Witch Ale News
The printed edition of WITCH ALE, the popular branch newsletter, folded at the end of 2017 with Issue 89 being the final magazine.
Through this page we aim to bring you a roundup of all things happening within the pubs, clubs and breweries of East Lancashire,
as we understand that everyone is not on the various Social Media platforms where news is shared more easily nowadays.
Please email ku.gro.armac.scnaltsae@bew any news or information to be added here, or share on social media. Cheers!
As the Covid-19 outbreak lockdown restrictions were eased, pubs started reopening from the 4th July, this after being closed for a little over 3 months from late March. Or 106 days for those of you who were counting.
This of course will have been a welcome relief to all involved on both sides of the bar, as many people will have been (and still will be) worried about the staff including the owner’s livelihoods, and indeed the very of the pubs themselves.
Cask ale can only be truly enjoyed in its finest condition in the pub after undergoing the expert cellarage of those involved. Whilst we know you'll be excited to get down the pub after lockdown, please follow the rules the pubs have in place, respect the staff and each other. Enjoy and all hail the ale!
Blackburn with Darwen
In Darwen what was the Caskbar has reopened as the Loom & Shuttle. A full refurbishment and transformation has taken place with a new cellar being put in and now with outdoor smoking area. Three Mayflower beers available alongside 1 guest beer.
APRIL TO JUNE 2020
Obviously a quiet time due to the Covid-19 outbreak with pubs ordered to close, however several of them adapted to the situation by selling beer and food for collection & takeaway, whilst various breweries were offering takeout beer and deliveries.
Blackburn with Darwen
Around the same time of the first anniversary of Ruth & Robin buying the Royal in Tockholes, they received planning permission for a two-storey side, and one-storey the rear extensions to the pub. Work started late April which will include a bigger kitchen and dining room, along with a first floor outside terrace.
The Black Bull in Blackburn celebrated their 9-year Anniversary albeit in lockdown of course. The pub reopened in April 2011, after an extensive restoration under the new ownership by the Bell family of Three B’s Brewery, after being closed by Thwaites in February 2010.
In mid-May The Crown & Thistle in Hoddlesden, after delivering 4778 FREE meals to the elderly and vulnerable, have reluctantly decided to stop the service (which cost over £15,000) after being unsuccessful in applying for lottery funding. A fantastic effort by everyone involved and very welcome by all who received the meals.
Bowland Brewery set up a design your own beer competition. The winner will have their beer brewed at Holmes Mill, receive their own pump clip, as well a brewery tour and a round of your very own beer for you and up to 6 friends to celebrate.
JANUARY TO MARCH 2020
Blackburn with Darwen
A lot going on at The Black Bull home of the Three B’s Brewery in Blackburn. They’ve introduced a loyalty card scheme in the pub – buy 10 pints get 1 free (which has taken some explaining to a few of the regulars how it works!) opened The Three B’s Beer Shop for takeaway Real Ale, Craft Ale, Lager & Ciders, and they’ve re-branded the labels on their bottled conditioned beers with more colour and a modern feel to them.
The White Bull on Livesey Branch Road closed in February, and are seeking a new manager, whist the Wellington further along the road has reopened but It is unknown if real ale is available.
Caskbar in Darwen has closed whilst undergoing refurbishment and should open late March/early April, albeit with a new name, after being taken on by Mayflower Brewery based in Wigan in November. Hopstar’s Dark Knight Mild was runner up in the Strong, Mild & Stout Category at the Lancaster Round Table Beer Festival.
The Ministry of Ale, Burnley’s 1st and only brewpub encompassing Moonstone brewery, closed her doors for the last time after almost 20 years on January 3rd, to coincide with Michael Jacques 71st birthday and retirement party, after being unsuccessful in finding a buyer.
The Park View near Turf Moor reopened in March after being closed for 2 years, after a £110k investment by Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars and North West pub operators Blind Tiger Inns. The new manager Tony Shirley has been running pubs for 22 years around the North West, most recently at The Cross Keys in Barnoldswick.
The Tim Bobbin in Padiham, owned by Samuel Smith's Brewery, closed in early February whilst the brewery seeks a new tenant after the previous manager moved on.
The Flying Dutchman has reopened after the pub had suffered extensive damage and flooding during Storm Ciara.
Moorhouse's M/63 Mississippi Mud Pie Pastry Stout was the Specialist Category Runner up at the Lancaster Round Table Beer Festival.
Grants in Accrington came out on top to the win the East Lancs Cider Pub of the Year 2020 award.
Rolls Royce Leisure in Barnoldswick won the East Lancs Club of the Year 2020 award.
The Station Hotel in Nelson have removed the hand-pumps.
The Swan with Two Necks in Pendleton held a “Grumpy” evening in non-celebration to mark not winning the CAMRA National Pub of the Year. (Getting to the top 4 is still a fantastic achievement). They can consolidate in the fact they can try again next year perhaps, after they were awarded the East Lancs Pub of the Year 2020.
How many charities have a registered office which is a pub? The Casked in Rawtenstall is one for the Civic Pride Rossendale.
In February, Rossendale Borough Council rejected the appeal by the Cabin Nano Bar against the decision by the Clog Market to not renew their lease. This despite over 1300 people signing a petition. The council did say they would however, consider a new licence application under strict conditions for a possible stall at either Bacup or Haslingden. The Cabin are taking legal advice and are considering options available.
The Griffin in Haslingden is under new management, with Michelle Rawstron who has been working at the pub taking it over. The future of Rossendale Brewery based in the cellar of the pub is unknown at this time.
The Red Lion in Whitworth is under new management and had a refurbishment. Now serving Pictish (Rochdale) beer permanently with a Vocation every other cask on a separate pump.
Click for Witch Ale News 2019
Click for Witch Ale News 2018