Wednesday 8 December 2010

A Survey in the Cold

Nothing to do this afternoon so I donned my arctic gear (slight exaggeration) and headed out into the bright sunshine to crunch through the snow and ice up to the station. A quick train ride took me to Lea Green, and then it was a short walk to the Millhouse, a pleasant comfortable pub concentrating mainly on food, which was ticking over on a cold Wednesday lunchtime. A generous supply of Timothy Taylor's beermats but no real ale to be seen.

Next, back towards the station and the Bull & Dog, another pleasant comfortable food-oriented place with no real ale. I was pleased to see that instead of the usual unfriendly "No work clothes" the sign on the lounge door said "Gentlemen in work clothes please use the bar." The bar was much plainer than the larger lounge side, and featured a vinyl floor. Once again, food sales were slow but steady - not bad for a cold Wednesday.

One stop on the train and I was in Rainhill where I headed for the Black Horse. Yet another food-oriented pub ticking over at two on a Wednesday, but this one has some decent ale, including one called Black Horse brewed by George Wright. There was a strange font on the counter for Bombardier, featuring a tall stand with an illuminated sign on the top which made me think it was keg at first glance, but behind was a tall handle and a standard swan-neck so probably cask after all. Some kind of marketing ploy trying to look modern, I presume, but in my case it lost them a potential sale!
UPDATE: The following day I saw another one of these, and I can confirm it is apparently a traditional hand pump hidden behind a marketing sign.

Next and final pub was the Commercial round the back of the station. What a surprise: By now it was half past two on a still bitterly cold Wednesday afternoon, and yet the place was busy. I collected my excellent pint of cask Tetley Bitter and perched on a stool by the only unoccupied table. They have a small range of real ales, including Tetley Mild. What is the secret? How do they get so many people in? It's a mystery to me, but I've always liked this place with its beautifully preserved interior and exterior, so long may it continue.

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