Over The Hills And Far Away

Eddie, the eager, legal beagle had wheels and a plan. So it was into the Babemobile for an unusual weeknight crawl. First up was a little jaunt of 11 miles to our old friend the Robin Hood in Helmshore, where I sampled the quite rare Copper Dragon Best. Round the corner (2 miles) was the Griffin at Haslingden. This is a brewpub, started by Dave Porter (now of Outstanding), but under new ownership as Pennine Ale.

The problem with Pennine is that they brew too many beers for such a small operation and I was surprised to see that the Griffin had a guest beer on as well. Strangely (or logically) given the area, it was Thwaites. Due to volume of beer, consistency isn’t always great with PA and so it proved today. The light, hoppy Floral Dance (3.6%) tasted nothing like it should and had that unpleasant smokey-Bazens taste.

Five miles later and we were at the Jolly Sailor and Ye Olde Boot and Shoe, which stand next to each other in Waterfoot. Both were in the Good Beer Guide, Eddie assured me. Yes, as it turns out, the 2006 guide. Hmmm. Let’s just say they’re not in anymore.

Only 3.5 miles to our next stop and the eagerly awaited Crown Inn at Bacup. A new one to me and being off the beaten track may explain some of its appeal. Bacup hostelries have traditionally had a reputation for being as welcoming to strangers as the Slaughtered Lamb in An American Werewolf in London. Not here, though, and it has been rightly praised in the Daily Telegraph. Although the Pictish beers on offer were tempting, I went for Phoenix Hopsack which was lovely and bitter.

We crossed the border next into Yorkshire for the Mason’s Arms in Todmorden. This is a small, cosy Copper Dragon Pub with their full range on. A pint of Golden Pippin went down very well before we made the 15 mile journey back to Bury. But before deserting the car altogether, we stopped off at Waterfold Farm as, shockingly, although it’s a pub and it’s in Bury, Eddie had never been. It’s a large new-build in Bury sited in a Business Park. It’s female/family friendly and is obviously doing something right as the car park was very busy. Recently it’s been selling Moorhouses beer but on our visit there were two Copper Dragon beers on. As usual, the beer was in good condition, although at £2.70 a pint would be considered a bit pricey for the area.

Back in the centre, there was time for some Northern Lights in Automatic before finishing on some tasty Pure Blonde in the Robert Peel. An enjoyable night and it’s amazing how much time you can save if you ignore “Road Closed” signs.


Popular posts from this blog

The Kimberley Club

British Guild Beer Writers Awards & Camden Brewery

Breakfast Beer Tasting: Suke Quto Coffee IPA