It was a cold November evening when the 600 horse power Mercedes Benz growled to a halt to pick up the first of the disciples of the hopped malt beverage. Rich, the pilot of the mighty coach skilfully negotiated the Lancaster tea time traffic and soon the number swelled to thirty two with the large contingent from the University Real Ale Society. The foray into the hinterlands of Standish had begun.
Almost half an hour early (that must be a first), the coach did a quick tour of the ramshackle industrial estate before the mighty engine was silenced and the thirsty passengers entered the Standish Saloon. This was a collection of seating and tables around the bar that nestled beside the brewplant of Prospect Brewery. The ageing building had once served as a munitions factory. It was later bought by Heinz to make puddings and the work they did made the unit ideal for a brewery site.
Patsy, the Brewster, moved into the premises almost two years ago, She originally started brewing in her mother in law’s garage with a five barrel plant (that must have been cramped) in 2007. The plant on show to us was a 12 barrel job with a gas fired copper which may well have to be moved in a year’s time if the landlords choose to pursue their plan to demolish the building.
After sampling some of the fine beers on offer, including the excellent Nutty Slack (a 3.9% dark, nutty mild — eeeh, it’s good to live in the North), Panned 0ut (a 4% bitter with the taste of summer) and Gold Rush (a yummy 4.2% bitter), Patsy gave an entertaining and informative talk on the brewing process and ingredients before unleashing the hordes onto the hard working bar staff. They were regulars Lorraine and Ashley, and Steve who didn’t work there (?).
During the evening there were six beers (at least) from Prospect’s core range of eight, all in superb form with a good variety of tastes and aromas. An excellent range of well -balanced beers, to be sure. Prospect have around two hundred regular customers taking their beers on a ’guest’ basis and have come across the barrier of lack of access to the tied estate bars. In spite of this they are going strong and prospering. Long may they do so. Thanks for the tour Patsy, it was great.
On the weary way home the revellers made a stop at the White Crow at Worthington. The large old stone built coaching house hosted three beers on handpulls. The Merlin’s Oak from Brains and the Fuller’s London Pride were both in good form. I didn’t try the Allgates’ Twitter and Busted, though others reported it as being a satisfying pint. The staff were friendly and efficient and it looks like a good place to drop in for a meal with your beer, should you be in the area.
Report by George Palmer