Take time to dig this hole in the wall

Leyland's Market Ale House
Leyland's Market Ale House

Real ale takes the lead in a venture which is small but perfectly formed

Every town or city needs a few hole in the wall pubs, yet this breed might now be thinner on the ground than at any time in British boozing history.

Economies of scale and the historic change in gender drinking habits have conspired to give the big boys an unbeatable advantage over the kind of single room, straight at the bar off the street alehouses once common in the connurbation.

The places where one nipped for a quick one, or a passing flyer, rather than headed for a night out (that said, if I’ve passed one night draining glasses in such premises I’ve passed a hundred).

A few survive, here and there about the shop, providing cosy comforts to a cognoscenti, and I never fail to enter one without experiencing a wave of warm nostalgia for all those which have closed behind me.

A few survive; but very few open anew, so it felt unusual to enter the brand new hole in the wall that is Leyland’s Market Ale House . But not for long.

The pub is well-lit and laid out, the furniture plain and comfortable. In line with the stated aim on the window, the bar offers cask ale, a decent selection of wines and soft drinks for any designated drivers/teetotallers.

Like a pickled egg? Get one. There are crisps, nuts, pork pies and cheese boards if not.

There were five or six (it had been a trying day and my ability to count was diminished) ales on offer, and I managed to get round a pair of them on my visit to this Hough Lane house.

Dishy Debbie from Hart of Preston was a new one on me, but I am sure this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Light and golden, packing a big citrus whack and bitter finish, it’s a drop that makes your mouth feel cleaner after a gobful than it did before.

Second up was a Pioneer from the Standish Prospect Brewery, a bitter I’ve had before but never enjoyed quite so much.

A light bodied amber pint that fills your hooter with malty nutty aromas long before the fluid wets your whistle with peachy floral sweetness.

Taking my leave I paused to read their lengthy list of coming attractions – guests scheduled to take their place on a pump – and saw enough to consider taking a photograph, printing it out, and using it instead of a calendar.

There’s a new hole in the wall. It deserves to be filled.