I THINK you will agree that the British pub is very much part of our culture. A place to relax, socialise and enjoy a pint or two of beer. In some locations, especially in a village, they are the focal point of the community.

I visited one such establishment on the rural outskirts of Burnley this week, a village pub owned since 2012 by Alison Leigh and Paul Miller.

The former Punch Taverns inn had become tired and run down. It was deemed surplus to their requirements and put on the market. Thankfully, this couple purchased the pub, saving it from possible closure.

Its stone, historic facade, bedecked with an array of flowering hanging baskets and tubs, looked resplendent in the early evening sunshine.

Its interior was most impressive too. A mosaic tiled entrance leads you to a stunning wood, glass and art deco tiled horseshoe bar. The spacious bar area itself, along with the snug room and lounge has lots of comfy seating. The dark oak panelled walls, leaded windows and open fireplaces were delightful features.

Alison said: “We have worked very hard here and continue to work hard with our many social events. You get out what you put in. There’s always lots going on. We have a quiz night, folk night, karaoke night, Spanish classes and a Soul night on vinyl. Our regular hog roasts are popular too.”

Of course the main reason for my visit was to sample the cask ales on offer - seven hand pumps at this busy, CAMRA award-winning destination. Five are permanent, including three from Worsthorne Brewery - Billet Gold, Packhorse and Some Like it Blonde (£2.40). The others being, Tetley Cask (landlord’s favourite) and Timothy Taylor’s, Boltmaker (£2.60).

I plumped for one of the two rotating cask ales, a refreshing, thirst-quenching light ale from Acorn Brewery in Barnsley. Their Summer Pale was delicious and in exceptional condition. Straw coloured in presentation, it was a crisp, clean ale with a subtle grassy and lemony aroma and taste.

Alison said: “We always have one light and one dark on permanent rotation.”

The pub also has an excellent reputation for tasty food. One popular offering are locally produced, Haffner’s pies with mushy peas for just £3. Blimey, what value tucker.

The pub was busy for a Tuesday night. It typified its relaxing, social and friendly environment. A Spanish class was underway in the snug room and the bar and lounge area was well populated. Outside the Crooked Billet mountain bike club had congregated in the beer garden. They meet weekly after their cycling endeavours.

I loved my visit to this welcoming and friendly pub. Alison and Paul have so much passion for their immaculately presented rural destination. Their commitment and sheer hard work, in all probability, saved this pub - and made the Crooked Billet a most enjoyable social drinking experience.

Are they pub heroes? Yes, they probably are.