Monday, 31 October 2016

The Hop Vine, Burscough

The Hop Vine in Burscough
It's been a while since I visited the Hop Vine, so I hopped on the train try it out. It is unique locally in that it has its own brewery behind the pub, Burscough Brewing Company, which brewed its millionth pint last June. When I visited, the pub was very busy with both drinkers and diners: this is a pub that successfully caters for both. The pub is very attractively decorated and in the drinking area there are barrels as tables and a fireplace with a wooden surround. I found the busy bar staff to be friendly and helpful.

First the real ales: Hope Vine Bitter at an extremely reasonable £2.60 a pint; Burscough Mere Blonde; Timothy Taylor's Landlord; Epic IPA; Camel Town IPA; and Oasis Stout. The Camel Town IPA is brewed on site and the name is derived from the old CB radio name for Burscough, Camel Town, a reference to the two hump bridges in the town over the railway and the canal. At 5.5%, it is deceptively drinkable. Two craft beers were on offer: Tiny Rebel Cwtch, which in its cask form was crowned CAMRA's Champion Beer of Britain, and Lucky Jack. All the beers I tried were in good form.

This pub is well-known for its food, and it has a very extensive menu as well as an extensive list of specials. I asked a woman who was confirming a group booking for a Christmas meal (she had made the provisional booking last January) what she thought of the food, and she had nothing but praise. Food is available daily between midday and 2pm and 6pm and 8.30pm, except Sunday when it's midday to 8.30pm.

Quiz night is Tuesday and there's live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A gents club-style new function suite upstairs is available for bookings. The pub has disabled access, beer garden, car park, free WiFi and welcomes children. It is on Liverpool Road North, Burscough, L40 4BY, three minutes' walk from Burscough Bridge Station. Phone: 01704 893799. Their website is here, and they're on Facebook.

This is part of a series of articles that I am writing for the CAMRA column in our local paper, the Southport Visiter. Previous reviews are here.

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