Branch & Local News 2015
On January 19th there was a branch meeting and social held at the Towneley Arms, Longridge. There was a good turn-out of branch members in attendance on the night at this pub which had been chosen as the CAMRA Central Lancashire 'Pub of the Season' for Winter 2014/15. Pictured above, in a break in the meeting, are Danny and Charlotte Horobin of the Towneley Arms shortly after they had been presented with the Pub of the Season certificate by CAMRA Central Lancashire Chairman Adrian Smith.
Preston's second Wetherspoons pub, the Twelve Tellers, Preston opened on January 22nd as planned. Housed in the former Preston Savings Bank premises, it certainly is an impressive pub conversion, and it provides an interesting contrast to the city's other Wetherspoon pub, the Grey Friar, Preston.
It may be January and Winter here in the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area, but in the neighbouring Blackpool Fylde & Wyre branch area it is already Springtime. Currently to be found in a number of pubs in the Preston area is the Spring 2015 edition of Fylde Ale, the CAMRA Blackpool Fylde & Wyre branch magazine. I should point out that the main reason for the magazine's early appearance is to publicise the Fleetwood Beer & Cider Festival which this year takes place over the weekend February 5th-7th. No doubt there will be many Central Lancashire CAMRA members travelling to Fleetwood next month for this tremendously popular annual event.
Thwaites Brewery have been in the news several times in the past year or so. Good news came with the announcement that they had found a suitable site at Mellor Brook for their new brewery and that work would be starting on this development in 2015. Bad news came with the revelation that Thwaites were no longer brewing the majority of their beers at Blackburn, and that many of their workers had been made redundant while the beers were being brewed in the Midlands. Unfortunately there is more bad news to report with it becoming evident that Thwaites are selling off many of their estate pubs for housing or for conversion into other uses. In Lytham the well known Hole In One pub looks set to be demolished and replaced by housing, while in our branch area alone we have recently lost both the Waggon & Horses, Leyland (to become a hostel) and the Welcome Tavern, Walton-le-Dale (future unknown).
**January 2015 Update - The Welcome Tavern is currently being refurbished, and it is understood that it is to become a more food oriented pub. It will be re-named The Hunters, Walton-le-Dale and should be re-opening in March.
As reported in the Lancashire Evening Post and the Chorley Guardian in recent weeks, the Gillibrand Arms, Chorley has become the latest Thwaites pub in our area to be earmarked for closure. A 'Save The Gillibrand' action group has been set up by local residents to oppose the pub's demolition for replacement by housing, and a number of CAMRA Central Lancashire branch members are involved in presenting a case that the pub still has a future.
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As was reported in December the Ale Emporium, Preston was voted the winner of the 2014/15 George Lee Memorial Trophy award. On February 5th a good turnout of CAMRA Central Lancashire branch members and friends were in attendance at a social held there to celebrate the event. A great time was had by all, with music on the night being provided by the Silver Bell Jazz Band. The main reason for the social was for the George Lee Memorial Trophy presentation to take place, and pictured above with the shield are Lauren, Trish, and Pete from the Ale Emporium together with CAMRA Central Lancashire branch Chairman Adrian Smith.
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Ale Cry 106, the Spring 2015 issue of Ale Cry was received from the Printers on March 9th. As usual it is full of interesting articles, with plenty of news from pubs and clubs in the area. The Moorbrook, Preston is revealed as the branch's latest Pub of the Season recipient, and other important news is that Our Lady & St Gerard's Parochial Centre, Lostock Hall has been chosen as the branch's first ever Club of the Year, while the Bob Inn, Chorley has been chosen as the branch's first ever Cider Pub of the Year.
With the appearance of a new Ale Cry, and with the announcement of a Cider Pub of the Year, it is worth highlighting two recent additions to the branch website. First, if you want to consult back issues of Ale Cry, then have a look at the new Ale Cry webpage. Second, if you are interested in finding which pubs in the area are selling a real cider then have a look at the new Real Cider webpage.
Thwaites Brewery are once again in the news, with the announcement on March 31st that Marstons PLC have 'acquired the trading operations of Thwaites beer division at a cost of £25.1million excluding working capital'. The acquisition includes beer brands Thwaites Wainwright and Thwaites Lancaster Bomber, two beers that have been brewed by Marstons for over 12 months since Thwaites closed down their main Blackburn brewery. At this time the practicalities of the acquisition remain uncertain to the outsider, but the understanding is that Thwaites will continue as a brewery and will still produce their Crafty Dan beers and their seasonal beers, plus possibly their Original and Nutty Black beers. Interestingly Thwaites have said that they are still intending to go-ahead with the building of their new brewery at Mellor Brook.
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2015 is looking to be a bumper year for Beer Festivals in the Central Lancashire branch area. Already this year Beer Festivals have taken place at the Sirloin, Hoghton, at St Walburges Church Hall, Preston, at Croston Sports Club, at the Yew Tree, Anglezarke, at the Withy Arms, Leyland, and at the Royal Oak, Whittle-le-Woods. Looking to the coming weeks, we are currently aware of another nine Beer Festivals planned for May, at Fulwood & Broughton Cricket Club, at Charnock Richard Football Club, at Whittingham & Goosnargh Sports & Social Club, at the Withy Arms, Leyland, at the Adelphi, Preston, at the Continental, Preston, at the Anchor, Lostock Hall, at the Victory Park Social Club, Chorley, and at the Corporation Arms, Longridge, while there are several others already pencilled in for the Summer months. Last year we recorded details of 29 Beer Festivals which took place in the branch area, but this figure is looking like it will easily be exceeded in 2015. For the most up-to-date information on Beer Festivals in the branch area see the Local Beer Festivals webpage.
Following on from a recent visit to the Wellington (Glovers Court), Preston I can report that this pub is now offering CAMRA members a discount on the price of a pint of real ale. The Wellington currently has four handpumped beers from the Marstons range always available, and these beers can be sampled by CAMRA members at a 10% discount.
Another pub offering a discount to CAMRA members is the Pear Tree, Penwortham. Soon to be the scene of a refurbishment, the pub currently has just one or two handpumped beers, but the plans are that the range will be increased in the coming months. As with partner pub the Black Bull, Penwortham, the Pear Tree is offering CAMRA members a 20p discount on the price of their beers. For more information on which pubs are offering CAMRA members a discount see the Real Ale Discount Scheme webpage.
On April 27th there was a branch meeting and social held at the Moorbrook, Preston. On the night there were 17 members in attendance at this pub which had been chosen as the CAMRA Central Lancashire 'Pub of the Season' for Spring 2015. As well as there being a Pub of the Season certificate presented to General Manager Richard Fischer Godwin, there was also a brass plaque presented to Pub Owners Sue Woods and Gary Culshaw to commemorate an important piece of local CAMRA history that the Moorbrook had been the venue for the branch's first ever meeting in 1973. Pictured above is Branch Chairman Adrian Smith, with Sue and Gary holding the brass plaque.
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CAMRA's Lancashire Pub of the Year and Lancashire Club of the Year winners for 2015 have both been announced, and unfortunately it has to be reported that the Central Lancashire branch nominations have been unsuccessful. The Lancashire Pub of the Year is the Taps at Lytham. This is the sixth time since 2002 that the Taps has been the winner of this award, with the Ale Emporium, Preston being CAMRA Central Lancashire branch's unsuccessful nomination. The Lancashire Club of the Year is Blackpool Cricket Club. This is the fourth time since 2010 that Blackpool Cricket Club has been the winner of this award, with Our Lady & St Gerard's Parochial Centre, Lostock Hall being CAMRA Central Lancashire branch's unsuccessful nomination. For more information on these awards see the Lancashire Area Awards page.
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Ale Cry 107, the Summer 2015 issue of Ale Cry was received from the Printers on June 1st. A bumper 32 page issue, as usual it is full of interesting articles, with plenty of news from pubs and clubs in the area. The White Bull, Walton-le-Dale is revealed as the branch's latest Pub of the Season recipient, while the Moorbrook, Preston is featured having recently been recognised as being the venue for the branch's first ever meeting in 1973. Go to Ale Cry to look at back issues of the magazine.
There are currently three micropubs in the branch area, two in Chorley and one in Leyland, and the prospect is that this number could soon be on the increase. Recently plans have been submitted that the former St Catherine's Hospice Shop on Lancaster Road in Preston (pictured) be converted into a micropub to be called the Guild Ale House. Hopes are that this new pub will be open in October, with it being the plan that there will be drinking areas on two floors, and that there will be seven real ales and ciders available. Also in Preston, there have long been rumours that the Continental people want to open a micropub to be called the Plau in the former Ozone shop premises on Friargate. Nothing new to report on this, but it is our understanding that this could still happen before the end of the year. A third new micropub rumoured to be in the offing in the branch area is in Leyland, with it being reported that someone is looking at opening a pub on Chapel Brow.
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The Malt 'n' Hops, Chorley has now been closed for several weeks. With the pub's immediate future somewhat uncertain, it was agreed at the July 7th committee meeting that it should be deleted from the 2015 Good Beer Guide. See Good Beer Guide Updates for more information on this and other recent editions of the Good Beer Guide.
On July 30th there was a branch social held at the White Bull, Walton-le-Dale. A great night was had by all at this pub which had been chosen as the CAMRA Central Lancashire 'Pub of the Season' for Summer 2015. The accompanying photograph shows new Central Lancashire branch Chairman Dave Bell holding the certificate, before presenting it to landlord Steve Robertson and his staff at the White Bull.
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Some news of our local breweries. First the news that Bishop's Crook Brewery have indicated that they have temporarily stopped brewing while the contaminated water problem persists in the local area. However as I write this, with the water crisis now into its third week, it is to be hoped that they will not be out of action for too much longer. Second I can report that Hart Of Preston Brewery were featured on BBC Radio Lancashire on August 12th, with presenter Helen Randle out on location having a lengthy chat with head brewer John Smith who talked through the brewing process and the illustrious history of his company. Finally there is news of two new micro-breweries in the area - the Rivington Brewing Company has been brewing for a few months now, while the Third Eye Brewery of Eccleston is another that has recently come on to the scene. Hopefully we will have more information about these two breweries before too long.
The August Bank Holiday weekend heralds the start of a very busy Autumn Beer Festival season in the branch area. At the end of August there are Beer Festivals at the Horns, Goosnargh, at the Crown, Croston, at the Withy Arms, Bamber Bridge, at the Withy Arms, Leyland, and at Penwortham Cricket Club. The following weekend you will have to venture just over the branch boundary for the Garstang Beer Festival at Kirkland and Catterall Memorial Hall, then in the next two weeks there are Beer Festivals at the Anchor, Lostock Hall and the Old Black Bull, Preston. The September 24th-27th weekend sees Beer Festivals at the Speakeasy, Preston, at the Longton VM Sports & Social Club, and also just outside the branch boundary at Ormskirk Cricket Club. Finally in October there are Beer Festivals at the Continental, Preston, at the Top Lock, Heapey, and at Our Lady & St Gerard's Parochial Centre, Lostock Hall. All told that is 14 Beer Festivals over an eight week period, with at least one Beer Festival taking place each weekend. As always, see the Local Beer Festivals page for up-to-date information on Beer Festivals in the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area.
**August 2015 Update - Yet more Beer Festivals have come to our attention. Over the August Bank Holiday weekend there are also Beer Festivals taking place at the Elephant & Castle, Adlington, at the Prince Of Wales (Cowling Brow), Chorley, and at the Yew Tree, Anglezarke. Meanwhile the Beer Festival planned to take place at the Ale Emporium, Preston has been postponed, with the intention that it be re-scheduled once landlord Peter Dewes has recovered from his forthcoming operation.
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Ale Cry 108, the Autumn 2015 issue of Ale Cry was received from the Printers on September 9th. At 36 pages it is the biggest issue yet to have been produced, and hopefully readers will find that there are plenty of interesting articles, with news from pubs and clubs in the area. The front page article provides more information about the two contenders in the race to open Preston's first micro-pub, while inside the Shepherds' Hall Ale House, Chorley is revealed as the branch's latest Pub of the Season recipient. In the coming weeks copies of the Autumn 2015 Ale Cry will be found in numerous pubs and clubs in the local area.
September 10th was the official publication date for the 2016 Good Beer Guide. As always an excellent and indispensable publication, this year's edition features 35 pubs from the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area.
September 28th saw a new pub open in the branch area. This was the long heralded Harvester Buckshaw, Buckshaw Village, which like its near neighbour the War Horse, Buckshaw Village is a pub with a strong emphasis on food and on catering for families. Initially the beers available there were Thwaites Wainwright and Sharp's Doom Bar.
Another pub due to open in September was the Cock T'Alehouse, Eccleston (since re-named the GreenHaus, Eccleston). This is a new micropub which it is planned will be created in the former Grocer On The Green premises in the village. Although a grand opening was announced, this has had to be delayed for at least a month until the appropriate planning permission can be granted. Other micropubs in the branch area which may possibly open before the end of the year are the Guild Ale House, Preston and the Plau Gin & Beer House, Preston. Hopefully there will be something definite to report on at least one of these three micropubs in the very near future.
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On October 26th there was a branch social held at the Shepherds' Hall Ale House, Chorley. Normally this micro-pub is closed on a Monday, but for the branch social it was opened especially for CAMRA members and friends, and on the night there was an impressive turnout with the room being full to capacity. The reason for the social was that the Shepherds' Hall Ale House had been chosen as the CAMRA Central Lancashire 'Pub of the Season' for Autumn 2015. The accompanying photograph shows Central Lancashire branch Treasurer Paul Riley holding the Pub of the Season certificate before handing it over to landlord Tom Hardyman. Arranged by the pub for those present was a 'meet the brewer' session with a representative of Hawkshead Brewery, while a good range of Hawkshead beers were also on sale on the night.
With the opening of the Cock T'Alehouse, Eccleston (since re-named the GreenHaus, Eccleston) on October 30th, there are now four micropubs operating in the branch area. In the event it was second time lucky for this micropub - for as we reported last month a planned opening on September 25th had to be cancelled at the last minute due to the required planning permission not having been granted. The Cock T' Alehouse is owned by Ruth Hull, who with her husband and family are also running the Victoria, a Good Beer Guide listed pub at Aspull. More news to follow.
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A few news snippets:-
After being closed for about six months the Malt 'n' Hops, Chorley has now re-opened. The pub remains a leading real ale outlet with up to nine handpumps in use at the busiest times.
The former School Lane Club in Bamber Bridge has been converted into a pub and is now known as the Walton Arms, Bamber Bridge. The pub comes under the same ownership as the Withy Arms, Bamber Bridge and the Withy Arms, Leyland.
There has been an application submitted to South Ribble Council that the long-closed Black Bull, Moss Side be demolished.
**December 2015 Update - The Black Bull has now been demolished!
The Last Orders in Chorley has been re-named the Last Orders At The Lamplighter, Chorley, and previously unknown to the branch has been found to be selling real ale (Greene King IPA).
The long-closed Shawes Arms, Preston has a new owner and hopefully will be re-opening as a café/bar, pub or restaurant sometime in 2016. More news about this will appear in the Winter 2015/16 Ale Cry.
Unfortunately Preston will not now be getting its first micropub this year as had previously been anticipated. The Guild Ale House, Preston now looks like it will be opening in January/February 2016, while the Plau Gin & Beer House, Preston is now expected to be opening in June 2016. Again more news about this will appear in the Winter 2015/16 Ale Cry.
However while Preston awaits its first micropub, there is news that Chorley may soon be getting its third micropub. Plans have recently been submitted for a micropub to be located on Chapel Street in a former sandwich shop.
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December 1st saw the launch of the CAMRA Central Lancashire Branch Monthly Newsletter. All 874 CAMRA members within the Central Lancashire branch area (who have an e-mail address) should by now have received a copy of this newsletter. If you are one of the 150-200 CAMRA members living in the Central Lancashire branch area not to have received a copy of the newsletter, and you have an e-mail address and wish to receive this newsletter in future, then send your e-mail details to liam.tekcor@armaclc. It is the intention that a newsletter will be sent out each month at the beginning of the month.
Ale Cry 109, the Winter 2015/16 issue of Ale Cry was received from the Printers on December 8th. Once again it is hoped that readers will find that there are plenty of interesting articles, with news from pubs and clubs in the area. The front page article provides news of some definite pub openings and some possible pub openings, while inside the Wheatsheaf, Ashton is revealed as the branch's latest Pub of the Season winner. In the coming weeks copies of the Winter 2015/16 Ale Cry will be coming to pubs throughout the Central Lancashire branch area.
On December 21st CAMRA Central Lancashire Branch held its Christmas Meeting at the Black Horse in Preston. There were over 20 local CAMRA members present for the meeting and social, and as usual a good time was had by all. One of the most important items on the agenda was the voting for the 2015-16 George Lee Memorial Trophy winner. This is the branch's premier award which is made to the pub, organisation, or person that branch members consider to have done the most for real ale locally during the previous year. There were four nominations this time round, and on the night it proved to be a closely fought contest with the Shepherds' Hall Ale House, Chorley being successful by getting just one more vote than the Wellington, Ashton, with the Bob Inn, Chorley and the Dolphin, Longton being the other nominations. A great achievement as the Shepherds' Hall Ale House has been open for barely one and a half years, yet already this year it had been rewarded by being the branch's Autumn 2015 Pub of the Season winner. Congratulations go to the Hardyman brothers Graham, Stuart, and Tom, who jointly run the Shepherds' Hall Ale House. The George Lee Memorial Trophy shield will be presented at a social to be held there in early February 2016.