One drawback to writing this column are frequent flashbacks to long ago boozy episodes followed swiftly by involuntary shudders at the precise length of that ‘ago’.
A nip to the Wheatsheaf in Water Lane on Wednesday evening threw up a fine case in point.One foot over the threshold and 25 years melted away – well 24 and a half. Christmas-ish 1990, back when I was night-shifting in the darkroom of a pre-press place down by the docks.
Back to the last time I entered this large old pub, to partake of a seasonal loosener with my then colleague Roy, a middle-aged Scouser with a healthy beer gut and an irrepressible urge to get out of the darkroom and into a pub while still on the clock at every opportunity.
This night was just such an opportunity, and one we exploited to the full, rolling back to gainful employ several hours later to sling negatives of some or other weekly newspaper out the door and off to press with blissful smiles on our faces and scant attention to detail.
Not much has changed in this grand old red brick pub; still the same kind of take-as-you-find boozer – although spotless, spick and span – that feels like home by the time you arrive in front of the bar.
And what a bar. Goodness knows what passed my lager swilling lips in 1990, but I was spoilt for choice in 2015.
A row of six casks to choose from, but the sun being out and beer garden in mind I picked up a Dabinett Organic Cider (ice in the cider) and ran with it, straight out for a bask.
Sweet, sharp scrumpy, cloudy and refreshing, packing a healthy wallop that put a wobble in my step as I returned to the bar ten minutes later.
Next up, a pint of the Acorn Brewery Blonde, and what a pint. Summer in a glass, and a good summer; a World Cup summer with cracking weather.
Given time and money I’d drain vessels of this velvet soft golden ale until it sobbed out my eyes.
Dry, bitter, a light foamy head that tickles your lip and laces the glass, right, 10 out of 10 when kept and served this well.
Finally, another blonde that was new to me – Reedley Hallows Pendleside. And here was more of the same.
Dryer than the Acorn, little more bitter, but a delight from first sip to vertical glass.
A fine pub well worth a visit. And with these three plus nibbles mine for a shade over £8, it’ll feel like Christmas every day.
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