Three of a kind fill an unexpected gap

The pub intended as grist for the mill this week was so utterly dull (no cask, two lagers, one strong, one cooking, Strongbow, John Smith’s, blah) that I departed certain that finding 350 words on the experience would make the extraction of blood from stones seem a walk in the park.

Saturday, 25th April 2015, 9:00 pm
Prestons Ale Emporium
Prestons Ale Emporium

Suffice to say this left me in a hole. Happily, the fine hot weather provided inspiration and thus it was I decamped to Preston’s Ale Emporium – the LEP’s Bar of the Year, Central Lancashire CAMRA’s pub of the year – with a view to sampling some of the ale arriving aimed at the warm season.

First up, a pint of Disfunctional Functional IPA from the Offbeat brewery in Crewe.

Subtly sulphorous on the nose, once in the hole any subtlety gives way to a big fat tart orangey wallop and serious bitterness.

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Just enough biscuity malt to keep things this side of civilised, and the finish is long and dry as the Sahara. One I could drink all day – or at least until the 4.8 per cent hit took away my legs – but I’d imagine an acquired taste.

Next up, a pint of Golden Hoppy IPA from the Rat Brewery, a punky subsidiary of Calderdale’s Ossett Brewery.

Of the three I sampled this was probably the most conventional. Fresh and grassy in the hooter, hops filled the mouth with fruit and flowers, not too dry, not too sweet, just right. Ditto the finish, crisp – but not so as to smack the lips hard like that Disfunctional.

Goldilocks would love this Golden Hoppy.

Last up, what I took to be a novelty ale from the pump head, which turned out to be just that, and was no less enjoyable for it.

First Chop Brewing Arm’s Extra Love, a ‘Mango Pale Ale’, if you can believe such a thing, was my pick of the trio.

Strangely warming, bursting with tropical flavour – the ‘mango’ is not a reference to the colour or some new strain of hybrid hop, there are actual mangoes in it – this was a treat.

Sweet but not sickly, with enough dryness to leave the mouth refreshed, here is a beer which would sit happily alongside spicy hot chargrilled meat or a nice fiery curry.

Three worth trying over the next few months – and beyond – so keep ‘em peeled and give ‘em a whirl. Even better, head for the Ale Emporium now and fill your boots.

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