County Stat Attack Week 39 - Lancashire

I have been to Lancashire a few times over the years, mostly to Fleetwood for their wonderful Beer Festival in the lovely Marine Hall setting, but I have done a few pubs as well. I have been to a couple of the Booth’s Supermarkets and they are pretty decent, it has to be said, a few other Supermarkets could up their game by looking at these.

Sporting wise I have been to a few of the grounds in the county, Blackpool was always a decent day out, we used to make a weekend of it when we could, Burnley was a tricky day, Blackburn and Preston were just in and out. The Pennine way just touches the county in quite a boggy and wet area, I seem to have only visited the Helwith Bridge Inn during this section, probably a few head down and just get on with it days.

So I am second in the county with 298 beers, that will be down to all the visits to Fleetwood Beer Festival, it also means I am in first place for the number of Breweries with 50. Lancashire is 22nd in my list of counties but unfortunately only averages a dour 3.09.

The Breweries I have had most beers from are –

  1. Thwaites Brewery – 48
  2. Moorhouse’s Brewery – 31
  3. Bowland Brewery – 15
  4. Lytham Brewery – 15
  5. Lancaster Brewery (UK) – 13

I have given a score of 4 or over to just 6 beers from Lancashire, they are –

  1. Lytham I.P.A – 4.4
  2. Three B’s Doff Cocker – 4.2
  3. Booths Pour with Care – 4.2
  4. Thwaites Old Dan (Bottle) – 4.2
  5. Burscough Sutlers IPA – 4.2
  6. Thwaites Little Bewdy – 4

The Lancashire breweries with the highest averages for me are –

  1. Hopstar Brewery – 3.375
  2. Brewsmith Beer – 3.36
  3. Burscough Brewing – 3.34
    The rest are nowhere

I have reviewed 10 places in Lancashire, way down in 34th place. The best are –

  1. New Inn, Clitheroe – 74
  2. Royal Oak Hotel, Fleetwood – 72
  3. Booths Supermarkets – 72

No current plans to visit the county unless if by some magic the Fleetwood Beer Festival re appears in February we will be there.

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Thanks as always Glen for the great write up.

It’s another county that I’ve passed through many times without stopping, as the heady delights of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales have tempted me further north.

Beerwise, Lancashire is pretty mid-table for me with 33 particularly cask-orientated rates, leaving me a little way outside the top 50 as usual.

My top Lancastrian beers are:

I’ve tried beers from 9 different breweries (no cideries as yet) - unusually all of them are still going. I’ve had most beers from Moorhouses (12) and Thwaites (8).

I’ve not rated any places here yet.

The highest point in the county is Gragareth at 628m, on the border with Yorkshire a little way east of Kirkby Lonsdale. Although it’s a little outdone by the nearby Yorkshire Three Peaks, it’s still a lovely airy, grassy ridge with great views and terrifying shakeholes. We climbed it from the Yorkshire side which gave the added benefit of a visit to Yordas Cave - a former showcave which is now free to enter (if you don’t mind the low entrance and bring a decent torch). It has an unusual “chapel room” with a spectacular waterfall inside it - well worth seeing (even if it is marginally outside Lancashire!).

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Just the 2 rates for me, and both from Rivington (who I’d like to sample more of) - can’t say I’m disappointed to be so low for the (enemy) red rose county! Looking at the yellow site, looks like I’ve tried just under 40 Lancastrian ales, several from Thwaites, Moorhouse & Bowland, then a bunch of others too - a fair handful from a cricket tour to Clitheroe, where a good time was spent in the beer hall and various other establishments (after a shocking game of cricket and some very dodgy golf). Can’t talk about Lancashire without referencing Blackpool - have been many times, but not often recently, and seem to recall it’s a bit poor for pubs these days (maybe it always was). Future visits? If you’re going that far, you may as well carry on and hit the Lakes, why would you stay in Lancashire when you have that option?! (Puts on tin hat in anticipation of a Lancy attack!).

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A whole unremarkable county for me - never visited, a mere 6 rates, one of which is apparently Stella Artois 4%.

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Have 18 Lancashire rates, my highest at 3.7 is Strata Drumlin (Maple Edition)

There are only 2 cideries listed for Lancashire, Dove Skye with 9 entries (which I’m not sure is going anymore) and Lancashire Cider with 4. Just have the1 cider rating from Lancashire Cider and a cider from the Lancaster Brewery.

The top 5 lists for Cider and Cidery ratings are:

LancashireCider Ratings

LancashireCideries

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Forgot to mention a Squash Tournament my good lady and I took part in once. It was in Blackpool at a plush (has Blackpool got plush) sports club.

As I was drying myself after a pretty humiliating defeat I noticed the changing rooms had loads of those distorting mirrors where you look fat/obese, weird or just a funny shape. On mentioning it in the bar afterwards I was informed they were just normal mirrors and I was actually fat/obese, weird and just a funny shape.

I’ve hated Blackpool ever since!

<*))))))><

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Ah Lancashire, and a current thread at last ! Lets split open a bottle of Lancashire beerr and start researching.

I’ve got a total of 10 rates of the county (including this current bottle !), from 8 different breweries. 2 each from Lancaster and Moorhouses and one from the others.

Highest ratings
Bowland Buster 4.1
Lancaster Black 3,7
Moorhouses Pendle Witches Brew 3.6

Looking at my own records now, I’ve drunk 78 Lancashire beers, from 24 breweries.

Most beers from

Moorhouses 20
Lancaster 10
Thwaites 10

Not rated any places in the county, though I have drunk there on numerous occasions. Particularly Preston and Lancaster (where I had a friend who worked at the University). However, the place I have fondest memory of is the excellent Bridge Bier Huis in Burnley.

Plenty of bus spotting trips to Lancashire as well, the jewel in the crown being Blackpool with (until recent years) the classic trams and enormous coach parks.

Not been to see any sporting events in the county

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I am a born and bred Lancastrian. My mother’s family has lived in and around Preston for nigh on a millennium, which may explain my adventurous disposition. I grew up in Blackpool and can proudly boast that I was once a Blackpool tram conductor (well, I wanted to see the world).
Despite this, the Lancashire beer scene seems underwhelming. Since joining Ratebeer, I have rated 20 ales and more than half of them have been at the “3.0–okay, but level.” I have very dim and distant memories of seeking out a Thwaites pub during my misspent youth because the beer was better, but generally it was not the main reason for going out. Blackpool’s sophisticated night-life at that time was signalled by the fact that the Central Pier bar had a separate serving point for “chip butties.” Nothing completes an evening quite like a long snog with a girl who has tempered her ten pints of lager and blackcurrant with four chip butties!
Despite the happy memories of families getting back on the tram and announcing that they have forgotten the name of their hotel but it is on the seafront and has brown curtains, I have not been back to Blackpool in decades, and judging by the beer, it is not competing for my attention. The Cross Bay and Lytham breweries are sometimes guest suppliers to nearby pubs but they also account for many 3.0s.
I used to enjoy walking in the Trough of Bowland or in the mysterious world known locally as Over Wyre. Taking the East Lancs Rd out of Preston brings you through football history not just Burnley and Blackburn but Accrington Stanley. And a trip to Deepdale is a must!
But again it has been a while since this native son was seen there.

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Superb!

Lancashire. Hmmmm. This is a hard one to write. I’ve been there multiple times, and enjoyed it but it’s failed to really stamp an impression on me. And I’ve only had a paltry 39 beers from the county, just shy of the top 50 leaderboard.

It’s an area where I know very few breweries as well. I’ve tried 12 (10 still active), with Thwaites (12), Lancaster (7), Kirkby Lonsdale (4) and Moorehouse’s (4) out in front. All decent outfits, but I have a special liking for Thwaites (although I almost never see their beers around here these days). Thwaites went through a period of producing a series of really top-notch (at least in my opinion) one-offs, and these dominate my top beers:

I’ve rated 12 places over three visits, two as a flying visit to Lancaster and one up to Darwen. Darwen was most recent and I while there isn’t a whole lot to do in the town it’s an exceptionally friendly place. If ever in Darwen for whatever reason I’d recommend Bird in th’hand which is one of those boozers with great trad beer and more modern breweries as well from the UK and beyond.

Top Lancashire pubs for me are:

The Snug in Carnforth is a great railway pub which I snuck in between my visit to the Barrow-in-Furness area of Cumbria and Lancaster.

Sorry this write up is a bit dull. I’d like to go back sometime and see more of this county.

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I was surprised when I looked at my stats that I had so many Lancashire beers. It one of a group that are close to 100 with 94 rates. None are over a 4 rate, but the top ones are:

Beer Rate
Chain House You Take Your Car To Work, I’ll Take My Board 3.8
Rivington Void Space Ratio 3.8
Moorhouse’s Black Cat Reserve 4.6% 3.6
Old School Absent 3.6
Rivington Move to the Country 3.6

My 94 rates are from 25 breweries. The most beers are from:

Brewery Beers
Moorhouses 15
Thwaites 14
3 Piers 9
Lancaster 9

Randomly my highest rated brewery is Farm Yard Ales with an average of 3.24

My only place rate is Booths Supermarket (Various Locations) with a score 78.

I have worked in Fleetwood and Blackpool but never went to a place worthy of rating, must have been working too hard. I did stay at a big old and dodgy hotel on the Blackpool seafront, I remember staying in a room with a that had a sock hanging from the chandelier.

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@Mr_Pink_152 if that hotel looks like a sand castle and is called ‘The Britannia’ it was my sock!

<*))))))><

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That’s it:

One work visit to Preston and a bar I’ve forgotten the name of.

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I’m still catching up, but thought I’d jump ahead to Lancashire, since I will be having a family holiday there from this Tuesday (28th) until the following Tuesday (4th January).
We are staying at Beacon Fell and wondered if local rater, @simontomlinson had any local information about particular local must visits.

Meanwhile, Lancashire is in my top half of counties (20th) and this was firstly to do with @allmyvinyl visiting his county of birth and bringing back armfuls of beer, and secondly having a lunch stopping place at the White Cross in Lancaster (it has been a particularly good location on our way back from Shrewsbury to Edinburgh).

My current ratings of 103 puts me 15th, but I am hoping to move up a place or two over the next week. My general feeling about Lancashire is similar to many others who have commented above. It is a county with a brewing tradition but which hasn’t really moved with the recent innovations in brewing. If I get a non-pub Lancashire beer, I expect it to be in a traditional style and in a 50cl bottle. I have had no Lancashire beers which I deemed a 4 or above, but my stop score of 3.9 goes to Strata Drumlin which appears to be out of production. I hope to get at least one 4 under my belt over the next week!

We had a lovely holiday in Hornby a few winters back and managed a few trips to Lancaster as well as a couple of trips to Kirkby Lonsdale pubs. I am really looking forward to the next week and exploring a different part of Lancashire.

Not a lot going on beer wise around Beacon Fell but great for walking & the outdoors.

Preston is the place to go for drinking with lots of excellent Craft Beer bars - Plug & Taps, Guild Ale House, Plau Bar & The Orchard - all close by each other in the city centre. The Moorbrook & Vinyl Tap are also excellent but a short walk towards the University area.

For the city centre traditional pubs, The Black Horse (Robinson’s) & The Bluebell (Sam Smith’s) are my go to. The Black Horse is a preserved listed building with 3 entrances on different streets & multiple small rooms with coal fires. It’s also one of a handful of their pubs that has Old Tom on cask all year round. The Bluebell is also a great boozer with some interesting clientele & probably one of the cheapest pubs in the centre.

There’s three decent brewery taps out of Preston. Farm Yard Ales (30 minutes from you) Beer Brothers (30 minutes) & the excellent Rivington (40 minutes) who also have a small camp site on the farm where the brewery is.

In Preston city centre a stone’s throw from the Guild Ale House & The Orchard is Priest Town Bottle Shop which is an excellent place to buy local & not local craft & traditional beers.

Hope this helps a little.

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That’s extremely comprehensive, Simon!

Thanks very much!

Will give you updates on my progress as I knock a few of these off.

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Forgot to mention the Bowland Beer Hall in Clitheroe, 20 minutes from you.
It was claimed to have the longest bar in Europe…
They have 30 ever changing cask & keg beers.
It’s also an excellent place to have meal.

Thanks for all of your suggestions. I didn’t make the most of these, unfortunately. A few contributory factors as follows.

  1. As you pointed out, Beacon Fell great for walking - not so great for finding new beers. As per other parts of Northern England, the country pubs were excellent, though generally it’d be the same offerings everywhere such as Bowland and Moorhouse staples. If we’d had a base in Preston that’d have been better for swinging by your Preston suggestions.
  2. Regarding the Preston suggestions, I was trying to find an excuse to drag the family there. It looks like none of these had a food offering. No problem for me visiting on my own, but didn’t work for bringing the family there (my wife is sometimes surprised to find that the eatery I’ve chosen also happens to be a brewery tap).
  3. We went to Formby to meet my wife’s sister and her family (they live in Birkenhead). I was planning to go the Beer Station after lunch - the weather was an horrific downpour and so I thought we’d swing by Priest Town beers in Preston on the way back. We got there a little after 4, and it was closed (this was Thursday) so drew a blank there, unfortunately.
  4. Bowland - we made it to Clitheroe and headed into the Bowland Brewery shop. At the time I’d thought this was quite gentile for a brewery tap, and no sign of advertised burgers (good family lunch fayre) though we did have a good lunch and I did try 2 Bowland beers as well as buying up a large box of beers from around the whole of England. So, anyway, I discovered when I was leaving that the Tap was next door, and we were in the shop/cafe area. I felt like a bit of an idiot I have to say.
  5. Our plan for the lunch on the way home was to go to the White Cross in Lancaster which is usually a great chance for Lancashire ticks, but because we had to get out of the holiday house earlier than we would’ve before lockdown measures came in a year or two ago, a lunch in Kendall was a better distance in practical terms.

So, overall, some bad luck and bad planning from my side of things (with possibly the bad weather contributing). In terms of beer rating opportunities, apart from the Bowland shop trip, I did manage to sample a few new things in Lytham at a place called ‘The Taps’. It’s a Greene King pub but has a much broader range than any other I’d been in previously, so I’ll be adding that to Ratebeer shortly.

So, @allmyvinyl has previously suggested a return trip to Preston on the train - not much over 2 hours, from Edinburgh, he reckoned.

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Well that sounds all a bit of a bummer.

Now if you’d said you were with family & wanted food that would have been a different story…

Not to worry, at least you have a few tips for next time you visit with your mate.

Although I’m amused you were in the building with the longest bar in UK (allegedly) & missed it - how did you miss 30 Taps! :grin::grin:

Thanks for the update, I was interested to hear how you got on.

It was still a pretty good holiday despite the constant rain. I just needed to plan better and engage my brain.

Re Bowland, I entered their shop/cafe from the car park and the brewery tap was next door. I noticed it at the end as the two places share a toilet. Seriously missed opportunity.

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