With there being a direct train in early mornings from Dronfield to the port city of Liverpool I decided on an overcast Wednesday in October to pay the city a visit, and to sample some of Liverpool’s finest pubs in the process.
After a hugely enjoyable morning visiting Liverpool’s historic dockside, including the Merseyside Maritime Museum I decided to make The Baltic Fleet the first port of call. Located on the main road near to the Albert Dock, this is billed as Liverpool’s only brewpub. On walking through the doors I was told that the main bar area was shut (presumably for refurbishment) and ushered into a back room, where drinkers were being served through a small hatch, which lead to queues. In addition to all the inconvenience, the barman’s loud singing provided further irritation. It was nice to finally be able sample Brimstage Trappers Hat, a beer I have long been looking out for. However, as I wasn’t exactly impressed with this pub I didn’t hang around for long.
From there I headed away up Dale Street, to The Excelsior, which had beer on from a new brewery called Rock The Boat. Two of their beers were on cask, Dazzle and Bootle Bull. Both beer names referencing Liverpool’s maritime heritage.
Barely 10 yards from the Excelsior is The Ship & Mitre. A busy, bustling pub with plenty of cask ale and world beers to tempt the discerning drinker. I settled on Woodland Midnight Stout as my beer of choice in here. I also ate in the Ship & Mitre and the food was good, although I have resolved to make sure I eat traditional scouse stew the next time I visit Liverpool!
From the Ship & Mitre I headed towards the cathedrals and went in The Dispensary on Renshaw Street. This was my favourite pub of the visit. A good range of cask and keg options but above all, the friendliest pub I visited. The beer I sampled in here was the delightfully hoppy Hawkshead Cumbrian 5 Hop, which was the best beer I had all day.
From The Dispensary I headed to The Roscoe Head. This historic and traditional multi roomed pub is well worth a visit. However, it is currently threatened with redevelopment following its acquisition from Punch Taverns by New River Retail, a company with a history of closing pubs for conversion to retail use. The Roscoe Head is one of only five pubs in the whole of Great Britain that has been in every edition of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. As such it’s worth fighting to save and Liverpool CAMRA is campaigning hard to that effect. You can sign the petition to persuade Liverpool City Council to make the Roscoe Head an Asset of Community Value here. https://www.change.org/p/liverpool-city-council-save-the-roscoe-head
From the Roscoe Head I carried on up Hardman Street to The Fly In The Loaf, a modern pub with an emphasis on food and a good range of cask ales. And after a very enjoyable stout in the shape of Salopian Polygraph I headed round the corner to The 23 Club. located in the cellar of The Clove Hitch Bar & Bistro this has a wide range of draught and bottle beers. This was the final place I visited on my trip and Mad Hatter Penny Lane Pale was an ideal beer for the intimate surroundings of this venue.
In conclusion, there are plenty of good pubs worth visiting in Liverpool serving good cask ale. And what’s interesting is that none of the above could be described as real ale “theme” pubs.