In September, a small posse of unlikely lads from Trafford & Hulme CAMRA branch set off from Manchester on the WitchWay bus to explore East Lancashire’s growing offer of micropubs.
Carefully synchronized to avoid the hoards descending upon Turf Moor for the Burnley v Bournemouth match, we arrived in Burnley just after 3pm and headed for New Brew- M. Disaster loomed when the expedition leader found the doors locked to the bar he’d only visited a few weeks previously. However, panic over when it was discovered that New Brew-M had just moved across the road to larger premises. The popular town centre micro is an outlet for the town’s Reedley Hallows brewery and the Pendleside and New Laud Dark were sampled, the former going down particularly well. The bar normally has a guest ale and also on offer was beer from Offilers Brewery in Derby.
Re-joining the excellent and regular X43 (group day-riders come at a value for money £19 for up to 5 people), we headed up to Colne where three micropubs are huddled together in a row.
First up was the Tapsters Promise and a broad range was on offer here with Rammy Craft Trung Viet Coffee Stout possibly the pick of the bunch. Also sampled were Beer Brothers Session IPA and Wishbone Night Star Key Keg, the latter evidencing the trend for micropubs to be open to mixing cask and keg. This aptly provides the name of the third bar in the line Cask n’ Keg, where we had Theakston’s Barista keg stout and another offering from Reedley Hallows – Old Lawns Bitter. Squeezed in between was Boyce’s Bar
where some found the beer slightly off form from a normally high standard. Upham’s Punter and Bosum’s Mocha Stout were tried here.
Following a traditional back street chippy tea, we started our journey back alighting in Haslingden to squeeze into the very popular and crowded Hop. . The group went for a variety of brews here including Half Moon’s F’Hops Sake, Brewsmith Bitter, Deeply Vale Hop Ale and Acorn Wolf IPA. This was followed by a short walk up to the equally popular brewpub Northern Whisper
where there was a generally lukewarm reception from our ranks for Yammerhouse, Soft Mick, Small Talk and Blighty. Our final pitstop was an enjoyable one at Casked
a ‘steamed-up’ micro where the beer was in good form including Irwell Valley’s Breadcrumbs and also Marshmallow Unicorn Milk Stout, and Brewsmiths IPA.
After a scrum to get to Casked’s sole loo, the intrepid crew sailed happily home on the X43 with worries that one of the branch’s stalwarts had hit the canned cider!
Rest assured, it was only a bout of public-spirited litter picking duty.
It was an enjoyable day where we sampled a good range of micropubs proving that not all of the latest beer trends are the preserve of the big cities, nor are the cities the only places to sample good ale. Thank you East Lancs for your hospitality. We shall return.
Tim Field – T&H CAMRA