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Pub Visit - England

Visited on: Saturday 25th January 2020

Bob Thompson

Casked1This pub prompts the common question “Is it or is it not a micro-pub?”. In this case the answer is easy as it was and is no longer. Actually the question is rather pointless as newly opened pubs should be judged on their ethos and policies, not their size.

The original “Casked” was a micro-pub and was opened by husband and wife team Mike and Amanda Jones on 20th December 2017.

It was successful right from the start. So much so that it was often impossible to enter on a Friday evening.

So popular that it was decided in early 2019 to extend into the adjacent shop unit that had became vacant. In the summer of that year the pub was closed for a while whilst the works to connect the two properties were made. During this intermission the couple set up a “pop-up” bar in a vacant unit in Bank Street.

Casked2I believe it was August 2019 when the enlarged pub opened with a new name “Casked Ale House and Ginporium”. And of course, it was no longer a micro-pub. It was awarded Rossendale area “Pub of the Year 2019” by the East Lancashire branch of CAMRA. It achieved the accolade again in 2020. Mike and Amanda are normally the only people behind the bar and can work up to seventy hours each per week.

On my walk to the pub I passed Fitzpatrick’s, the last temperance pub in the country. Once they were quite common, especially in industrial settings. Most were established in the late 1880s / early 1900s.

Alcohol consumption then was perceived to be a major problem by some of the more puritan churches and temperance societies. It actually closed quite recently and was rescued by a new owner. Please see photograph, left.

I had always wanted to visit it, so I couldn’t walk past. Actually inside, I was a little disappointed as it was more like a café than a bar with ice creams and the like being sold. I wish I had visited it earlier in its previous guise. Never mind, my glass of sarsaparilla was wonderful, bringing memories of drinking it as a child.

Casked3I couldn’t miss Casked as its fascia signs are yellow and orange. From the entrance door I could see the small L-shaped bar counter in this room. The rest of the space was occupied by a few fitted settles with the remainder of the room occupied by loose tables and chairs. It was really busy in here so I went down a step into the other part of the pub.

Here, there was straight bar counter on my left, the rear of the pub. Quite a large part of the dividing wall had been removed to provide an interconnection between the two sections of the pub.

Here the furniture was very similar to the other room. There were some shelves along the wall and window. In the middle of the room is an upturned barrel acting as a table with high stools around it.

Casked4It is the policy of the pub to resource their beers locally. There were two from Irwell Works Brewery of Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester, Breadcrumbs (3.6%), a pale bitter and Marshmallow Unicorn (4.4%), a stout. Then there was Brewsmith (Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester) Pale Ale (4.2%); Nightjar Brewery (formerly Slightly Foxed) (Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire) Chosen Pale Ale (3.9%).

The selection continued with Strata Brewing (temporarily at Whitworth, Greater Manchester) Twalweg (4.0%), described as a Cascade Pale Ale.

And finally, the house beer Casked Bitter (3.8%) brewed for the pub by Reedy Hollows Brewery of Burnley, Lancashire). There were also a traditional cider and perry from Gwynt y ddraig of Pontypridd, Glamorgan, South Wales: Ancient Warrior (6.5%) and Two Trees Perry (4.5%).

This is a great pub to visit. It is close to the East Lancashire Railway Station and Rawtenstall Bus Station.

Important Information:

Casked Ale House, 14-16 Bury Road, Rawtenstall BB4 6AA. Tel: 07764_695261

Hours: Monday-Tuesday: Closed; Wednesday-Thursday: 12.00-22.00;
Friday-Saturday: 12.00-23.00; Sunday: 12.00-20.00.

The pub is close to the East Lancashire Railway station and this is a good way to arrive.
However, it doesn’t run every day. From the railway station entrance walk up Bury Road.
You will see the pub on the right side of the road after about three hundred metres.

Probably the best way to get here, at least from Manchester is the X43 Witchway express bus.
It runs every 15 minutes Monday to Friday, half hourly in the evening.
On Saturdays it is every 15 minutes till 16.00, half hourly thereafter.
Sundays is half hourly, finishing at 21:00.
From the Bus Station, walk out the front and turn right, then turn left and pub is on the left.