Tuesday 28 August 2012

Good Beer Guide 2013

The 40th edition of the real ale drinker's bible landed with a thud on my doormat this morning, hot off the presses.  In Merseyside twenty pubs have been dropped since last year, and twenty-two added.

The Roscoe Head is one of only seven pubs to have been listed in all forty editions, and I was particularly pleased to see a personal favourite of mine, The Crown on Lime Street, has been restored to the guide.

To find out the rest of the list, you'll have to buy a copy from CAMRA.

Saturday 4 August 2012


There's a new Wetherspoon's in Maghull, which must be a good excuse for a visit to this suburban town to the north of Liverpool, so I started in the Red House, which doesn't look very red I have to say!  Here I found a rather fine two room 1950s style Walker's House almost completely unchanged since my previous visit in 2004.  It still retains some original leaded glass above the counter.

There were no other customers in the place as the barmaid poured me a pint of Cask Tetley, which has always been one of my favourite beers.  I can't remember where this comes from since the closure of the Tetley brewery in Leeds, but I am pleased to report that it still tastes pretty much the same.

Apparently the pub is between managers at the moment, and the barmaid's boss is looking after it temporarily.  She complained that there was nothing to do except read a magazine and watch the Olympics on the telly, with no customers at all.  Last Saturday no-one came in until three, she said, so at least I improved matters today!

Next, a short stroll in simultaneous light rain and sunshine to what is probably the reason the Red House is so empty.  Wetherspoon's Frank Hornby opened earlier this year in what was previously the Everest.  The 'spoons redecoration is in modern style, with a Meccano theme with "industrial" lampshades held together with large nuts and bolts.  The chromed steel gantries above the bar are fun but I'll be wanting compensation if I accidentally head butt a suspended wineglass while getting served.  As usual in a Wetherspoon's, it was busy with lots of locals enjoying the cheap food and drink.

I must tell a little story about the Everest.  Way back in the early days of the pub guide, I was collecting lists of pubs from friends before going to visit them, and Ernie, who lived in Maghull, named a number of the pubs in the area for me.  I wonder why it's called the Everest, I asked, and he replied that Sir Edmund Hillary had lived in Maghull and this had been his local, so I included this piece of information in the guide.  Ten years later it finally occurred to me that I might have been misled, so I typed Edmund Hillary Maghull into Google and was somewhat annoyed to find the only information linking the two was the entry in my pub guide.  Hmph!

Onwards through the subway under the main road that divides Maghull in half, to the Hare & Hounds.  This large pub/restaurant is now a member of the Ember Inns chain, and is decorated in their standard contemporary style.  There were five real ales on tap and I had a good pint of Yorkshire Gold from the Leeds Brewery (Who, post Tetley, can claim to be the largest brewery in Leeds.)

Finally, I turned homewards, towards the station and into the Great Mogul next door.  They had Cask Tetley on, so I enjoyed another spot on pint in this nicely decorated pub where the majority of the customers seemed to be dining.