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CAMRA column 14/08/14

Mike Perkins with a rundown of some of the best of the local brews

Burscough Brewery - at the rear of the Hop Vine

Last time we covered some Southport pubs worth a visit by using public transport – this time it’s worth a debate on some of the very palatable local brews on offer.

The first truly recent local brewery is the Southport Brewery, based at the complex where the famous Blowick gas tower used to be.

It was founded in 2004 to coincide with the National CAMRA AGM located at the then Floral Hall.

The beers were actually introduced at this event – very good timing!

Beers from this brewery are provided by Paul Bardsley, a long standing CAMRA member with a very keen taste for quality brews. Paul advocated many years ago that some of the large brewery combines at the time were producing beers that were predictable and boring, and that some improvements were overdue.

Obviously many others agreed, hence the advent of the many micro-breweries that have grown since the mid 1990s (now more than 1,000).

Southport with website www.southportbrewery.co.uk produce some regular beers, with distinctive and varying flavours, such as Sandgrounder, Natterjack, Carousel and Golden Sands (the latter won CAMRA Champion Beer of Great Britain Award a few years ago).

There are also seasonal beers, such as Old Shrimper, an excellent dark winter brew at 5.5% abv. Other beers include Cyclone and Dark Night, plus beers for special occasions, such as the Grand National or World Cup.

The beers can be found in pubs such as the Freshfield, Barons Bar, Guest House and Inn Beer Shop. Another more recent local brewery is the Burscough Brewery, and this is based at the rear of the Hop Vine pub in Burscough, run by Mike and Julie McCombe. Their beers include Mere Blonde, Flat Rib Mild, Ringtail, Priory Gold, Mug Billy, Thoroughgood and Sutlers IPA,

This brewery also brews other ales on a seasonal basis. Website is www.burscoughbrewery,co,uk - Here again many excellent and flavoursome beers on offer. Their beeers are available at the Hop Vine of course, their Hop Inn Bier Shop in Ormskirk, and at some of the Southport pubs mentioned above.

Another very recent addition is the Formby Brewery in the town of the same name, not a lot is known yet, but their beers do appear at the Freshfield, and no doubt elsewhere in due course. Their first beers were Empran, Utopia and Hercules – if anyone knows more, then please let me know.

Other breweries fairly near include George Wright in Rainford, Evening Star in St Helens, Hart in Preston, Lytham Brewery in St Annes, and AllGates and Prospect in Wigan.

In Crosby there is Stamps micro-brewery, Liverpool has several, and the Wirral has Brimstage and Peerless.

Many of these beers are often available in the local Wetherspoon’s pubs, and in the Southport pubs already mentioned, but we shall cast our net further afield later when we cover the topic again.

Do try some of these beers – you will find some great flavours and lots of variety. Queries please to me at 01704 573768 or mikepcamra@gmail.com