Sunday, 26 June 2011

Our local beer

Paul Bardsley of Southport Brewery with a pint of Golden Sands
Over the last couple of days, I've been drinking our local Southport beers.  Breweries often have a house style, and brew their different beers within that style - Phoenix Brewery of Heywood is a good example.  The Southport beers tend to be golden in colour, dry and hoppy.  Golden Sands (4.0%) was the Champion Best Bitter at the Great British Beer Festival in 2009 and Sandgrounder (3.8%) has recently been on sale in Parliament.  On Friday I was drinking the Sandgrounder, although I don't tend to go for beers under 4%, and last night I finished the day of with a couple of pints of Natterjack (4.3%).

During yesterday afternoon, some of us from the local CAMRA branch took a group from the Chester branch around several of our good pubs:  the Baron's Bar, the Guest House, The Windmill, the Lakeside Inn (our pub of the year) and the Mason's.  The last was serving Robinson's Dizzy Blonde, which I prefer to the bitter, Unicorn; the pub is also very convenient for the station.  What surprised me during the chat was hearing some of our branch telling our guests that the only place you can get Southport beers regularly was the Baron's Bar.  I did of course put them right, as the Guest House usually has them on too, even though it is a tied house unlike the Baron's, and has frequently sold them ever since the brewery was launched in 2004.  I'd expect local CAMRA members to know better, but there you go.

The Southport press gets in a tizzy every so often, and did so again recently, because most local pubs can't put on the locally brewed beers owing to PubCo restrictions.  MPs can have our local award-winning Southport beers, the argument went recently, but not drinkers in Southport itself.  May I respectfully suggest to our local papers that the next time they decide to run that that story, they phone up a few of the PubCos concerned and ask them why not?  Spend half an hour or so on a little bit of investigative journalism?  Tell them that Southport beers usually sell well wherever they are put on, then print their excuses?  It might make interesting reading.  Besides, I really do doubt the PubCos subscribe to our local papers, so they won't actually see you fulminating against them.

While I'm waiting for pigs to fly, I'll just remind myself that we do have some very good beers brewed locally.  I think the Natterjack is my favourite, but they're all good.

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