Saturday, 24 September 2011
The Black Bull, Pope Lane, Penwortham
Taste, body, texture, temperature, these hawk-eyed experts can analyse it all in a gulp.
And, in scenes reminiscent of film Gladiator when deposed General Maximus Decimus Meridius, (Russell Crowe), stands in the Coliseum waiting to learn his fate at the raising or lowering of his thumb, their rulings are the final word in pubs and beer.
If you were to somehow swap Crowe for a plucky landlord trying to make sure his beer his kept ‘chiller cool’ and Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) with a chap holding a clip board and possibly sporting a beard, you will get the idea.
So, where marauding force leads, I follow at a safe distance like a peasant feeding off their scraps.
One of the new entries into Camra’s Good Beer Guide empire is The Black Bull, tucked away in a corner of Penwortham.
Having never been before, I was struck by its appearance, which resembles a rural pub in a quaint country village, as opposed to its actual home, plonked among hundreds of houses and a row of shops.
Then on the inside, I was a little surprised again, that with a swathe of green paint across all the walls from waist height downwards, the interior did not quite match the impression I formed moments earlier.
After a scoot around the pub my friends and I found one of the few remaining unoccupied tables and I settled down for a pint of Moorhouse’s Blond Witch, chosen to toast the sun having emerged for the first time that day.
The pub was comfortably busy when we arrived early last Saturday evening and a steady stream flowed through the door and straight to the bar throughout the evening.
With friendly staff, a good atmosphere and crucially for the Camra battle chiefs, up to four well-kept real ales, The Black Bull has based its success on the real values a pub should hold, without resorting to fancy revamps or new-look images.
A valued and honourable foot soldier for the Camra battalions indeed.