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POTY 2018

The deadline for nominations for this year's Pub of the Year (POTY) competition has now passed.

The number of nominations cast, through various means, was slightly UP from last year.

Within both the city centre and the suburbs, over 40 different pubs were nominated. Although they didn’t make the shortlist on this occasion, I would like to give a special mention to the following pubs for the number of nominations they did receive, as they usually don’t get a mention….

Sanctuary Bar                                      Pi (Mossley Hill)

Augustus John                         Old Swan Ale House

Vernon Arms                                       Masonic (Garston)                                          

But, in no particular order, this year’s shortlist consists of:

1)         THE SHIP & MITRE, Dale Street                           (City Centre)

2)         LIME KILN, Fleet Street                                          (City Centre)

3)         THE GRAPES, Knight Street                                   (City Centre)

4)         FRANK HORNBY, Eastway, Maghull                    (Suburb)

5)         CASK,  Queens Drive, Stoneycroft                            (Suburb)

The judges have been appointed and briefed. They have until early March to visit EACH pub at least TWICE and score each visit and then send their findings into me. They will be using NATIONAL scoring criteria as approved by CAMRA .

The branch POTY will be the one with the highest, overall aggregate score and will be announced officially via social media and on the branch website at some point week commencing 5th March.

We also hope to have an article ready to go in the Spring edition of Merseyale, which is due mid-March. We hope to make an official presentation in the winning pub at a future Get-together – TBC.

Andre Fu

Branch POTY Co-ordinator

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Pub of the year

The deadline for nominations for this year's Pub of the Year (POTY) competition has now passed.

The number of votes cast, through various means, is UP from last year.

In no particular order, this year’s shortlist consists of:

1) DISPENSARY, Renshaw Street (City Centre)

2) LIME KILN, Fleet Street (City Centre)

3) FRANK HORNBY, Eastway, Maghull (Suburb)

4) THE GRAPES, Knight Street (City Centre)

5) CASK, Queens Drive, Stoneycroft (Suburb)

The judges have been appointed and informed. As the POTY co-ordinator, it is I who appoints the judges and only I know who they all are. There are more judges than ever before and, for the second year running, some of them are non-committee members to both maintain transparency and to give some local members a flavour of how the competition is administered.

They have until mid-March to visit EACH pub at least TWICE and score each visit and then send their findings into me. They will be using NATIONAL scoring criteria as approved by CAMRA HQ.

The branch POTY will be the one with the highest, overall aggregate score and will be announced officially at the MARCH Get-together on March 22nd and then posted on social media followed by the branch website.

Andre Fu

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Other Pub News

City Centre
The Grapes, known as the Little Grapes, at the corner of Roscoe Street and Knight Street, reopened at the beginning of October after a period of major refurbishment. This has included an extension that makes the pub not so little anymore, seen on the right of the photo. There is now a new room to the right of the Roscoe Street door and stairs that lead to a partly sheltered patio area on the roof of the extension.

Grapes small

Three of the nine handpumps were damaged by the contractors so only six ales were available when the pub reopened.

Thomas Rigby's, on Dale Street, was refurbished during the summer. No structural changes, but there are now six handpumps in the centre of the bar, the same as sister pub Fly in the Loaf. Two pumps usually have Okells beers and four are guests. Fiona, who has been the manager here for many years, has been promoted as the manager of all the company's mainland pubs, including new outlets in Yorkshire, as well as the three in Liverpool and the one in Chester. Jim, ex deputy, has taken over as manager at Rigby's.
This means that Fiona is now the boss over her partner Dominic. He may have gained some brownie points with the Fly in the Loaf appearing on the front of the new 2017 Good Beer Guide.

Just around the corner, Ye Hole in Ye Wall on Hackins Hey is continuing to regularly stock beers from Hart of Preston.

The regular beers at the Railway on Tithebarn Street are London Pride and a Robinsons beer, Trooper or Dizzy Blonde. The guest beer has been another nationally known beer recently.

The house beer brewed by Stamps at The Vernon on Dale Street has been named Gitan Zarah’s Plum Porter. It is 4.6%.

Now that the students are back, the Dough Bar on Skelhorne Street has two beers on tap. Peerless Pale and Mobberley Elysium accompanied my Pizza on my last visit.

New Moon, the company operating the Old Blind School on Hardman Street ceased trading late in September. However, a new company Charnwood Catering, has taken over five outlets, including the OBS. Beers from the Mobberley Brewhouse were available early in October.

Not far away, the Kabinett, a cellar bar under the former Home For Destitute Children on Myrtle Street, is selling Liverpool Craft Love Lane, in keg version.


Baltic Triangle
On my last couple of visits, Constellations on Freeland Street has had Neptune Abyss stout was available.

Old Swan
Cask Liverpool Micropub has increased choice with 5 beers on a Thursday and 7 beers from Friday. To maintain quality there will just be the usual 4 early in the week. To facilitate this increase the 3 ciders are now served chilled gravity fed from the bar wall which has freed up hand pumps.

The sign outside The Alehouse, on Prescot Road invites people to ‘Come inside, you may like it’. We hope drinkers who do not normally drink real ale, will do so, with the rest of us knowing we will. Five out of the six pumps are now serving beer. The cider on the sixth is complemented by up to three more kept in the cellar. Owner, Lee Cook (apologies to him that I mistyped his name previously) is now offering a three thirds tasting paddle for £3.50. Lee is also now giving CAMRA members a discount.

Smithdown Road welcomed back the students on 24th September with live music in numerous venues, including those that serve real ale.
Frank's was serving Liverpool Organic 24 Carat, alongside Wainwright. I enjoyed drinking here, listening to a good young band and watching Chelsea lose!
Kelly's Dispensary just up the road, had two guests on tap, alongside their two regular JW Lees beers. Both guests were from North Wales, where the landlord regularly sources his beers, Purple Moose Dark Side of the Moon and Heavy Industries Collaboration.
Finally, the Willow Bank had the largest number of beers. I chose ales from Otter and Red Star.
I did see a few younger people choosing the cask beer. Hopefully more will do so in future.

I have been told that the Belgrave, on Brynaston Road in Aigburth, which has been closed for a few years, has been bought by a local businessman who has other interests in the Lark Lane area.
The architecture of this three story building is impressive, so it will be good if it the pub can be brought back into use.


With hundreds of dwellings within a five minute walk of the pub, the pub could a viable business. Real Ale was not served when it was last open, but the other pubs in the area selling cask beer show that the demand is there.

The Masonic on Gladstone Road in Garston has relaunched its Tuesday evening club. From 6.00pm, on payment of £5.00 you get tokens to drink four pints of cask beer. This makes the beer even cheaper than the £2.00 a pint pub members’ deal offered at other times and the regular discounted price for a pint of cask beer of £2.30.

The Wetherspoon Express, airside at Liverpool Airport, has been offering two beers on the hand pumps this summer. One is normally Peerless Pale. The other has often another Peerless beer, but as I type this, I am enjoying Liverpool Craft Toast. This makes flying out of my local airport even more enjoyable.

The Northern Club is a private, members-only sports club situated on Elm Avenue in Crosby and is not normally accessible to CAMRA members. But, due to successful negotiations between members of the local branch committee and those of the club, card-carrying CAMRA members can now enjoy a pint or two at the club bar EVERY WEDNESDAY from 5.00pm until close. The bar has three hand pulls and, until the end of the year, will be dispensing Wainwright, Hawkshead Bitter and one beer from Rock the Boat Brewery, brewed less than 1 ½ miles away.
Northern Club, Elm Avenue, Moor Park, Crosby, L23 2SX https://whatpub.com/pubs/MER/419/northern-club-crosby

The Livin’ Bar & Grill, 4A Carnegie Avenue, Crosby, L23 3BR, is selling one cask beer, usually from a local micro. Beers from Liverpool Craft Beer Co. have been appearing, with Quokka (3.9%) on recently. LCB Co. bottled beers are also available. It is primarily a cafe bar/restaurant, but drinkers are welcome, although space may be limited on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Edge Hill
Demolition signs appeared around the Mount Vernon pub during August. Up to now work has only been carried out around the pub. Hopefully this classic 'flat iron' building will be preserved, like happened at the Royal on Smithdown Road that was also converted to student accommodation.

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Other Pub News

Liverpool now has another brew pub. Love & Rockets on Lark Lane have set up a small craft brewery on the premises producing keg beers. On my visit two beers were on tap, Carmen American IPA, 4.3%, and Satch, a 4.0% Export Pilsner. Two other brews are in their range, Gil Craft, 4.1%, and Doralis 4.3%.
The pub continues to sell cask beer, with Big Bog beers from Speke on the hand pumps on my last visit.
Perhaps sister pub, The Esperanza on Hope Street, which calls itself a brew pub, may also start brewing.

The Lord Warden on London Road has stopped selling Rock the Boat beers. Unfortunately sales never took off and some beer was being regularly poured away. Why can such a pub not be able to support real ale?

Two city centre pubs have closed for refurbishment. First is the Grapes Roscoe / Knight Streets, which is receiving its long planned improvements.

The second is the Yates's at Queens Square. The new image is as Yates, perhaps to further distance the modern eating pub from the earlier wine lodges. The pub is due to reopen mid-August.

Another pub being refurbished is the Horse & Jockey on Waddicar Lane in Melling. New publican here, Adam, has been in touch and informs us that real ale will be available when it reopens towards the end of August. Hopefully Adam’s deal with Enterprise Inns will allow him to offer some interesting beers.

A new outlet for real ale in Maghull is Bar du Fay, at 96 Liverpool Road South, which is on the 300 bus route from Liverpool to Southport. There is one beer engine that normally dispenses a beer from the Stamps Brewery. However, when correspondent Sean visited the beer was not on. Perhaps the beer is only available on busier days. People calling in here can afterwards catch the 300 bus up to Lydiate and visit the Scotch Piper.

I noticed that the Laburnum on Litherland Road Bootle is being offered for lease by Admiral Taverns. This pub has hand pumps and I seem to remember Deuchars IPA being sold here in the past, but there has been no real ale recently. Perhaps a new publican might try selling cask beer here again. The Jawbone along the road makes it work.

It is outside our area, but I decided to mention a new micro pub, as it is so easy to get to. The Beer Station at Freshfield is right next to the station. It is open each day, from 3.00pm on weekdays and midday at weekends.

Beer Station small

There are three hand pumps, two of which dispense beers from the local Red Star Brewery. The other will normally be a beer from another local brewery. 

There are also three keg taps that currently serve products from the Freedom Brewery, including their version of a Kolsch. 

Beer Station 2 small

Real cider is planned, but meanwhile there are bottles from Rosies and Aspinalls.
A selection of wines and spirits mean there is something for all people to drink.


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