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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Driven to drink

Or more accurately, driving to drink. While working on the latest edition of Ale & Hearty, our local CAMRA magazine, I drove to several pubs that are normally out of my way in order to discuss advertising. For the record, I stayed within the legal limit.

The rear room in the Greyhound
The Greyhound, Aughton Street, Ormskirk, is a pub I haven't been into for a while. It has a snug to the left as you enter with two small rooms to the right and at the rear a larger room suitable for meals and the TV when sports events are on.  As you enter, there is a mosaic with the initials WC entwined, which I took to be Walker Cains, which would be right in this former Walker's house, but apparently they refer to a previous brewer whose name Joe the licensee couldn't remember. The pub is unspoilt, and I enjoyed a friendly half hour or so chatting to a couple of the regulars. The beers were: Pennine Real Blonde, Prospect Tiger Eye, Jennings Lakeland and Tetley Bitter. Joe says the real ales sell well, and the Pennine Blonde was very nice; what a pity I was in the car.

The Royal Oak is an attractive pub on Liverpool Road, Aughton, near Ormskirk. It was recently closed for refurbishment, which has brightened the place up considerably without spoiling it; it had needed it as it had been rather dingy before. Food is important here, as it is increasingly with our rural pubs, but the beers on sale were Dunscar Bridge Bombshell, Dunscar Bridge Rialto 47, George Wright Mark’s Mild and George Wright Cheeky Pheasant. I had the Mark’s Mild and found it very pleasant.

The Railway, Duke Street, Formby, is an attractive pub right next to the station. Food is an important part of the trade here, and their selection looks good, but it doesn’t get in the way of the main function of a pub, which is to have a drink: up to nine real ales are regularly served. When I called on a weekday, they were serving Thwaites Original, Itchen Valley Junga, Sunny Republic Huna Red, Liverpool Organic 24 Carat, Thwaites Original, and Downton Chocolate Orange Delight. They usually have nine on at weekends. They also have quiz nights, and they say families are welcome.

The Arion pub is a modern estate pub in Kenilworth Road, Ainsdale. It was closed down for a good while until just over a year ago, and our local CAMRA branch was concerned it might never open again. Fortunately it did, and it’s now an attractively decorated modern pub that is well known for its food. When I visited, they were selling Marston’s EPA, Marston’s Pedigree, Banks’ Mild and Old Hooky. It has a large car park if you’re taking the family for Sunday lunch.

My only problem with all these visits is that I was driving, as I was on CAMRA business. I am encouraged to try to get out of town more, but the public transport links really don’t help.

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