News - Witch Ale

The printed edition of Witch Ale, the popular newsletter of East Lancashire CAMRA, folded at the end of 2017 with Issue 89 being the final magazine. It was a shame as Witch Ale had been freely distributed throughout East Lancashire’s pubs and clubs for many years. Decreasing advertising revenue was the chief cause – something that is being reflected at both National and local level within the printed newspaper industry.

The launch of this, the new East Lancs CAMRA website, has enabled Witch Ale to be reborn as a live news source for all things happening within the pubs, clubs and breweries of East Lancashire!

Please forward any news to :- ku.gro.armac.scnaltsae@swen

MAY / JUNE / JULY 2019

Blackburn with Darwen

The Beehive free house at Cherry Tree has been run by Barry & Carol for over 17 years! Reedley Hallows Pendleside is a regular along with a couple of guests. Further up the road, Cherry Tree Cricket Club has been awarded our Blackburn area Club of the Year and they have a 20p a pint discount for card carrying CAMRA members!

In Blackburn the Knowles Arms is to be known as EGO at the Knowles Arms Mediterranean Restaurant - quite a mouthful! They usually serve 2 beers from Moorhouses .The Brownhill Arms is now being run by Wes Smith and serves beers from the Thwaites range. The Rising Sun now has Moorhouse's White Witch on permanently alongside 2 changing guests.

There's lots of news and changes in Darwen. The British Queen has reopened serving 2 beers from Thwaites. The Golden Cup has seen a change of licensee and they are now serving the full Thwaites core range on rotation. The Cask Bar has relocated from the Market Hall to Duckworth Street and Anthony & Rachel offer a 20p a pint discount to card carrying CAMRA members! The Black Horse has reopened under the stewardship of Pam & Wayne who also run the Punch at Chapels. There's cask beer on at the Alexandra after it's reopening. The Millstone under manageress Julie Taylor is a sports bar with Thwaites beers on. The Crown is another one to reopen with Page & Jay in charge of the 3 real and 1 cider pump. Michelle & Graham are the new licensees of the Park which has 2 changing beers. The Bird in t'Hand has opened as a micro bar on Duckworth Street with 4 handpumps serving changing beers. Finally the Taps Bar (opposite Wetherspoon's) serves 2 changing cask beers every day from noon except Monday.

The Royal Arms at Tockholes (a GBG regular over the years) has been bought by Robin Tilbrook who is making a few changes. The pub is open from noon every day with food served 12-2 and 5-7 Tue to Fri and 12-6 at weekends. Beers are from Three Bs plus changing guests.

Burnley

The Starkie Arms and the Flying Dutchman at Padiham both appear to have stopped serving real ale. The Cask Marque accredited Bridge Inn always has at least one Thwaites beer on from their core range. Molly Rigby's Club was voted the Burnley area Club of the Year and usually serves 4 real ales, often from the 3 Burnley based breweries.

In Burnley the New Brew'm was voted the Burnley POTY. They usually serve Reedley Hallows Pendleside & New Laund Dark together with 3 or 4 changing guests sourced from all over the country.

Hyndburn

The Knuzden Tap has opened directly across from the Cabin End which closed in April and is serving 2 beers. The Stahnill in Oswaldtwistle is now serving 2 real ales whilst across the road the Stanhill Social Club has one beer - usually from Thu to Sun.

Long time GBG regular, the Peel Park in Accrington has been put up for sale with a £575k price tag.

The Forts Arms at Clayton -Le-Moors has been voted the Hyndburn area POTY and Sydney Street has been voted the COTY.

Pendle

Rossendale based brewer Northern Whisper have now opened (25/7/19) their new bar situated in what was the former NatWest bank in Colne. Both real ales and keykeg beers are available together with burgers and hotdogs. Both beer and food are competitively priced.

The White Swan in Fence have been claiming on social media that they are the only outlet for Taylor's Landlord in Burnley. The pub is actually in Pendle!

Ribble Valley

The White Bull in Ribchester has reopened after being closed for about 2 years! Meanwhile the Feilden's Arms at Mellor has closed and the Bonny Inn has its lease for sale at £150k with rent of £65k pa and full tie to Thwaites. The Judge Walmsley at Billington closed unexpectedly (due to a disagreement over the lease according to the LT).

The Swan With Two Necks at Pendleton (the East Lancs CAMRA Pub of the Year) will be presented with the Lancashire POTY award on Saturday 17/8/19 at 2.30. Well done to Steve, Christine and all the team once again!

The Waddington Club has been voted the Ribble Valley area COTY.

Thwaites have launched their revised core range of six beer which are all brewed at the new brewery at Mellor Brook in the Ribble Valley (five miles or so from their former home in Blackburn) which commenced brewing in August, 2018. These five brews plus TBC (Thwaites Best Cask) @ 3.8% abv, which usually appears as a "house beer", are now available all-year-round exclusively in the company's pubs, Inns of Character and hotels and lodges. Additionally, throughout the year those outlets selling sufficient cask volume are able to sell eight seasonal real ales from Thwaites plus, on average, two guest ales per month from breweries selected by Thwaites. Of the core beers, three new names appear : IPA @4% abv, Gold @ 4.1% abv and Amber @ 4.4% abv. Original @ 3.6% abv is the only retained name from the previous range. The previous dark mild was named Nutty Black and is replaced by MIld @ 3.3% abv.

Rossendale

Casked in Rawtenstall are expanding into next door. Will it then be a midi rather than a micro pub?? During the building works they have set up a "pop up bar" on Bank Street. Three Valleys Brewery (formerly Bare Art) have opened a "nano" bar on Rawtenstall market which is open Thu -Sun 9am - 10pm with 3 cask ales and a selection of bottle conditioned ales. The Bare Art pub in Stacksteads is open every Friday between 17.00 and 21.45,. They are introducing a series of Sunday music events starting on Aug 4th at 3pm. They sell a great range of bottle conditioned beers.

A cuckoo brewery has hatched in Whitworth. The Strata Brewing Co is being run by one of the guys from Rammy Craft which closed last year. The Whitworth Vale and Healey Band Club (our East Lancs Club of the Year) has progressed straight through to the last sixteen of CAMRA's national COTY competition!

Beyond Whitworth!

Stonegate have agreed, subject to shareholder approval, to buy the Ei Group (formerly Enterprise Inns) for a staggering £1.27bn. Let's hope the new owners treat the long suffering tenants a great deal better.

APRIL 2019

Blackburn with Darwen

Burnley

The Dugdale Arms in Burnley has now closed and contrary to what we were told, the pub has been put up for sale by Thwaites without a restrictive covenant.

Hyndburn

The Old England Forever in Clayton-Le - Moors has reopened under the ownership of Bolton's Bank Top Brewery. Dave Sweeney of Bank Top welcomed everyone on opening night and there were six handpumped ales (5 Bank Top and a guest from Prospect) together with three boxed ciders.

A recent recce of Baxenden revealed that the Dog & Partridge has Theakson Best Bitter on permanently together with 3 guest beers, the Alma was serving Wainwright's whilst the Thwaites owned Bay Horse had no real ale.

Pendle

The Four Alls at Higham has eventually been saved from the self destruction caused by Enterprise Inns and has been bought as a free house and is once again being run by Michael Bann who successfully ran it under lease a few years ago when it gained entry into the Good Beer Guide and had an excellent reputation for its food. The locals are flocking back and food should be available once again by the end of April. Good Luck for a fresh start!

The Station Hotel in Nelson has undergone a £150k refurb by its owners,Hawthorn Leisure. Two real ales - Wainwright's and Marston's Pedigree - have been available but the increase in prices across the board has not gone down well with the regulars. Stuart Kirkpatrick, manager of the nearby Lord Nelson, the pub after which the town is named, has taken over responsibility for both town centre venues.

Rossendale based brewery, Northern Whisper, have applied to convert the former NatWest bank in Colne into a pub.

Ribble Valley

Rossendale

The Duke of Wellington on the Grane Road coming out of Helmshore / Haslingden has suddenly closed and has been boarded up and put up for sale. It was trading as a Toby Carvery.

Mike and Amanda Jones, fresh from receiving their award as Rossendale CAMRA Pub of the Year, are planning on doubling the size of their Casked micro-pub in Rawtenstall by extending into next door.

Beyond Whitworth!

Carlsberg have finally admitted (in their advertising blurb) that their bog standard offering here in the UK is probably NOT the best lager in the world! They have gone with a new recipe and a new name - Carlsberg Pilsner - but it's still only 3.8% and we suspect that it is not matured (lagered) for six weeks either!

MARCH 2019

Blackburn with Darwen

The Blackamoor on Roman Road, Blackburn has suddenly closed and has reportedly been put up for sale by Thwaites. They claim to have other pubs in the area so will they sell it with a restrictive covenant preventing its future use as a pub or restaurant?

The Adelphi, near Blackburn railway station, has been closed for a few months. Owners, Admiral Taverns, are reportedly looking for new tenants. Given that some experienced tenants have tried and given up in the past, why don't Admiral try a different approach and give prospective tenants a fair chance? Or is it because the PubCo / Tenant model just doesn't work anymore?

The Greenfield in Darwen has opened an upstairs restaurant under the stewardship of owners Louise Hargreaves and her partner Barry Bentley, together with Louise's mum Angela. Louise and Angela used to be in charge of food at the Red Lion on Blacksnape Road. There are always a selection of real ales on in the downstairs bar.

Burnley

The Brun Lea on Manchester Road has been included in a list of 16 Wetherspoon pubs put up for sale. Remarkably, also on that list is the Isaac Merritt in Paignton ,Devon which regularly appeared in the GBG and hosted South Devon CAMRA meetings.

Reedley Hallows Brewery have been awarded the silver medal in the International Cask Ale category for beers between 2.9% & 3.8% at the International Brewing Awards held at Burton on Trent for their Old Laund Bitter.

Hyndburn

The White Orchid Boutique Bar has opened on Market Square in the centre of Accrington with two real ales, both from the Marston's stable - Wainwright and Bombardier.

Pendle

Ribble Valley

The Bowland Beer Hall in Clitheroe has won the Best Independent Rural Craft Beer Pub / Bar award at the SIBA Beer XUK held in Liverpool.

Thwaites won the gold medal for their 13 Guns in the 4.9% to 6.9% category at the International Brewing Awards. This is their first award since moving the brewery to Mellor. Keg and canned versions of 13 Guns are still produced by Marston's.

Rossendale

The Duke of Wellington on the Grane Road out of Helmshore has suddenly closed and has been boarded up.

Beyond Whitworth!

Carlsberg (Bless 'em) have revamped their bog standard 3.8% lager and called it Carlsberg Pilsner. Whilst Carlsberg Export at 4.8% is basically the same as that served in Denmark, Carlsberg Lager was brewed specifically for blokes who want to pour as much tasteless fizz down their neck in the shortest possible time here in the UK. Carlsberg felt that they had lost their way in recent years and have bravely aimed at the "Premium" market with their Pilsner which has had secret hops added to at least give it some taste whilst remaining at 3.8%. Meanwhile Foster's have added the word craft to their cans, Carling are advertising the Britishness of their product made in Burton on Trent and AB Inbev have changed their name to Budweiser Brewing Group in the UK and Ireland. Don't panic it's all the same tasteless liquid!

FEBRUARY 2019

Blackburn with Darwen

The Cabin End at Knuzden has reportedly been put up for sale.

Burnley

Moorhouse's have launched a new core beer to their range - Scaredy Cat, a 4.3% session IPA complete with Mosaic and Amarillo hops to give citrus orange and pineapple flavours with tropical mango on the nose. Their latest seasonal ale, available from February through March is Sabbath Flight, a 5% American Pale Ale.

Stef and Laura, who have successfully run the Hare & Hounds at Padiham for several years are leaving to take over a new challenge at the Hare & Hounds at Haggate - we wish them well!

The Ministry of Ale, Burnley's only home brew pub, has been put up for sale at £180k as Mick is retiring.

Hyndburn

The White Bull, Oswaldtwistle has reopened after several months closure and following a £40k refurb by Thwaites.

Pendle

There's a Reedley Hallows brewery meet the brewer night at the Bay Horse, Roughlee on Thursday 28th Feb at 7.30.

Ribble Valley

The Swan With Two Necks, Pendleton has been voted the East Lancs CAMRA Pub of the Year 2019.

Rossendale

Great news for the real ale drinkers of Haslingden as the Room D at the top of Deardengate which formerly operated as a wine bar & bistro is now selling two real ales - either White or Blonde Witch from Moorhouse's together with a changing guest ale. Don Hinchcliffe, formerly of the Greyhound, Barnoldswick and Early Doors micro pub in Skipton, is behind the change in emphasis. Opening times and food menus are available online at www.roomdeardengate.co.uk

The Whitworth Vale & Healey Band Club has been judged to be the East Lancs CAMRA Club of the Year for 2019!

Beyond Whitworth!

JANUARY 2019

Blackburn with Darwen

The Lemon Tree micro-pub has closed but has been replaced by The Rock Bar situated next door to the Drummers (opposite the Blackburn Town Hall) with common owners.

In Darwen the Caskbar has moved from within Darwen market (where opening times were limited) to Duckworth Street where four real ales and a cider are available. Nearby the Bird in t'hand has opened in a former wine shop dispensing four real ales and two ciders together with Belgian and other bottled beers. The building was a pub a hundred years ago which is where the name comes from. The Greenfield has six handpumps, one of which is now serving a house beer brewed by Coach House Brewery of Warrington.

Burnley

The Royal Dyche, formerly the Princess Royal and now named after the Burnley FC manager, has been bought by Justine Lorriman from the previous owner for whom she had run the pub for five years. Two Bowland beers are usually on tap.

Hyndburn

Pendle

The 15th annual Pendle Beer Festival will once again be held at Colne Muni from Thursday 31st January to Saturday 2nd February. Opening times for all days are 11.30 to 23.00 (please note early start on Thursday) with free entry to CAMRA members at all sessions. There will be 120 real ales, ciders, bottled beers and key keg beers.

The 12 Bar in Colne has closed and is reported to become a Thai restaurant.

The Moorcock Inn at Blacko has applied for planning permission for change of use.

Ribble Valley

Rossendale

The Buffer Stops, on Rawtenstall railway station has new opening hours of - Mon-Tue 12-9; Wed 12-10; Thu-Fri 11-11; Sat 11-10; Sun 11-10. They are now offering CAMRA discount of 20p a pint and 10p a half. Northern Whisper beers are available throughout January at just £1.50 a pint!

The Casked micropub in Rawtenstall is closed until Wednesday 23rd January whilst owners Mike & Amanda take a well earned holiday after a hectic first year trading. On Thursday 24th January there is a Tap Takeover / Meet the Brewer event from 7pm with Nightjar (formerly Slightly Foxed) Brewery of Mytholmroyd.

Beyond Whitworth!

The Manchester Beer & Cider Festival runs from January 23rd to 26th 2019 at Manchester Central (GMex). The Wednesday session between 17.00 and 21.00 is a preview event for CAMRA members with free admission. There will be 218 breweries represented with ones from Ireland featuring (no, not that big one!!). Only two of our East Lancs breweries, Brewsmith and Moorhouse's, are on the list.

Former national brewer Whitbread have completed the sale of Costa Coffee to Coca Cola for £3bn - paid in cash! Whitbread are now left to concentrate on their Premier Inn business together with their associated pubs such as Beefeater and Brewers Fayre.

Fuller's, the London brewer, have sold their brewery business to Japanese brewer Asahi, who also own Peroni and Grolsch. Fuller's will concentrate on their pub business. Fuller's also own Dark Star brewery in Sussex and they are included in the deal.

NOVEMBER 2018

Blackburn with Darwen

The Golden Cup in Darwen have been holding a competition to name their house beer (assumed to be Thwaites TBC) and from a shortlist of Golden Chalice, Cup of Gold and Cupped Up, the winner was Cupped Up. Demolition work is expected to commence soon on the former Thwaites brewery in the centre of Blackburn - including the iconic tower dating back to the mid sixties.

Burnley

Worsthorne Brewery have opened up a brewery tap in central Burnley. The Tap at No.1 on the corner of Hargreaves Street and Ormerod Street is serving 4 Worsthorne brewed beers plus two guests (one of which was Masterpiece 5.6% from Heritage Brewing on opening night - this is the cask version of Worthington White Shield!).

The Tap at No.1 Stan Ternent officially opens The Tap at No.1

The official opening ceremony was on Friday 9th November and the opening was performed by former Burnley FC Manager Stan Ternent.

Hyndburn

The Canine WMC in Accrington has reached the last four of CAMRA's Club of the Year (COTY) awards! The club was voted Hyndburn, then East Lancashire, then Lancashire and then West Pennine COTY, which meant that it was in the last sixteen of this annual national CAMRA competition. The winning club should be announced early in the new year. Good luck to the Canine!

In the Thwaites Brewery Hospitality Awards, the Grey Mare at Belthorn won both the Pub of the Year and the Best Investment Award whilst the Black Dog at Oswaldtwistle won the award for Best Business Builder

Pendle

Ribble Valley

Thwaites have confirmed that Original is now only brewed at Mellor Brook. As regards packaged beers, Marston's are still brewing 13 Guns under licence. The plan is for a core range of four cask beers to be launched into the company's estate in due course. These will be Original, an IPA, a golden ale and a dark beer (mild). The LocAle section of this website has now been updated to list the pubs serving Original now locally brewed once again. Ann Yerburgh, Chairman of Thwaites for the last 18 years, has announced that she is stepping down at the end of March 2019. She will be replaced by Chief Executive Rick Bailey.

Bowland Brewery in Clitheroe currently have two seasonal beers - Bumble at 4% is a lightly hopped bonde ale with the addition of honey, whilst Rugger at 4.2% is another golden ale for the autumn rugby internationals. Also Deer Stalker is a dark, rich stout at 4.5% and should be available throughout the winter months. A new beer, Mullered Monk, infused with Benedictine is currently in preparation!

The former Myerscough Arms on the A59 opposite Samlesbury Aerodrome is to be demolished. This former Robinson's pub featured in the GBG many years ago. Meanwhile next door the former Boddington Arms is now a JW Lees house and naturally it had to change its name and is now the Bluebird.

Rossendale

The Cotton House in Helmshore (formerly the Bridge End pub but now a restaurant) is now serving a real ale - usually locally brewed.

Northern Whisper Brewery have introduced Rum Bugger, a rum & raisin winter ale served from the wood at 5% - it should be available in December.

Beyond Whitworth!

Timothy Taylor, the Keighley based brewery are now advertising on the London underground! They are also promising that their delicious Poulter's Porter will be available throughout December.

Mitchells's PubCo based in Lancaster who own the York Brewery have gone into administration. It isn't everyday that CAMRA welcomes a brewery takeover but the York Brewery and four of its pubs have been bought by Black Sheep Brewery of Masham and around 40 jobs have been saved! The four pubs are the Last Drop, the Tap Room, the Three Lagged Mare (all in York) and Mr Foley's Tap House in Leeds.

OCTOBER 2018

Blackburn with Darwen

Good Beer Guide regular the Royal at Tockholes has been put up for sale - let's hope that any new owners have sympathy for the real ale cause.

Burnley

The Cross Keys on St James's Street in Burnley has reopened with two real ales on tap. Young's Special seems to be a regular. There a few pictures of Massey's Brewery on the walls.

On Hargreaves Street there are two new real ale outlets! The Bees Knees (formerly Pharaoh's) has three pumps which were dispensing Wainwright and Hobgoblin with two Moorhouse beers due on soon.

The Bees Knees, Hargreaves Street, Burnley

Directly across the road in the old GPO building Carnivoro has opened. At the rear it's an upmarket Brazilian style steakhouse. At the front it's a cafe style bar with no fewer than four pumps serving beers from JW Lees - Bitter, Founders, Gold and a beer badged up in the name of Sean Dyche, the Burnley FC manager - given its strength it was assumed to be MPA.

Hyndburn

The Old England Forever in Clayton-Le-Moors had been put up for sale and it was feared that yet another pub would close. However, Bank Top Brewery of Bolton have bought it and if it turns out as good as their other two pubs, in Bolton and Horwich, then it should be a huge success and asset for the local community. The Walton Arms at Altham has been given the best refurbishment award for pubs within the JW Lees estate of pubs.

Pendle

The White Swan at Fence, Timothy Taylor's only tied house in Lancashire, has recently been given a Michelin star. Chef Tom Parker, who appeared on last year's Great British Menu, serves top quality food food together with up to four Taylor's real ales - always including Landlord, Boltmaker and Golden Best.

Ribble Valley

Well known beer writer Jeff Evans is reporting on his website www.insidebeer.com that Thwaites are once again brewing their Original Bitter at their new brewery at Mellor. Original has been brewed by Marston's at their Banks's Brewery in Wolverhampton for several years. We all look forward to tasting the beer now that it's back being brewed here in East Lancs.

Rossendale

The Griffin at Haslingden together with the downstairs Rossendale Brewery has been put up for sale together with its sister pub, the Sportsman in Hyde. Also on the market is the Red Lion at Crawshawbooth.

Beyond Whitworth!

Nicky Reid, former player with Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers (for whom he played between 1987 & 1992) took over the Masons Arms in Harpers Lane, Chorley in the middle of 2017. Always an enthusiast of real ale, Nicky, in conjunction with Joe Coulson of Leyland Home Brew, has produced Mason's Pale Ale on a small micro-brewery at the pub.