Topics that cover just purely pubs

Brewdog has arrived.

Its been some years in the planning, and a minor controversy in the local rag but finally Liverpool has a Brewdog bar and many people are overjoyed about it, i popped in for a visit before i headed to a beer festival over on the Wirral, here’s some of my thoughts.

Firstly if you know a fair bit about beer you have probably heard of Brewdog, you’ve probably had a few of their beers, Brewdog tend to only appear in the media when they are singled out for brewing extremely strong beers, or pissing off CAMRA (or vice versa). Brewdog have been building up a large fan base and opening several bars not only in the UK but further abroad. With the excellent pub and bar scene in Liverpool many were wondering when brewdog would set up shop in Liverpool? there were a few rumoured places, initially it was thought they would setup shop around Slater street, I’m glad they didn’t for one, I cant stand the place anymore personally. Its like the drunk death star trench run. Brewdog fell foul of the local council (who hand out premises to tesco willy nilly) and Merseyside Police who were worried about them setting up shop.

Now I don’t know the specifics of why they were worried, if it was possibly to do with supplying super strength beers to the local scalls then this argument was moot. Why? well at the risk of profiling, these drinkers wouldn’t be willing to pay a silly sum of money for a pint of super strength beer, they wouldn’t appreciate it or any of the other excellent beers on offer, they would be much happier drinking a pint of mainstream lager and giving sideways looks to someone across concert square. Also you cant just stroll in and order a pint of tactical nuclear penguin, because its not available in such measures.

So in the end it didn’t really matter, people saw sense and allowed Brewdog to open and im glad, it would have been a huge failing of common sense if it hadn’t and a real loss to Beer lovers in Liverpool.

With all this red light it feels like I’m in a sub not a ship!

So whats it like? well other than the big red sign outside it blends in well with the other surrounding establishments. I don’t know much about interior design or art, but i like the interior, can you call these things modern? were modern things 20 years ago still modern today? who knows but it’s a nice place! scattered about are plenty of tables, benches and a couple of booths. the large bar dominates the place. an easy to read list of available beers is clear to see from most of the premises thanks to the cinema style hoarding behind the bar. It gets a bit dark later on at night but it’s very light and airy during the day thanks to the big all glass frontage, maybe the person working the dimmer switch got a tad enthusiastic when we visited. I’m not one to comment on what W/Cs are like in pubs and bars, but the toilets are pretty cool! I like the use of the old kegs in the wall, i have no idea what the women’s was like, obviously.

If you manage to secure a booth then you will have access to a magic button that if you press it will get the attention of a member of staff who will be able to wait on you at the table. I did worry this might have been open to abuse but was told a credit card had to be left behind the bar in order to secure this service, so well thought out!

we managed to find a seat in the corner by the big red neon sign, which made me think of being an extra in some cold war submarine film, so apologies if any of the photos are a bit on the red side! as we wandered over i noticed one of Brewdog Liverpool’s star attractions, VIDEO GAMES! so i went straight over to checkout what was available.

Mana from heaven! Beer, Food and Video Games!

At my time of visiting a Simpsons and Spiderman pinball table were available, a Star Wars arcade machine (not the atari original sadly) and A Silent Scope, which wasnt working. I chucked a quid into star wars for old times sake and managed to get to the battle of hoth before i realised id left my Friend on his own, and decided to get promptly shot by a stormtrooper to end the game, which took a few seconds, stormtroopers can’t shoot for shit remember.

Beer bibles were available at each table to give you the run down of what was expected to be always available and what will be available as a guest beer. I really liked the layout of the menus, very easy to read and also gave you some clear information on tasting specifically how hoppy or malty an ale was, good news for me and my friend as we are opposite ends of the scale when it comes to beer. So well done to the people who did the menu, my OCD approves!

Thanks to the magic of untappd i can remember what i had (or rather a hard drive somewhere can). I only managed two beers before we had to be off but both the Five AM red ale, and the Pumpkin Head ale were both in good condition, my friend enjoyed his choices too as i recall. We didn’t just come for beer we also planned to have a bite to eat before we got on our way.

There isnt a huge menu available at brewdog but what is available is enough to line your belly and keep you happy! It’s mostly burgers and hot dogs nothing wrong with that, pretty staple diet for a bloke like me! I opted for the Scottish hot dog while my friend had a Cheeseburger. My hotdog was bloody amazing it has to be said really filling and the extras added on really topped it off. Definitely try the tots if you can (commonly known as tater tots to our cousins over the atlantic.) i actually had something similar frequently when i was a lad so it made my day having them again.

THAT hot dog and tots, definetly a fave!


It seems clear that Brewdog is looking to integrate itself well into Liverpool’s fabric of life, as there will a tap take over by local brewers Mad Hatter very soon, so it looks like local beers will definitely be on the menu as well as those from further afield. Beer tasting classes are also available, a possible christmas present for the booze hound in your life?

Keeping it local.

In a nutshell then the food was hot and tasty, the beer was cool, refreshing and satisfying, the video games were an awesome addition. I have only been to the Brewdog bar once but look forward to returning again, and probably again!

Oh by the way if anyone from Brewdog reads this if you fix that silent scope ill probably never leave…..


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.

Fly in the Loaf Reopening

There’s a bit of a buzz on Hardman street! (fly based pun sorry) After a short period of closure for renovation the grade II listed former bakery has reopened again and i thought i’d pop in for the very first open night!

One thing that is immediately apparent from the outside is the pavement seating! a nice little addition especially coming up to the summer months, there are some awnings as well and none of it spoils the original exterior which im pleased to see has remained untouched. The second thing you will notice is it seems much brighter on the inside and indeed it is!

Inside there has been a nice blending of the classic with modern (as my friend Joe put it). Lighter, brighter and more roomy is the overriding feeling I get from the interior of the Fly now. The dividing wooden panelling that partitioned off part of the seating area from the door to the upstairs has been removed, coupled with the new paint scheme, new lights and removal of the old air conditioning ducting has given it a new brighter atmosphere, but still a lot of the old charm remains.

a lot of the remaining wood panelling has been given a lick of paint and the contrast with the black bar and the rest of the brighter paint and wooden furniture is pleasing to my eyes anyway, certainly its a place i could sit for a good few hours! the new furniture is pretty comfortable too!

A lot of the old favourite seating places remain, the raised section at the side and at the rear remain, the pulpit has gone to some people’s disappointment, indeed i heard a few affectionate shouts of bring the pulpit back from one group which was all in good humour!

People watching punters will be able to still gaze out onto Hardman street and the fantastic view to the Anglican cathedral, the chest high counter areas have gone to be replaced with lower down ones, again letting more light in and opening up the view to the outside world

But what do you go to a pub for? not to admire the architecture usually! but as far as work goes a great job has been done on the Fly i cant praise the staff and workers enough. The range of pumps has remained and all were serving great ales during the night my first pint was a Okells 1907 which went down very well and looked great in the glass, my dad said to me when i was younger “if the head holds the side of the glass its a good pint son” and this certainly did as did many others after. there was a good range of Okells and national ales on first day im hoping that some more local beers will make a showing in the future, i know it was one of the few places in the city that sold beers from Wapping Brewery, indeed i know Stan retired brewer from Wapping regularly visits the fly. So i hope ill see some Wapping beers in there soon!

I’m very pleased as well to see that it seems the craft beer range has expanded! there were several alternating craft brews available on keg before the renovation and it looks like more taps have been added and which in my opinion makes the Fly one of the better outlets for craft beer in the city alongside 23 club and Pi on rose lane, they even had the great idea of hanging little blackboards on the taps with quick breakdowns of what they are, this honestly to me is a piece of genius, most pump clips or labels don’t tell you much so a quick breakdown like this is excellent also it looks quite natty! I like it!

My friend tried the Oakham green devil IPA and it was indeed VERY hoppy as mentioned in the photo! i also tried the 13 Guns by Thwaites as i have heard a fair bit of talk about it, and being rich and malty it suited my palate well, a really cracking beer.  My friend also spotted that they have started selling cans of craft beer too, now I don’t get this canned gimmick, you get less than in a bottle or glass and it tastes the same as far as I can tell. We decided to test the water with an old friend Founders all day IPA and it was excellent as always, but really I don’t get what all the fuss is about with canned ale. The more the merrier though eh?

At this point ill touch very briefly on the food, Dom head man of the Fly very kindly brought us half a steak and ale pie over during the night, and it was awesome, very meaty and the crust was great, the Fly in the Loaf will be partnering with the Baltic Bakehouse when it comes to preparing the new menu, before the refurb I thought the fly did great value scran so now im really looking forward to seeing what comes next. And also the building has come full circle, what started out as a bakery is now doing bread again, and its also working with another local business, great news!

definitely get yourself over to the new look fly whether you’re a regular customer or someone who hasn’t been before, im pretty sure it will turn you into a barfly in no time (sorry again with the fly based puns). Best of Luck to the Fly in the Loaf and its staff for the future, because from where I was sitting it seemed damn fine indeed.

Weekend Wanderings: Waterloo Beer Festival & Mad Hatter Brewtap

So over the weekend quite a lot was going on in the area! we had beer festivals, Brewtap openings and meet the brewer events, I only managed to get to two events myself but it was a great weekend by all accounts judging by discussions I’ve had with people and from what I’ve seen on social media.

Waterloo Beer Festival #7

Seven Waterloo beer festivals already? seems like only yesterday i went to my first one! I remember hearing a story from someone that the very first one was very quiet, its good to see its gone on to be popular and maintained that popularity it would have been a shame for it to have fallen by the wayside! The Bi-annual event held in Old Christ church in Waterloo was again great fun and busy on both days i visited, with good music on, generous amounts of beer and good food its hard to go wrong, and when your done you have the whole of Waterloo and Crosby to visit as well.

Friday evening at the WBF

Friday along with saturday are probably the two busiest days, for obvious reasons. This year it featured extended sunday hours to coincide with the may bank holiday weekend. It was certainly very busy on friday seating as usual was at a premium so we ended up getting a wobbly stand up table, everything that i went for on friday night was still on and in good condition. As usual upon entry you can buy tickets, pickup your program and festival glass which you can take home as well.

Organisation: papers please

Waterloo Beer Festival is pretty well publicised, Tickets are easily available and convenient to get via Eventbrite who seem to handle most of the ticketing for all the local beer festivals, if it’s not broke eh? they only bother you will have is if your printer runs out of ink!

A full sheet of 8 for £12 (£1.50 a token) and smaller denominations were available, the simplified pricing is some of the best from any festival i have been too and its remained so for several years, only going up in price from £10 to £12 recently, there is no difference in strength of beers affecting the price its a flat price for everything, which for you the punter means no odd-numbered boxes left over!

the sun puts in a brief appearance illuminating the lovely interior of old christ church

I have to tip my hat to whoever does the program for WBF because being honest? the beer descriptions are better than what you get in the Liverpool Beer Festival program! furthermore its a lot more easier to read, yes i suppose that’s being a bit pedantic but the CAMRA LBF program is like a wall of text with no information on some stuff.

I opted to leave my glass behind this year for practical reasons, i had nothing to carry it home in, didn’t want to lug it around and also i am running out of room for glasses in my house!


A familiar trio of treats were available as usual over the weekend, Liverpool Cheese Company were on hand with a wide selection of cheeses breads and crackers, and friendly advice to anyone without the slightest idea of what cheese to go for. Peninsula Pies were back as always with their Awesome sausage rolls, pasties and pies. I’ve said this before and ill say it again i wish they had an actual shop because i would rent a van and buy a ton of their sausage rolls they are that damn good. And last but not least Liverpool Cake Co were on hand to satisfy your sweet tooth after the savouries, i had a cupcake myself on friday evening and it was quite nice!

Peninsula Pies and Liverpool Cheese Company

I think i should mention as well that initially Liverpool Cake Co were posted in a side room off the main floor of the church, i got the feeling that they were not getting much attention because of this, thankfully by saturday night they had been moved into the main area, im not sure why they were not put in their to begin with but good that it was rectified! On sunday Peninsula Pies had completely run out by 4pm sadly, I almost started crying over that! seriously I love those sausage rolls! I wish they would always have more available but I don’t know the first thing about catering so can’t really comment!

The Beer

The most important thing of course and why you actually come to a beer festival! 154 real ales were listed in the program 8 Keg craft beers were also available along with 20+ ciders and perries and Liverpool Gin was also available for those who fancied a bit of a change

From what i recall of the two visits I didn’t have a bad drink at all, speaking with some fellow drinkers recently it seems to be that you rarely get a bad drink now, that is a beer that just doesn’t taste nice at all, beers now often range from excellent to average, and if you have a bad beer, chances are it just wasnt kept correctly! if this little theory of mine is right then its good news as it means that not only is the quantity of ale on its way up, the quality standard is remaining high!

Having said that nothing much grabbed my attention this weekend, everything was consistently good, i still recall getting some smoked brews at the winter WBF last year they really stood out to me, still there were lots of very nice brews in particular i loved the Mad Hatter ESB, York Brewery Finishing Touch, RAW majic mild ale and Tiny Rebel Beat Box

Festival glasses with contrasting ales, and the infamous wobbly table.

One thing i felt compelled to mention and, im thumbing through my battered program just to check, yes there is quite a lack of stouts at this particular WBF, only 8 in total i believe. Now I didn’t get around to having more than one on Friday and was hoping to have another sunday, but it seems Merseyside stout lovers hammered the few available ones over the weekend and alas there was none to be found! not even any on the south road pubs afterwards! now 8 might sound like a lot to some folk but compared to the amount of other pale ales available at the festival its not that much! i wonder why there were so few stouts?

Is it because were heading towards summer and people are in “summer mode” that’s an imaginary thing i dreamt up where people drink lighter coloured beers in the summer? Regardless i liked all the beers i had.

By Sunday though the previous few days and extended hours had taken its toll on the beer range and it was severely reduced by the time we got there, of course we still found some good drinks but  it made choosing a bit of a headache! since you had to make multiple back-up choices! I attended a previous years sunday session and don’t remember it being as hammered but this was winter! maybe the extended hours brought out more folk?

If you’re looking to get the first dibs on the beer and not wanting to worry about stuff running out you should ideally aim to go between Thursday and Saturday, stuff will certainly start to run out saturday, I didn’t observe anything sold out on Friday.

Music for the masses

Over the course of the festival entertainment was provided by 6 groups/entertainers with 3 squeezed into the extended sunday session. On Friday the Penniless Tenants were in-house providing us with some great folk tunes, especially appreciated by some of my friends of irish descent, on Sunday we enjoyed a bit of swingology and The Rip Roaring success, who were my favourite of the night, mixing early 20th century music and some well-known favourites such as Johnny Cash etc.

Rip roaring success take the spotlight

The size of the church does mean if you want to enjoy the music your best being closer to the stage, as the PA can struggle to fill the air in-between, we did struggle to hear it a bit further away on friday, so sunday we got close up to enjoy the tunes!

Volunteer Army

Again all the volunteers did a great job, helping the uninitiated, offering opinions on brews and keeping the whole process running smoothly. I felt sorry for the poor fella calling time at both sessions, the ringing of the bell was met with the inevitable chorus of good-hearted boo’s from the crowd and the gentleman had a good chuckle over it!

In Summary

Waterloo beer festival remains a great place to go to, it’s well organised, fairly priced, has a good selection of beers, Cask, Keg, cider and now Gin, the catering is super. If i had one suggestion to make it would be could someone please pretty please make scouse for the winter one? The festival also has what i consider a more relaxed atmosphere than the Liverpool Beer Festival and even when its busy it’s not so bad you can barely move. I would certainly recommend going to more than one session as well if you can, going to the sunday session especially which is not as busy if you prefer things quiet and you also have ample time to explorer the local pubs and bars in the area.

Before you go!!

Personally I don’t think any visit to the Waterloo beer festival is complete without going into at least one of the local areas fantastic pubs and bars, there are quite a few to choose from and all within walking distance or one train stop away. Not only that but there are some good quality eateries around the area as well to fill any hole in your belly

I have a selection that i prefer myself which you can read here, but you can also use the Local CAMRA branches pub passport maps as a good basis to go off or the CAMRA whatpub website. This weekend when coming out on both Friday and Sunday we headed to the South road in Waterloo, my two choices are generally music themed but if your after a nice quiet pint you can’t go far wrong with a walk to the Volunteer Canteen (aka the volly).

First to the old bank for a pint and then onto one of my favourite places Stamps too, a mecca for real ale and music fans, Stamps Too regularly hosts live music, has a good consistent range of excellent ales and are very often Local Ales (LocAles)

Live Music and Good Beer staples of a good diet in STAMPS Too

I have never had a bad night in Stamps too the beer is consistently well-kept by the staff, there is usually a good range of beers on from light to dark, unfortunately for me this weekend there was no stout! However the ales that were on were great, over the weekend period beers from Southport, Brimstage, Burscough and Purple Moose brewery were all on, the golden sands by Southport was quite delicious.

The dockers belting out some cracking tunes on sunday

Sundays music was by far the best for me the lads from The Dockers Band were on the stage, three talented lads who can knock out a fantastic tune, they had stamps suitably head bobbing and foot tapping until close of play when we sadly had to jog for the last train!

full of beer, song and food, now you can’t do much worse than that can you?

Mad Hatter BrewTap

This weekend also saw the inaugural opening of Mad Hatter Brewing Co’s own Brewtap premises in the Baltic triangle, Mad hatter will soon be moving fully into the new premises on the corner of Jamaica Street and Watkinson street, once things are settled down there should be more regular openings of the Brewtap so you can enjoy the creative magic right at the source.

A good selection of the Mad hatter range was available, in both Cask, Keg and bottled form, we plumped for a Liverpool best which was very satisfying, there was also Wapping rye smile, showing the continuing strong links with Mad Hatter and Wapping breweries.

mad hatters new brewtap

A regular theme ive noticed over these last few years are how unassuming and humble most of the places are local breweries occupy, half of the time you’d probably not even know they were there as you drive or walk by, this is in stark contrast to the red brick behemoth of Cain’s old brewery, the giant Tetleys plant i remember from back home in Yorkshire and also the Black Sheep Brewery which i had the pleasure of a tour of once.

I think it’s reassuring, in a way, there’s a down to earthness about it all, ill be looking forward to seeing more of the brewplant as it gets put in, a few fermenting vessels were present when we visited and although we only had time for one pint, it left me thirsty for another visit which i hope won’t be too long! So best of Luck to Gaz and everyone at Mad hatter with the new location!

Thirsty Thursdays in a not so dry desert

In a unasuming industrial unit down a quiet Birkenhead backstreet Peerless Brewing Company open their doors (or should that be shutter?) to the ale fans of the area to pop in, see the brewery and most importantly enjoy the lovely beers on offer!

When we visited our first Thirsty Thursday it was also a first for actually going for a drink over the Mersey, and it didn’t disappoint! First off it’s a simple running order no entry fee to get in the brewery, a large swathe of the peerless range on offer (many of them award winners) and only £2 a pint, you can’t knock that! there are basic bar snacks but the folks at Peerless don’t mind if you bring along your own grub, a group near us seemed to have brought along a veritable picnic! good thing i had some tea before I came out!

First up for the night was Boston Red the newest seasonal brew by peerless and another addition to the baseball themed lineup, it’s an American hopped malt ale, red colour and a fruity hop finish. it was a good start to the night, after that a Paxtons Peculiar which is one of my favorite peerless brews a well-balanced beer with a light malty biscuit finish, followed by a Red Rocks named for the red sandstone found around the Wirral namely around Thurstaton hill and Hilbre island, another fave of mine. The penultimate ale was Storr which is an old norse word for great or strong, Storr is the brew which takes the longest time to complete and is a Lager Pilsner, i wasnt particularly fond of it myself though it was a clean sweet tasting brew! Finally finishing of drinks in the brewery was oatmeal stout a firm favourite amongst local drinkers in the area and it was in top form at the source!

where the magic happens, watch out for yeast farts….

During the night all the staff were friendly and welcoming, one lady very helpfully recommend a couple of other pubs in Birkenhead to try before we caught the train home. Steve even gave us an impromptu talk down in the brewery which was very informative and humorous, topics included the grief brewers had to go through with Her madges customs and excise (booooo) and yeast farts!

Getting to sample the end product actually in-house surrounded by all the impressive brewing kit was a great experience all rounded off by the staff being great hosts. Time waits for no drinker though and as last orders were called we decided to amble off in the direction of Hamilton Square.

We popped into Gallaghers well-known as a place of good beer and haircuts, yes that’s right haircuts you can also get a shave if you like! though that does requires booking. Gallaghers doubles as a barbers and is an award-winning local so its really worth a visit, it was towards the end of the night so it was quite quiet when we arrived however it still gave us a chance to enjoy the surroundings of the pub and the beer, i had a Queen Rat by the Rat brewery from my native Yorkshire, a chocolate porter that was very scrumptious. the bar is decked out in various bits of military paraphenalia, photos and paintings and i could have stayed and looked at them for ages but we had to get one more in before last orders!

Not to far a walk from Gallaghers is The swinging arm “wirrals friendliest rock venue” according to the website and although it was pretty devoid of people at this point in the night the staff were very obliging in serving us a nice pint. The Swinging Arm wears its love for all things rock on its sleeve and i love it, its a great big open plan pub with a great big view of the magnificent waterfront in Liverpool, great beer, great music, great surroundings and a great view! Here i managed to squeeze in one more Peerless brew in the form of Full Whack, this was a real smooth beer with a real kick on the end of it.

One hour is too short a time to enjoy the two above pubs so i plan to go back in the future and also explore further afield maybe towards West Kirby as well. A great night is to be had though pop along to peerless brewery for the next thirsty thursday and then visit some of the other great local pubs in the area its well worth the trip!

Real Ale desert my arse….

Handy Links

Local pubs closed temporarily for refurbs

Three of Liverpool’s most popular watering holes will be closed temporarily from 20th of April (easter sunday) for refurbs.

The Fly in the Loaf, Thomas Rigbys and Lady of Mann are all part of the Okell’s stable of pubs here on the UK Mainland and regularly feature in lists of best pubs in Liverpool. I myself am a regular visitor to the Fly in the Loaf.

I don’t know what the exact details are of the refurbishment due to take place on the three places, im not actually sure why they are being refurb myself as they all seem quite nice as they are BUT i dont run them or work in them so I’m sure there are good reasons behind it

I just hope they are not closed for too long! speaking of refurbs if anywhere could do with a lick of paint it would be Keith’s on Lark lane! i don’t think its been painted since the ice retreated at the last ice age! Mind you it’s probably like the ravens at the tower of london, if Keith’s ever got done up lark lane would vanish from existence*

*I do love Keiths by the way so its a tongue in cheek mention

An Interesting Few days

Over the course of a few days the local CAMRA branches; Liverpool and District and Wirral and Merseyale seem to have done their best to court a bit of controversy. Where did it all start? well innocuously it started both with the Pub of the year announcement. I also shouted out on twitter for some suggestions on where to drink on the Wirral, this led to a fantastic response from several people of where to visit. It also opened a pandora’s box which doesn’t seem to want to shut! (not without good reason though)

All the while through this the local CAMRA branch and the local beer publication merseyale have continued to subtly insult craft beer. when i started this i intended it to be a mostly informative, light hearted ramble about drinking in the Merseyside area. However i am getting tired of the outmoded attitude of Liverpool CAMRA branch, im glad i havn’t joined CAMRA now! considering the great work CAMRA has done in its 40 years it could do with a serious attitude check and maybe move with the times.

anyway in summary here is what has happened over the last few days

Liverpool Pigeon announced as POTY 2014

you can read about why CAMRA chose the pigeon on their own website, this choice has proven contentious amongst local drinkers as the pigeon is not technically in “Liverpool” as such but also because it hasn’t even been open a full year. Again in the article the local branch trys to get the boot in one of the positive comments made in reference to the pigeon is “not having any keg products on sale” really? because all keg products are like carling arn’t they?

I would like to take this opportunity to say i love the pigeon, at the risk of repeating myself I am pleased the pigeon has received recognition, I agree with some of the stuff in the CAMRA article, last time it was visited i got the last pint out of a barrel and was asked if i wanted to try it and if it wasn’t satisfactory i could change it. Thats great service! I’d strongly recommended a visit to the pigeon and other pubs in the Crosby and Waterloo area they are fantastic.

Runners up this year were The dispensary and The Belvedere


the latest edition of merseyale is available in local drinking establishments now and available on-line for you to read, and I really insist you do.

Brewdog battles

For starters there is a piece on the new Brewdog bar which is soon to be opened in Liverpool, a large contingent of people are very happy about this, yes Brewdog can seem like they enjoy courting controversy and have “attitude” but its good to have another outlet of good quality beer. But do they take the opportunity to welcome them? No. They bang on about how Brewdog made real ale once but switched to craft which is apparently in CAMRA circles the equivalent of being a Judas, they continue to say that Brewdog make strong beers and seem to suggest that its the only reason they are famous. Brewdog have done their best to say one of the reasons for their bars is to educate people on good beers, a noble cause but Merseyale says:

if  the mission is education then why seek to  locate  their  bar  in  the  premier binge  drinking  zone  in  Liverpool which is a designated CIP and has experienced a 25% rise in assaults. There are many other Liverpool city centre  locations  which  would  suit an  educational  mission  aimed  at people with money to buy and sit and savour the expensive BrewDog beers. Which begs the question “so why  go  there?” It  couldn’t  be money could it?

Binge drinking zone? so what the hell happens at a beer festival? bloody grow up!

Wirral Wanderings

well now this has caused the biggest stink this week, and as i mentioned it all started with me trying to find out what are good places to drink in West Kirby and Hoylake. It ended in the self crucifixion of the area by the Wirral CAMRA members! I will point out that this wasn’t written by Merseyale but published in it, this particular piece was written by Wirral CAMRA members likening it to a real ale desert (because decent craft or keg doesn’t count remember in their book)

I won’t quote a particular section fully you can read that yourself but in a nutshell the Wirral CAMRA members have said if you want to get at real ale you need to go to Chester or Liverpool for better choice and quality. Quite a self defeating attitude for a organisation intended to correct these sort of inadequacies?

And the beat goes on

the above little snippet was taken only just yesterday from the districts facebook page, a thinly veiled kick in the ribs to craft/keg beer again from CAMRA! no mention of the silly import taxes that foreign beers have when they enter the UK. and who drinks a whole pint of some of this stuff? its nice to enjoy as a half or a 3/4 pint!

Over the last few days its become clear to me that CAMRA and Merseyale are becoming something of a dinosaur, we all know what happened to them, failure to adapt. CAMRA has done a sterling job in 40 years of helping to preserve certain beer styles which might have been lost forever, they campaign for drinkers and publicans, yet this outdated attitude to craft beer, keg beer or whatever you want to bloody call it is getting silly and childish. If CAMRA is to survive another 40 years i think it needs to look now at being more inclusive, maybe it should just be the campaign for real beer? or the campaign for good beer?

and as for Merseyale? shockingly i enjoy reading it, it can be very informative, i enjoyed the piece on Wapping brewery, but it can be VERY opinionated and very high and mighty case and point:

Readers of MerseyAle will be aware that “craft beer” is a meaningless  term  which  has  no definition of what it means, unlike real ale.  See MerseyAle Spring 2012 edition page 29, entitled ‘Craft Beer – Keg Beer by Another Name?

Unfortunately you cannot currently get at previous versions of merseyale on the camra website possibly due to a technical error. But if you can get a hold of the issue i think its a worthy read, because it seems the pro craft beer opinion is simply swept under the rug.

Merseyale could do with being a lot more broad-minded and less biased.

Pub of the Year 2014

Hello all! its been a while i have been enjoying some time off for my birthday, i even had a cracking pub crawl more on that in a later entry for now the recent news for our area definitely seems worth talking about!

Our local CAMRA branch have announced Pub of the Year (POTY) 2014, and it has already caused something of a stir, its good to see debate about such things it certainly is a decisive decision.

Pub of the Year 2014 is the Liverpool Pigeon, which is actually located in Crosby, which is not really a part of Liverpool, its within the Merseyside area certainly but even “Merseyside” as an entity is something often argued over, so that’s the first odd thing about it that has been observed.

The second observation is that the pigeon has not been open a full year so how can it qualify for pub of the year status? I have been to the Pigeon myself and its a cracking place, very well run, the beer is always very well kept, its rotated regularly and there is a great selection of ales available from both local and national brewers, the atmosphere is nice. The pigeon is a micro-pub, Merseyside first one, the hours are not typical of other pubs.

I’m pleased for the pigeon to receive some recognition for the work put in since they have opened its a great place. Its certainly going to be debated for a while, as one person I know mentioned it would be interesting if our local CAMRA branch published the voting. I cant say how transparent the system is I’m not a member of CAMRA and for the moment I don’t wish to be.

Again not to take anything away from the Liverpool Pigeon its a GREAT place to go for a drink, and i really do recommend you do, its included in a pub crawl I’m currently writing about for the Crosby and Waterloo area, you can get more information on them here.

Pubs are full of surprises

Last night me and a friend went for a wander around Liverpool’s pubs specifically in the Georgian quarter. Our first intention was to visit the new Everyman theatre bistro, the old one holds semi-mythical status amongst Liverpool drinkers, my memory of it is quite vague as i only visited twice so i cant say i hold it in much high regard as i never went enough to form an opinion.

Anyway! the new bistro is quite nice, very modern of course when we visited there were 4 ales on the hand pump including Liverpool Organic Brewery’s “Everyman Ale” a nice session starter but a tad too cold for me, i know someone else who made this observation as well. It was quite pricey too, probably one of the more expensive places to drink real ale in the city, but its only just opened so lets see how things progress.

We didn’t have time to sample the others as we moved on to the 23 Club which was pretty busy for a Thursday evening, a nice pint of Tiny Rebel Hank was on here. We tried Frederiks a new place on Hope Street that has opened in the building once occupied by Korova again quite modern on the inside and for the beer drinker it sells mostly draught craft beers and bottle craft as well, its a nice place to pop in for a craft beer but again a bit on the pricey side.

Moving on down to the Fly in the loaf for a couple of drinks, which is soon to be undergoing a refurb, im not quite sure why myself as its not like the place is falling to bits, hopefully it wont be shut too long as the range of real ale and craft beer is very good here and the staff really know their stuff. Its also one of the few places in the city that was an outlet for Wapping beers, which we sadly wont see any more now since Stan the head brewer has retired, however the final brew “the end” from Wapping will be on sale this weekend so grab a pint of Liverpool’s brewing history while it lasts.

we popped in the Pilgrim which we hadn’t frequented for a while next and then onto the ever colourful Ye Cracke. Afterwards we decided to mosey up to the Caledonia for a few final beers, and what we discovered is what prompted me to write about it today.

Upon going into the Cali my friend pointed out that some of the folks from the Loose Moose band were present (whom we are big fans of) and they were having an impromptu acoustic session in the corner, it was brilliant, quality beers in fantastic surroundings and all to the sound of sweet live music! This is what i love about pubs you just dont know what you are going to find when you go in sometimes! The Caledonia was threatened with closure last year, everyone rallied around the good ship and its staff saving it from closure, this is the sort of thing that makes pubs worth saving!

So thanks to all the pubs for the great night we had, and special thanks to the Caledonia and Loose moose for the unexpected but fantastic entertainment!