Yesterday, had a thank you coach trip from Liverpool & Districts CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) for working at the Liverpool Beer Festival last February. Early start (well 10am is early) and pick up from Ship & Mitre and up the M6. Uneventful journey due to being early summer, i’ve seen the queues on the M6 for the Lakes on a Friday before a Bank Holiday whilst traveling back from Glasgow and they are shockingly bad. Hit traffic on the way into Bowness and then between Ambleside and Hawkshead (due to size of the roads and coach meeting car/van coming the other way, well on the way back it was far worse due to one car not budging for five minutes before deciding they might be able to use that extra yard or more they had of space so we could all get through. Why Hawkshead for the first part of the visit?
Well the beer of the festival was Puddled Duck made by Tarn Hows Brewery who are based basically in the middle of nowhere (somewhere between Hawkshead and Barngates). The beer is in the main sent out in wooden casks, and this was how it was at the beer festival in February and it didn’t last long. First pint of the day was in The Sun Inn, well we had three-quarters of an hour before the presentation, and most had gone straight to that pub so to make it easier to get served around fifteen of us descended on this pub instead.
The presentation took place in one of four pubs (or is there more?) in Hawkshead, called The Red Lion, pub is run by a Liverpool season ticket holder with a few indications around the pub that might lead you to think he supports our lot. Not only did Paul and his family supply a free first pint, they also put on a superb buffet spread for us, so if you are ever in the area pop in for a pint or stay in the rooms in the pub. Alistair (and Kelly) were presented with the framed award and a reluctant Alistair gave a small speech. One of his beers (not on in the pub at the time) is called Beertrix Porter, and if you have ever been to Hawkshead, you would see why.
Two other pubs were close by as basically from The Sun Inn to The Red Lion is about a three minute walk so a pub crawl will take about six minutes of walking. We went to The Kings Arms as last pub without having the time to go to The Queens Head.
Off to Staveley for the last part of the trip, and Hawkshead Brewery and its beer hall. Another two pubs in the village, The Duke William (closed for refurb at the start of summer probably means Landlord jacked it in and owners awaiting new tenants, maybe drop the rent to make it a feasible business?) and The Eagle & Child. Hawkshead beers spot on as always, and The Eagle & Child has a nice beer garden by the river. Staveley can be reached by train as it is on the Oxenholme to Windermere branch line and regular buses run.
Home and a quick pint in The Lion before calling it a day, must go back to the Lakes in the near future as it is a superb area with some great pubs.
Just remembered that the Avro Vulcan bomber flew over Hawkshead while we were there, penultimate flight (last is today). An iconic plane.