Chance to taste long-lost local beer once more

Beer enthusiast John Robinson and CAMRAs Brian Gleave examine the beers
Beer enthusiast John Robinson and CAMRAs Brian Gleave examine the beers

Beer enthusiasts can take a trip into the past this weekend and sample a revived ale originally produced by a long-lost Leigh brewery.

George Shaw Premium will be available at a beer festival in Bolton after the traditional strong bitter was created once more thanks to local historian and brewing enthusiast John Robinson.

The George Shaw beers were very well received at the time

John Robinson

Mr Robinson, who was born in Leigh but now lives in Cheshire, has amassed a huge collection of memorabilia and information about the George Shaw Brewery which was taken over by Walkers in 1930.

The Premium has been brought back into existence once more thanks to Tipsy Angel Brewery, an offshoot of Warrington producer 4T’s which was set up to make old beer recipes again.

Mr Robinson has been overseeing small-scale productions of George Shaw beers for a couple of years and is looking forward to reintroducing the borough’s drinkers to part of their ale heritage.

He said: “There’s a market for traditional beers and there’s also one for modern craft beers. There’s also an awareness of beer history.

“If it’s good it will sell and these are recipes that have stood the test of time. The George Shaw beers were very well received at the time.

“It’s going down very well in Warrington, particularly at one bar on the market which is run from someone who lives in Leigh. He can’t get enough of it.

“I worked at the printing firm in Mather Lane Mill and walked past the brewery every day going home. I never saw any barrels and wondered what happened to it so I started researching and it’s a fantastic story.”

Although no trace remains of the actual brewhouse at George Shaw’s brewery lane site some of the old offices and other buildings still stand.

Mr Robinson is now preparing a book telling the full story of the brewery, which produced other beers including its dark mild Common, Tenpenny and Winnie, named after Winston Churchill.

Some of the recipes were adapted by Walkers following the merger, with a beer based on Common with a few tweaks selling at pubs into the 1960s.

Mr Robinson said: “Walkers adapted five of George Shaw’s beers and brewed them for 35 years, so some people in Leigh will remember them, especially the dark mild. You can still see through that beer, it’s beautiful stuff.”

Tipsy Angel has already entered some of its George Shaw recreations into Cheshire ale competitions and been given praise by the judges.

George Shaw Premium is being showcased this weekend at the Daisy Hill Cricket Club ale bash, which Wigan Beer Festival organiser Brian Gleave is helping to put together.

Mr Gleave said the organisers were delighted to be featuring the recreated beer, especially as the event also includes the St George’s Day celebrations.

The festival runs to Sunday, with all sessions running until late.