I’ve never been to Wigan but next week I finally get the chance to visit. It’s the Wigan Food and Drink Festival (while the town’s CAMRA beer festival is on this weekend). However, the reason I’m following in George Orwell’s footsteps (no chamber pots under the bed thank you) is that on Thursday March 10 I’ll be riffing on the subject of beer, beer writing and lord knows what else (along with some beer in my hand) at the Derby Room, Turnpike Gallery in Leigh, which I’m reliably informed is a short discus throw from Wigan. It starts at 7.30pm and is sponsored by AllGates Brewery, three of whose beers I will be drinking, I mean tasting (I’ve entitled the evening 1001 Beers and all that). I’m rather excited that one of the beers is going to be AllGates Mad Monk, their take on an Imperial Russian Porter (in fact a barrel of it will be travelling through the Baltic later this year as part of Tim O’Rourke’s Great Baltic Adventure — details on this great adventure here) Tickets cost £5 (with a £2 discount for library members) and I’m told you can order them on 01942 404404. I’m looking forward to it so if you’re in the vicinity and fancy a couple of beers and a chance to ask me a question I cannot answer then do drop by.