Thursday, 5 November 2015

In My Liverpool Home


I was back in Scousley yesterday. Did I ever mention I lived there for nine years? Well I did, but it was a long time ago.  The purpose was to visit and have a few drinks with an old mate who emigrated to Australia quite a few years ago, but who was back for his mother's 80th Birthday.  Time passes. My journey was cheap. Booked in advance with my old git's railcard it cost me only £5.40. Not bad at all.

Meeting John at Lime St station we both remarked how Liverpool had changed as we walked along Renshaw St, briefly stopping to admire Dickie Lewis on the way to the Dispensary. So many new and sparkling glass and metal buildings, while other areas that once were relatively prosperous, were now in decline.  Still, we weren't together to lament, but to celebrate, so into a fairly quiet pub we popped, me drinking mild, and he, once a cask man, but corrupted by Australian mass swill, to re-educate his taste buds with a pint of Ossett Decadence, a grittily hoppy beer.  He hadn't lost the knack and we happily chatted over our pints, which were so good that the order was repeated before we did a little light pub campaigning by having a couple of pints at the bar of the much threatened Roscoe Head, an old haunt for both of us.  We bantered with a couple of fellow soaks at the bar and generally enjoyed the atmosphere, the beer and listening to Scouse accents that were so thick you could have cut them with a knife.  I'm sure that this wasn't quite the case when I lived there, or, more likely, I just was used to them then in these far off halcyon days..

Conversation drifted to drinking beer in Sydney. He's recently switched from Toohey's New to Resch's and discussed the growing craft scene in Oz, which he described as an excuse to rip people off and "if I never see another craft IPA, it'll be a day too soon." Kind of know where he is coming from. Seems craft beer is reassuringly expensive world wide.  He seemed surprised to hear that we now have two third measures here as he struggled to translate New South Wales schooners sold in Australian dollars into UK pints in sterling to give me an idea of cost.  Apparently too,  UK 20 oz glasses are becoming a thing there, so it is a two way street glass wise.  And yes, despite his 15 years or so there, he still gets called a Pommie Bastard. I had intended to ask if he fancied trying some of the newer and craftier places around Seel St and Bold St, but he said he'd rather explore old haunts. So we did, next calling into the Fly in the Loaf, though it was Kirklands in those days - I remember drinking Newcastle Amber in there - and then lingering for several pints in the Philharmonic as we did so many years ago. Then the beer was Warrington brewed Tetley, which I dare say then we enjoyed just as much, though the current choice was, shall we say, greatly enhanced..

Some things don't change though. John asked if we could have our last pint in the Swan in Wood St. Yes, another old haunt and one of the first multi tap pubs in Liverpool. I got my CAMRA membership form there, possibly clouded by Owd Roger which was often on draught there. A haunt of bikers then and maybe now,  it was a bit of a shithole then.  It looks much the same now. Well, as I said, some things don't change that much, though it seemed to me to be a bit cleaner. It was comfortably the poorest pint of the day.

So we missed out on all the new bars and pubs and all the craft, but it didn't matter one bit.  I still love Liverpool and we had a cracking day out.

Our reminiscences didn't half involve recalling a lot of ale supping.  After that we would both have given our eye teeth for a pint of Higgies.  I only took one photo, which is from the Fly in the Loaf and the lovely Manx Pale Ale.

14 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

I remember the Swan from ages back and, yes, it was a shithole. But I get the impression bikers like basic no-frills pubs.

retiredmartin said...

Swan was one of my favourites along with the Lion. Beer quality has dropped recently - even in central 'Pool you can have too little trade over too many handpumps. Glad the Manx Pale up to scratch though.

Tandleman said...

Didn't have a bad pint part from the Swan actually.

neil, eatingisntcheating.co.uk said...

Liverpool is, hand down, my favourite 'night out' city in England.

For me it just has the perfect mix of old school boozers, great cocktail bars of varying sizes, lots of 'crafty' places and also decent places to drink after midnight. Never fail to have a great night out and can drink good beer until the wee hours, something which is difficult to do in any other city - including London.

Cooking Lager said...

Your pal ain't wrong about craft eh?

Stonch Beer said...

Your pal should investigate New Zealand craft beer if he wants to see real rip-off prices... it's rivals all that Scandinavian nonsense on wholesale price. And most of it tastes either entirely forgettable or somewhat medicinal.

By the way, what's with all this "Mankley" and "Scousely" stuff? Is this a bona fide northern thing or just your own? If the latter hammer away at it and it'll catch on, just like capitalising TAND did.

Curmudgeon said...

Ah, I see Jeff hasn't yet encountered the world of Rupert Periwinkle, says he, writing from Smarmford & Slutch.

Tandleman said...

Clearly not. It is due for a revival. I could ask Nick in Krautley what he reckons.

Curmudgeon said...

Do you know if there's a copy of the wonderful "Real Ale in Greater Grotley" or whatever it was called anywhere on th'Interweb?

Tandleman said...

Sorry no.

Anonymous said...

I've got an original copy of "Real Ale in Greater Grotley", having been a regular in the Gungesmearers Arms. I'll dig it out of the loft and scan it tomorrow.

Erlangernick said...

I am originally from Yankley.

RedNev said...

I was in the Philharmonic for several hours on Friday; the Liverpool Organic Empire was on good form. John Lennon once said that the price of fame was not being able to go to the Phil for a quiet pint.

Andrew said...

"After that we would both have given our eye teeth for a pint of Higgies."
A robust re-birth of Higsons looks set to take later this year. The brand name is in the hands of brewery veteran Stephen Crawley. Stephen was MD of Caledonian Brewery from 2001 to 2013.
According to a recent report in the Liverpool Echo "Higsons Brewery Limited is seeking to convert two vacant warehouses into a brewery, and also including a distillery, visitors centre, retail and sampling hall." The location in Liverpool's Baltic Quarter is within spitting distance of the former Higsons/Cains brewery in Stanhope Street now renamed The Brewery Village. Stephen's plans are broadly similar to what Cains' owners the Dusanjs hoped would occur at the Brewery Village.
Crawley has probably got a fantastic deal on the old warehouses and the Higsons brandname is probably stronger than Cains which got tarnished in its later years.
More on the planning permission here: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/new-brewery-plan-liverpool-city-10665007
Interestingly, the Liverpool Organic Brewery brewed two Higsons Beers until brand owners CCHC who are closely associated with Stephen Crawley took the licence back. Liverpool Organic now brew a beer called Pier Head and Liverpool Stout with similar branding to the two Higsons beers they once brewed. http://www.liverpoolorganicbrewery.com/ales/