The Crown at Worthington is an award-winning pub about 20 miles from Southport. It has just come second in the CAMRA National Pub of the Year for 2009, losing out to second time winner, the Kelham Island Tavern of Sheffield. It has also won various awards from the Wigan CAMRA branch. It is the brewery tap for the excellent Prospect Brewery that I have written about previously.
I think we can therefore safely assume they know something about beer, so it's with interest that I learned that they are putting on a "FemALE Real Ale Festival" from today. They say: "Beer isn't just for Blokes, or by Blokes! We want to explode the myth that beer, beards, and beer goggles are the only connection. We’re the brewery tap for Patsy, owner and award winning brewers of Prospect in Standish. She’s promised us a barrel of the new “120” - a tribute to the late Beth Slevin."
I suppose calling the stereotype of the real ale drinker a myth is good, and a way of grabbing people's attention, but I do wonder whether there is any such thing as a female drinker. At the Wigan Beer Festival last weekend, there were plenty of women who preferred darker beers and stouts. They didn't all just want light beers with hints of lemon or other fruits, although such beers are perhaps a way in for people who are used to lager but who are prepared to try something different, but that applies to men as well as women. We are long past the age of the glass of sweet sherry "for the ladies", and I can remember my grandmother enjoying the occasional bottle of milk stout, as did many older women in those days, so women drinking beer is hardly new. Beer's macho image should really be old hat by now, but it lingers on anyway.
Irrespective of these musings, all credit to the Crown for trying something a bit different from putting on a festival that simply goes down the laddish route. I just hope it doesn't have the effect of reinforcing new preconceptions about the female drinker - to help you form your own view about that, you can peruse the beer list here, which looks quite extensive. The festival runs to Sunday 14 March.
Platt Lane, Worthington, Standish, WN1 2XF.