Ormskirk is developing a thirst for craft and cask ales

Ian McClelland at Holborn Wines

Ian McClelland at Holborn Wines - Credit: Archant

The beer community is changing and so are the people who are drinking it.

James Holloway, Katie Smith and Andy Brocken (director) at The Hop Inn, Burscough Street

James Holloway, Katie Smith and Andy Brocken (director) at The Hop Inn, Burscough Street - Credit: Archant

Over the past few years the view that cask ale is an ‘old man’s drink’ has disappeared like the head on a badly poured pint. Cask ale and craft beer has become trendy and more women are now enjoying it. It might have started in London but places like Ormskirk have been very quick to catch on.

Cask ale is beer that is brewed from traditional ingredients and matured in the cask from which it’s served, meaning that it’s fresh and unfiltered. The beer has a unique flavour because what you taste is a living product in its natural state.

‘It’s brilliant that so many bars and establishments that sell cask and craft are popping up in the area,’ said Paul Sheil, who co-owns Source Deli with Matt Fallaize. The deli opened in 2007 and the idea to start selling bottles of craft beer grew organically.

‘When we opened we sold wines and standard beers but as a few more local breweries started up and people got more interested, we thought we would get involved,’ said Paul.

Matt Fallaize and Paul Shiel at Source Deli

Matt Fallaize and Paul Shiel at Source Deli - Credit: Archant

The deli remains firstly a food establishment, but their large shelving unit stocking a vast range of beers entices people to come in and purchase a few favourites and possibly ones they haven’t tried before. Paul and Matt try to keep the selection fresh, providing a mix including local beers to keep people interested.

Source Deli also run a ‘meet the brewer’ event each year, where the two chefs produce a six course menu to compliment the beer provided by a brewer who talks through their drinks selection,

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‘I can honestly say I have tasted every beer we sell!’ laughed Paul, who lives in nearby Burscough. ‘It’s all about quality control and having a bit of knowledge to tell customers what the beer is like.’

The perfect person to advise their customers on what beer to try is Andy Broken. He is co-director of the Hop Inn Bier Shoppe with Mike McCombe. The business partners also co-own Burscough Brewery which is located in a cobbled courtyard to the rear of the popular Hop Vine pub in Burscough. The duo have been brewing since 2010 and their ales are on sale at their Church Street bar.

‘We wanted an outlet in Ormskirk to sell our own beer,’ said Andy, who prior to becoming a brewer had a career in corporate IT. ‘We saw a gap in the market to create a real place to come and try this style of beer.’

The bar, which opened in 2013, has the vibe of a Belgian beer café crossed with an old Victorian pub and stocks a wide range of local and European bottled beers, as well as hand pulls of the Burscough Brewery and regional cask ales.

‘The bar has settled in well in Ormskirk and the response from customers has been great,’ said Andy, adding they have fantastic regular clientele as well as new customers. ‘We also have live music of a Saturday which people really enjoy.

‘From a brewer’s point of view there is a vast amount of choice when it comes to cask. People have different taste preferences and that’s why cask has grown as there’s such variation in taste, style and colour.’

Take a brief walk out of Ormskirk town centre and on the Malthouse Industrial Estate you’ll find Holborn Cask Ales. Run by Ian McClelland, the wine and beer wholesale business has been open since 2011. ‘I’ve been a wholesaler to restaurants for nine years, but then I opened three years ago to also supply to the public,’ said Ian, who lives in Aughton. ‘I still sell at a wholesale price so it is cheaper than going to the supermarket.’

Holborn sells a wide variety of styles of beer from all over the UK, so there’s something for everyone. He deals with each brewery direct, driving to each location to pick up stock.

‘I will try to advise people what is good and what they may like,’ said Ian. ‘However you can’t shun people’s opinions as it is all about individual taste and preference. Who’s right and who’s wrong?’

Ian also has his own beer brand, Holborns, which he supplies to Ormskirk pubs. The brand is very much influenced by Ormskirk with beers named after local landmarks, such as Malthouse and Snigs Foot.

‘No way am I ever going to brew, I don’t have the skill set,’ laughed Ian. ‘It’s a contract beer and the guy who brews it for me is a fantastic session ale brewer. But it’s nice to have your own brand.’

Ormskirk fact box

Where is it?

Ormskirk can be found easily off the A59 or A570. The market town is roughly 19 miles from Preston and nine miles from Southport. Postcode for satnav: L39 3RB

Where to park?

There are numerous of short stay and long stay pay and display car parks in the centre and outskirts of the town. Visit www.westlancsdc.gov.uk for a map of car parks and prices.

What to do there?

- Visit the historic market which dates back to 1286, when the monks at Burscough Priory were granted a Royal Charter by Edward I. Open of a Thursday or Saturday, you’ll find plenty of choice of things to purchase

- Take a trip to The Chapel Gallery and browse the latest exhibition

- Study. Edge Hill University has just been awarded University of the Year in the 10th annual Times Higher Education Awards

Where to eat?

- Piri Piri

A traditional Portuguese restaurant in the centre of Ormskirk specialising in piri piri chicken and classic dishes cooked on a charcoal grill.

Tel: 01695 577100, www.piripiriormskirk.co.uk

Where to drink?

- Lime Tyger

If cocktails are more your thing as apposed to cask beers and ale, here you’ll find a fantastic selection of drinks and food served in a fun atmosphere.

Tel: 01695 575750

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