I HAVE to say that the beery landscape has changed dramatically in recent times. The corner street pub is now a rare species. Wet-led boozers are reducing in number as the demand for a steak with your stout and a burger with your bitter is in the ascendancy.

I visited one such booze and bite establishment, The Grill and Grain at the Boatyard, Hoghton, which reopened last November after a £1M plus investment by Daniel Thwaites. It's ideally situated too, just a minute from Junction 3 of the M65.

My main intention on this visit was to view the small micro-brewery housed within the confines of this rather swanky pub/restaurant. Well, I did say at the outset the beery landscape was changing.

I had been invited by Thwaites’ head brewer, Brian Yorston, to view this one brewery barrel operation.

It was quite an unconventional feel as we walked into the brewing area as the brewery is annexed to the bar area giving customers a unique peek at the brewing process. The smell of malted grain and hot food was certainly a pleasant experience.

Thwaites brewing duo, Mark O’Sullivan and Stuart Smith, were busy brewing Gold, one of three beers brewed on site, the other two being Ruby and IPA. This triumvirate are on the bar permanently along with three other rotating Thwaites ales.

Brian said: "We try to cater for all palates - lighter beers, darker beers and IPA style beers. The one third pint beer paddles prove popular as they give customers a chance to taste all three for the price of a pint.

“We do the same tests for beer here as we apply at the main brewery in Blackburn.”

So, that naturally was a cue for some sampling.

I kicked off with Grill and Grain Gold, their best seller. A refreshing light ale at 3.8%. The biscuit malt and honey notes were nicely balanced, a tasty session beer indeed.

The Ruby was also a tasty tipple. A quite robust ale at 4.2%. Subtle roasted malt and a fruity flavour were detected.

My favourite of the three was the IPA which ticked all the boxes. A glorious beverage with a medley of tropical fruits on the taste buds.

The IPA was an excellent match with the food I had from the Grill and Grain's extensive home cooked menu. A sumptuous chicken and pulled pork burger, cooked on a wood-fuelled open grill. The grill has been imported from the USA and forms part of their open-plan kitchen.

I really enjoyed my trip to the Grill and Grain Boatyard. It was a food and beer experience to savour. An experience enjoyed in spacious and comfy surroundings and in a beautiful and tranquil, canalside location.

Manager, Mark McKeown, and his staff are guaranteed to give you a friendly welcome at this imposing establishment.