My old friend RedNev reported that the Dispensary, one of Liverpool's finest real ale pubs, would no longer stock real ale following the retirement of the previous landlord who had ruled that particular roost for some years - and in his own very strict way. It is a favourite Liverpool haunt of mine whenever I am there, so the news, later corrected by Nev, was not welcome.
Now I hadn't read Nev's correction, so when I was back in Liverpool last week, I nipped in to find out what was what and it seems that apart from some music being played over the speakers, nothing has changed. Most important of all, my beloved White Rat was in its normal place and was in exemplary condition. A brief chat with the barman confirmed that those who had taken it over intended to keep it just as is, which is excellent news, as it is the kind of traditional boozer you just don't see enough of these days.
Looking through the window to the pub next door though things certainly had changed. The Roscoe Arms has now become the Butterfly and Grasshopper which was a bit of an odd one to me, but seemingly has a Roscoe connection. According to the Liverpool Echo, the new name is inspired by William Roscoe’s poem The Butterfly’s Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast which I must say I have never heard of. Here's a little taste of it for you:
Come take up your Hats, and away let us haste To the Butterfly's Ball, and the Grasshopper's Feast. The Trumpeter, Gad-fly, has summon'd the Crew, And the Revels are now only waiting for you.
We didn't notice if the newly refurbished pub was open or not, but with excellent beer on hand and the promise of more, we didn't care to find out.
I thank the Echo again for revealing that the £750,00 transformation of the Roscoe Arms is by a division of Star Inns aka Heineken. I sort of regard them much as I did Whitbread in the old days, which isn't highly at all.
The poem can be found here and is a nice little nonsense poem if you like that kind of thing. Which I do.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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