Festival toasts good times

11:28Tuesday 25 August 2015Ale aficionados enjoyed a treat in the company of old friends at a Blackpool beer festival.

Regulars at the Saddle Inn got to meet former landlord and landlady Don and Pam Ashton who opened the proceedings by pulling the first pints.

On offer were more than 50 real ales and ciders from all over the UK at the Whitegate Drive pub.

Don and Pam were mine hosts at the pub throughout the 1990s and present landlord Andy Rogers said many of the regulars from their time were still customers.

He said: “Don and Pam were very popular and were well known for keeping the beer well.

“When we brought back the beer festival last year after I came to the Saddle I wanted to have them open the festival.

“This year they were able to do that and it was great to see them again. Some of the older regulars were pleased to see them.”

Among the beers on offer were many from the local area.

A selection of ales from the Lytham Brewery were available and some from Fuzzy Ducks in Poulton. Entertainment on the Friday and Saturday nights was provided by one of the regulars Ryan with his acoustic guitar and by Don Cochrane from new Blackpool band Fubar.

Andy said: “Thursday was a brilliant day weather wise and brought in lots of people, Friday and Saturday were also extremely busy.

“We had a marquee attached to the pub, which was just as well given the terrible weather on Sunday. The rain meant the barbecue had to be called off but we had Cumberland sausage and black-pudding hot pot instead.

“The ciders were the most popular this year and the feedback we got from customers was fantastic. We are all looking forward to next year’s.”

Lytham Brewery Open Weekend/Beer festival, 27th-30th August


Lytham Brewery Open Weekend/Beer festival, 27th-30th August

Range of Lytham and guest beers. Free entry; all cask ales £2.50 a pint, draft ciders, wine, lager.
Food: Giant Paella and BBQ


Campbells Court
Lord Street
St Annes

Tel: 01253 725440

Opening Times

Lytham Brewery Open Weekend
(27 Aug 2015 – 30 Aug 2015)
Day Times
Thursday 18:00 22:00
Friday 18:00 22:00
Saturday 12:00 22:00
Sunday 12:00 22:00

Fans’ favourite gets a £500k pub revamp

A South Shore pub traditionally popular with Blackpool FC fans is set to re-open next week following a £500,000 investment.The Bloomfield on Ansdell Road, which has had a chequered past in recent times, is due to re-open on Friday August 21 after it was bought by the Manchester-based Dorbiere Pub Group.The independent company, which already owns the Boars Head on Preston Old Road, Marton, has rebranded the hostelry the Bloomfield Brewhouse and Barbecue.

It will boast cask ales, craft beers and even its own signature ale from an on-site brewhouse.

Dorbiere project manager Anne Brooks said: “We are very excited about this development.

“We believe Blackpool deserves a venue like this – a top-quality, good value approach to dining and socialising with an innovative twist.”

The exterior and interior is being transformed but a mural of Seasiders star Stanley Matthews will remain, and is being restored by the original artist.

A glass canopy is being added so customers can eat and drink outside.

The Bloomfield went under the hammer in February last year, with bidding starting at £140,000 for the three-storey building.

The venue was one of the first buildings to receive special protection from Blackpool Council’s heritage chiefs to preserve its history.

It is on the local list aimed at protecting much-loved buildings from inappropriate development.

Coun David Owen, who represents Victoria ward which includes the Bloomfield, said: “The Bloomfield pub has always been very much at the centre of the community.

“While it has had chequered times in the recent past, it is a substantial property and always part of the recreational offer in the area.

“It is clearly good news that a much smaller organisation has it, is prepared to invest on this scale and that it is likely to be a real asset for people who live in the vicinity.

”I look forward to having a pint there. Perhaps one of the new brews could be called Victoria ale.”

A spokesman for Dorbiere added: “This was once one of the busiest pubs within Blackpool, but in recent years it has somewhat seen a slump in its popularity.

“Dorbiere is hoping with the heavy investment, it will breathe life back into this famous old pub.”

Popular brewery in beer festival plans


11:00Saturday 08 August 2015

Enjoy a pint of real ale? Then a brewery’s first-ever beer festival could be for you.

Lytham Brewery, based in Campbell’s Court, Lord Street, St Annes, is hosting its first beer festival later this month.

A spokesman for Lytham Brewery said: “The event is our first open weekend.

“There will be a range of Lytham and guest beers.

“Entry is free, with all cask ale £2.50 a pint, as well as draft ciders, wine and lager.”

Created in 2007 at the Hastings club in Lytham town centre, Lytham Brewery has quickly developed a reputation for fine quality ales.

The company has created dozens of speciality and seasonal beers.

The event starts on August 27 and continues until August 30. For more information call (01253) 725440.


The Magazine of the BLACKPOOL, FYLDE & WYRE Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale



Only a few years ago, the Victoria in St Annes seemed to be facing almost certain demolition. On Tuesday 28th July, we made the Grand Old Lady our Autumn Pub of the Season. What a testimony to the Power of the People and the Newfound Faith of the “Spirit”!

When the Spirit pub company decided back in 2011 to try and sell the Vic to a property developer, so it could be replaced with flats, a group of local activists calling themselves the “Victoria Hotel Community Association” sprung into action to stop them. It was a long and bitter struggle – a real David v Goliath one – and, against all the odds, the VHCA triumphed (with the support of this Branch). However, relations between the two “camps” remained problematic. The VHCA’s energetic support for the pub was undimmed, though, and they have continued to organise all sorts of fund raising and social activities. Maybe that faith was infectious, for Spirit (soon to become part of Greene King) seemed to see a new light and, in 2014, embarked on a £ 300 k refurbishment of the pub. It was probably the most significant investment in the place since it was first built back in 1897, and it has transformed it – inside and out, providing much better catering and, above all, more real ales!

It was obviously this last that caught our attention, although, in truth, the manager, Jordan Sadler, had been working on the pub’s real ale quality since he first arrived 17 months ago – helped in this by his cellar

manager, Cliff Thompson. So we thought it was high time all this good work was properly recognised.

The Branch award was made to Jordan by
Rick Pickup, one of our Pubs Officers. He paid tribute to all that had been achieved. “The beer range and quality are really good. After all the dangers of the recent past, the pub is now refurbished and refreshed.” Jordan was delighted and thanked the Branch. “We are planning to put some hand pumps into the vaults and introduce ‘real’ lagers. Things are going well and we can maybe even think now of challenging the likes of the Taps !” (We await Mr Norris’s views on this with interest.)

It was only appropriate that some members of the VHCA should be present to witness this fruition of their labours. Founder members, Bruce and Caroline Goodridge, said they were thrilled. Equally appropriate was the separate award made to Jordan by a well known CAMRA and VHCA stalwart, Dave Wood – a 1923 photo of the St Anne pierhead, designed by the architect of the Vic, Dent Harker. (How does Dave unearth this kind of stuff ?!)

It was even more appropriate that the presentation should be made in the re-opened pub vault, where we continued with our Branch monthly meeting. Jordan says the snooker room is also back in full swing, which seems so reminiscent of the heyday of pub snooker on the Fylde.

At last, Victoria has cast off her widow’s weeds and, with a nod to the past, turned her head to the Future!

Neil Pascoe

Middle Earth Beer Festival


Thursday 11th June to Sunday 14th June 2015 MIDDLEslim

Hurst Green Village Hall, Ribble Valley, Lancashire

J.R.R Tolkien often visited his son John at Stonyhurst College in Hurst Green in Lancashire and it is widely believed that the Middle_Earth_Beer_Festival_4beautiful countryside of the Ribble Valley and the mystical & rugged Forest of Bowland were amongst Tolkien’s influences for Middle Earth – the setting for his masterpiece novel, The Lord Of The Rings.

Tolkien and his family stayed in a guest Middle_Earth_Beer_Festival_1house in the grounds of Stonyhurst College and is
believed that he worked on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ in a classroom on the upper galleries of the College. His signature appears i
the College guest book

middle earth beer festival

A number of names which occur in The Lord of the Rings are very similar to nam
es found locally, including Shire Lane in the village of Hurst Green and the River Shirebourn; a near perfect match to the surname Shireburn. The Shireburn family built Stonyhurst; and might the Hacking Ferry across the River Ribble be the inspiration for Buckleberry Ferry on the Brandywine River?

Over 40 real ales & 15 ciders from all parts of The Shire & beyond!
Great food available throughout the festival

Live music every day from 20 live bands & musicians.

Purchase tickets online at We Got Tickets more information here


All hail the Hall Ale

Lytham Hall beer

 March 19, 2015

  CHEERS to big-hearted Lytham Brewery for creating an anniversary ale that has given a big Lytham_Hallfundraising boost to Lytham Hall.

 The toast was to 1764!

 For that’s the year that Lytham Hall’s Georgian façade was built – and it was also the name of the highly successful hand-pulled ale – brewed to celebrate the mansion’s 250th birthday.

 The beer proved to be a best seller across the Fylde, Lancashire and beyond last summer – with some 7,000 pints of Lytham Hall 1764 sunk at pubs, clubs and beer festivals.

 And as the big-hearted brewery generously pledged to donate £5 for every one of the barrels sold, that meant that director James Booker was recently able to hand over a bumper £500 cheque for Hall renovation funds.

 The micro-brewery, based in Lord Street, St Annes, also donated firkins of the beer to  the Hall’s popular café – meaning that the full price of a pint sold on the premises  could go  to hall repairs – amounting to a further £1,000.

  James said: “ The beer proved very popular Hall’s official birthday celebrations and CAMRA also All hail the hall with anniversary ale!featured it at their Beer Festival at Lowther Pavilion, Lytham. We were only too happy to help such a worthy cause.”

   Hall Activity Plan Officer Marianne Blaauboer who accepted the brewery cheque, added : “When we approached Lytham Brewery with the idea of an ale to celebrate 250 years since finishing the Georgian hall, we didn’t think it would be such a success. The beer was absolutely delicious and we felt very proud to see it on sale in regional pubs.”

 The special ale undoubtedly increased Lytham Hall ’s profile – with work set to start in earnest on the interior and exterior of the hall as part of a  £5.9m restoration project  later this year. Visitors have already seen a huge difference in the historic parkland with extensive work on the woodlands, gardens and Mount.

 John Miller, Chief Executive of Heritage Trust for the North West, the charity managing Lytham Hall, concluded: “With local businesses such as Lytham Brewery taking an interest in the preservation and restoration of Lytham Hall, we know the future of the Hall is looking bright. We welcome any other business who has an idea of supporting the Hall in the coming years and thank Lytham Brewery for their fantastic gesture.”

Blackpool superpub is open for business

JD Wetherspoons pub The Velvet Coaster

Opening of the new JD Wetherspoons pub The Velvet Coaster on New South Promenade. Pictured L-R are Brian Rose, Alan Haynes and mayor Val Haynes with manager Becki White.

The Mayor was on hand to call opening time on Blackpool’s newest boozer – one of the biggest anywhere in the UK.

Wetherspoons’ Velvet Coaster, named after an early ride at the Pleasure Beach, threw open the doors to welcome the first customers to the £3.86m purpose-built superpub.

 The glass and steel building, with three floors and a roof terrace beer garden was described as a brilliant new asset for the resort.
 Decorated inside with Blackpool theatre posters, a huge wickerwork sculpture of a circus strongman, and a timeline of Blackpool’s history running along the inside of its front wall, the pub was given the thumbs-up by its first day customers.
 The investment, on the former site of the Lucky Star amusements arcade, has created up to 160 jobs for local people.

Blackpool Mayor Coun Val Haynes said she was impressed with the quality of build of the pub.

She said: “It is amazing, absolutely fantastic.

“This is exactly the sort of investment Blackpool needs.

“The roof garden with the glass panels around it to shelter customers is great, and will be fantastic in summer.

“We wish Wetherspoons every success. It is a brilliant asset to the resort and the firm has brought a tremendous amount of investment to Blackpool over the years.”

The pub will be open from 8am until midnight seven days a week, which means a large number of staff will be needed to cover shifts behind the bar and in the kitchen, resulting in bumper job opportunities.

Pub general manager Becki White said: “Learning everyone’s name is quite a challenge! This must be the biggest Wetherspoons pub in the country, and its design is amazing and very exciting to be opening.

“We have amazing facilities including an all singing all dancing disabled toilet facilities with a nursing bench and a hoist. Every floor is different and we have a great selection of craft ales including local ones.

“We will be having beers from the Lytham and Phoenix breweries.

“We do food all day from breakfast right up until 10pm and children are welcome until that time.”

Gail Marsden and her partner Phil Moores, on a short break from Huddersfield, said they were amazed by the size of the pub. Gail said: “I have never seen a pub so big, but at the same time it is quite cosy with all the different sections and the open fire.”

Phil said: “We are here for breakfast and then we will come back tonight. I love the Blackpool theme in the decoration and the seating areas on the roof are great.”


Blackpool set for 160 new jobs at resort pub

Blackpool set for 160 new jobs at resort pub
An artists impression of the new Wetherspoon’s on South Promenade.
 11:20Thursday 07 May 2015
A total of 160 jobs are to be served up in Blackpool when one of the largest pubs in the country opens its doors.

The Velvet Coaster is due to be opened by the Mayor of Blackpool, Coun Val Haynes, on Tuesday next week after its owners Wetherspoons spent £3.86m on a total reworking of the building.

Formerly the Lucky Star amusement arcade on New South Promenade, the pub, named after an historic ride at the Pleasure Beach by readers of The Gazette, will have three bars over three floors.

It is promising fun-fair themed decor throughout the interior with carpets and a fireplace area having ‘waltzer’ style designs.
Historical photos, details of local history, information relating to events, historical buildings and characters of the area, as well as artwork by local artists, will also be on display.

The pub will be open from 8am until midnight seven days a week, which means a large number of staff will be needed to cover all the shifts and resulting in bumper job opportunities.

Rebecca White, who was previously at Wetherspoons’ The Albert and The Lion, will be manager of the pub.

She said: “Me and my team are looking forward to 
welcoming customers into the pub and we are confident that it will be a great 
addition to the Blackpool community.”

She said the Velvet Coaster will specialise in real ales, as well as craft and world beers, serving a wide range of different draught ales, as well as bottled beers, including those from local and regional brewers.

“It will be open for family dining, with children, accompanied by an adult, welcome in the pub up until 10pm, throughout the week.

“It will also be wheelchair accessible and have a specially-adapted toilet for people with disabilities.”

She said the pub will have a ground floor level beer garden to the front of the premises, where smoking will be permitted in a designated area, as well as a balcony terrace on the first floor and a roof garden and bar.

The name comes from a ride on the Pleasure Beach which dates back to the early 1900s.

Its open carriages, with velvet seats, climbed a white wooden structure before sweeping down humps and around curves on two circuits of the track.

It was rebuilt, in 1933, and was known simply as Roller Coaster, until 2010. It is now named Nickelodeon Streak.

The company already runs three pubs in Blackpool: The Auctioneer in Lytham Road, The Albert and The Lion in Bank Hey Street and The Layton Rakes in Market Street.


Blackpool’s Saddle reins in beer award

Blackpool’s Saddle reins in beer award
Saddle landlord Andy Rodgers (left) accepting the summer pub of the season award from CAMRA branch chairman Paul Smith.
An historic Blackpool watering hole has been voted pub of the season by beer buffs.The Saddle, in Whitegate Drive, has picked up the summer award from Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre CAMRA.

The CAMRA members interrupted a charity race night at The Saddle to present landlord Andy Rogers with the honour.

The Whitegate Drive hostelry was selected by local beer enthusiasts as the best pub for summer, largely for the quality and variety of its beer, but also to recognise the efforts made by the staff and management to promote quality real ale.

Accepting the award from branch chairman Paul Smith, landlord Andy Rodgers thanked the CAMRA members for their support.

He also paid tribute to his staff and regulars for making the pub the success that it is.

Branch publicity officer Russell Cobb said: “The Saddle bar boasts six or seven real ales in extremely good condition.

“It’s a worthy winner and the pub will also be staging another beer festival later in the year.”

The pub is thought to be the oldest in Blackpool, dating from 1776.

At the end of last year it 
underwent a revamp and had extra hand-pumps installed to extend its real ale offer which also now includes locally brewed beers from Lytham and Lancaster.

Meanwhile, the CAMRA team have announced that they will be continuing with the popular autumn beer festival in Lytham.

The Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre branch of CAMRA will be putting on the eighth Lytham Beer & Cider festival at the Lowther Pavilion from October 1 to October 3.

Russell added: “We are, as ever, delighted to be staging the Lytham festival, and we would like to thank the Lowther management for giving us the opportunity to bring quality real ale to the South Fylde once again.

“This will be our eighth festival and we hope there are many more to come.”

The festival will, as usual, feature around 90 real ales plus a selection of ciders and perries, as well as bottled beer from around the world.

Live music will be featured on the Friday and Saturday nights and Russell said more information will be released closer to the date.