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 adventures in ale at his blog or follow him on Twitter @realaleupnorth

It has now been almost two months since East Lancashire's first micropub was opened in Burnley town centre.

And I thought it was about time that I paid a visit to this new concept in drinking and socialising.

A micropub is basically a small one-roomed pub, offering cask ales, real cider, soft drinks and a few snacks, usually pork scratchings, nuts and crisps (available at the Beer Shack).

If you want fizzy lager, or a choice of spirits, then you will be disappointed.

The micropub concept is simply based on ale and conversation. There is no TV, no food, no irritating sounds of gaming machines — and certainly no music, to drown out the social interaction. Patrons are just encouraged to relax, have a drink and socialise in relatively peaceful surroundings.

The Beer Shack certainly complies with the above description and is situated at the bottom-end of Manchester Road in the town centre, within two minutes walk of the bus station.

It's a compact, oblong-shaped, one roomed bar, with a stained wood floor, dark wooden tables and spindled-backed chairs.

It also provides a cosy, more relaxed area, offering comfy, soft leather armchairs.

As you are reading this review, the pub will have already served its 100th real ale — quite impressive, within two months of it opening.

They have eight rotating beers to offer, plus four real ciders. Wine is also available.

It was a bit of a head scratcher gazing at the selection. However, Julia behind the bar was more than happy to describe the beers — and offer a taster. I eventually plumped for the Titanic Cherry Dark — and yes, it did go down well, before you ask — and in tip-top condition. It was also dispensed in an oversized glass - which was pleasing to see.

Julia, is one half along with partner, James Masefield, of the couple who own the micropub. And it was good to witness someone who was passionate about their ales, and who really knew what they were talking about. Mind you, she would, as they run and own a microbrewery in Nottinghamshire and have two other “Beer Shacks” in the county based in Mansfield and Hucknall.

Julia had been more than happy with how the new venture had gone.

She said: “We are so pleased to be reaching the century of beers after just two months. And on Saturday we will be having a bottled-beer tasting session, between 12 and 2pm. Two of the beers that we sell on the premises, will offered in shot-type glasses to our customers.”

The Beer Shack was a very relaxing environment. It reminded me of some of the old traditional type boozers I used to frequent 30 years ago. A pub where well-kept beers was paramount, and a chat with the customers was common place and generally expected. A place where there was an option to sit in a cosy corner and read the newspaper and enjoy a satisfying slurp.

If that type of environment is your preference, then I am sure you will enjoy the micropub concept and experience. And Beer Shack Burnley, in my opinion offers that alternative experience for the discerning ale customer.