Glorious sunshine, fantastic pubs and cracking good beers. What could possibly be better? Well, throw in a 1949 AEC Regent III open top bus and twenty eight raucous revellers and you’ve got the first Morecambe Ale Trail.
The trail was organised as a precursor and advertising event for the Morecambe Beer Festival, made apparent when the bus turned up at the York with festival banners on each side. Having picked up the passengers the mighty red AEC trundled on to the prom and headed for the first stop, the Owls Nest in Bare. Their two real ales were in good form and the brave bar staff quickly had the invasion imbibing.
For the next taste of real brewer’s wares, the charabanc disgorged us outside the Palatine with its choice of four guest beers and four from Lancaster. Again the beers were in good form and the staff had us all supping quickly. Next stop was the Ranch House, from the outside probably the pub you’d least expect to find decent beers. The busy bar boasts three well kept real ales and a hand pulled cider. On such a glorious day the drinking area extends on to the prom to give the magnificent vista of The Bay as a perfect accompaniment to real ale.
During the next part of the journey, the passengers decided that Heysham village needed to be woken up (I think they succeeded) on our way to the Royal. The new licensee was rightly proud of his six real ales and yet again the service was impeccable. And still the sun shone on us and continued to as we made our increasingly noisy way back to Poulton to visit the last two hostelries on the tour, The Smugglers and the New inn. Again, these lovely homely little pubs showed that there is real commitment to quality cask beers in Morecambe. The New in bar sported three pumps giving a good range of ales. The new licensees of the Smugglers have maintained an impressive range of five cask beers.
After a short walk (or was that a stagger) back to the York for a fish and chip supper and entertainment and, you’ve guessed it, more beer from his choice of three pumps, two of which were from Lunesdale area brewers. Many thanks to Mike Dennison of the York who organised the trip and to Mitchell’s who helped with the advertising.
Was it worth it? Undoubtedly and resoundingly YES. We couldn’t visit all the real ale pubs, but the ones we did were all up to the mark and deserve to be visited more widely. The success of the day? A hardened coke drinker is now hooked on cask mild. The sporting achievement of the day? The guy who hopped off the bus to get his mobile from the Ranch House, then RAN to the Royal in Heysham, getting there only about ten minutes after the bus!!!!!!
Note:-I have several photographs of prominent CAMRA members that will be published in the next Drinker unless funds are deposited in my Swiss Bank account before the next issue goes to press.