Penzance for a couple of hours, but Yvonne and I decided to tell him that we would make our own way back, as I wanted to visit a few more pubs and this was my last chance. On arriving at Penzance, I decided to buy us two First Kernow bus tickets, which could be used all over Cornwall. For an extra pound we could use the train as well, so that was good value. We waited for the first bus to Mousehole, which is situated a few miles south of Penzance on the Penwith Heritage Coast, not that far from Land’s End. In the north-west the M6 is a motorway, but


in Penzance the M6 is the bus to Mousehole, which arrived bang on time. It was 12.07 and we arrived in Mousehole about 12.30, with the bus stopping right outside the Old Coastguard Inn. Here there was a beautiful view of St. Michael’s Mount, which I visited with Yvonne back in the 1980s, walking to it via the causeway from Marazion but returning by boat as the tide was in. Wonderful memories of one of my all-time favourite National Trust properties! T Old Coastguard The In Inn was a wella appointed former c coastguard’s house w which sold another C Cornish Crown b beer in the form o Gurnard’s Own, of w which was excellent. W were tempted We to stay for lunch, b but having already e eaten a substantial b kf id d to walk the last stop into breakfast we d decided the village, have a stroll around the harbour, and take the next bus back to Penzance. At this point we got our first drizzle of the week, which was not bad for November. So we escaped the rain by alighting before the bus station and nipping through a ginnel off the main shopping street to Victoria Square, where the Crown was easily discovered away from the crowds of shoppers. Here I tried a pint of Cornish Crown porter, so this was another Cornish brewery. After leaving the Crown, we walked back to the bus and railway stations, which are next to each other in Penzance. I really wanted to get the train, but decided to get another bus, as it gave me the chance to visit another Good Beer Guide-listed pub. The bus we got was the direct bus back to St. Ives, but we alighted at a place called Crowlas, where we stopped almost outside the Star Inn, a pub with its own bus stop!

This was to prove to be my last new pub of the holiday, and it was a good choice, as it was the first pub I had visited all week which sold mild! The Star Inn was the brewery tap for Penzance Brewery, and my pint was only £2.80 and exceptionally good. Quite sweet, it was full of flavour and it was a pleasant surprise seeing mild beer in southern England. It proved that the people of Cornwall seem to like their beer and pubs. From there it was the bus back to St. Ives, so I never got to go on the train again, but as the bus station in Cornwall was not far from the Hain Line, it gave me one more chance to sample the beers in the local Wetherspoons pub, but this time I tried the Polgoon Cornish cider, just £1.99 a pint, which was £1.49 with my Wetherspoons voucher, now available for purchase of cider (Linda Harris please take note!).

So that was it. A walk back up Tregenna Hill to our hotel gave me some exercise to end the week and it was almost time for dinner. It had been a great week, and we enjoyed Cornwall so much that we plan to go back again as soon as February 2018 when Yvonne and I hope to visit the Eden Project from a different base at St. Austell. Cheers,

Dave & Yvonne Williams



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 Bold Arms Churchtown - 20p a pint Real Ale FreshďŹ eld - 10% 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 Cock & Rabbit - Members discount and loyalty scheme Cheshire Lines - 30% discount Tap Room 12 Ormskirk - less 20p off Cask & Key Keg also locals card and 15% all day Monday to Thursday for drinks and before 6pm Friday & Saturday Railway Ormskirk - loyalty card also 20p CAMRA discount and Monday less 50p on cask ales 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 This list will be a permanent feature of Ale and Hearty hoping to try and encourage pubs to be included.


Classic Pubs of the UK The Seven Stars, Falmouth Having not had a holiday this year, I decided to take a late break with Mrs. Williams and a chance with the weather by booking a coach trip to St. Ives in Cornwall, staying at a hotel with a fabulous view overlooking Porthminster beach.

Arriving on the evening of Monday 13th December, we opted to go on an additional excursion to Falmouth by boat. We were already scheduled to do trips to Helston and Penzance, but the Tuesday trip involved being taken by coach to Truro, Cornwall’s only city, where we were dropped on by a jetty on the outskirts of Truro to be greeted by the captain of a boat which was waiting for us. It was quite breezy sailing down the River Fal, and, although the weather was very mild for November at about 12 degrees centigrade, I have learnt that it is cooler out at sea, so a woolly hat and even gloves were essential until we reached Falmouth. This was a lovely journey, and as we sailed I was looking to see if we could spot the Pandora Inn, a lovely fisherman’s pub more easily reached by boat than by car at a place called Restronguet


Creek, a picturesque little inlet on a tributary of the River Fal. However, although I did not get to the Pandora Inn (featured in my book of 100 CAMRA Classic Country Pubs); we did get to spend some quality time in Falmouth. So when we moored it was time to do some pub hunting! First port of call was an unusual outlet selling real ale in the form of a shop called Beerwolf Books. Yes, a bookshop selling real ale! Is it a bookshop selling beer or a pub selling books? Visit it and see for yourself. After a quick pint of a beer from miles away called Shiny Tombstone Chocolate Orange Stout, Yvonne and I drank up and headed north to the town centre. I had to work out the opening times of the pubs, because of course not all pubs open at the same time. Beerwolf Books, being a shop, opened at 10.00a.m. (probably a good excuse for alcoholics to say they are browsing the bookshelves) whereas two of the other Good Beer Guide listed pubs opened at 11 o’clock. Our next stop was to The Moor and the Seven Stars, a pub I have wanted to visit for a long time and never got near. This was my big chance. The pub is set back from the main street, and has a rather imposing front. However, once you step inside the main door you soon realise you have entered a timeless gem. It’s a 17th century ale house where time has stood still. The building itself dates back to the 14th century when it was used as a grain store for the mill that was next door. The view from the windows was slightly different then! The Moor is reclaimed land and the river came right up to the road where the pub is situated. It is now a Grade II listed building and on the CAMRA National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors. The interior is smoke stained, and the bar hasn’t been decorated since the 1950s, which sounds a bit like my house!

The Seven Stars was granted its licence in 1660, a year before Falmouth was given its Royal Charter and the licensee at the time was one Henry Penial and his spouse Mary-Jane. It has seen many changes around Falmouth and has also encountered many characters, from salty old sea dogs to royalty. Many of the characters worked on the water, on working boats or down in the shipyard. All of them had fascinating stories to tell. The pub has seen seven generations of the same family as landlords, dating from 1873, the most famous being Rev. John Barrington Bennetts. He served as landlord for nearly 60 years while also serving his congregation at the Parish Church, before his passing back in 2011. There are quirky points to the pub, the coffin hatch being one of them, which you can find in the back saloon bar. An amazing collection of keyrings can be found in the bar which started back in 1953. Whilst the beer was not the best pint I had that week in Cornwall, at least it was a local beer. I tried the Sharps Atlantic, which at least was a change from the ubiquitous Doom Bar, and a beer which you do not seem to find in the north. There was a cosy bar at the front of the pub, a room on the right and a lovely little room at the back away from the hustle and bustle of the main bar. There was no music, no fruit machines and just a few locals when I visited the pub, which is just the way I like it. I was pleasantly surprised that most of the pubs in Cornwall, despite the fact that it was November and out of season which still opened all day, which is great when you have travelled over 350 miles looking for pubs to visit!

A.I. is too important to be left in the hands of machines. The A.I. we’re referring to isn’t Artificial Intelligence, it’s Ale Intelligence, of course. We’re not technophobes, we just don’t trust anything incapable of smelling, feeling or tasting to create something as delicately balanced as Landlord. That’s why we have five hands-on, Heriot-Watt trained brewers involved in every step of the process, from barley delivery to filling the casks. This way, we can make sure that every sip of Taylor’s is as delicious as humanly possible. Machines may one day take over the world, just be thankful you won’t be around to drink their terrible beer.

All for that taste of Taylor’s

This is an absolute gem, and a must visit next time you make the long journey to Cornwall.

Dave Williams




14 th P




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E B 2 01 BEERS



Lager Than Life A recent survey by the There’s A Beer For That campaign has shown that 45% of consumers prefer to drink lager than any other drink, and that 60% had only ever tried up to five different styles of beer, despite the massive range that is currently available. Some frustration was expressed at the reluctance of so many British drinkers to experiment, but this merely demonstrates a failure to recognise why many people drink as they do. For a lot of drinkers, the beer is merely an adjunct to a social event; it is not the purpose of it. If they’ve found a beer that suits them - whether it be a particular brand of lager, a national real ale brand such as Doom Bar, or a national smoothflow bitter - they feel no need to look any further. Furthermore, there are still people, a diminishing number admittedly, who feel brand loyalty: I’ve known people who have declared that Tetley Bitter was the finest pint on the planet. I’ve even known certain CAMRA members assert this, despite the beer’s plummeting quality as the Tetley Brewery in Leeds was being run down to closure.

limited to the products of the breweries who owned nearly all the pubs. We’ve come a long way since then, but there will always be drinkers who will stick to their favourite brand, or small range of brands. Changing people’s drinking habits is a slow process, not unlike trying to do a U-turn in a cruise liner, and ultimately it’s up to them what they choose to spend their own money on. The best approach is vive la différence - assuming we’re still allowed to say that after the Leave vote.

Neville Grundy

I think it’s unlikely that most drinkers of real ale, or of craft beer for that matter, want to spend every moment of their time in constant experimentation. If you’re out for a night with friends and find a reasonable pint, you might decide to stick with that while you enjoy your evening, rather than experiencing a constant itch for something different. There’s really no need for impatience with drinkers who choose not to experiment all the time, considering that until the early 1990s, the choice of beer in most towns was severely


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