Month: September 2014

Liverpool Food and Drink Festical 2014 – brief roundup

Liverpool Food and Drink fest has been and gone again, and it would be safe to say most people left fed and watered very happy! Since i chat mostly about Beer that’s what ill be concentrating on but ill mention the food briefly

I booked for the sunday session with 2 other friends, £5 was the entry fee online for this last day, i can actually remember when the food festival was free. I suppose with growth and popularity comes the inevitable requirement that your going to have to pay to get in some day. Located in the open northern half of Sefton Park the area was loosely arranged into certain areas such as a market place, street food and other vendors. One observation was that it was becoming a bit too corporate now, and thinking back i think they are right. It’s a fine balance i suppose from those people comes the big money, but when they overshadow all the independent places it becomes less eclectic.

Either way there was a decent spread of smaller liverpool food vendors and larger ones. The food was nice but honestly nothing to shout about, burgers, burgers, burgers, pulled bloody pork everywhere (note i like pulled pork). There was a bit of eastern variety but not much else. i suppose you have to retain some familiarity to not put some people off.

Anyway im rambling, so the food was ok but what about the drink? well there wasnt that much in my observation! if i am wrong please correct me. Present from my memory was Lancaster Brewery’s own tent, Bierkeller, Liverpool One Brewery, The Ship and Mitre beer tent, The Hub, Bier and Tavern Co.

Initially i was worried the Ships beer tent wouldn’t be making an appearance this year as it was missing on the food fest website (either that or im blind). But i found out in the week leading up to it that it would be. The ships tent was usually always busy right up until the last hour when it got quieter. there was a good range of pumps on mostly mirrored on the left and right. Mostly light coloured ales, and one darker ale from Liverpool Organic in the form of their stout, there was good bench seating outside the tent and if all the beer vendors hadn’t started closing by about 5pm i probably would have had more than two drinks sadly!

Lancaster brewery mostly had their range of own ales on and some ciders but since that’s not my thing right now I didn’t venture in. It was nice to see Liverpool One brewery present their small bar had a couple of ales on and their own ale had sold out shortly after i had arrived. Apart from Liverpool Craft beers being present on at The Hubs stall that was pretty much it real ale wise. After thatt it was the ubiquitous big name brands on tap or euro beers.

I popped briefly into bierkellers tent but when i saw that the first few taps were fosters and John smiths i walked straight back out.

I think next year the Food festival needs to have a dedicated drink section. It would be great to see some of our local brewers having a few stands, even if it’s just selling their own bottled beers to take home that would complement the festival nicely and give a bit more variety. I think it would be great if there was a home brewing section too? I know that there is a new group of Home brewers springing up in the area, would be good to see them too!

So in the style of my old P.E. reports from school

“good effort but must try harder”

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Pub Focus: Pi Rose Lane

One of the things i wanted to do occasionally while posting on this blog was to focus on the odd pub every now and again, I’ve not done it yet so why not start now? so here we go!

My part of south liverpool is not exactly awash with fine places to drink, it’s a bit of a wasteland really.  There have been several pubs that have come and gone from serving real ale, and forget craft you’d probably get an even more sideways look asking for a bottle of brewdog.

Garston at one point had a few real ale pubs, And there is an enclave of decent little boozers in Woolton, the Cobden comes to mind and the recently renovated elephant is resurgent. Lark Lane is probably your best bet but i personally have fallen out with the place, the atmosphere seems odd recently can’t quite put my finger on it and i think the quality of beer served in the pubs on the lane has dropped dramatically.

So where do you go? in to town? well maybe you just feel like a nice quiet evening session in comfortable surroundings, in that case, wander up (or down) Rose lane, just by the Junction of Rose lane itself and Templemore avenue is “Beer in the Burbs” hub Pi.

A spin-off from a successful enterprise of another bar named Pi in Chorlton, Pi is fairly new to the Liverpool drinking scene, but in that time it has doubled in size (thankfully!) and sneaked its way into many people’s hearts.

view towards the bar, the second room is through the passage to the left, toilets at the rear

Pi is pretty unassuming from the outside, occupying spaces previously held by two shop units, step inside and you will find the first original room consisting of the bar and several wooden tables and chairs and benches by the window. during the night it’s warmly lit and quite cosy especially in winter months. the bar and its beers on show dominate the back wall of the building. Adorning the walls throughout the bar are various tin signs from abroad and domestically with various famous beer brands (don’t expect to see carling though).

Through a side entrance to your left is the second room which is a bit more airy than the original bar entrance. toilets are to the rear of the main bar for gents and in the new extension for the ladies. For those of you who like to smoke the only place to do so is outside the front door, there are no heat lamps or awnings so suck it up if you want to light up!

Owing to its popularity Pi can get pretty busy and space at the bar will fill up quickly. Before the extension next door the main room could very easily get rammed, making it difficult to get around or get a drink, not only that it could get pretty uncomfortably warm, thankfully Pi was able to expand next door and get some much-needed breathing room. Amusingly no sooner was this open, regulars were soon jokingly asking when the upstairs area would be open, this mysterious place is currently out-of-bounds (que suspenseful music).

With a name like Pi you’d almost be forgiven for asking if they serve food? (they certainly dont sell mathematical constants) Well yes they do if your feeling peckish?! You can tuck into some basic bar snacks but for something more substantial the Bar is stocked with Pieminster pies, the availability of different pies changes as regular as the beer and are priced quite reasonably and have always been very tasty and fulfilling. If a pie in pi (bazinga) isnt your thing the staff will frequently ask if you would like some complimentary nuts with your drink (im usually nuts enough).

so its welcoming and comfortable, the food is nice and what about the most important thing? the beer!

Resident cask hand pulls – apologies for the poor quality image

There are 4 hand pulls available 3 reserved for cask beer 1 for a cask cider, they is usually always one beer on offer from Tatton Brewery usually the blonde which is a decent session beer to get you started, the others vary from location but you can find local beers from the north-west and Wales on sale fairly regularly. There is also Draught keg available, no mass produced watered down lager nonsense here, it’s all craft brewed or good quality continental offerings, most recently Camden town have taken over two taps on the bar, one a real fave of mine is the ink stout, the glass for which is a bit of a weapon! a wide variety of bottles from around the world are on offer, most come from the beer heartland of europe but they range as far as Oceania.

Pi’s Keg draught features resident beers and guests.

The choices of beer for Cask, guest keg and guest bottles change very frequently so there is usually something new to try every time you visit, the set bottle menu has not changed to my knowledge in about 2 years but if I am mistaken please let me know, note that this doesn’t detract in any way from whats on offer, I still haven’t tried everything on there. I did have a Kwak once but don’t remember much afterwards!

Delerium Tremens – one of Pi’s regular bottled beers

Final thing to mention are the staff, they are friendly and knowledgeable about the beers, i have to give them credit as they cope well when it gets particularly rammed during busy periods. I could be accused of bias here but what the heck, i know a senior member of staff at the bar, when you visit places regularly you get to know people of course! This person runs a good bar! I’ve never had a bad pint and if he suspects that something isn’t quite right he doesn’t serve it or will let you know about it. I’ve also known them to but bottles of guest beer away for regular customers so they don’t miss out! Now that’s damn good service to me.

Pi should be on any list of good pubs in the Merseyside area, it certainly is on mine, so get yourself down with an empty belly, order a pi, read the blackboards and menu and drink some damn good beer!

Getting There:

Pi is located at 104-106 Rose lane in Mossely Hill, south Liverpool, L18 8AG.

Several bus routes pass by Pi, including the #61 #81 #81A #173 and #201

Mossely Hill train station a few minutes walk away and trains run from Lime street station.

Opening Times

Pi is open 7 days a week, from 11am until late.