Hop On, Hop Off: Hops In

Off on the Southport Run this afternoon. For those that don’t know this involves getting the train to Southport, getting a couple of pints there then hopping back on the train to Liverpool.

Oh, and getting off at stops that have real ale options near to the station for a pint. Hop on, hop off, and hops in as it were.

It’s been a few years since I’ve done it and the options have vastly improved at the northern end of the run with the addition of the Tap & Bottles in Southport, the Barrel House in Birkdale and the Grasshopper in Hillside. As far as I know Ainsdale still doesn’t have good options, which is a place crying out for a new pub or micro pub isn’t it?

Of course after that there’s The Freshfield and the Railway in Formby. Then the options around Crosby (the Cornerpost) and Waterloo (StampsToo, Volunteer etc). As for Liverpool, depending on verticality issues, well, we’ll see.

Will try and post updates on here (no chance around the signal black hole of Freshfield of course). If not will update tomorrow and will of course Tweet and Instagram photos. @realeliverpool

Anticipated crawl:

  • Baron’s Bar
  • Tap & Bottles
  • Barrel House
  • Grasshopper
  • Freshfield
  • The Railway
  • The Hightown
  • Cornerpost
  • Stamps Too
  • Lion

(Subject to beer related bright ideas)

Like I say, subject to change. One of the last times I did this crawl I started in the Mason’s Arms (with a group of beer drinking ladies!). So thought I’d give it a go again. Three cask taps… all off. 

So popped to closest other option The Willow Grove. A typical Wetherspoon’s, on Lord Street. Decent pint of Hawkshead Lakeland Gold. Nothing of note really, apart from someone asking for a taster of that unusual ale ‘Doom Bar’. I ask ya!

Then it was on to the Baron’s Bar in the Scarisbrick Hotel, Lord St. This is where I first started my ale drinking back in the late 1980s when I was at KGV Sixth Form. Oh the memories.

Anyway, decent choice of ales. A few Moorhouse and Southport Brewery options. Settled for the latter and their Golden Sands. Incredibly it’s cheaper than Wetherspoons – £2.19 a pint.

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New Keyboard, New Possibilities

Bought a foldable Bluetooth keyboard and it is the dogs doo dahs! 

So that means that it is a lot easier to type up stuff whilst out and about – like this.

I am currently in the Pen Factory where there is some lovely ale on – including Ossett ‘Inception’ and ‘Golden Ale’, Tiny Rebel ‘Ryu’ and Rock the Boat ‘Dazzle’. Top choices and it’s sunny and there’s room in the garden.

Huzzah!

   

After tryng my first Rock the Boat ‘Dazzle’ and a nice chin wag about beer, cricket and the US of A with a couple of locals I went on to the Caledonia. The Cali is one of my most favoritest pubs in Liverpool for the ambience and the music. But not always for the beer quality. Happy to report that the Hop Hop Hop from Allgates was on fine form. 

Hop Hop Hop in the Caledonia

The lickle long dogs were on fine form too.

 

To follow the Cali it was on to the Blackburne. Four ales on – two Parker Ales, a Steam Box and Dazzle again fom Rock the Boat.

The Kinks are playing (think it’s a CD and not that they are practising upstairs) and I went for a Centurion.

(still loving the keyboard)

Centurion in the Blackburne

From there it was obviously downhill and round the nearby corner to the Belvedere. Fab there to see George Wright ‘Pipe Dream’ on. Bit surprised to see Rock the Boat ‘Dazzle’ on – three pubs out of four?! hats of to their sales staff!

  Finally it was a quick one in the Fly in the Loaf. Had a Revisionist (Marstons) West Coast IPA. Not outstanding but then again quite drinkable too.
Bonus was to sit outside on the single table remaining. (Staff had started to clear outside before 9pm – Dom must have had a day off).

 

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The Crawl Less Travelled

Decided to have a different walk around town last week. Instead of the usual top Liverpool pubs with guaranteed pint size glasses of loveliness I chose a few other hostelries less frequently visited on the ale trail.

First off was the Victoria Cross on Victoria Street (sister pub to the Richmond). It was sparsely populated with obvious regulars. Of the six taps there were four ales on – it was a Monday after all – and the beers were all quality: Southport Carousel, Brimstage Trapper’s Hat, Tatton White Queen and Thwaites Wainwright.

I went for the Carousel (easing in to the crawl after all). It was on fine form and reasonably priced at £2.70. I’ll be back sometime I dare say.

Wrote down a list of pubs to consider for #thecrawllesstravelled and started tweeting about it too. Of course. I’m a Twitter obsessive after all.

  
The second pub was the Exchange Bar on Old Hall Street. It looks quite old fashioned and unappealing from the outside but I used to go there quite a lot when I worked on Tithebarn Street in the 1990s. It hasn’t changed.

There were only two beers on: Thwaites Wainwright and Lancaster Bomber.

  
I went for the Bomber for a change – £2.60. Okay but not sparkling.

Next up was a more traditional pub, another regular from the 1990s, The Pig & Whistle. A nicer cosier more interesting pub than the Exchange. Let down by a single issue. The two taps were off. So it was off and out…

Ma Boyles over by St Nics was much more welcoming for an ale drinker. There were three taps with two beers on: Robinson’s ‘Trooper’ and Vocation ‘Chop & Change: Chinook’. Went for the Vocation which was a new one for me. It was lush! The crawl was looking up. For info it was £3.40 a pint.

  
Had a good chat with the enthusiastic manager who used to work at the Philharmonic pub – when it was good.

Contemplated staying for another, but that would have knocked another pub from the little travelled crawl so decided better of it. And I will be back to Boyle’s no doubt!

Another blast from the past was The Cornmarket. One of the oldest pubs (or two pubs) in the city. Again a lovely venue. Has a nice beer garden – very much a rarity in Liverpool pubs. It was almost empty. But it was mid-afternoon on a Monday so it would be.

Ales on were not inspiring at all – national brands. Went for the Atlantic which was okay, but not on good form. Was happy to leave and unlikely to rush back.

The Beehive by Chapel Street was another 1990s haunt – largely to watch footy or on a Friday post work night; was a Guinness then with young people but not today.  Two bland nationals on, which I won’t bother publicising. Still, I stopped for one and at least I could sit outside and people watch for half an hour

.

  
Heard some good things about the Lime Kiln lately but it was the first time I’ve been in since I had a poor experience over a year ago. And lo! that experience was all but forgotten when I found Jaipur was on… with a 50p voucher it was cheaper than discounted milk. Happy boy. I’ll be back!

For the last pint it was round the corner to the infamous Swan. An okay pint of Saphir Single Hop, but to be honest I was still recoiling from my accidental Jaipur.

   

All in all some disappointing pubs – which I suppose there would be (or else it would be the crawl MOST travelled). But finding the ales on at the Lime Kiln and the excellent ale (and service) at Ma Boyle’s will take me back to these places again. And I would recommend not sticking rigidly to the same pubs; you never know what you may find…

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Chester Day Trip

I am working this weekend so having Thursday and Friday as my weekend. That being the case today is my Saturday and I am off for a few bevs in Chester.

First time out with the new iPhone so will be learning about that a little eg battery life, photography, and WordPress of course.

A few shots of pubs and half full glasses guaranteed (certainly not half empty glasses).

To be continued…

 

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Updates and lack of them

I’ve not been doing well with these ‘fortnightly’ updates since I started the driving job have I?

Well, there’s been less drinking of course, but still there’s no excuse for not being able to have a blog up that (ir)regularly. So I will endeavour to get that back on track for the rest of the year – even if just little splashes in a half pint glass.

Currently sat in the Dispensary with a wonderful pint of Oakham Citra on way to my writing group meeting. On a school night – a rare pleasure.

See you soon….

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Frodsham Winter Beer Festival 2015

It’s usually the traditional curtain raiser to the new ale year, but this year they moved it back a week. Bit of a shame for football fans from Liverpool as we both played our games during the week so no-one would have missed a game last week – and today… well, Liverpool and Everton play today. Grr.

The day started poorly with an early wake up due to the baying winds pulsating through the north of Liverpool. So not as much sleep as I would have liked. Still, onwards and upwards. Bus to town and the preferred start of the day on a beer trip… a full English at the Shiraz on Williamson Square.

As usual we get there too early for the start of the beer festival which opens its doors at noon, so it was in to the brilliant Helter Skelter.

With only two staff working we lucky to get in before the rest of coach and didn’t have to wait too long. Need to get out to Frodsham again sometime for the pubs – Kash is on the other side of the road too, but didn’t open until 12 as well.

We were quickly into the festival for the princely sum of £1 (with the £1 CAMRA discount). As with the previous year they had no food on, but you could bring in your own stuff from home or bought locally. With the Shiraz impact still fresh it wasn’t an issue for your truly.

There were 26 ales on from 26 different breweries – although there were quite a few beers from Cheshire they weren’t all local. Indeed there were several ales from Scotland on.

My favourite ale – which sold out while I was there – was Hop Studio (Yorkshire) ‘Fire and Ice’ I also enjoyed the Fixed Wheel ‘Blackheath Stout’ from the midlands. It was the only stout on. There was an interesting sounding wheat beer which had gone already on Friday called ‘Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!’ which it turns out wasn’t Wilfred Owen but actually Brewing 8 Miles High. Would have liked to have given it a go.

Had to pop next door to watch the Liverpool game second half (Liverpool beat Sunderland, and no beach balls, Huzzah!).

None of the beers jumped out as unmissable. But, as always, it was nice to kick off the traditional start of the beer festival year.

After Frodsham it was on to Appleton Thorn Village Hall for the always fabulous beers on offer there. It continually gains awards and for good reason. If you’re ever passing you must try and pop in – preferably with a designated driver in tow. Fab.

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Name and Shame!

I said I’d try and do a blog at least once a fortnight and I don’t think the list of favourite pubs from last year counts, so then this will be the first one of 2015 . It’s going to be a short one and I’m pretty sure I’ll be posting again before the fortnight is up.

Anyway, just thought that I’d write a quick note on my general attitude on scrawlinghome and particularly on my twitter account (@RealeLiverpool) comments.

On Friday I went out with a group of mates to several pubs in the Dale Street area of the town and sent a few tweets out about good beers I had in the Excelsior and James Monro. We then moved on to a few other Liverpool real pubs, which I didn’t tweet about. At the end of the evening I wrapped it up with a comment saying that I’d ‘enjoyed the ales in these two pubs but in other pubs less so’ – which was true.

On twitter I was then asked to ‘name and shame‘ the pubs that had the audacity to serve a less than perfect pint. There were no doubt a variety of reasons behind those requests, but I refused to do so. Despite badgering.

My purpose in both accounts is to highlight what is about and what is happening in Liverpool real ale pubs – be it ales that are on, food, music or other entertainment. And my way of doing this is to report these in a positive way.

I declined to state where I’d had average – or below average – beers because that is not positive and also because there is a fair chance that I may be unlucky at the time – after all I may be getting one of the last pints out of a barrel while the remaining X No. of ales, which I haven’t tried, are all spot on. It would be unfair to tarnish a place be it on one drink or one visit.

I will continue to tweet about new or interesting beers that are on, beers that I am having –  that I am loving, quality service, musical or other entertainment events.

So if your glass is half full then be away with you: I will not be naming and shaming pubs about individuals, the odd bad beer, or dirty toilets if you are after that follow those peeps that love to moan, complain and only see the worst in everything. I know there are plenty of people who love seeing all the negativity and bile available through social media (Trip Advisor comments anyone?) over the positive things but I won’t be joining in.

Of course all opinions will have contrary ones. I know that I will be almost right some of the time and almost wrong some of the time – and who knows so will you. I’ve always been a glass half full person and you won’t be making me change that – and I won’t be naming and shaming.

Cheers!

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