Friargate’s Old Black Bull has never been a pub frequented by yours truly overmuch – although not, I hasten to add, because there is anything at all wrong with the place.
Quite the reverse, in fact, if the teeming throngs which have tended to greet me whenever their door has been opened of a Friday or Saturday night out are any worthwhile guide.
And if they ain’t, what is?
Sadly (for me, not the pub), standing room only – and often precious little of that – has not been my scene for years, ever since the knees gave out, and so seated refreshment is generally sought elsewhere.
Different story Sundays and midweek, of course, and on rare occasions when these slots find me stalking Preston’s licensed premises am as likely to drop in here as anywhere.
The cosy sheltered smoking area is a big draw, but good beer remains the main attraction.
Long established as CAMRA friendly – on several occasions the Central Lancashire branch pub of the year, most recently in 2012 – you can always count on a well-kept welcome to come squirting out the taps.
The midweek visit reviewed here was a case in point, with a pair of cask pints – both new to me – which served to remind me why I began drinking this stuff in the first place.
A Summerleaze Golden Ale was a complex joy, nutty apple in the beak, sweet and fruity in the trap with a clean dry finish reminiscent of black tea with honey.
A Pamplemousse from the Lancaster Brewery Ltd was next to fill my hand, and this would be my pick of the pair.
Packing grapefruit wallop (as the name suggests) but with a fine floral aroma, this bitter pale beer demanded better weather than the heavens were offering, and by pint’s end it was raining heavily – in my heart.
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