Branch & Local News 2016
In recent years it has been depressing news to read week after week of pub closures throughout the country and of the growing number of pubs that are struggling to remain open. While it would probably be wrong to think that there has been any significant reversal of this trend nationally, at least in our area the year 2015 would appear to have been a more promising year for the pub trade, with for the first time in years more new pubs opening than pubs that have closed. In the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area the only pub known to have closed during 2015 was the Gillibrand Arms, Chorley, which was closed in March to be replaced by housing. Against this the Twelve Tellers, Preston and the Harvester Buckshaw, Buckshaw Village are both large new pubs that were opened in 2015, while the Cock T'Alehouse, Eccleston (since re-named the GreenHaus, Eccleston) is a new micro-pub that has opened in the area. You can also add to this the Walton Arms, Bamber Bridge, which is a club that has become a pub, the Review Bar, Preston, which is a new bar in the Preston Guild Hall Complex (sadly no real ale), and the Korova Arts Cafe & Bar, Preston, a café/bar that has started selling draught beer (sadly no draught real ale at present). Looking ahead to 2016 and the prospects are also looking good, with two new micropubs in the pipeline for Preston and others planned for Chorley and Leyland, while there is also the possibility of a new pub opening at Haighton Manor. Hopefully we will have more news on new pub openings in the coming weeks.
On January 7th there was a branch meeting and social held at the Wellington, Ashton. This particular venue had been chosen as the Wellington is currently the CAMRA Central Lancashire 'Pub of the Season' for Winter 2015/16. On the night it was great to see the pub packed out with locals plus there was also a good turn-out of CAMRA members present for the meeting. Pictured above, are Jackie and Alan Chester of the Wellington shortly after they had been presented with the Pub of the Season certificate by CAMRA Central Lancashire Chairman Dave Bell.
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As was reported in December the Shepherds' Hall Ale House, Chorley was voted the winner of the 2015/16 George Lee Memorial Trophy award at the Christmas branch meeting. On February 4th CAMRA Central Lancashire branch members and friends were in attendance in numbers at a social held there to celebrate the event, and on the night the George Lee Memorial Trophy presentation took place. Pictured above is former CAMRA Central Lancashire branch chairman Adrian Smith alongside Tom Hardyman of the Shepherds' Hall Ale House, who is holding the shield. In the background can be seen the Autumn 2015 Pub of the Season certificate which was another award won by the Shepherds' Hall Ale House just a few months ago.
At the CAMRA Central Lancashire committee meeting held on February 11th important decisions were made on selecting the branch's Club of the Year and Cider Pub of the Year winners for 2016. As such, it is my pleasure to report that the Club of the Year for 2016 is Bamber Bridge Football Club, while the Cider Pub of the Year for 2016 is the Market Ale House, Leyland. Already decided is the choice for the branch's Pub of the Year for 2016, which is the current GLMT winner, the Shepherds' Hall Ale House, Chorley (see below). These three branch award winners for 2016 now become the branch's nominations to go forward for consideration in the corresponding Lancashire Area and West Pennines Regional awards. Good luck!
The Preston real ale scene was given a tremendous boost with the Guild Ale House, Preston opening to the general public on February 29th. This has become Preston's first micropub and is housed in a former Hospice charity shop on Lancaster Road, just a few doors up from the Preston Guild Hall complex. Ahead of the official opening owner Gary Quinn had arranged a Grand Opening (and training) night on February 26th to give friends and family the opportunity to have an initial look at the premises. There was a good turn-out on the night, with many local CAMRA members managing to obtain an invitation. Seven real ales were on sale, with there being a strong emphasis on LocAle beers, including beers from local breweries Beer Brothers Brewery and Bishop's Crook Brewery, while the micropub is also selling a range of craft beers and real ciders. The Guild Ale House is quite large for a micropub, and the plan is that it will get even bigger, with a function room to be established upstairs in about three months time.
Also on February 29th there was a branch meeting and social held at the Speakeasy, Preston. While there, CAMRA Central Lancashire Chairman Dave Bell was pleased to present landlord Peter Dewes with a certificate to recognise that the Ale Emporium had been the 2015 George Lee Memorial Trophy holder.
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Ale Cry 110, the Spring 2016 issue of Ale Cry was received from the Printers on March 18th. This was a little later than planned, but hopefully readers will once again find it to be full of interesting articles, with plenty of news from pubs and clubs in the area. This time we have produced a bumper 36 page issue, with the Gables, Leyland being revealed as the branch's latest Pub of the Season recipient, while the front page article features the newly opened Guild Ale House, Preston .
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At the beginning of the month the latest branch e-mail newsletter (Issue 5) was sent out to all local CAMRA members who have notified the branch of their e-mail address. If you are one of the 150-200 CAMRA members living in the Central Lancashire branch area not to have received a copy of this newsletter, and if you have an e-mail address and wish to receive copies of future newsletters, then send your e-mail details to moc.liamtekcor@armaclc. Alternatively copies of all editions of the branch e-mail newsletter can now be viewed by 'signing in' and accessing the Members' Area webpage. For more information see also the EmAle Newsletter webpage.
A pub not mentioned for a long time in Local News is the Lane Ends, Ashton. Starting from April 4th, and for the rest of the month, it will be one of the venues for a 'Cask And Craft Festival' being hosted in pubs which are part of the national John Barras pubchain. Another of their pubs in our area is Fishers, Preston, while a third the Old Leyland Gates, Leyland has recently been re-badged a Flaming Grills pub, so assumedly will not be participating in the Beer Festival. According to flyers for the Cask And Craft Festival there will be 7 different cask ales appearing, while 4 craft ales will also be available. More information on upcoming Beer and Cider Festivals can be found on the Local Beer Festivals webpage.
The April 14th-16th weekend saw Bamber Bridge Football Club hosting its 2016 Beer Festival. As last year, this proved to be a well attended event, with a choice of over 30 beers and ciders being available for those who were to venture there over the three days (the Saturday actually coinciding with the last home game of the season). Rather than wait until June when the branch has a committee meeting scheduled to take place at the club, it was decided that CAMRA Central Lancashire branch would take an early opportunity to make a presentation to recognise that Bamber Bridge FC had been chosen as our 2016 Club of the Year. At very short notice, on the opening night of the Beer Festival, it is pleasing to report that a good number of local CAMRA members were able to turn out and have an enjoyable time. Pictured above, is CAMRA Central Lancashire Chairman Dave Bell, as he hands over the Club of the Year certificate to club stewards Helen Nowell and Sandra Perry, while next to Dave is Bamber Bridge FC Chairman Fran Doyle.
A few days later, and CAMRA Central Lancashire branch Chairman Dave Bell was making yet another presentation to a local CAMRA award winner. On April 18th there was a branch meeting and social held at the Gables, Leyland, this being the pub that had been chosen to be the branch's Spring 2016 Pub of the Season winner. This was a new venue for a branch meeting, and with six different beers available it was thought by those present to be highly appropriate that the pub receive some formal recognition. In the above photograph, Dave is seen handing over the Pub of the Season certificate to the Gables licensees Ruth Smith and Alan Chadwick.
The branch's latest micropub, the Golden Tap Ale House, Leyland, will be opening on April 29th (from 6pm). Since the appearance of the Market Ale House, Leyland in December 2013, there have been a succession of these new-style micro-pubs opening in the branch area. By my reckoning the Golden Tap will become the sixth micropub to open in Central Lancashire, and indications are that there are three or four more on the way. The Golden Tap will be selling six handpumped beers, about half of which will be LocAle beers, while there will also be two real ciders available. Hopefully the Golden Tap will get a good start in establishing itself over the May Bank Holiday weekend, as Leyland continues to go from strength to strength a place to go for the real ale drinker.
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CAMRA's Lancashire Pub of the Year and Lancashire Club of the Year winners for 2016 have both been announced, and unfortunately it has to be reported that the Central Lancashire branch nominations have again been unsuccessful. The Lancashire Pub of the Year is the Swan With Two Necks at Pendleton. This is the third time in the last six years that the Swan With Two Necks has been the winner of this award, with the Shepherds' Hall Ale House, Chorley being CAMRA Central Lancashire branch's unsuccessful nomination. The Lancashire Club of the Year is Blackpool Cricket Club. This is the fourth time in five years that Blackpool Cricket Club has been the winner of this award, with Bamber Bridge Football Club being CAMRA Central Lancashire branch's unsuccessful nomination. For more information on these awards see the Lancashire Area Awards page.
Following on from above two CAMRA Lancashire awards having being announced, the CAMRA West Pennines Cider Pub of the Year winner for 2016 has also now been chosen. Despite the branch having high hopes, the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch nomination, the Market Ale House, Leyland was unsuccessful, with the award going to the Mortal Man at Troutbeck in Cumbria.
The Ancient Oak, Cottam has re-opened after a short period of closure while it has undergone a refurbishment and facelift. The pub is now an Ember Inn, and in this respect it becomes a sister pub to both the Anderton Arms, Fulwood and the Black Bull, Fulwood. By all accounts the Ancient Oak refurbishment is very impressive, and in particular there is now a much greater range of beers on offer with up to 8 real ales being available at any one time.
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Ale Cry 111, the Summer 2016 issue of Ale Cry was received from the Printers on June 10th. Another 32 page issue, the magazine contains a good variety of articles, while there is also plenty to read about pubs and clubs in the area. Pearsons, Chorley is revealed as the branch's latest Pub of the Season recipient, while out of our branch area there are articles on the pubs of Manchester, Rochdale, Wigan, and the South Lakes. Go to Ale Cry if you want to see the on-line version of this Ale Cry, as well as back issues of the magazine going back to 2010.
Good news to report that two recently closed pubs in South Ribble have now re-opened. Despite having undergone a costly refurbishment late in 2015, the Anchor, Hutton closed in February after there had been a disagreement between the joint landlords and pub owners Greene King. The pub remained closed for several months, with some rumours going round that it did not have a future. However as of the beginning of June the pub is again open - more news to follow. Also undergoing a refurbishment has been the Pear Tree, Penwortham (pictured). This refurbishment has been long-coming, and the pub was closed for about a month before re-opening on June 10th when local MP Seema Kennedy was present as the guest of honour. The pub is now selling four real ales, with regulars Theakstons Best Bitter and Theakstons Lightfoot, plus two changing guest beers.
A few weeks back it was reported that Leyland had a new pub with the opening of the Golden Tap Ale House, Leyland. It has now been discovered that Leyland has a second new pub with the Mill At Charnock Farm, Leyland having also opened at about the same time. The pub has been created within the Charnock Farm Garden Centre complex, which for several years has also included a restaurant and bar. The new pub is serving two beers, with Thwaites Wainwright and a changing Moorhouses beer usually being the choice available.
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With the opening of the Ale Station, Chorley on July 14th, Chorley is fast becoming the micropub capital of the world. This railway-themed new micropub, which is located on Chapel Street in former sandwich shop premises, is just yards away from Chorley's first micropub, the Shepherds' Hall Ale House, Chorley, which opened in August 2014. The Bob Inn, Chorley (opened in November 2014) was Chorley's second micropub, while the Bootleggers, Chorley on Bolton Street should be opening in the first week of August 2016 to become the town's fourth micropub. For real ale drinkers, the Ale Station has five handpumps, and on the opening night was selling two beers from Rock The Boat Brewery, as well as beers from Hopstar Brewery, Bowland Brewery, and Three Castles Brewery.
2016 has certainly been a boom year for micropubs in the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area. With micropubs having already opened this year in Preston, Leyland, and Chorley, we now hear that Longridge may soon be getting not one but two micropubs in the very near future. Information received is that planning applications have been submitted for a micropub on Berry Lane (to be called the Tap & Vent, Longridge and hoping to open in September), and for a micropub on Derby Road (pictured, to be called Hoppy Days, Longridge and also hoping to open in September).
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As intimated last month, Chorley is going from strength to strength for the real ale drinker, and with the official opening of Bootleggers, Chorley on August 6th it is now a town centre that can boast a total of four micropubs (and there are whispers that it may possibly soon be getting a fifth). Bootleggers, which is housed in former lingerie shop premises on Bolton Street, is selling four handpumped beers, with Bank Top Flat Cap, Bowland Hen Harrier, Fuzzy Duck Cunning Stunt, and house beer Bootleggers Gold being the initial line-up. It is good to see that this is another new pub that is supporting LocAle beers, while the beer choice in Chorley at any one time is now becoming truly remarkable.
It has taken a long time, but at last the Market Ale House, Leyland has been able to take possession of the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch 2016 Cider Pub of the Year certificate (the award was first announced in February!). With a committee meeting planned to take place at the Leyland Lion, Leyland at 8pm on August 11th, the opportunity was taken for a handful of committee members to meet up at the Market Ale House ahead of this meeting to hand over the certificate. As you can see from the accompanying photograph, the Market Ale House continues to be an excellent destination for the cider drinker with Celtic Marches Ruby Tuesday Cider, Weston's Old Rosie Cloudy Cider, Pine Trees Farm Cheery Old Dudda, and Lilley's Mango Cider all being available on the night.
It will soon be the August Bank Holiday Weekend, and as in previous years there are a number of Beer Festivals taking place in the branch area. This year there are Beer Festivals at Penwortham Cricket Club (pictured), at the Horns, Goosnargh, at tba, at Chorley Cricket Club, and at both the Withy Arms, Bamber Bridge and the Withy Arms, Leyland. With three of these Beer Festivals taking place at cricket clubs, it seems to have become the custom that if you are a cricket club then you must hold an annual Beer Festival. Already this year there have been Beer Festivals at Croston Sports Club, Fulwood & Broughton Cricket Club, and Whittingham & Goosnargh Sports & Social Club, then there are the three over the August Bank Holiday Weekend, and finally in October there is a Beer Festival at New Longton Sports & Social Club. For these and other local events go to the Local Beer Festivals webpage for more up-to-date information.
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In recent months there has been a lot of news on this website about new micropubs. This month, just for a change, we have some information about new local microbreweries which quite possibly you will be hearing more of in the coming weeks. First, there is the Crankshaft Brewery (of Leyland), which was introduced to the public at last month's Taste of Leyland festival, and which will soon be producing its first draught ales. Second, there is Priest Town Brewing (of Preston), which was founded in 2014 and which is currently awaiting HMRC approval for it to commence brewing commercially. Third, there is Withnell's Brewery (of Withnell near Chorley), a brewery which is proudly growing some of its own hops and which was incorporated as a PLC in March 2016. Finally, there is Hubsters Brewery (of Clayton Brook), a microbrewery that was incorporated as a PLC as recently as July 2016. As well as these four, we still have the prospect of the long heralded Ribble Brewery which is proposed to be set up at the Withy Arms, Leyland. What are the chances of these microbreweries all being fully operational before the end of 2016?
September 8th - a date for your diary as there is a new pub opening in the branch area. This is the Haighton Manor, Haighton, an establishment which was for many years a restaurant, hotel and wedding venue, but which has now been converted into a pub by the Brunning & Price pubco. It will be the first Brunning & Price pub in the branch area, but elsewhere in the north west they have built up a reputation for their upmarket country pubs that have a good range of cask ales available (albeit they will be at a premium price!).
September 15th was the official publication date for the 2017 Good Beer Guide. As always an excellent and indispensable publication, this year's edition once again features 35 pubs from the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area. Looking a little further afield, across the country there are over 1000 pubs new to the guide, while there are also over 200 new breweries added since the 2016 guide was produced.
Also on September 15th the branch was host to a CAMRA Revitalisation Project meeting, this being held in the upstairs room at the Speakeasy, Preston. This was one of about 50 meetings being held across the country during 2016, with it being CAMRA's intention that all members be given the opportunity to have their say in influencing the future direction that the organisation will be taking in the coming years. Thankyou to the 30 or so CAMRA members who turned out on the night - hopefully you will have found the meeting to have been of great interest. Thankyou also to those local members who have completed the two Survey Forms compiled by CAMRA to record your views on the Revitalisation Project.
Coming up on September 23rd/24th is the 2016 Longton Beer Festival. Unfortunately due to the delayed publication of Ale Cry 112, we have not been able to give a great amount of advance publicity to this excellent Beer Festival, which is now in its sixth year. Autumn is a popular time of the year for Beer Festivals, and this is a good one to start things off. See the Local Beer Festivals webpage for more information on upcoming Beer Festivals in the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area.
It may be getting towards late September, but in the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area for a few more days it is still very much Summer. This being the case, on Monday September 19th a number of local CAMRA members met up at Pearsons, Chorley to witness the twice postponed Summer 2016 Pub of the Season presentation. Pictured in the above photograph is Dave (the CAMRA Chairman) presenting the Pub of the Season certificate to Dave (the Pearsons landlord).
A week later, and with it now officially being Autumn, it was a good time for the Autumn 2016 Pub of the Season presentation to take place. On Monday September 26th a branch meeting and social was held at Roper Hall, Preston, with the presentation taking place at a break in the proceedings. Pictured above is CAMRA Central Lancashire branch Chairman Dave Bell, along with two of the Roper Hall bar staff who are holding the certificate.
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This is the season for Beer Festivals, and coming up this month there are two which we would like to bring to your attention. Taking place from October 13th-16th it is the Music & Beer Festival at Our Lady & St Gerard's Parochial Centre, Lostock Hall, while taking place from October 14th-16th it is Beer & Pie Festival II at Broughton & District Club. Unfortunately due to the delayed publication of Ale Cry 112, we have not been able to give a great amount of advance publicity to these Beer Festivals, but on the evidence of previous years they can certainly be highly recommended. See the Local Beer Festivals webpage for more information on upcoming Beer Festivals in the CAMRA Central Lancashire branch area.
Ale Cry 112, the Autumn 2016 issue of Ale Cry was received from the Printers on October 14th. We have to apologise for the late appearance of this edition of Ale Cry, but it has to be said that there have been an unprecedented number of production problems encountered. However better late than never, and this time we have once again been able to produce a 32 page issue. The magazine contains a good variety of articles, while there is also plenty to read about pubs and clubs in the branch area. Roper Hall, Preston is revealed as the branch's Pub of the Season for Autumn 2016 (the presentation has already taken place), while out of our branch area there are articles on the pubs of Halifax and Harrogate. With Ale Cry 112 now out and soon to be found in a pub or club near you, we are still working on the intention that Ale Cry 113 will be produced before the end of the year.
We may only be half way through October, but already this month there have been another three micropubs that have opened in the branch area. The first to arrive was the D'Owd Inn, Chorley (since re-named the Cuckoo's Nest, Chorley), which becomes Chorley's fifth micropub and the third to open there in a matter of months. Next to open was the Tap & Vent, Longridge, the first micropub in Longridge, and then just eight days later the town got its second micropub with the opening of Hoppy Days, Longridge. It may be early days, but all three of these micropubs would appear to be offering a good range of cask ales, with many Lancashire brewed beers being available.
Unfortunately it's not all good news, and in recent weeks we have also seen the closure of two well established rural pubs in the branch area. The first to close was the Myerscough, Balderstone, and our understanding is that this pub is currently being advertised as up for sale by owners Robinsons Brewery. A couple of weeks later and we learnt of the closure of the Boars Head, Barton, with the pub premises having apparently been sold on to a new owner by Mitchells Brewery without there having been any prior announcement. Both these pubs have been popular in recent years, and both closures have come right out of the blue. CAMRA Central Lancashire branch will certainly be doing what we can to support local residents and customers in trying to get these pubs re-opened if at all possible.
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On November 10th there was a hastily organised branch social at the Old Black Bull, Preston. This social was arranged for the already twice-postponed presentation of a long-service award to former Old Black Bull landlord Stan Eaton. The above photograph shows Stan about to be presented with a tankard for his long-service by CAMRA Central Lancashire branch Treasurer Paul Riley. Apologies to all branch members and others who were not given advance notice of this event, and who would have liked to have been there on the night.
After a period of closure the former Boatyard at Hoghton has re-opened with a new name, the Grill & Grain At The Boatyard, Riley Green. However this is not just another pub refurbishment, for in this instance we are also able to announce the arrival of a new microbrewery in the branch area. This canalside pub is owned by Thwaites, and for this venture they have installed an on-site microbrewery brewing beer badged as Grill & Grain, the beers available being Gold (3.8%), Ruby (4.2%) and IPA (4.5%). The pub is also selling a range of three Thwaites beers, while it continues to provide accommodation and be an outstanding eating establishment.
Buckshaw Village now has another new real ale outlet, with the opening this month of Filling Factory No 1, Buckshaw Village. Quite close to Buckshaw Parkway railway station, this is a bar that has been created within the existing Morrow Brothers Bottling Plant premises. One of our members was invited to a launch night on November 17th, and it is understood that there will be an official opening early in December. Qualifying as yet another micropub in the branch area, it is likely to have restricted opening hours, but will be selling three changing handpumped beers plus six craft beers.
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At the beginning of the month the latest branch e-mail newsletter (Issue 13) was sent out to all local CAMRA members who have notified the branch of their e-mail address. As the first branch e-mail newsletter was produced on December 1st 2015, we are now celebrating having reached a landmark, with this being the first anniversary edition. Copies of all 13 editions of the branch e-mail newsletter can be viewed by 'signing in' and accessing the Members' Area webpage. For more information see also the EmAle Newsletter webpage
Also appearing at the beginning of December was Ale Cry 113, the Winter 2016/17 edition of the branch's ever popular quarterly magazine. As it comes just two months after the previous edition, this time we have restricted ourselves to producing a 24 page issue. However once again we are hoping that readers will find that the magazine contains a good variety of articles, with there also being plenty to read about the pubs and clubs in the branch area. The Golden Tap Ale House, Leyland is revealed as the branch's Pub of the Season for Winter 2016/17, while out of our branch area the Branch Chairman has written an article on the pubs of Warrington. Look out for a copy of Ale Cry 113 in a pub or club near you. Note, as an experiment Ale Cry 113 has been produced in two different formats, with a pocket-sized 'mini-me' edition being produced in addition to the usual standardised A4 sized edition. By all means, please let the Editor know (email: ku.gro.armac.scnallartnec@rettelswen) if you have any preferences as to which size of Ale Cry you prefer.
On December 12th CAMRA Central Lancashire Branch held its Christmas Meeting at the Shepherds' Hall Ale House in Chorley. The pub had been privately booked and was opening especially for us on a Monday, when it is normally closed. There were exactly 30 local CAMRA members present for the meeting and social, and as usual a good time was had by all. This year there was no quiz, but as is traditional, the most important item on the agenda was the voting for the 2016-17 George Lee Memorial Trophy award. This is the branch's premier annual 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 five nominations this time round, with the vote resulting that the shield should remain in Chorley for a second year, with the Malt 'n' Hops, Chorley being a decisive winner. Second place went to the Guild Ale House, Preston, while the Bob Inn, Chorley, the Black Bull, Fulwood, and the Market Ale House, Leyland were the other nominations. On the night it was pointed out that this was not the first time that the Malt'n'Hops had won the George Lee award - it was also the 1990-91 winner (who can remember that?) The George Lee Memorial Trophy shield will be presented at a social to be held at the Malt'n'Hops sometime early in 2017.