Having an Ale of a time.

Real English Ale

These days – finding a traditional community pub is becoming increasingly difficult. Many cornerstones of our local community have since become A tesco local or some other form of development or simply just sit dormant waiting for a developer to bulldoze the lot of it. One community pub that stands out head and shoulders above the rest and has seemed unwavering over the years is situated in the Heart of Poulton – They haven’t sold out to a big chain to compete with the likes of wetherspoon or flaming grill type pubs – they don’t even sell food. They focus on what they always have done. ALE.

Known over the years just as the Thatched – The Thatched House in Poulton is now the latest in a line of pubs to become a micro-brewery – creating their own signature ales on site. The Chapel Street Brewery is located at the rear of the pub but don’t let it’s size put you off – the ales they produce are decent enough to keep the punters packed in. On a Tuesday evening last week we visited the venue to have a chat with Declan the Manager to see what all the fuss was about.

Expecting the usual quiet Tuesday tea time drinkers to be propping up the bar one man and his dog style – we were amazed at how many people were actually in the pub at 6PM. Listening to what the customers want has been the key to the success of this place over the years, and with it being a Tuesday – there was a footy match being shown on large TVs throughout the venue. Declan explained that they show all the big matches in the pub and if there’s a clash between 2 popular teams playing at the same time – they are able to show those matches in different rooms of the pub keeping everyone happy. It wasn’t full of louts singing and cheering – there was a wide variety of ages and people from all walks of life all sharing in the community spirit of the place.

Whilst in the room which used to serve as the vault – we got chatting to a fella called Tommo (that’s what his own glass from behind the bar said anyway)
He explained to us that the regulars in the Thatched – of which there are so many now – often get together not only to enjoy a few beers but they also join forces to help raise money for local good causes – the latest of which was a fund raiser for Brian House on which they raised £1400 – Attested to by the framed photograph of the locals stood outside the venue for a photograph presenting the cheque – which was pride of place above the fireplace in the vault.

Tommo also was quite happy to tell us that the staff were as “honest as the day is long” and he explained that the culture of tipping 20p per round still existed among many of the regulars.

The lads behind the bar were indeed kept very busy and there wasn’t a moment when the pumps sat still. Ale was flowing all the time we were in there and we might add – was expertly hand pumped by lads who were obviously used to pulling pint after pint. We were interested to get down to the nitty gritty of the place because after all it’s a real Ale pub so what about the real ale.

We were presented with 4 small glasses of ale to sample by Declan, 2 of which were brewed on site and the other 2 being guest ales from the North of England.

First up we had Chapel Street Blonde – 3.9%. Brewed in-house – This was a light ale, very easy going, more of a session ale that that’s easy on the palate – similar to what this pub has been known for over the years – (boddingtons). This blonde was very pleasant and had a very subtle grapefruit tang afterwards but wasn’t too bitter at all.


The second ale we were presented with was another brewed in-house – Double Hop – a name that describes the process of adding extra hops to the barrel to give a slow release in the barrel after the initial brewing process. This again was a very smooth ale, tasty – not too heavy very moreish. Slightly dryer aftertaste than the first ale.

The third ale we were given was Bradfield Farmers Blonde brewed in Sheffield. This was a slightly more fruity taste than the chapel street blonde and was very much a summery type of ale. A very traditional taste probably more suited to a seasoned drinker however it was very light and on a few of the sips tasted almost like the kind of ale a lager drinker could convert from as an entry point to ales.

The last glass we tried for this review was called Port of Call which was a stout brewed by Bank top in Bolton. This was an impressive 5.0% rich and dark almost like a Guinness but with much more flavor to it. It was a heavy – “meaty” drink and is often used as a nightcap by regulars at the pub as it’s name alludes to it being the last “port of call” for the evening. It’s not the type of drink you could sit all afternoon in the sunshine with but it’s definitely one to try – a few pints will certainly leave you feeling satisfied.

Ale’s aren’t the only drinks on offer – while in the Thatched we noted that there was a good selection of traditional lagers, a wide selection of spirits including some very high end single malts, gins and your usual selection of bottled beers. Bar snacks are very popular in this venue however if you’re looking for a meal – it’ll come in a glass and will likely be suitable for vegans.

The staff AND the regulars were all friendly and inviting and the venue is traditionally dressed with all modern conveniences. There’s also loads of character in this place with pictures and trinkets all over the place reflecting the many colourful locals who have frequented this venue over the years. If you’re new to Ale’s – this place has a full complement of pumps fully loaded with plenty of variety for you to choose from.

For the latest news and offers from the Thatched including details of their regular tuesday night poker nights and other week night events – follow their Facebook page for all the details.