There are still a few one-beer pubs in the Good Beer Guide, but most are either Sam’s pubs or unspoilt rural gems such as the Anchor at High Offley. However, going back a generation, they were very common.
Leafing through the 1979 Guide, most pubs in Greater Manchester still have Mild and Bitter, but we have, for example, the Priory Arms in Salford with just Boddingtons Bitter [E] and, even more unusually, the Rockferry in Ince-in-Makerfield, with just Youngers Scotch Bitter [E]. Several pubs in Gloucestershire only offered the very weak and bland Whitbread West Country Pale Ale, such as the Coopers Arms in Cheltenham and the Butchers Arms at Sheepscombe.
The presence of the one-beer pub in the GBG is now much diminished, although in the country at large there are still plenty of them, some of which do a huge trade with that one beer. There are also plenty of pubs listed in tourist areas with a beer range of, say, “Hancock’s HB; guest beer” where during the winter months it would only be the HB.
So I thought I would do a poll on which beers people would consider acceptable in a one-beer pub. I want to restrict it to beers you are likely to encounter in the North-West, so sadly no Bathams or Harveys. Obviously I will include the familiar bitters from the local family brewers, and Sam’s OBB. Plus well-known, nationally distributed beers such as Draught Bass and Wainwright. Not Doom Bar, as nobody on the internet seems to rate that, although I have encountered it as the sole cask beer in a quite pleasant Cornish pub.
But any suggestions as to micro-brewery beers would be welcome. They need to be fairly widely distributed in the North-West, and be gold/amber/copper beers in a strength range from about 3.6% to 4.5% ABV. Marble Manchester Bitter is an obvious one that springs to mind. It needs to be something that would stand up as a sole beer, not just your personal favourite. So please fire away. I’ll be aiming to keep the poll to around 15 beers in total.
(The Hobsons beer pictured would be one I’d be happy to see, but seldom seen around here)