Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Tour of West Lancs pubs

Southport and District CAMRA covers most of West Lancs as well as Southport and Formby.  The problem is that most of the West Lancs pubs are difficult and, in a couple of cases, impossible to reach by public transport.  So we occasionally take a coach out to visit them, enjoy their beers and - to ensure they are not disadvantaged - score them for the Good Beer Guide.  This is what we did last Sunday.  I didn't try all the beers, for obvious reasons, but I enjoyed all those I did have.  Not a bad pint, or one I disliked, all day.

1.  The Kings Arms, Haskayne:  this pub is close, but not next, to the Leeds-Liverpool canal.  It has some nice woodwork and attractive fireplaces, one with a real fire when we were there.  It is slightly run down but is due to refurbished soon.  At one time this pub sold only Tetley's, but on our visit was serving:
  • Black Hole Brewery - Asteroid Ale.
  • Beartown - Kodiak Gold.
  • Bank Top - Sweeney's.
2.  The Ship Inn is a canal side pub just a short walk away from the King's.  It's a very picturesque, multi-roomed pub with canal side seating (but with no fence by the canal, keep an eye on children and over-merry adults).  It has live music each week:  on Wednesdays the Britannia Bluegrass Band plays and on Thursdays and Fridays there are open mike nights.  It also does food, and a real fire was lit.  The beers were:
  • Holts - Bitter.
  • Rudgate - Jorvik Blonde.
  • Phoenix - Pale Moonlight.
3.  The Royal Oak, Aughton:  an attractive pub on the A59, it serves food and has an open mike night each Tuesday, and, I'm told, live bands on Saturdays.  A real fire was burning while we were there.  The beers were: 
  • Tetley - Bitter
  • Great Orme Brewery - Cambria.
The Cambria had just gone on and had a slight haze, so they told us it wasn't ready yet; apparently Hobgoblin had only just run out.  With our choice limited to Tetley's, we tried the Cambria and despite the haze it was fine. 

4.  The Dog & Gun, Aughton:  another attractive pub close to Aughton Park railway station with two separate rooms and a real fire.  The beers were from the Marstons stable and included:
  • Ringwood - Boondoggle.
  • Jennings - Bitter.
  • Marstons - Pedigree.
  • Banks - Bitter.
The Boondoggle proved most popular in our group.  It's a pity to see the cask mild had disappeared, but I gathered on a previous visit that it wasn't selling enough.

5.  The Stanley Arms, Aughton:  another attractive and very busy pub, the Stanley had the greatest beer range of the pubs we visited.  It was doing excellent business with meals - I had to jump out of the way of busy waitresses running past with plates of food.  The beer range was good too:
  • Tetley - Bitter.
  • Tetley - Mild.
  • Timothy Taylor - Landlord.
  • Salopian - Oracle.
  • Adnams - Spiced Winter Beer.
  • Marstons - Pedigree.
6.  The Derby Arms, Aughton:  this is a popular pub in the middle of fields, and has been the CAMRA branch Pub of the Year in the past.  As well as food, they also have live music: a busy singaround on Wednesdays and some kind of gypsy jazz night on the first Monday of the month.  There was also a real fire burning.  The beers included:
  • Haworth Steam Brewing Company - Naughty Blonde.
  • Tetley - Bitter.
  • Tetley - Mild.
  • Redemption - Big Chief.
  • Frodsham - Sledgin'.
A few years ago, you wouldn't have got this range of beers in the West Lancs pubs, and it's good to see how the situation has improved.  There are problems with the country pubs, however:  as previously reported, the Blue Bell in Barton (close to the Kings and the Ship) has closed permanently, and I've heard that the Scarisbrick in Downholland is to be closed and converted into a high class restaurant.

If I had to pick one beer, it would probably be the Haworth Steam Brewing Company Naughty Blonde, but all were good.  Anyone thinking of visiting our country pubs has a good selection of pubs and beers to choose from, as well as choices of food and live music.


  1. A great write-up and well done for remembering/jotting down all the beers!

    The Dog & Gun is my local, shame it's a tied pub as some of the other ales in local pubs sounded awesome.

    The transport thing is an issue,I'd love to drink at the Derby Arms but don't really want to add taxi fares their & back to my night out! :(

  2. Good stuff... I've made it to the Ship Inn a couple of times, and it's lovely in the summer.

  3. I thought that the Gypsy Jazz evening at the Derby Arms was on the third Monday of the month?

  4. I'll have to check, and when I find out, it will appear on my events page.


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