The Baron's Bar in the Scarisbrick Hotel is currently holding a beer festival on the theme of English versus Scottish beers. I was there last night for the opening night and listended to Patsy from the excellent Wigan micro-brewery Prospect talking about her brewery and how she went from being involved in nursery education to brewing. The beers are not all on at once (not enough handpumps), but even so I was surprised that there wasn't even one Prospect beer on, in view of Patsy being there, and the fact that there are several Prospect beers lined up for later in the festival.
Among the beers that were on, I had Harviestoun Hoptoberfest, a light-coloured 4% beer that I found very pleasant. I also had a Brentwood Hope & Glory, a beer that was malty but not especially sweet that I couldn't take to. The best beer I tried was undoubtedly Orkney Dark Island, a fine dark beer that I stuck with all night, to the surprise of my drinking companion who is used to see me drinking paler beers. I noticed there were three real ciders on, although I didn't try any on this occasion, as I'm not keen on mixing cider with beer.
This festival runs until Monday 12 October. If you have any outdated illusions about Scottish beers being thin, sweet and malty, come along and be prepared for a pleasant surprise.