Friday, 16 July 2021

Birkdale Bonus

Now this is where the job of pub guide author becomes hard work:  I got off the train at Hillside and walked past The Pines and The Grasshopper, two Good Beer Guide micros which, when I was here in 2017, served excellent ale.  But I was targeting places visited longer ago, so I marched on and soon reached the Crown, last visited in 2012:

A standard Ember Inns, pleasant enough and surprisingly quiet on a Friday afternoon.  I had to wait briefly to be seated by an efficient waiter/barman who soon brought me my ale, with a CAMRA discount.

Doom Bar and Black Sheep were on the handpumps, I hesitated - Two in the afternoon on a very hot day? - but decided to risk it, and the Doom Bar was fine.

What is there to say about an Ember Inn?  They're all the same.

Immediately across the road is a new(ish) one (The signs say est. 2015) called Taylors, but as I'd arrived it looked shut.  I investigated on the internet:   Google had them open now, but Facebook said 15:00.  As I had never ticked it before I decided to dawdle over my pint until then, chatting to the waiter.  Would it be open?

Yes,  A brand new tick!  An excellent shop conversion, larger than most "micros" and unusually perhaps more like a traditional pub in layout and atmosphere.  Two handpumps, only one with a clip, and my pint of Pride Of Pendle was excellent.

A handful of drinkers in the sunshine outside, and only one other customer with me inside, I hope it gets busier later.  Again I'm surprised at the lack of custom, is everyone waiting for freedom day?

A long walk brought me to the George, not visited since May 2000:

But unfortunately it's closed, probably permanently?  But what's this across the road?  The Woollen Pig Tap and Bake House:

Well I never!  I'd not even heard of this one so that's a real bonus.  Lots of people sitting outside but I headed into the rather warm interior, which is 50/50 cake shop and pub.  And there on the counter is a handpump, from which I had a fine pint of Southport IPA.

I tried not to drool too much as I admired the cakes and donuts in the cabinet in front of where I sat; they certainly looked tempting.  Hot food was also on the menu, from soup of the day to pie and mash.

A steady stream of drinks headed out of the door to the many customers outside, keeping the waitresses busy, I think I was the only one daft enough to sit indoors.

I noticed they open at eight in the morning, I wonder if one can get a pint then?

Next target was another new tick, the Beer Den:

I was slightly concerned here that it might be full, but in fact there were a few free tables inside and I was soon signed in and served a pint of Parker's Centurion.

More like a standard micro, this one, a small interior, pleasantly decorated, plus tables outside on the pavement.  Once again it was a bit warm (The room, not the ale) and I would have headed outside but all the tables were occupied.

Chatter, music on the radio, and the clink of the dishwasher being loaded formed the soundscape in here.

Time to walk to Birkdale for the train home.  I'm not really built to jog to the station after four pints, but I made it with seconds to spare.  Can I cross my legs until we get to Central?  

What an excellent result today:  Three places never before visited, including one never even heard of, taking my total to 1,342.  And four pints of quality real ale.  My decision to eschew the two micros at Hillside was vindicated.  On the other hand, one more pub added to the ever growing closed list.

Pub of the day: Too close to call.
Miles walked: 3
Maybe coming soon: Seaforth

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