My favourite pubs in East Lancashire

As we head towards another New Year, I felt it appropriate to highlight half a dozen of my favourite pubs. Pubs, that in my opinion offer a friendly clientele, good service, value for money and ,above all, an excellent range of quality, cask conditioned beer.
Crooked Billet pub in Worsthorne.
Photo Ben ParsonsCrooked Billet pub in Worsthorne.
Photo Ben Parsons
Crooked Billet pub in Worsthorne. Photo Ben Parsons

I have named two in each of our three local boroughs, namely, Burnley, Pendle and the Ribble Valley.

It was a proper head-scratching job, as the locality has many top-notch ale houses - and I have visited many of them in 2013.

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So let’s commence proceedings with two fine boozers from the Burnley area.

The Crooked Billet at Worsthorne is a classic example of a local community pub.

It offers a warm, cosy, friendly environment along with a great range of locally sourced ales, including three from the Worsthorne Brewing Co. Home-cooked food and a regular schedule of entertainment for customers are also on offer ... the full monty!

Next, we head to Padiham and stop off at the Hare and Hounds.

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This welcoming establishment is arguably the most improved boozer in the locality. Now under new ownership, this once ailing pub, is now thriving.

It boasts six cask ales, a hand-pulled cider and excellent service from the hosts, Stef and Laura Riley.

We head up the Barrowford by-pass for the next port of call.

The Sparrowhawk is our destination.

Another warm, cosy, friendly watering hole, in an idyllic location. Its range of beers tipped the balance here. Six cask ales, mainly from Reedley Hallows, Bank Top and Prospect. Three of the finest microbreweries in the area - no argument.

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It’s over t’hill now, as we descend into Barley, destination, the Pendle Inn.

Again, a cracking range of beers with six always available, mostly rotating - and always in tip-top condition. Great food, lovely staff and a warm, cosy atmosphere - still miffed how it’s not in the Good Beer Guide - but let’s not head down that prickly avenue.

With the “Big End” of Pendle looking resplendent, we head to the Ribble Valley and the New Inn at Clitheroe.

This is one fine drinking den, in the shadow of the castle. Ten cask ales available - beer utopia - an easy nomination for favouritism, at this quirky, old fashioned pub.

Last but not least is the Dog Inn, at Whalley.

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Ideally situated in the village centre and offering all the homely comforts of a typical,traditional boozer. Cosy seated areas, spacious bar area and six rotating ales. Three visits this year, nowt changes. Good ale, good food - and always lots of social entertainment from both sides of the bar - a gem of a pub.

So, there you have it. A splendid-six to recommend. It was such a tough decision to choose ‘em - no doubt there will be a barrage of choice comments and opinion heading my way - Teflon man is used to it!