Last weekend saw the passport holding members of Rochdale, Oldham and Bury CAMRA spend a long weekend in the Lake District. Now the LD is a funny place; there are no tripe mines and no black pudding trees. But there is some stunning scenery and some great pubs. Unfortunately some are very difficult to navigate by coach and some are just impossible.
Been here a few times over the years and although it’s a convenient base, it’s basically a one-horse, tourist trap. I was warned that the Queens is considered a little rough and certainly the presence of Dent on the bar was enough to send me scuttling away.
The Oakthorpe had a very limited selection, but the Grey Walls proved more fruitful. They had Theakstons Best, Old Peculiar and Old Rosie cider on. But the pick of the bunch here were the beers from Pennine Brewery in Batley, Their Real Blonde was an easy drinking, fruity session beer which, according to the pumpclip, contains 2.27 units of alcohol per pint.
The Good Beer Guide listed Elleray was my pick of the pubs. It offered a comfortable and pleasant drinking environment, decent food and, most importantly, some very well kept beer. Interestingly, for price-watchers, the Loweswater Gold here was £3.15 as compared to £3.40 in the Oast House in Manchester.
Not much more can be said about here than others have already said. Home to the fantastic Hawkshead Brewery, it’s a must visit when in the area. Friday afternoon was mainly spent supping the various Hawkshead delights, where Alex, Matt and Anne made us feel right at home-i.e. pissed.
Staveley is also home to the GBG listed Eagle & Child which is definitely worth a visit of its own. Windermere is only five minutes away by train, but be warned, it’s easier to get a train there than it is to get one back. Legend has it that there is also a bus.
A lot of pubs here, but not that much choice. Still, some decent Coniston and Hawkshead beers to be had, if you know where to look. Albeit it at tourist prices. Yet again, the GBG delivered the goods, with the Royal Oak being the best in town.
Ah, the famous Watermill Inn. Once renowned for the breadth of its beer range. Then it became a brewpub and now the bar groans with their own beer which ranged from yeasty to mediocre. Too many pumps and not enough quality control; as even the guest beers seemed tired.
Very picturesque, remote, area that surprisingly boasts two pubs opposite each other. The Screes Inn is sadly no longer a free house as it has been bought by Robinsons. However, the Strands Hotel more than makes up for it.
Not only is the Strands a fine looking boozer, but it’s very well run by an enthusiastic and welcoming landlord/brewer. The Strands beers themselves were excellent; not a trace of homebrew here. Despite its location, the pub sells a lot of beer, with drinkers preferring darker beers. The Dark Mild just edged a tough choice for best beer, with its flavour-packed 2.7% winning rave reviews from everyone who tried it.