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

This week I venture into territory that I would describe as, a real ale 'desert'. Unfortunately, Blackburn town centre is just that in my opinion.

You can count the number of establishments serving cask-conditioned ale on one hand.

However, I was determined to find one that would appeal to the discerning ale drinker.

The Jubilee is one town centre ale house that thankfully still offers real ale choice and is situated across from the King George's Hall.

Up until nine months ago it was known as Corrigan's and you detect the former Irish theme as you walk through the emerald green and cream coloured main doors.

It's a roomy pub, providing a spacious lounge area, a tap/darts room and a good sized L-shaped bar. I was particularly impressed with the seated social area, adjacent to the bar, that provided six soft leather armchairs.

I was met by John Edwards, who has been running the Thwaites-owned pub for the last nine months. He had previously been mine host at the Kings Inn, Mill Hill, on the outskirts of the town.

It was quiet, as one would expect for a Tuesday lunchtime visit, and John was keen to point out that running a town centre pub had been hard work in the present economic climate.

He explained: “There's not as much passing trade as there used to be, and we have to have events and entertainment on in order to attract our more regular customers — and also to keep the pub going. We also rely a lot on the students at the nearby college, and people attending shows at the King George's Hall."

The pub had two rotating cask ales on from Thwaites. The eve-popular Wainwrights was available, plus the seasonal slurp, TBC( Thwaites Best Cask). I went for the latter. It was in excellent condition — another cracking brew from the 'Crafty Dan' microbrewery. It's so refreshing, and has a consistently malty taste throughout. It should be one of their core beers.

John said: “We sometimes have a third cask on, depending on demand. Usually, it's when there is a popular event on across the road, at the King George’s Hall.

Outside, there is a spacious yard area at the rear. John had been busy installing benched tables. The whitewashed walls also looked particularly impressive, as the students who patronise the pub, had decorated it with lots of modern art .

The Jubilee appears to be trying its damned hardest to provide a traditional pub environment in the town — an environment that, in my opinion, is sadly lacking in this area.

The pub has a most helpful, affable and enthusiastic host. Qualities that are required in bucketloads in order to prevent Blackburn town centre becoming totally void of any real ale watering holes in the near future.