It truly is the ‘end of an era’ as we receive confirmation that the brewing kit has been sold and removed from the basement of the Baltic Fleet meaning Liverpool has finally lost it’s last remaining “brewpub” and Wapping beer will no longer be brewed. I have been told by General Manager, Richard Lee that the kit has been sold to city based microbrewery, Ad Hop, and brewer, Tom, has joined their team. Simon Holt, the owner, confirmed the following via email…
“After careful consideration I have decided to stop brewing in the cellar and sell the brewery on to Anders at Ad Hop. The Baltic Fleet is going from strength to strength, particularly our Locale sales. We currently offer up to 12 local casks, keg & bottle. We're passing on a great kit & supporting the growth of an already established Liverpool brewer. So for one last time let's raise our glasses & shout, "mine's a WAPPING!"
Ad Hop Brewery have now moved to larger premises and have incorporated the ex brewing kit from the Baltic Fleet with their own, original plant to make an 8bbl plant in total. Brewer, Andy, intends to brew a core range of 4 cask beers in the next month or so but the recipes / styles are yet to be decided.
Rock the Boat have produced another beer in collaboration with staff from Rigby’s and the Fly in the Loaf. Summer Pale Ale, 4.5%, made with Admiral and Fly (American) hops, both proper bitter hops. The beer will be available in the three Manx pubs in Liverpool during July.
The Baltic Fleet Brewery had to suspend brewing for a few weeks. The issues have now been resolved and Summer Ale was back on tap at the end of June. This also delayed the brewing of the second beer, American Pale Ale, 4.2%. This will be available during July. This is to be the first of a series of different brews produced each quarter. Two casks will be available for the bar each week, so on occasions the second beer may not be available.
It was good to see a cask Ad Hop beer on sale at the Grapes Knight Street over the last bank holiday weekend. Taj Mahal is a 7.2% beer. As promised, to cask beers were available at the Birkenhead Beer Festival.
Rock the Boat launched a new beer, Waterloo Sunset, appropriately at the Waterloo Beer Festival. It was the first beer to sell out.
The Baltic Fleet Brewery now has a second beer on tap. American Pale Ale is 4.2%.
Liverpool Craft Brewery have a installed two more fermentation vessels to help keep up with demand. Love Lane Pale Ale is especially popular. Look out for the special brews that are being produced during the summer to check which are liked enough to become regulars. One of these, Half Nelson 4.1%, was available at the Caledonia and Clove Hitch at the beginning of June.
The Baltic Triangle
Constellations is at 35-39 Greenland Street in the Baltic Triangle, next to the part of the Contemporary Urban Centre that is now a school. This venue, like the Camp & Furnace further down the road, is in an old warehouse. The inside area is smaller, but Constellations also has a large outdoor area that used to be a scrap yard. The indoor consists of a bar area with a dozen tables and a separate performance area. Outside there is a large open space with a Wood Award winning canopy bar and the food hut. Some bars have a single flower on tables, but here there are large plant pots! A canvas canopy provides shelter for a few tables.
Constellations is now also open on Wednesdays, but is normally closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. It may open on these days, particularly bank holidays, if the weather is good.
Brunch is served from 10am to 5pm, after which there is a varying menu. One, or sometimes two if busy, cask beers are supplied by Liverpool Craft Brewery.
Live bands appear regularly which are ticketed events. The venue is also available for hire. Therefore the indoor area, or the outdoor, or occasionally both, could be closed to the public. Check out the website www.constellations-liv.com for more information.
One event here that beer drinkers will be interested in, is the annual Liverpool Craft Beer Expo, on 16th-19th June. There will 50+ cask beers on hand pulls, 40+ ciders and 250+ craft keg beers. See www.liverpoolcraftbeerexpo.com for more details.
There are two other cask beer outlets in the immediate area, the Baltic Social on Parliament Street and the Brewery Tap over the road from there. People may wish to visit the area and support all three venues by drinking the real ale offered. The Sheil Road circular routes 26 & 27, plus the X1 Runcorn Express buses stop on nearby St James Street. The 82 buses stop on Great George Street.
Not too far away, at 5 Kitchen Street, is the tap house in the Black Lodge Brewery. Cask ale is not available, but Terry, one of the brewers, told me one may be produced in the future. Meanwhile, only keg beers are brewed. Customers can often watch the small micro plant in action. There are 13 taps behind the bar, with the beer written on the tiles below. The middle one dispenses water for those who want to clear their palate before trying a different beer. Usually around four of the taps dispense Black Lodge beers, with the other eight having beers from other brewers. The Charcuterie food menu is excellent.
The tap room is open from 3pm on Thursdays and Fridays and midday on Saturdays and Sundays.
Although we miss the different 'Mine's Wapping' beers brewed by Angus, it is still well worth visiting the Baltic Fleet. Summer Ale continues to be brewed on the premises and is now labelled as 'Baltic Fleet' to emphasise this. The other pumps now dispense beers from other breweries, usually local, including Facers from Flint.
The Clubhouse at Chavasse Park has been serving up to four real ales. These have been;
Passionate Blonde, the special brew for bar owners NWTC by Cloudwater,
Phoenix White Monk,
Liverpool Organic Shipwreck.
The cask beers available on the gravity fed taps from the upstairs 'cellar' are shown on the blackboards behind the bar.
The Merchant has opened at 40 Slater Street, on the corner of Parr Street, the building once the home of Mello Mello. The pub opens at 11.00am daily and advertises itself as ‘Bar, Canteen & Garden’.
The bar has four hand pulls, North Brewing Prototype from Leeds is to be a regular beer and the beers on the other three pumps will rotate. To start with the beers were from Wylam, Saltaire and Thornbridge. There are 20 keg taps, six of which supply mass produced lagers, but the other fourteen dispense craft beers, including local brews from Liverpool Craft and Mad Hatter. The bar is open until midnight and 3.00am at weekends.
There are two parts to the Canteen, the Slice Bar selling Pizza slices from 11.00am to midnight and Patty Smith, selling mainly gourmet burgers from noon to 10.00pm. In addition a guest producer can set up in the garden.
The enclosed garden has covered seating down one side. Monday night is quiz night and a DJ is employed on the busier evenings. Hopefully the younger people this might attract can be encouraged to drink the good beer.
People may wish to visit the Jacarada on Slater Street for reasons other than the beer. The venue was originally opened in the 1958 by Allan Williams, the Beatles first manager. This is commemorated near the bar by the 'CAMRA Pubs in Time plaque no.14' from February 2006 and Memorabilia adorns the walls. The ground floor is a normal bar. The basement has live music from 8.00pm Thursday to Sunday evenings, with the traditional ethos of the venue to provide a platform for new music continuing. The first floor is a Vinyl Records shop/café, complete with Custom Listening Booths. The late opening, up to 6.00am at weekends, is good for a nocturnal drinker.
The Dead Crafty Beer Company has opened at 138 Dale Street, on the corner of Preston Street, opposite the old Magistrates Courts. There is no cask conditioned beer, but there are 20 taps to serve keg beers and a good supply of bottles. Beers come from local breweries, along with other British and international brews. Above the taps there are A4 size clip boards displaying an enlarged copy of the pump clip for each of the draught beers available. Different taps dispense beers at different temperatures according to the style of beer. A good feature is that each table has a water bottle and glasses. The original brickwork of this listed building is impressive.
At the Blarney Stone on Renshaw Street Liberation Ale from Jersey and Navigation New Dawn from Nottingham were on tap during March.
Two hand pumps have appeared in the ground floor foyer bar at the Everyman theatre. However, they have yet to be plumbed in, so beer drinkers have to rely on bottles, or go downstairs to the Bistro if it is open.
Further down Hope Street the Refinery has opened on the corner of Myrtle Street, taking up a lot of the ground floor of the new Josephine Butler Building. This is a sister pub to the Hub at the bottom of Hanover Street. There are banks of three hand pumps at each end of the bar, although currently one bank is not yet in use. When the pub first opened Liverpool Organic Josephine Butler was available and no doubt will this appropriately named beer will be available often, although an different Organic beer was available on my last visit. A beer from Liverpool Craft has been the second beer available on my visits and the third pump has dispensed other local beers.
The pub opens from 8.00am daily, with alcohol served from 11.00am.
The Blackburne Eatery has opened at 133-135 Allerton Road. It is related to the well established venue on Catharine Street. The empathise here is on food, but people are welcome just to drink. There are three hand pumps, although only one might be in use. Should the draught run out, bottles are available. Like the parent pub, beers are supplied directly from breweries, usually local. Different Rock the Boat beers were available on my visits.
It is good to sup a Locale on Allerton Road. The John Brodie opposite normally only serves national beers.
The Rose of Mossley on Rose Lane near Mossley Hill station is now serving Greene King Abbott and Old Speckled Hen.
Butchers on Booker Avenue near West Allerton station, like other micropubs in the area, no longer opens on Mondays. There are a couple of pavement tables out front, should the weather ever warm up! There are now two hand pumps. On my last visit one was dispensing a Red Star beer as usual, while the other had a beer from Sandiway Brewery in Cheshire.
In Old Swan, the Black Horse at 641 Prescot Road, is finally serving real ale. I was told that at one time this was the only Greene King pub in the country not to do so. Four hand pulls have been installed, with three serving IPA, Abbott and Speckled Hen. The fourth can serve a different beer from the group. This pub is part of the 'Meet and Eat' chain.
Not far away, the Masons Arms that for a short time after Greene King took over did serve real IPA, continues not to have hand pumps. Is this now the only Greene King pub without real ale?
Also on Prescot Road, next to the library, work has started on converting the old Connexions Job Centre into the Old Swan Ale House. Licensee, Lee, hopes to open in May and plans to fit 9 hand pulls.
Although I can never remember it serving real ale, it is the sign of the times that the Red House further down the road has been converted into a Costa coffee shop. Does anybody know of any other pubs in our area succumbing similarly? Perhaps it could be converted back to a pub, should the government equalise the duty between coffee and beer for drinking on the premises!
The Cygnet, diagonally opposite became a furniture shop some years ago. On my bus ride along Prescot Road and Kensington, I counted only seven pubs still open. As far as I know, the Picture Drome is the only one that serves real ale and I do recommend people to visit this pub.
Two pubs along the route were in the process of being converted to domestic accommodation and the Farnworth Arms was a heap of rubble. Tell your MP to do something to save British Pubs!
I have been told that the plans for another micro pub on Eaton Road in West Derby have been abandoned.
The Crosby, on Liverpool Road in Crosby, has reopened after being closed for a few weeks. There is the usual 'under new management' sign outside. There is no cask beer, though.
In Woolton the White Horse that previously had generally stocked national beers has recently been dispensing beers from other breweries. On my last visit Clarks Merrie City Cascadian and Twickenham Spring Ale were available.
Across the road the Elephant Pub & Bakehouse is still subject to a tie, so only one guest is available. During April Tiny Rebel One Inch Punch has been on tap. There are also four cask national beers available. This pub is operated by Flying Pig & Lobster Ltd, headed by celebrity chef Simon Rimmer. The company has acquired the Hilltop in West Kirby that should open in June as the Viking Pub & Bakehouse and will be free of tie.
The Cobden on Quarry Street continues to sell the same four cask ales. The licensee, Jackie, reports that all are popular, so she dare not take any off. The local beer is Peerless Pale.
Nearby, Jackie's previous pub, the County Court, is being converted to domestic accommodation. Another pub lost.
Down the hill on Vale Road is the Gardeners Arms. The guest beers on my last visit were from Wales, Purple Moose Dark Side and Cwrw Lal Limestone Cowboy, both were lovely.
Licensee Peter has now taken over the lease at the Victoria on Cobden Street. He has selected London Pride and Weetwood Cheshire Cat as the best beers on the Punch list available to him.
Nearby the Grapes, plus the Coffee House in the centre of Woolton, do not sell real ale.
In Wavertree, the Edinburgh on Sandown Lane, was selling Bosun’s Bermuda Triangle during April.
Nearby, on the High Street, the Pound Pub has given up selling real ale. It is a pity the regulars prefer the gassy mass produced beers, to the cask conditioned beer.
On the way to Wavertree, I noticed the Weighing Machine on the corner of Marmaduke Street had been repainted as a Marstons pub and renamed the Rose Vaults. The pub still has no real ale.
The Sandown at the start of the High Street is now the Eureka Greek restaurant.
“The Awards evening is a Celebration of all our Real Ale Pubs and an opportunity to recognise and reward pubs and people that have made a significant contribution to real ale in Liverpool.” With these words Sonia James-Henry, the Chair of Liverpool CAMRA Branch, introduced the 2015 Awards Night.
Best Newcomer Award – the Pen Factory, Hope Street Sonia commented that since opening in December 2015, the Pen Factory had rapidly set high standards for its real ale and for its quality food. The Award was collected by proprietor Paddy Byrne, who after over forty years running the Everyman Bistro and having won a shed load of awards in the process, found it rather touching to now be described as the Best Newcomer ! Sonia also highlighted the loss of a good real ale pub, the James Munroe on Tithbarn Street, which had been in contention for the Best Newcomer Award, but had closed some weeks earlier due, it was reported, to difficulty in making the pub viable given high levels of rent for the building – an all too common story in a climate where pubs nationally are closing at the rate of 29 a week.
Community Pub Award – the Scotch Piper, Lydiate, Lancashire The Award was introduced by Liverpool CAMRA Committee member Sue Daniels, who described how the licensees Phil and Julie had taken on the thatched roofed Piper, the oldest pub in Lancashire, and had not only developed a reputation for the quality of the real ale, but had also enhanced the pub’s contribution to the community. They organised a series of charitable events, gave support to local organisations and continued to host the weekly gathering of motor bikers and the local scouts who ran a burger stall to feed the Hungry Bikers. She commented that when the pub was burgled with major damage done by a major water leak caused by the forced entry, the thieves had left a note apologising for the damage to the pub ! Accepting the Award, Phil and Julie said that the CAMRA Award meant, “a hell of a lot to us.” They were new to the pub business and had set out to put new life into the pub and the Award was a great encouragement to them.
Renaissance Pub - the Pumphouse, Albert Dock. Sonia explained that the Renaissance Award was for a pub that had either introduced real ale in a pub where it was not previously sold, or had greatly improved the quality or the range of the real ales already on offer. The Pumphouse is a Greene King pub which is in a prime location on the Albert Dock, but had been offering only a very limited range of real ales. The pub managers had decided to greatly expand the range of real ales from 3 to 10 hand pumps and to offer beers from breweries beyond the Greene King group, with beers from the likes of Liverpool Organic Brewery, Skinners and Robinsons now appearing regularly. Tracey, Clare, Ryan and Bill from the Pumphouse were in attendance to receive the Award.
LocAle Pub of the Year – Stamps Too, Crosby Liverpool CAMRA LocAle officer Andre Fu, announced the Locale Award, commenting that it was awarded to the pub that had been the first winner of the Award when it was introduced. Since then Stamps Too had consistently promoted LocAles (those brewed within 30 miles of the pub), with LocAles being in the majority of beers on the bar. Licensee Frank received the Award and thanked CAMRA for the hard work they did in promoting pubs and real ale.
Bar Person of the Year Award Kim Broughton, the Baltic Fleet, Wapping This was introduced by CAMRA member Dave Jones and was awarded to Kim Broughton of the Baltic Fleet, Wapping. Dave commended Kim’s personality, attitude and customer service in a role that is the essential interface between the customer and the beers. This is a role which can make or break a pub and the customer experience, leading either to the loss of a customer or a satisfied customer who returns again. The bar person was central to the success of a pub.
Brewer of the Year - Angus Morrison, Wapping Brewery. Angus Morrison had taken over from long time Wapping brewer, the legendary Stan Shaw. This was some challenge, but Angus had risen to it and had also put his own stamp and personality on the Wapping beers. Introducing the Award, Sonia described the Baltic Fleet as a great pub with great Wapping beers which were brewed beneath your feet in the cellar brewery. Accepting the Award, Angus described how it had been a big challenge taking over from Stan, but hoped he had justified the faith placed in him and that customers enjoyed his beers. Angus commented that he loved making beer and that his message was; ‘Drink Beer, Be Happy’.
Real Cider Pub of the Year - the Augustus John, Peach Street off Brownlow Hill, Liverpool University Liverpool CAMRA Cider Officer Steve Berks introduced the Award, which for the fifth time was being awarded to the Augustus John, known to many as the AJ. In addition the AJ had also twice won the CAMRA Regional Cider pub of the year Award, demonstrating the excellent range and quality of the real ciders and perries sold there. The AJ had also worked closely with Liverpool CAMRA in promoting real cider to customers and especially students. The Award was collected by Jim Townson from the AJ.
The Four Liverpool CAMRA Pubs of Excellence 2015 Sonia introduced the four Pubs of Excellence, explaining that these had been the finalists for the Liverpool CAMRA Pub of the Year 2015. They were;
The Dispensary, Renshaw Street – “always offering excellent beer quality”
The Ship and Mitre, Dale Street, “a pub on many people’s itinerary when visiting Liverpool”
The Lime Kiln, Concert Square “a Wetherspoon pub with a range of 12 real ales”
The Pi Bar, Rose Lane, Mossley Hill. A small neighbourhood bar which has been so successful it has had to expand into the shop next door.
The Liverpool Pigeon, Endbutt Lane, Crosby Sonia introduced the Award with the words, “a great little pub with a fantastic atmosphere, excellent beer quality, a varied clientele and also dog friendly. A deserved winner for the second year running” Accepting the Award, licensee Pat Moore said, “it is an honour to win this award for the second year running. It has been an exciting time opening, running and developing the pub. We want to showcase beer and serve it in top condition. We are looking to offer more beers including those from two new local micro breweries. I would also like to thank our staff, Ian and Geoff, for the great contribution they make to the pub.”
This article first appeared in Merseyale Autumn 2015
At Wapping Brewery Stan Shaw is preparing to hand over his brewer’s baton to his new protégée Angus Morrison when Stan retires in April 2014. Stan has been training Angus in brewing techniques and Angus has already done some test brews. Angus is a CAMRA member and has a strong interest in all aspects of food and drink, especially beer and malt whisky. For several years he has been maitre’d at Delifonseca Stanley Street, where he greatly improved the bottled beer range.