When I first started drinking beer, some thirty odd years ago, to say choice was limited, was an understatement. Two kegs on the bar, may be three if you were lucky. Hell, some of those beers were, how polite can I put this. Err...not up to expectations! Brew(spew)Ten, Double Dia(dire)mond and Worthington (pee)E. And how can we forget, Watney's Red(dead) Barrel. 'Roll out the barrel, let's drink the barrel today', went the TV advert. Bloody hell, how did we ever manage to 'drink the barrel'!
Thankfully, times have changed and we now have wonderful and many cask ales to choose from. Who would have thought, even ten years ago that the UK would have around a thousand breweries.
We still have of course, the brewers that saw us through the bad times, Hydes, Joey Holt's, Timothy Taylor's, Adnams, Robinson's,Everards,Thwaites and JW Lees, to mention just a few.We will never forget the contribution they made during those dark days.
But now we see micro-breweries 'popping up' everywhere. And they are serving up delicious beers with a wide range of wonderful flavours and varying strengths.
One such micro, is Cross Bay Brewery, based in Morecambe Lancs.They have been in existence less than twelve months and already have built up an excellent reputation.Their beers are so consistent and of a high quality.
Another one that springs to mind, is Ilkley Brewery in West Yorkshire. Again, all the beers they produce are top notch, and they recently won the best beer award for their 'Mary Jane' at the recent Pendle Beer Festival.Not bad,topping the list, out of 180 beers.
Even over the last few months in my area, on the Lancs/Yorks border, I have witnessed quite a few micro's springing up, offering us a great selection of cask ales.
Barlick Brewery is a small micro, run from the rear of the Greyhound pub in Barnoldswick. A pub saved from closure by real ale enthusiasts, who bought the pub! What a success story that is.
Two more of my favourites are Keighley brewer, Naylor's.Their Pinnacle Blonde Ale is a classic pale. Again, they offer a wide choice of superb beers.
And finally, to a brand new one in Burnley. The Reedley Hallows Brewing Co. has quickly carved out an excellent reputation, and their first two brews 'Old Laund Bitter' and 'Filly Close Blonde' has been 'flying out' all over the north. Mind you, the founder and brewer, Peter Gouldsborough has won awards for his brews, both at Moorhouse's and Cross Bay breweries. And you will have no doubt, supped many of em!
Ah, pay homage to the micro's, the many micro's we have here up north and beyond..... Long live the micro's.