Lunesdale CAMRA’s visit to Grindleton Brewhouse mashed education, ale sampling, pinches of maths, science, history and economics, a visit to the local, and the all-important ingredient — fun — to produce a tasty brew that will be long remembered by those involved.
Thirty-two members and friends from Lancaster, Morecambe, Heysham, Bolton-le-Sands and Garstang made the trip to the Ribble valley micro-brewery which has only been in existence since February 2007 when it was set up in Bolton-by-Bowland. Its new premises, on Link 59 Business Park, contains the brewhouse, offices and a bar, and is still under development.
Immediately on arrival brewery staff served up a choice of three Grindleton ales and ensured that glasses were kept full throughout the two and a half hours spent on the premises. On offer were Old Fecker, a 4% malty but well-hopped brew, the session bitter Ribble Rouser, and a more recent addition to the range, Ribble Gold, a pale and fruity bitter of the popular blonde variety.
Owner and Head Brewer, Ian Lait , led a tour of the brewery that was marvellously informative and entertaining, somehow managing to engage equally with “beginners” and “old hands”. He brought the ingredients alive and talked with infectious enthusiasm about the contrasting effects of different malts. We also learnt at first hand about the impact of crop shortages and failures, particularly of hops.
Ian and his helpful team accompanied us to the final destination of the evening — The Pendle Hotel, about a mile away in the village of Chatburn. A friendly welcome from staff was the precursor to the fourth beer of the evening, Farley’s Dusk, a gloriously smooth and creamy Porter that at 5.5% abv packed quite a punch. It was difficult to resist having more than one pint of this — so we decided to give in. Here too we enjoyed an exceptionally good pie and peas supper prepared and cooked on the premises. Verdict: absolutely delicious.
Our thanks to all at Grindleton Brewhouse and The Pendle Hotel for an outstanding evening, and as usual to Rich Blaikey of Battersby’s for making the ultimate sacrifice (drinking water all night) and getting us home safely.