We stock up to nine real ales at any one time, five regulars plus guest ales.
The regulars are Okells Bitter, Bushys Bitter and Bushys Ruby Mild (three award winning local beers), Moorhouse's Pride of Pendle another regular is Westons Scrumpy.
The guest ales are sourced from the length and breadth of the British Isles, we currently have neary 1700 guest ales to date.
Keg Ales etc
Currently we have John Smiths Smooth, Carling Lager, Strongbow Cider and Guinness on draught.
Developed in the 18th and 19th centuries, the most popular style of beer up until the 1950s when it was over taken by bitter. Most modern milds are fairly weak 3%/3.5% when compared with earlier versions. Mild is ussually dark brown in colour due to the use of well roasted malts although there are pailer versions.
Look for rich malty aromas and flavours, with hints of dark fruit, chocolate, coffee and caramel, and a gentle underpinning of hop bitterness.
Bitter was developed towards the end of the 19th century in order that it could be served after a few days storage in pub cellars. Bitter grew out of pale ale was generally deep bronze to copper in colour due to the use of slightly darker malts used in pale ales. Bitter usually falls into the 3.4%/3.9% band, with Best bitter 4% upwards, although a number of brewers call their ordinary bitters "Best". Another development of bitter comes in extra/strong bitters 5% or more e.g. Fullers ESB and Greeneking Abbot.
With ordinary bitter , look for spicy, peppery and grassy hop character, a powerful bitterness, tangy fruit and juicy and nutty malt. With Best and strong bitters, malt and fruit character will tend to dominate but hop aroma and bitterness are still crucial to the style, achieved by dry hopping.
A new style of pale, well-hopped and quenching beer developed in the 1980s, as brewers attempted to regain drinkers from lager brands. Strengths range from 3.5%/5% and a fine example is Hop Back Summer Lightning.
Biscuity and juicy malt characters are derived from pale malts, underscored by tart citrus and peppery hops. Above all such beers are quencing and served cool, yum! yum!
IPA & Pale Ale
First brewed in London on Burton-on-Trent in the 19th century for the colonial market, IPAs were strong in alcohol and high in hops: The preservative character of the hops helped keep the beers in good condition during long sea journeys. Beers with less alcohol and hops were developed for the domestic market and known as Pale Ale, today Pale Ale is usually a bottled version of bitter though historically the styles are different, Marstons Pedigree is an example of Burton Pale Ale not bitter. So-called IPAs with strengths of around 3.5% are not true to style.
Look for juicy malt, citrus fruit and a big spicy, peppery, bitter hop character, with strengths of over 4% and upwards.
Porter and Stout
Porter aquired the name in the early 18th century as a result of its popularity among London's street market workers, orginally it was dark brown beer changing in the 19th century to jet black. Originally a blend of brown, pale and well matured ale, the strongest versions were known as stout porter, reduced over the years to simply stout.Such vast quantities of porter and stout flooded into Ireland that a Dublin brewer named Arthur Guinness decided to brew his own interpretation, Guinness blended some unmalted roasted barley and produced a style known as Dry Irish Stout. Restrictions in Britain during WW-I led to the demise of porter and stout, which left the market to the Irish, although in recent years some smaller craft brewers in Britain have rekindled interest in the style all be it with the strengths reduced.
Look for profound dark and roasted malt character, liquorice molasses.
* descriptions extracted from the GBG 2009