Last week my pub travels took me to arguably the most picturesque urban beer garden in the area.
This week – although in actual fact my visit was three weeks ago – you join me in surely one of the most visually pleasing rural alfresco ale spots in the North.
The Alston Arms, last stop as you leave Longridge bound for Chipping and the fells beyond, is somewhat more than blessed when it comes to fair weather (remember that?) imbibing.
Better yet, the beer laid on to carry blinking into the sun is just about worth a visit in its own right.
The long summer evening I passed behind this recently re-opened, refurbished and highly pleasant pub was spent in the company of three decent jars.
First up, a glass of Joseph Holt’s Two Hoots, a golden ale tried and enjoyed hereabouts many times before.
Light amber, capped with a bright white foamy head, the aroma is bready and earthy, the body peachy and digestive biscuity, the finish sweet.
Reminiscent of a liquid jam sandwich, perhaps.
Having determined to try all three of the casks on offer – having that evening knocked off for a fortnight and thus a man on a mision – I next stumped up for a Victory At Waterloo by J. W. Lees.
Not at first sight the ideal beverage for a hot summer night (remember them?) this old-fashioned bitter proved a nice drop.
Toffee-hued with a tight creamy head, scents of spicy stewed fruit, bread and caramel tickled the hooter as glass was raised, and these flavours were reproduced in the sip.
Surprisingly light-bodied with a slight carbonation, a mild bitterness at the finish just kept this from being a sickly sup.
Absolutely the sort of solid brown pint my dad would have gripped on to back in the day, and that will do for me.
Rounding off my session in this rural idyll was a Jennings Cumberland Ale.
A deep amber pot came with creamy white head and a fairly potent malty miasma.
The hops are bitter in the body with a rich butterscotch bottom, and the contents of my glass simply melted away as if they were never there at all.
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