I’d been expecting to visit Bowland Brewery last year. But oddly, a brewery bar with more than 40 handpumps inexplicably failed to be fast-tracked into GBG 19.

After all, choice ? Isn’t that what we want from our pubs in 2019 ?

Anyway, I was thrilled to be finally making a return to old-fashioned Clitheroe, which I’ve marked here alongside a recent National Pub of the Year. And, coincidentally, the place they found those witches.


Bowland entrance

I was expecting something like a cheery Lancaster Brewery, or flashy Kirkby Lonsdale at a push, but the scale of Bowland’s investment is staggering. Giant food hall, outside entertainment, and the poshest brewery bar I’ve seen so far.


Here’s a little slideshow I created, JUST FOR YOU, on my walk round the bar. That took about 7 minutes, and I needed a lie down after I passed the Wantsum 1381.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I counted 41 handpumps, but feel free to check my addition. And they weren’t all their own homebrew either. Add the array of keg and gins and weird stuff and you wonder where the sales come from. Pravha hasn’t reached Clitheroe yet, which means Peroni still rules the roost.

As you’ll see, it’s like an industrial Brunning & Price.

Very neatly laid tables
Trad seating

And the beer, the first one I saw from Bowland, was just dull and lacking freshness (NBSS 2). Not bad enough to take back, but bad enough for me to silently give thanks for the pot plant.

Who ever thought 41 handpumps was a good idea ?


  1. “After all, choice ? ”

    There’s choice… and then there’s rubbing you nose in it.

    “I was thrilled to be finally making a return to old-fashioned Clitheroe”

    You realise, of course, that I read that as two words, with the break coming between the ‘t’ and the ‘h’? 😉

    “Bowland entrance”

    Well, that makes up for the teeny tiny writing on the map.

    “I counted 41 handpumps, but feel free to check my addition.”

    I count 35 in the slideshow. Maybe I missed a shot of six?

    “Very neatly laid tabled#”


    “Not bad enough to take back, but bad enough for me to silently give thanks for the pot plant.”

    Yup. Turnover wouldn’t be that great unless it was packed.



    1. He was an MEP, prof. He has been returned as one, along with six more complete unknown turkeys, to sit there, flicking food, and making paper planes, in the EU Parliament. And at an utterly critical time, when the country needs the goodwill of twenty-seven other countries for its economic and general survival. They’ll cost us three million quid a year plus expenses, until they get their shoves between the shoulders too.
      What do you mean, old chap? He still has no office here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought you were talking to me! Yes, I ignored the politics and enjoyed the Track brewery tap at £2.50 a pint and took our 17 year old to gawp at the Gay Village.


      2. I ignored it too Martin, and caught up this morning.

        The only dominoes to be seen are in pubs here, it appears though 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Even if we take Russ’s lower figure of 35 handles on the bar, that is still 30 handpumps too many! Even the over-stocked “craft beer” bars I visited in both Ohio and Virginia last summer only ran to around 20 taps; and they were all keg of course.

    For a brewery-bar, keen to showcase its own products, I would say that six handpumps would be more than ample. I haven’t looked at the Bowland range, but say you’ve got a pale ale, an ordinary bitter, a best bitter, an IPA, a porter and a strong dark ale that’s your main beers covered. If you really want to push the boat out, then have an additional pump for your current seasonal beer, but any more is sheer lunacy.

    I don’t know what time of day you visited Martin, but the place looked deserted, with more bar staff than customers. Also, despite whatever charms the town of Clitheroe might possess, it doesn’t come across as a tourist “hot spot.”

    Where are all the customers, who will be falling over themselves to drink nearly 40 cask beers, going to come from? And when they find it a total lottery in terms of quality, will they ever return? What will they tell their mates, and if they’re a beer blogger of both repute and high standing, what will their write-up say about the folly of this permanent “beer exhibition”?

    For me, one word sums up the Bowland Beer Hall, and that is “crazy.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just wondering how many of the pumps actually have beer going through them? Mind, even if it’s half, that’s still far too many.

    Liked by 1 person

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