Advertiser Life Another great round for ale fest
SOUTHPORT Beer and Cider Festival proved a success last weekend, with almost 900 people drinking 4,392 pints over the three days.
Running under the organisation of the Southport and West Lancashire branch of Campaign for Real Ales (Camra) from Thursday until Saturday, the festival took place at the St John Ambulance Hall and featured around 60 beers, ciders and perries.
Camra presented their annual awards on the opening night with a host of winners honoured.
The following were hailed as the best bar staff of the year: Kelly Beckett of Tap Room 12, Ormskirk; Lewis Connor of the Cricketers, Ormskirk; Deborah Dean of the Hopvine, Burscough; Emma Frith of the Grasshopper, Hillside; Emma Howard of the Fishermans Rest, Birkdale; Sasha Porter of the Pines, Hillside; Kate Rooke of the Grasshopper, Hillside and Lee Rooney of the Sir Henry Segrave, Southport.
The Pines in Hillside was voted by Camra members as the best newcomer in the region, and the Upsteps in Birkdale won community pub of the year.
Heatons Bridge in Scarisbrick received the gong for country pub of the year.
Dave Speak, licensee of the Cricketers in Ormskirk, joined Grasshopper licensee Angie Frith, Gail Heyes of the Guest House in Southport, Eddie Loftus of the Fishermans Rest in Birkdale and Mike McCombe of the Hop Vine in Burscough in being recognised as a licensee of excellence.
The Guest House took the summer pub of the year award, while the Grasshopper scooped another award when it was voted cider pub of the year.
Paul Bardsley, owner of Support Brewery, his brother Peter Bardsley – who was, until his retirement last year, owner of the Inn Beer Shop on Lord Street – and John Bardsley of the Legendary Lancashire Heroes shop on Shakespeare Street received special recognition.
The Bardsley brothers scooped the David Griffith Memorial Award for their work supporting real ale in Southport over the years.
The chairman of the Southport and West Lancashire Camra branch, Doug MacAdam, said: “Paul was active in the branch and he did a heck of a lot for us, some really interesting social events, and he opened a brewery.
“Paul introduced the first brewery in the town since the 19th century, it was over 100 years since we’d had a brewery in the town and he sold that a year ago last December.
“Peter opened the Inn Beer Shop, the first in the North West, and obviously John has been going for 30 years.”
Speaking about the event as a whole, Doug believes that it was a bigger success than he thought it would be.
“From what I can gather everyone was happy with the choice of beers.
“It seemed to go very well, and the ukulele band on the Saturday, Ukrythmics from Ainsdale, seemed to go down very well and they enjoyed themselves.”
Doug added that the pubs chosen for awards were voted for by Camra members just before the festival.
“They were all chosen by branch members, we do nominations first and then we got members to vote by email, post or by phone.”
The beer of the festival was declared to be Black Edge Brewery Treacle Stout, and the cider of the festival was won by Lilley’s Gladiator.
Camra Column: What’s On