Peerless Brewing Company

Hoylake Beer Festival

Credit: Rob Shaw

August bank holiday saw the return of one of the Wirral’s newest beer festivals held in Hoylake Parade Community Centre, organised by Peerless brewery and sponsored by several local businesses the festival saw several very busy days and plenty of sold out beer. Plus it was all for a good cause helping to fund a new lift for the remarkable building.

I visited on Saturday with a large group of friends, for the purposes of this write-up and any future ones on beer festivals I am going to try not to ramble on too much. Truthfully I also had such a good time I can’t really remember many of the finer details but ill try to do it justice!

The community centre was originally a school but has been now re-purposed into a community centre that has a myriad of uses for local groups and residents. A beer festival being just one of them! The building was an excellent place to host as the various different sized rooms provided quiet areas to sit and chat, an area to enjoy the live entertainment and also the old school yard was made great use of for the catering and for anyone to soak up the last dying rays of the British summer. my party opted to sit in the room adjacent to where the bar was set-up.

The bar itself was very well-arranged, with all beers served from hand pulls and all fully labelled up. you could just as easily browse the length of the bar in search of your next ale as you could thumbing through the festival program. The army of volunteers many now familiar faces stood guard and were ready to serve and offer suggestions.

The range of beers was good, with several local brewers featured as well as those from further afield. a blackboard kept punters up to date as to any substitutions and which beers had been finished off. The beers were also in a good condition, despite the warmth of the day and the sun beating down on that side of the building the cooling system coped admirably.

Pricing for the event was kept flat regardless of beer strength, something very much welcomed by our party, 1 token equals one half of beer. Nice and simple. unless you were drinking wine then it required 2 tokens. A full sheet of 8 tokens cost £12, half sheets were also available. Its worth noting again that the proceeds from the event go towards the upkeep of the centre and hopefully provision of a much-needed lift as well. So its good value for money and it goes to charity!

Credit: Rob Shaw

my personal favourite of the day was local brewery Deva Craft Beer of Chester with their American pale “pandemonium” additional brownie points to the guys for letting us know what the IBU’s were on the pump clip, not strictly necessary for all us but im sure there are a few out there who appreciated that bit of info! Those of us who have seen the Japanese Animé and comic book series Dragonball Z will probably love the art on the pump clip also! Pandemonium was well hopped but not overwhelmingly so and had a smooth finish.

Other honourable mentions included beer festival début by Neptune brewery, based in Maghull the small brewery has just started delivering its casks and bottles to outlets in the local area. Amber-jack was their festival ale, a 4.5% Amber/red ale a nicely balanced beer with a marmalade after taste.

Loch Ness Brewery was someone I had not heard of before and after some of my party sampled it and commented it was a good choice I picked up their “Red Ness” which was a rather lovely 4.2% dark malty brew.

Predominately ales were mostly coloured blonde to amber. There were several nice stouts, porters and milds on offer, of particular note was “Dark Horse Stout” By Elmtree Beers and “Beijing Black” by potbelly brewery.

It was also possibly for everyone to vote on a beer of the festival, something that was while a small touch was a nice addition! the winner was the popular Salopian Brewery with “Kashmir” (que the led zep). Though i cant actually recall trying it on the day my friends reassured me it was a great choice.

Credit: Rob Shaw

Pen-Y-Lan pork were catering for the event with sausages, burgers and pulled pork on offer. I picked up a very nice pulled pork bap towards the end of the evening, and they were very popular by all accounts.

Alas we didn’t stay for the evening’s entertainment, our group wanted to visit other places in the area and make the right transport connections later in the evening. So after running out of tokens and then using up another stub of four we ventured onwards. Would I be coming back again? Most definitely. I believe that everything about the festival came together very nicely, it was a great venue with a choice of beers not too large or small and a great atmosphere to boot. Tie it in with a visit to some of Hoylake and West Kirby’s pubs and bars and you’re not only helping to contribute to the excellent Parade centre but also the local economy as well.

And just to back that up it was recently confirmed to me by the Parade centres twitter account that approximately £10,500 was raised over the weekend.

When you can raise that much at a weekend beer festival why bother with dry charity months?

Acknowledgements

Several photos in this blog post were kindly provided by my friend and peer Rob Shaw. These photos are clearly marked and all other photos were provided by myself.

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

http://www.peerlessbrewing.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/PeerlessSteve

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peerless-Brewing/178035068888683?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/Gallaghers_pub

http://www.gallagherspubandbarbers.com/

http://www.swingingarm.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/TheSwingingArm

Expedition to the desert

Feeling the blues from the 4 day easter weekend? fear not, the last Thursday of every month Peerless Brewing Company hold “Thirsty Thursdays” at their brewery on Pool St in Birkenhead. I only became aware of it myself after the ill thought out article by Wirral camra stating that the Wirral was a “real ale desert” (it isnt).

Basically on the Thursday afternoon into evening Peerless throws its doors open to the public and lets you into the Brewery to try their beers and see the goings on inside the brewery. All beer is £2 a pint, there will be no food but bar snacks available, and NO ENTRANCE FEE.

This particular Thirst Thursday will see the introduction of a new brew “Boston Red” an 4.5% american hopped malt ale, red in colour with a fruity finish, something im looking forward to trying.

the brewery in pool street is quite close to Birkenhead centre and the docks in Birkenhead, it’s about a 10 minute walk from Conway Park station, the session starts at 4pm, so there is really no excuse!

I’ll write-up about the Thirsty Thursday Later on.