Thursday, 1 August 2013

Remember the Summer of '76?

At last we have a summer. Maybe this will be the year that people will remember in years to come instead of the famous summer of 1976. 

The great celestial salesman in the sky has finally given the pub industry something to be cheerful about. Nothing can compete with its selling power. Like for like sales are up in double figures and I expect that to be the case across the country.

However, this does lead to the question of where are all these people when the sun doesn’t shine? Why don’t they visit their local more when it’s pouring down and freezing in the middle of winter? What can be more relaxing than quaffing a pint of local cask ale by a flickering open fire?

The good weather can have an adverse effect on town centre pubs that tend not to have beer gardens but those in the countryside are more or less guaranteed to have a roaring trade especially the more picturesque ones.

I recently spent a leisurely afternoon in one such place, the Brown Cow at Chatburn. They have a lovely beer garden at the rear of the pub. I could even see Pen-y-ghent in the distance. The tipple of the day was Theakston’s Lightfoot which was superb on a hot summer’s day. It’s a light ‘blonde beer’ style ale brewed to 4.1% and was delicious.

What better way to spend your day off than sat in a pub beer garden. The floral scent of the blooming flowers was an added delight.

The fact that people are flooding to pub beer gardens seems to indicate that there is still a love for the traditional British pub. This is very positive to see. It’s an ideal opportunity for them to showcase themselves. Hopefully it will lead to repeat custom when the proper rainy summer turns up.

The other day I had the pleasure of visiting the Hark to Bounty in Slaidburn. It was the hottest day of the year at the time with the mercury touching 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

They had Lancaster Blonde, 4.1%, on the bar but I decided to try a beer I’d never had from Tirril Brewery. Their Amber, 4.2%, was lovely, malty and refreshing on a scorching day.

I have to say that the girl behind the bar, I think she was called Natasha, was extremely pleasant and very knowledgeable especially about the history of the Inn. She even took the time to show us the old Courtroom upstairs. How many pubs have a Courtroom? Not many I would think. Apparently it was used as the local court from the early 19th century until the middle of the 1930’s.

Anyway, perhaps by the time you will read this the heat wave will be a distant memory but hopefully not.

Just remember that your local pub is more than likely open for business 365 days of the year. So be sure to keep visiting once the seasons finally change. Everything apart from the weather will still be superb even after the summer of 2013.

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