Set out to review one pub I fully expected to be neither here nor there, on the way passed a pub I had totally forgotten existed, stuck my head in the door, stayed, left, sadly, with a desire to return.
Preston’s Princess Alice, along Cambridge Walk, off Aqueduct Street, is a gem of a pub on every level.
From a distance unassuming, up close this Princess reveals herself to be a beauty, a shiny red and cream tiled survivor of Victorian Preston.
Which is all well and good, but you can’t drink tiles, and even if you could why would you?
Step inside instead, where the fan of real pubs and real ale will find their heart soaring into their mouth at the treasures there found.
First up, the pub, though small, is well laid out and furnished in such a way as make it feel spacious and airy. On the left as you enter is a good sized pool room with seating, on your right a larger sallon with benches, seats, tables and a dartboard. Dead ahead is the bar.
And a good bar. All your usual and popular tipples plus, to my great joy, a row of four cask pumps each priced £2.50 the pint, only one of which I’d ever clapped eyes on before. Where to begin...
Kendal brewer’s Chadwick’s Carillon, brewed for the Westmorland Beer Festival which began on Tuesday seems as good a place as any.
A golden session bitter, the head was creamy and white, the aromas bready and lightly hopped.
Smooth on the tongue, with a light malt, light floral freshness, it slipped away with only a faint bitter tang to let me know I’d just enjoyed a great pint.
Next up, from closer to home, a pint of Reinheitsgebot from the Lancaster Brewery – and the best pint I’ve had in quite some while.
Inspired by delicious Bavarian ale – Reinheitsgebot means, literally, ‘purity order’, as adopted in that part of the world 500 years ago next year to ensure minimum standards in production– this was somewhere between a nice sharp wheatbeer and an old school nutty British bitter.
You’d happily drink it until it came out of your ears, but at 5% is likely you’d be deaf to reason long before that.
Finally, a Swan Blonde from the Bowness Brewing Co.
The perfect pint to end a session of fuller flavoured ales, this was crisp, dry, refreshing and, like all I drank, in perfect condition.
Make a Royal visit, is my advice.
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