For this month’s beer ramble, I feel it necessary to highlight a couple of gripes I regularly hear, while quaffing a beverage, in one or three East Lancashire “watering holes”.
It’s the prickly topic of beer prices and choice – and yes, I know some of you have heard me express an odd whinge from time to time – but, in my defence, it’s usually unrelated to the price of ale, or the selection.
Why do I hear drinkers moan about the price of a pint and there not being enough choice in real ales in some pubs? Let me present the defence for ale choice and value beer locally.
East Lancashire, without doubt, has some of the finest boozers offering value and choice.Long gone are the days when it was a cask bitter and a cask mild. Now, four or five ales are common at the local boozer.
However, you still hear the whinge: “They only have three on – and one of the pump clips is turned around.” Never thinking the ale has run out and the bar staff are changing a barrel!
Some customers appear to gulp if they have to pay above £2.50 a pint. Surprising when over three quid is common outside East Lancs. A pub in Lancaster charges £3.80 for a pint of strong bitter –but you get a canalside view!
I could highlight many a value boozer, in every town, village and outpost in our area.We have the Crooked Billet,Worsthorne, and the Sparrowhawk, Fence, that offer a super range of ales – six or seven, between £2.30 and £2.80 a pint – and rural splendor! Town centre pubs, such as the award-winning Bridge Bier Huis – five casks on at £2.50 – and one at two quid! The Dog Inn, Whalley, all £2.60. And the New Inn, Clitheroe, where you will find 10 real ales at £2.75 or less.
What is your idea of a value pint? I would say beer(not lager) at £2.50 is good value – and a pint between £2.60 and £2.80 more than reasonable. £2.90 plus for a pint, is a tad expensive. But, to be honest, over three quid a pint for ale, is as rare as a man without self-pity. We are lucky to have good value establishments – and I despair about folk having the temerity to whinge about choice and value.
If Harold Macmillan was alive today, he probably would say: “Beer drinkers of East Lancashire have never had it so good.”