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
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The Lemon Tree micro-pub has closed but has been replaced by The Rock Bar situated next door to the Drummers (opposite the Blackburn Town Hall) with common owners.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.
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.
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 Moorcock Inn at Blacko has applied for planning permission for change of use.
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.
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.
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.
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 official opening ceremony was on Friday 9th November and the opening was performed by former Burnley FC Manager Stan Ternent.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.