Mark Briggs has been a real ale connoisseur for over 35 years.  A self-professed ‘beer geek’, Mark visits East Lancashire’s pubs for his weekly column. Read of Mark’s straight talking views on beer at his blog or follow him on Twitter @realaleupnorth

THIS weeks’s jolly jaunt takes me to one of the area’s more traditional pubs — an establishment that still upholds many features and activities you associate with a local community boozer.

The Abbey is ideally located, just a five minute stroll from the town centre, and as I walked into this popular watering hole I was welcomed by the pub cat, Missy. Well, I thought, that’s a nice, friendly start, to kick-off proceedings.

The pub is very traditional in my opinion, with its semi open-plan design, comprising a small, old fashioned ‘snug’-type room with dartboard, television and soft furnishings and a good-sized lounge/TV room at the rear of the pub.

The pub has been run for six years by Mick and Lorraine Morris and they have turned it into one of the most popular real ale pubs in the area. It has been in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for the last three years and has just received its Cask Marque accreditation for beer quality.

Well, there was certainly plenty of cask ales to choose from — six in total. Carly behind the bar was very helpful and friendly and it was good to see that she was eager to tell me about the range of beers on offer.

Carly said: “The Tetley and John Smith’s cask beers are the most popular at £2.20. But the rest, like the Thwaites Wainwright and the Sharpe’s Doombar, sell very well too. All the beers up to five per cent are £2.40. The stronger ones are £2.45.”

Crikey, excellent value — and it's good to see the strong ales only increasing by a 5p margin!

It did not surprise me that the more traditional, well-established beers were the most popular in the Abbey. However, I went for the Brakspear Bitter — a malty, slightly sweet and moderately hopped beer. A nice drop — and in good nick.

Landlord Mick said: “The pub used to be John Smith’s and their cask beer has always been served here for as long as I can remember — it's always been our best seller.”

The Abbey has a most friendly environment, and some of the regulars were having their usual chat, and exchanging some banter.

One regular, Mick Healey said: “I come here seven days a week and play for the dominoes team — I’m the current player of the year.”

Not surprisingly there are lots of traditional pub activities at the Abbey. They have men’s, women’s and mixed dominoes teams and also boast both a men’s and women’s darts team.

Live entertainment is also on throughout the weekend, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. And from the January 9 there will be a quiz night every Thursday.

The Abbey is a cosy, warm, relaxing ale house, a pub where regulars will make you feel welcome and where staff are polite and pleasant. But, I always leave these traditional type boozers with the feeling that they are becoming more and more of a rare species. Thankfully, our locality still boasts a few, like this popular Accrington destination.