We were still killing time for our trip down into Liverpool, plus I had to pop home for a while. Juggling being close enough to Liverpool to get there on my return with being near a station, and be accessible for my daughter arriving a board meant that Burscough was chosen. The trip back was accomplished in sun and was a lovely trip.
It is hard to see now but this area was a very busy mining area and at Crooke there were mines aplenty. This stytle of bridge was easy to construct and raise when the land was affected by subsidence. Before the Leeds and Liverpool canal was constructed the River Douglas was used. It runs alongside the canal and doesn't look big enough to float anything other than a canoe these days.
The cut east of Parbold passes through some woods that made me think of the 'Lord of the Rings' with gnarled trees seemingly leaning over the water to shake hands with those on the other side.
At Buscough Junction there is a little Preservation area that encompasses the canal workers cottages, the canal structures and the old dry dock that can be seen here in the photo. You can just imaging it still busy with workers and boats coming and going.
We carried on, past Ainscough's Mill and moored before the bridge on the visitor moorings. They were busy laying and improved tow path that made it a bit dusty in the dry weather. Before I dashed home for a few days we decided to go for a meal at the Hop Vine in Buscough. They are a very busy pub that serves lots of food. It was busy with all types of folk and at busy times it would be best to book. The food was good, served quickly and at a good price too.
The Hop Vine was built in 1874 at the side of the A59 through the town and next to the Burscough Bridge station. It would be a handy stop off point along the route between Preston and Liverpool and for the users of the railway. It was then called the Royal Hotel. The old stables that once housed the horses for the wagons and stage coaches that traveled the turnpike are now used by the in-house brewery.
The first brewing was 30th November 2010 with the name of Burscough Brewing Co. Ltd but changed its name to the Hop Vine Brewery in 2017. They only produce for the brewery tap and a recently purchased second pub, the Legh Arms.
The set up was bought second hand from Oban Brewery and is a small 4 barrel unit. Juat enough for the two pubs. They seems to brew three mainstays and then many seasonal, or special beers too.
A main beer is the Best Bitter, 3.8% that they describe as having a cedar nose with green tea tang along with spices. I don't know about you, but that does not encourage me to have one. In actually fact the malty taste could be said to have a 'woody' after taste. It was alright, but not my favourite at all. It was just £2-60 though!
This one is described by the brewery as having a smell of pine and grapefruit with a taste of tropical fruits, mangoes and limes. It sounds like a shampoo or washing up liquid. At 5.2% it has plenty of alcohol and that is really the overpowering mouthful I got. Even at that specific gravity it was still only £3-00.
My favourite of the beers tried was the Hoppy Blonds 4.2%. The tasting notes from the brewery say that the smell is of sage and pine and the taste has hints of liquorice, grapefruit and lychees! Once again this really doesn't do it justice as a beer rather than a disinfectant! However this was a refreshing pint and went down well with a meal.
Overall the meal was very good and the beers were okay, lacking a bit of fullness of body for me but I would definitely go again so I could try to be persuaded by a seasonal beer, and maybe even develop a taste for their other offerings.