Thanks to those who have sent news for this bulletin. Should you have pub news, such as a pub new to selling real ale, or now stocking different beer such as local or craft beers, please mail;
Credits for news: Andre Fu, Andrew Kavanagh, Darryl Short, Joel Garnett, Ziggy McGrath, Jean Pownceby, Tony Morgan, Tony Gaskell
Copy date for the next Newsletter – 2nd January
Any opinions expressed in this newsletter is that of the writers and not necessarily the same as CAMRA or the branch.
If you have not yet voted for your favourite pub, the on-line voting form for the Pub of the Year (PoTY) 2017 competition is now live on the branch website and can be reached by following this link:
The form will be available until 6.00pm on 29th January 2017.
Full terms and conditions for the competition can be found at:
We ask that all Liverpool & District members take part in the vote.
You all should know that pubs are selected for the Good Beer Guide (GBG) using the beer scores submitted by CAMRA members. Pubs in the suburbs often do not receive many scores, as less people visit them. For a pub to be considered a number of members need to submit scores. The selection for the 2018 GBG starts in January, so we ask that everybody submits scores for the pubs they visit during December.
If you have a smart phone, you can often submit your scores while supping the beer, otherwise submit your score on line later. Scoring is easy at www.whatpub.com .
Finally, some good news about one of Liverpool’s iconic pubs that closed its doors in June! The Lion Tavern is now open under the stewardship of Dave Hardman. The Lion closed after a dispute involving Punch Taverns and Porter and Black Ltd, the company set up by the previous lessees to run this pub and the nearby Cross Keys. Michael Black and Sean Porter now have their own ‘Lion’ in Birkenhead town centre, adding to the Wirral real ale scene.
Dave has run pubs in Birkenhead and most recently worked behind the bar in the Lion so he brings a wealth of expertise that hopefully will ensure its continued success.
Retaining the eight hand pumps Dave will initially operate from the Punch list, as he is currently unable to source beers through SIBA. Young’s Bitter, a regulars’ favourite, plus Adnam’s Broadside, Castle Rock Harvest Pale and Moorhouse’s Pride of Pendle will be regularly available.
First impressions are good with beer of high quality and a good range of styles in addition to the above. Dave’s next step will be to try and obtain a local beer. The opening night, Wednesday 16th November, was a huge success with the pub packed with familiar faces. Liz and Mark were a reassuring presence behind the bar along with Dave. Since then, the free pie and cheese platters have been reinstated and local and visiting football supporters have once more enjoyed the Lion’s hospitality.
It’s fair to say the old place has been missed by the regulars, who were often seen in other city hostelries. Many have now, like the Lion, returned to what many call their spiritual home. As for the beer that bears the Lion’s name, that was last seen in Birkenhead.
Julie the licensee at the Scotch Piper left on 13th November. She wrote on social media that the reason for her moving on was that she disagreed with Admiral Taverns' plans to introduce food into the pub.
A planning application has been submitted to demolish the sixties buildings to the rear and erect a new single storey extension.
Up to now the pub has relied on wet sales only and has not opened at lunch times on weekdays. One can understand the owners seeking to introduce food to improve the revenue at the pub, but you can also understand the view of Julie and the 300 people who signed the petition against change, that the historic pub is not suitable to be converted into a food driven pub.
A food pub is likely to attract more people arriving my car. The car park at the Scotch Piper is not the biggest. Any expansion of the car park would infringe on the outdoor drinking areas that make the pub so attractive in good weather.
On 16th November, Ray who is also involved in running the nearby Running Horses, has taken on the lease at the Scotch Piper. Bartender Trev reports that the pub will continue to operate as it has previously. The house beer, Pipers 1320 brewed by Marstons, will continue to be served and the other two pumps will continue to dispense a variety of beers, hopefully still including locales.
The folk club on Thursdays and the open mike on Saturdays will continue. The bikers that regularly visited on Wednesdays will be made welcome again.
With bus stops for the 300 route from Liverpool to Southport being right outside the pub, drinkers can use the service to visit the pub until the early evening. At present the pub will open at 4.00pm on weekdays and from midday at weekends. Hopefully the hours will be extended in due course.
Any major change to the pub is still some time away.
After leaving the Scotch, I had time to visit the Running Horses on Bell Lane between the half hourly buses. I had a pint of Oakham Five Leaves Left.
Ranelagh's Tavern is now selling locales. Beers from Rock the Boat and Burscough were available during November. Phil, the landlord, reports local beers will be regularly available.
The White Star on Rainford Gardens, is offering a selected real ale for £2.50 on Mondays to Thursdays, although the sign outside infers all the cask beer might be on offer.
The L1 Bridewell is due to reopen in December as a cocktail bar called Furnival’s Well.
Jean has reported that she enjoyed a few pints of Purity Gold in the Cornmarket recently.
The Pen Factory on Hope Street is now open on Sundays, from 2.00 to 8.00pm.
The Kensington, at 189 Kensington, has reopened after a refurbishment and is reported to be selling real ale.
The Grove on Breckfield Road North was a regular stop for Liverpool supporting CAMRA members going to and from the match when it was a Higsons pub. Happily the pub is selling real ale again, with one handpump in use. I enjoyed a pint of Hobgoblin on the way to a game at Anfield recently. Beers from Moorhouses have also been available.
Not too far away, the Gregson’s Well at the start of West Derby Road, which had been derelict for some time, has finally been demolished. When this was a Higson’s pub, it was a popular stop for people attending wedding ceremonies at nearby Brougham Terrace. The Tetley’s Gregson’s Well that was opposite it, has long since been demolished.
Bryn, the manager of the Willow Bank on Smithdown Road, reports he will usually have a locale on. On my recent visit White Star Seafarers, brewed by George Wright, along with Liverpool Craft IPA, were on tap. There will be also brews from slightly further away available. There are a total of twelve handpulls, with most normally in use at weekends. A good time to visit is Tuesday evening when all real ales are currently sold at £2.25 a pint. A 10% CAMRA member discount is available at other times.
A bit further up the road a planning application has been made to covert the previous Handymans shop at 461 Smithdown Road into a public house with food offer. The building, originally the Sefton Park Picturedrome, is bigger than you might expect. The plans include setting up a ‘Nano Brewery’. These premises will only be yards away from Wavertree’s last brewery at the Finch & Firkin that has long since reverted to the Brook House.
Lee owner of the Alehouse on Prescot Road is organising a small beer festival, Swanfest, at a nearby church hall early in December. All the tickets sold out quickly. I congratulate Lee for his work in promoting real ale in the area, both in his pub and with this festival. It is not too long ago that I wrote a piece for MerseyAle titled ‘Old Swan Beer Desert’.
There is a new licensee at the Derby Arms on the corner of Allerton Road and Vale Road, near Menlove Avenue. On my recent visit Sharps Doombar was available, but it has been reported that this alternates with Jennings Cumberland.
The Toby Carvery Aintree, previously the Rocking Horse, outside the entrance to the racecourse, is reported to be selling real ale.
The final day trading at Merton in Bootle as a Wetherspoon pub will be 11th December. This is part of the company’s policy not to have nearby pubs in their chain competing with other. The pub is expected to open under a new operator a few days later and hopefully will continue to sell real ale.
The handpump at the Bar du Fay was not in use when I visited in November. The landlord told me people chose not to drink the real ale when the weather was warmer. It is a pity the pump is not now back in use now the colder days are with us.
The Old Bank on South Road has introduced a loyalty card for their real ale. Obtain six stamps when buying a pint, to get a seventh pint free. Stamps will only be given and free pints redeemed from 12.00-8.00pm Monday to Thursday and 12.00-6.00pm on Friday.
The Trap & Hatch further along South Road has had problems installing their kitchen. Without food the pub has not been opening until 6.00pm. Hopefully all will be sorted soon and the menu will be available, so the pub will start opening at 11.00am.
Sam, the landlord at the Volunteer Canteen, reports he can have a couple or real ales at a time, free of tie. I enjoyed a pint of Heavy Industry Smoked Porter here during November.
The George, the large Stonegate pub at the start of Moor Lane in Crosby Village is currently closed for refurbishment by Stonegate Pubs. It is due to reopen at 5pm on 7th December.
Further down the lane news of the Crosby Village Social Club is that the building lease sold to a development company, Plans are to redevelop the suite of shops the club is above into a new retail space. Currently there is no cask beer here, but it appears ocassionally.
Nearby, the Crosby Hotel on Liverpool Road was again closed for a period recently. Perhaps the pub would do better if real ale in good condition was served here.
A slightly stronger version of Quokka has been brewed. ‘Fat Quokka’ was available at the (Little) Grapes in November.
The brewery tweeted towards the end of November that three new cask beers have been produced.
‘Little Albion’, a 3.8% English Pale Ale, is on at the Newington Temple as I type this.
‘Camel IPA’, 4.8%
‘Mork’, a 4.8% Rich Oatmeal Stout.
All three have also been delivered to the Grapes.
There is also a new keg beer, ‘Forget about R.E.D.’ 5.8%, is described as an almost red, red ale. This was being served at The 23 Club, at the Clove Hitch at the end of November.
Andy reports the brewery is hoping to move to larger premises soon.
Ad Hop was a headline brewery at the recent Beer Street event run by the Tap & Bottles in Southport. Andy brewed a wheat beer with Luke from the Tap & Bottles called ‘Once More Wit Feeling’, using cinnamon and green peppercorns. Another beer at the festival included ‘My J17 IPA’ brewed with South African J17 hops that has now been brewed as cask for the first time. Other beers there were ‘Pinor Noir Saison’ that had been aged 18 months, ‘Vic Secret IPA’ and a double cinnamon version of ‘Christmas Came Early’.
Also brewed recently is a new IPA ‘Billy the Kid’, 5.6%, India Stout, 4.0%, plus a hoppy IPA ‘Blue Sky Thinking’, 5.9%.
A house stout for Hard Times & Misery will be available in December. Look out also for ‘Christmas Pudding Stout’.
Rock the Boat
Latest beers are;
'Liverpool IPA', a 4.4% beer pale in colour. Dry hopped in the cask with a four hop mix including Flyer, a bitter UK hop.
'Faith Hope Charity', a 4.0%. deep golden bitter fairly typical of the old North West England style of bitter. A little malt flavour with a bitter edge. It has a mix of five hops including Admiral for bittering plus a good whack of East Kent Goldings late on.
'Dragon's Teeth', a 4.3% chocolate stout with a chocolate edge, using five different malts.
Big Bog Brewery
Further to last month’s report, a decision has been made to make German styled beer ‘Morast’ a regular beer. A third brew has recently been racked. The beer has been available in numerous local pubs, I supped it in the Ale House, Old Swan.
A new seasonable beer ‘Peat Bog Porter’, 4.9%, was brewed at the end of November. This contains some liquorice root cut. ‘Frosty Bog', 4.0%, using Cascade Hops, has also been brewed for the winter season.
A new micro brewery has been set up in Liverpool. Their website shows that Ben and Neil met at a homebrew club and found they also had a common interest in wrestling. Their brews won some awards, so they have decided to produce beer commercially. Currently only bottled beers are being produced. I noticed that they were on sale at Dead Crafty Beer Company on Dale Street.
Republic of Liverpool Beer Company
This brewery has been set up by Tony Rothwell with the beer being brewed at the Stamps Brewery. The first beer, a fruity IPA with a mix of four hops, was named ‘Northern Powerhouse...My Arse’. A second beer is due to be brewed before Christmas.
Here is a list of branch events and other real ale events known to the branch. Should you know of any real ale events that should be included in a future newsletter please email details to
Members are encouraged to attend committee meetings and socialise afterwards. There could be a need to change date or venue, so if you intend to attend, please check by emailing;
For information regarding coach trips please phone Ian on 07521 741 586 or email Matt
Wednesday 7th December – Branch Committee Meeting. 7.30pm Crown Lime Street.
Saturday 10th December – Branch’s Christmas party at the Augustus John. Full details above.
Wednesday 14th December – Richard John Blacklers Wetherspoon. Battle of Brewers between Big Bog, Red Star & Parker.
Thursday 22nd December – Walk around pubs in Waterloo and Crosby.. Meet Sue in the Queens Picture House, South Road at 12noon, earlier if you wish to eat. See pub walk below.
Wednesday 4th January – Committee meeting. Baltic Fleet, Wapping. 7.30pm.
Saturday 7th January – New Year local coach trip to Chorlton-cum-Hardy and Lymm. Departs from outside Ship & Mitre at 10.50am.
Wednesday 18th January – Liverpool & Districts branch AGM. See above notice.
Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th January – Liverpool Organic Real Ale Events Winter Ales Festival at St Georges Hall. See advert on back page of MerseyAle for more details.