Thursday, 14 April 2016

Does your town centre retain a real ale trail?

My beery ramblings are usually in a positive and upbeat mode. And here I wish to highlight a town that continues to provide real ale aficionado's, with a tip-top selection of cask ale friendly destinations.

Padiham in East Lancashire is the town in the beery spotlight. A small town with a population of approximately 10,000 souls.
A town despite losing over half its pubs and clubs in recent years, still maintains a fine, meandering, real ale trail, to satisfy the most discerning beer quaffer.

On a recent sinuous trek, I identified a quality quintet of real ale drinking dens. Four pubs and one club. A fab five to recommend and enjoy, on a beery jaunt through the town.

My ideal starting point for the tour, was the Flying Dutchman, in the centre of town.
I called in on Good Friday. And the pub was well populated. No surprise really. As it was celebrating its re-opening, after being closed for three months. An enforced closure. A victim of the recent floods.

A Thwaites hostelry, that always has two fine cask ales from their Signature range, brewed at the Crafty Dan microbrewery in Blackburn. I plumped for the Four Leaf on my visit. A delicious, strong ale at 4.5%. Biscuity malt flavour was dominant. Moderate hop bitterness and subtle spice finish - a belter.

A two or three minute stroll leads you to the award-winning club, Molly Rigby's.
It was the usual friendly welcome from the host, Tommy Large - and the colourful characters, propping up the bar.

Four cask ales on offer. Three rotating and one permanent 'house ale', brewed by Burnley Brewer, Worsthorne.

I sampled the 'Thick Neck Bitter'(house ale) at just £2 a pint. 

The name 'thick neck' dates back to the Industrial Revolution. A time when there was a lack of idoine in the River Calder's drinking water - and it resulted in a thick neck.( Padiham thick necks).

The ale was in good neck, sorry, good nick. An easy drinking, malty ale. A tad spicy, with some fruity notes(peachy). I suspected it was the Worsthorne,Packhorse. Tommy said: "It's very popular. Demand for cask ales has grown rapidly here in recent years."

A few short steps, even for me, and you arrive at Katy Kelly's. Formerly the Kings Arms.
It had been a metal-shuttered eyesore on the town's main thoroughfare, for some years. Thankfully, re-opened last year, and serving four rotating cask ales. 

The attraction for me here, is that owner, John Duignan, always has a beer from the Rochdale brewer, Pictish. Their ales have the 'wow' factor, no argument. They are such a rarity in the East Lancs. Always in good condition and not to be missed - as are the other local rotating beers, that affable Irishman John, has on his bar.

Next port of call on the trail, was the Free Gardeners Arms.
Now, to be quite candid, the ale here had been somewhat inconsistent in recent months. However, a recent change in management had created lots of positive feedback. Well, the new hosts certainly appeared to have redressed the beery balance.

Four cask ales on offer. Including the award-winning, Worsthorne Old Trout. It was a no-brainer! A chestnut red ale in presentation. Malty rich and fruity(dark berries). A smooth and full flavoured delight at 4.5% - and in exceptional condition. I'll be back soon!

The tasty tipple tour, terminated at one of East Lancashire's premier cask ale friendly destinations. Namely, the award-winning, Hare and Hounds.

Six rotating cask ales on offer. Always kept in exceptional condition, by master cellar man and brilliant beer-keeper, Stef Riley.

Warm welcome and friendly abuse guaranteed, at this popular, wet-led hostelry. 

It was a perfect conclusion to my meandering tour of the 'Padiham Real Ale Trail'.

Sent from my iPad

Sent from my iPad