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 ale at his website or follow him on Twitter @realaleupnorth

This week my pub review has a slightly different slant as I head off to the January Sales — as well seeking out a local watering hole.

The 'January Sales' are rolled out by Wetherspoon's — a generous discount on their ales running until January 23.

The destination for'the ale sales was, in my opinion, one of the finest ’Spoons establishments in the area — and I have been to quite a few in the North West . . . approximately 30.

The Wallace Hartley is situated close to the town's bus station and shops. Built in the1920s, it was formerly known as the Kings Head. The name is still over the entrance chiselled in stone.

However, when Wetherspoon's purchased the pub in 2008, it was re-named after the bandmaster of the ill-fated Titanic, who was born and raised in Colne.

You enter the pub via an impressive, brass-handled double door, with decorative stained glass windows. It has a huge main lounge area as you walk in. However, on looking around it had obviously been designed to provide many private and more quieter areas.

The pub has an old-fashioned interior, with its relatively low ceiling and dark oak panelled walls. The walls are decorated with lots of old pictures of the town, and of its most famous son, Wallace Hartley.

I strolled up to the long, spacious and decoratively tiled bar area and found 10 cask ales on — at just £1.59 a pint. Crikey, beer utopia!

I was met by a most helpful, knowledgeable and polite staff member, Shelley, who soon identified that I was struggling making a choice. She said: “The five on the left are strong, and the five on the right are the lesser strength beers.”

I went for a classic local ale, Naylors Old Ale. A whopping 5.8 per cent, it's robust, rich and fruity sweet with a taste of dark fruits (plums) with a smooth, plummy hopped finish.

I plonked myself down in a nice, comfy area, adjacent to the entrance. It boasted two leather Chesterfields, soft seating and an open fireplace and hearth. The pub also has a similar, quieter area, on the t'other side of the entrance.

The ale was in excellent condition and I had to sample another 'sale ale' in these comfy surroundings. I navigated towards the Peerless, Santa's Sat Nav — another fine slurp — but not as strong, at 4.8 per cent.

One negative about the place was the dim lighting in certain areas — quite common in Wetherspoon's, I have to say. And of course, it would not be a proper ’Spoons, without a long trek to their immaculate toilets, via 20 or 30 stairs.

It can be quite an ordeal, spending a penny, especially if you have very poor eyesight. I once walked into a broom cupboard at one of their other boozers.

But the positives massively outnumber the negatives. It is an impressive, warm, friendly and relaxing drinking den, with a superb range of value cask ales, all year round. It’s one of the best I have visited in the Wetherspoon's chain — no argument.

I have certainly frequented a few, and perhaps I'm in a good position to make that assessment.