THIS week I call in at one of the area’s premier drinking dens.

I describe it as such, because of its wide range of ales.

Ales that rotate regularly – and are always in tip-top condition.

A ‘wet-led’ establishment, where beer and conversation is its primary purpose.

It was a glorious afternoon and this historic, rambling structure, was looking resplendent in the late summer sunshine.

The pub is close to the town centre and on a mainline bus route – and just a few minutes’ walk from Burnley station.

It boasts a most spacious, open-plan lounge, as you walk in, dark oak furnishings and a long, curved bar with a brass handrail – most impressive.

The bar had eight cask ales on offer and is a regular entrant in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.

The choice was excellent, with prices ranging from £2 to £2.80.

One of the four joint owners, Marco Bell, was manning the pumps as I strolled in – and was quick to advise me on which ales were available.

It had to be the Joey Holt’s Bitter to kick off proceedings, at £2.30.

It’s a most flavoursome, smooth and easy-drinking beer. It’s also a permanent fixture on the bar.

Marco said: “It’s very popular, along with the Moorhouse’s Premier(ship) and Reedley Hallows, Pendleside – both at £2.20. Mind you, the Timmy Taylor’s Boltmaker, is proving a winner too.

“Some of the regulars didn’t drink it at first, because it was priced at £2.80. Then they realised how good it was! As you probably know, it’s the current champion beer of Britain.”

You get a good friendly feel in this boozer. It has two pool tables and has four teams in the local leagues along with a men’s and ladies’ darts team. The Talbot also has a reputation for live entertainment, with bands performing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

What most impressed me was the spacious, back room. It’s a throwback to the old traditional pubs, with its own entrance from the main road.

The pub was getting busy, and Marco was coping admirably with requests. One customer asked: “Have you a dark ale to recommend?”

Marco recommended, the Copper Dragon, Black Gold. That got an immediate response at the bar, from cheery regular, Dave: “He’s been trying to flog that ale all day,” he jokingly replied.

It just typified the mood of this most welcoming, unpretentious of boozers.

Long live The Talbot Hotel.