This ‘ugly sister’ still ticks all the same booze boxes

Often (well once or twice) since crossing the threshold of the Twelve Tellers in Church Street my thoughts have turned to Preston’s other Wetherspoons.

Thursday, 26th February 2015, 5:00 pm
The Greyfriars
The Greyfriars

Suddenly The Greyfriars is an ugly sister. Can’t be helped, just dates from an era when the company had a different strategy.

No costly renovations of neglected listed gems back then. The bigger, the cheaper the better, broadly speaking – which explains why so many Wetherspoons of that vintage resemble nothing quite so much as furnished carpeted warehouses.

Preston’s ain’t that bad. In comparison to some of its peers, scalewise, it is cosy. But if it’s character you’re after...

Absolutely not one trace. Oh, and architecturally the building is of similar value to an upturned crate.

But who cares? The decent crowd in there for Tuesday’s Steak Club (the first rule of Steak Club being tell your friends, free drink with every steak) clearly ain’t too fussed.

It is clean, friendly, comfy, the ale on offer is interesting, good, cheap as ever...

Put it this way, the lovingly preserved coving of a former Trustees Savings Bank was the furthest thing from my mind as I slaked thirst on a pint of Innis & Gunn small batch Scottish lager Tuesday evening this week.

What a jar. If every lager packed this kind of taste is every chance I’d never have jumped ship for cask all those years ago.

Then again, sharp sweet malty floral punch or not, still fairly certain that after three I’d puff up like a painful balloon – as on all lager since turning 40 – so maybe I would.

Back to hand-drawn then, and an Exmoor Gold, which was pleasant enough but not anything to stir the senses.

A sort of toffee biscuit malt affair, not overbearing though, nor particularly thrilling.

Finally, a proper treat. A stout, to my palate, fine as the last I drained by the banks of the Shannon in the fair city of Limerick so many moons ago.

Lytham Brewery’s take on the dark stuff passes a stout test known only to devotees.

Basically, you spend half the pint keeping a very close eye on the angle of your arm for fear that instincts will take over and you inadvertently tip the lot down your pipe in one.

Good stout, like no other ale of my experience, like this, gives mother’s milk a run for its money. Slips away so easy...

And all the while sitting amid decor in a building that makes Crystal House look inspired. Who cares? Not me.