What a lovely bright day. How to spend it-watching Jeremy Kyle and Loose Women? Or go on a little expedition? Having passed through Chorley recently, I was struck by the number of GBG entries close to the station. Chorley is a market town in Lancashire, mainly famous now for the cakes named after it. Despite having only half the population of Bury, it seems to boast an impressive level of town centre cask. So, it was a bus to Bolton and then a train to Chorley.
However, first stop was Adlington as, if you catch the hourly stopping train, you can alight here before continuing your journey. A very short walk takes you to the Spinners. Here, sat at the bar, chatting to the convivial, knowledgeable, landlord, I managed two pints of excellent Taylors Landlord before continuing my journey. The array of pumpclips on display testifies to the amount of cask this pub actually sells. As well as several 18’s of Warsteiner-well nobody’s perfect. Once in Chorley, it proved more difficult than it should have been to find the Swan With Two Necks. It does help if streets actually have names on them. The Swan is at the bottom of a steep road and is an impressively large boozer. Apparently once a doctors surgery, it boasts a large downstairs bar area, and a separate dance area (with bar) and is decorated in the contemporary modern style. It’s a free house that sells a number of Moorhouses beers and a guest beer. Upstairs there are plans for a continental bar, and a roof terrace. I also got to try Eiken Artois which Tandleman had warned us about. It’s inoffensive and you can detect the oak, but somehow I doubt I will be knocking much of it back. Most interestingly, our host turned out to be none other than Nick Hogan; the controversial licensee who allowed smoking in his pub in Bolton and was subsequently fined for it. Can’t say I agree with him on that topic, but he did have some interesting things to say about the licensed trade. Not surprisingly, with his recent history, his wife is actually the licensee here.
Next stop was the local JDW-the Sir Henry Tate. This was a modern affair with seating on two levels. Smarter (where isn’t), than Bury, the service was also markedly better. With my £2.99 microwaved fish & chips I tried Shepherd Neame Early Bird (4.3%), and Harviestoun Old Engine Oil (4.5%). The former was pleasant enough with some fruit to it, whilst Engine Oil was rich with roast and chocolate. The Malt & Hops is a Beartown brewery pub located on Friday St. There were 7 beers on-a mix of their own and guests. I chose Kodiak Gold (4%) which was straw coloured and wasn’t as quenching as I remember. To be fair, this might have been because it was a bit too warm, which always spoils a beer.
The Potters Arms is a free house serving Black Sheep, 3B’s and “always serving Moorhouses Premier.” Not today it wasn’t, so I had to settle for Black Sheep, albeit at a pocket pleasing £1.85. Have to say although the beer was fine, I didn’t really care for the layout and décor. Last stop proved to be the Prince of Wales. This is a great multi roomed boozer with real fires and a good selection of well kept ales. The atypical Camra pub, one might say. As daylight disappeared over the yardarm, locals filtered in and conversations were struck up. Extra marks here for oversized glasses and the friendly, very efficient, landlord. One pint of Castle Rock Harvest Pale (3.8%) proved so refreshing it led to another. Two pints led to another one, just for the road, mind you. Which led to one more toasting the landlord. And another one for Nelson Mandela? Reality finally dawned and a quick dash to the station was required. Well, more of a drunken forage round (and under), the dark, rain soaked, streets of Chorley before finding the pesky thing. A soothing, first class, ride back to Bolton and then a dash to get the bus back to Bury. All this adventure was rewarded with a Biryani at the Jewel in the Crown. Being now 0040, the only place to get a pint was the Robert Peel. However, this was only offering Wainwrights so time was called, and homeward bound it was.
A nice little day out; with quite a variety in terms of styles of pubs