A.J. Walker



An 8 Pub Preston Trip

On a very sunny Saturday I went for a little trip around Preston. On Sunday my phone flashed up my photos from a year ago from my last visit to Preston. Yep, not by design but there were 364 days between my visits. Spooky!

It's a short train journey from Lime Street at around 55 minutes, so is a handy option to go at short notice - if you are that way inclined.

First up was
The Station, which is probably one to miss out if you're looking for better ales and a nicer vibe. But it is handy for the station (funny that) and I ended up watching twenty minutes or so of the Man Utd v Everton match whilst supping on a Robinson's 'Unicorn' and planning my afternoon (well, replanning - it would mostly be the same as my last trip to the city). The pint would be the cheapest of the day anyway.


Next up, as half time approached in the Everton match (0-0 at the time), was The Old Vic. A nicer option than the Station with a few more beers on. I had a Salopian 'Second Life' which I hadn't seen before. I went to this pub last time and it was busy with footy fans then. This time there were a couple of sizeable groups of people and plenty of couples too. I suspect it is quite lively of an evening. There was some bloke dressed up as a golden Elvis (I think that's what he was, but who knows?).

Third up was the second (and last) of my new pubs: the
Winckley Ale House. I did visit this lovely micro pub last time, but couldn't get a beer as they are card only and I'd lost mine at the time. I still don't like places not taking cash. It's not fair on people who don't have the option (or want to not use that option). But hey ho, it is the world we live in. They had four casks on, including the Cloudwater Chubbles. I chose not to take the Chubble option, because a) it was very pricey and b) it was pretty strong, and therefore not ideal early on in a trip. So I went for a lovely drop from Rivington 'Bounced Right Back' - a 4.2% pale. It was a shame I had to sit indoors as the sun was shining on the few (busy) tables outside.

I walked past Hopwoods and headed straight to the popular
Guild Ale House next. Had two pints there: Bingley 'Juno' and Redwillow 'Sabro Simcoe.' And then headed over the road to their sister pub in the market, The Orchard, where I had another Redwillow - this time a 'Feck Less'.


Five pubs in and I was on the home straight. I decided not to stay out too long though and would miss out the long(ish) walk to the
Vinyl, so next up was the nearby Black Horse. A proper, old, multi-room pub. Had an Anarchy 'Blonde Star' here. Then it was time to head to the last two pubs of my tour of Preston ale establishments: the excellent Plug & Taps, and Plau.

Finally found a place to sit outside, at the
Plug & Taps and chatted to a couple of lads about footy, music and ale (other than cheese and curries that was most conversation groups covered). Had my second Rivington of the day, 'Beach House'.

Then my final pint, before getting back to Liverpool, was a
Mobberley 'Elysium' in a suprisingly quiet Plau.


All in all it had been a good trip on a true blue sky day. Definitely recommend giving Preston a go if you haven't done it for a while.

The pubs I visited were:

The Station
The Old Vic
Winckley Ale House
Guild Ale House
The Orchard
The Black Horse
Plug & Taps

I'll post a map up here shortly.

The Guild of Real Ale

Yet again I am late with my weekly beer blog. You could almost not set your watch by it. Anyway its been less than a fortnight so that's an improvement I guess.

I got to one hundred venues a week ago or so with my visits to
Shenanigans (Guinness) and Carnival Brewery. Chatted to some lovely people in both places. After that the week panned out with the usual places including Dr Duncans for the Benfica v Liverpool match, and another open mic in the Keystone.

On Friday I spent the evening with my mates in
Doctor Duncans drinking a few Neptune and some Salopian. It was a good evening of chat and ales.

I decided during the evening that (if I woke up early enough) I'd make a visit to Preston. It was the place I went on my last CAMRA coach trip before the lockdowns hit, and I'd been pleasantly surprised.

I did indeed wake up in good time. Unfortunately because Saturday was the day a) Everton v Man Utd and b) the Grand National at Aintree, I had not a cat in hells chance of getting a full English in the Shiraz. Shame. But it will make my next successful visit there all the more great.

Firefly Class, Serenity

A Pre-Drinks Breakfast in Head of Steam

I grabbed a wee breakfast in the Head of Steam instead and therefore had a pint (of Galene) instead of a coffee. Then I (un)fortunately had time to take in a Thornbridge 'Ruin' before heading to Lime Street. Did a bit of surfing to make sure I knew where the headline pubs were. It's a small city in any case, so even if there was some wandering around I'd never impact too much on the day.

Strange Goings On Abound in Liverpool

Whilst I was getting a beer in the Head of Steam a group of blokes came in all rattling with bells. It was a Morris Dance troupe from Yorkshire or Derbyshire I think. The things you see when you haven't got a gun. It turned out that it wasn't a one off. As I went to Lime Street Station I came upon another three groups doing their thing. Not sure what the occasion was.

In my plan for the day I'd written '7 hours, 7 pubs; read book; pick Grand National winner" - spoiler alert: I managed (or even exceeded) only one of those planned items. To save you scanning the whole page: it was the pubs in Preston. I actually went to eight. Unfortunately. In hind sight I really wish I'd missed pub 2B out. The full walk took in:

1. Old Vic
Winkley Street Alehouse (shame I didn't get in for a beer)
2B. Hopwoods
(shame I did get in for a beer)
3. Guild Ale House
4. The Orchard
5. Black Horse
6. Plug & Taps
7. Plau
8. Vinyl

The Old Vic

The direct train to Preston from Liverpool was only 52 minutes which was very handy really. First pub up in Preston was the
Old Vic just up the street from the station. It was pretty busy with standing room only. Being so close to the station it was a magnet for football fans up for the Preston match, so it was full of Londoners up for the QPR game. Had a nice pint of Black Edge 'Blonde Ultra Pale.'

Winkley Street Ale House

Walked down Fishergate and then right down Winkley Street to the Alehouse. Looked a cool place and I'd definitely go there if… if took cash. Unfortunately my cash csrd is damaged and won't work as contactless (or indeed if inserted into a card reader). The bar is one of the few I've been to which is card only. Legal tender is illegal in some places. A shame. Maybe next time though.


Back on to Friargate and I came upon a nice looking place called Hopwoods. Had four casks on. Asked for a Loweswater Gold. There hadn't been prices on the wall and the beer isn't strong, nor the place any great shakes, so I was a little (lot) shocked to be asked for £5.50, Shame it wasn't card only. Ho hum.

The Guild Ale House

Next up it was one of my fave Preston pubs (hey only my third visit, but it is): The Guild Ale House. It's a must visit pub with plenty of cask options (seven hand pulls). I went for a Brewsmith and a Wild Childe, but there were other equally good options.

The Orchard

Across the road in the market is The Orchard, a small unit which is a sister pub to the Guild. A couple of casks on. I had 'Swan Blonde' from Bowness Bay.

Black Horse

It's a short walk from the Orchard to the much more traditional Black Horse. Nice big place with plenty of rooms.

Plug & Taps

And then it is a similar distance to the next pub, which is the fabulous Plug & Taps. The city centre is very small really and ideal for a nice crawl of 6-8 pubs or so. There's not going to be any worry about sore feet - or much valuable time wasted walking between one pub and another. Had a lovely Track Brewery 'Sonama.'

Plug & Taps


A few people I chatted to on the crawl recommended Plau (pronounced Plough so if you here them saying it, it's this place). Nice bar with four casks on.


Last up was
Vinyl Tap (and yes you can probably crank it up to 11). A bit more of a walk, but only in comparison with so many being so so close together. Ended the day with an all so traditional Oakham 'Citra.' All in all a damn good day out. I'd recommend everywhere I went - apart from Hopwoods (and of course make sure you've got contactless options if you're heading to Winkley Street Alehouse.

I'll do a proper map at some point. In the meantime here is a very rough sketch. Maybe next week I'll have something better (I'm just playing with a new bit of software).

Very Rough Sketch Map - Forgive Me

The Vinyl Tap was venue
108 for the year… still counting, if not ticking.