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CAMRA: Breweries

 

Dough Macadam, CAMRA Branch Chariman with Lymestone Brewery's Ian Bradford

There are several micro breweries in the UK now - these have developed since 1990, when new legislation required the large breweries, who also had many tied public houses, to allow competition by sales of other brewer’s products in their pubs. This had the unpredicted effect of inducing many breweries to sell off their pubs, and this brought the birth of the large Pub Companies, many of whom are large property owners and financial speculators. Some organisations sold off their breweries instead, notably Whitbread, who still own hotel chains linked with pubs.

Because of this, a market developed for new breweries, many of them very small micro-breweries and there are now more than 1,000 of these at the latest count – 215 pages in CAMRA’s 2014 Good Beer Guide!

The extent, variety and quality of these brews (sometimes called craft beers) is very good.

Many of these beers are well worth a try, and some are available locally. In this branch area there are two micro-breweries - the first is the Southport Brewery based from 2004 near the old gas tower site in Blowick. The owner and brewer is Paul Bardsley, and he produces some excellent and distinguished beer flavours. Try the popular Sandgrounder Bitter,the Carousel, the Natterjack and Golden Sands, a CAMRA national award winning 4% golden ale, with citrus undertones. The brewery also produce regular seasonal beers, such as Santa’s Ale, National Hero for the Grand National, and a very dark, strong 5.5% winter ale, known as Old Shrimper.

In Burscough is the Hop Vine pub, which is run by Mike McCombe and his wife Julie.

In 2010 they decided that a brewery would be a good idea, so at the back of the pub in the old stable yard the Burscough Brewery was established with its own brewer. Beers include Priory Gold, Duke of Lancaster and Sutler’s IPA, a strong amber at 5.5%. Others are Mere Blonde, Ringtail, Mug Billy and Thoroughgood. Do try to visit – excellent food and very near Burscough Bridge station.

The Hop Vine also recently opened a beer house in Ormskirk known as the Hop Inn Beer Shoppe in Burscough Street, and the Burscough beers can also be tried here. Easily reached by train or 375 and 385 Wigan buses from Southport. Other micro-breweries nearby include George Wright in Rainford, Liverpool Craft, Liverpool Organic and Liverpool One in that city, Brimstage and Peerless on the Wirral, Harts in Preston, Lytham in St Annes, Old School inWarton, and All Gates and Prospect in Wigan – do give some of them a try, and watch out for any new brewers, as the situation is very fluid! (bad pun?).

Finally at our last Southport Beer Festival we made an award for Best Beer of the festival, and this was awarded to Lymestone Brewery of Stone in Staffordshire for their Stone Dead beer at 6.66% (!). The photo shoes Doug Macadam our Branch Chairman making an award to brewery owner Ian Bradford at the brewery last week.

We have regular meetings all are welcome to attend these if you are interested. Please contact CAMRA on 01704 573768 or email mikepcamra@gmail.com if you have any queries.