A.J. Walker


A Festival First

After doing a blog weekly - which let's face it should be easily doable - for about five weeks I messed up last week by not getting one out. Not entirely sure why, but I guess time seemed to be at a bit of a premium. Maybe because I was working on Monday this week when I don't usually. Anyways so here are a few words about the last week or indeed the last fornight.

I haven't had any away day trips away from Liverpool since the visit to Wigan in mid March other than a visit to the Bow-Legged Beagle in New Brighton (which also took in the James Atherton opposite), so the pub numbers haven't risen significantly since Wigan. Indeed in the last fortnight I've only been to 9 new pubs for the year.

A pint of Salopian in the Bow-Legged Beagle, New Brighton.

Last week I did make it to the Wirral Beer Festival, organised by the Ship & Mitre pub in Liverpool. Many of my mates have been several times. All of them thought I had been as they always assume that if they are at a beer event I must be there… surely. But I haven't been. I dare say by the time they've left each event they've been to then they may well be struggling to remember much precisely. I'd met a couple of them a few times back in Liverpool in the evening after they've been there and they a) always say how good it was and b) at least one of them is very wobbly (somewhere between funnily wobbly and worryingly wobbly). Maybe they remember bumping into me in the pub and then back date their assumption that I must have been with them all the time. Who knows? Anyways last weekend was indeed the first time I'd been to the festival in Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight.

A group of eight of us met up in Liverpool first and had a quick bite to eat and then a pint in the Globe before catching a train at Central to Port Sunlight. It was noticeable that only two of our group wore masks on the train. The two of us happened to be the only two of the group who haven't had Covid (at least as far as we know) - make of that what you will. The train was busy and we kinda guessed looking around that a fair few were heading to Port Sunlight too. Hey, some people have a look, don't they?

Walk in the Port Sunlight sunlight.

The day was surprisingly warm for April (and even more surprising when I realised it was in fact March) and proper sunshine was bursting through the train windows on the journey, making us doubly buoyant for an afternoon of beer with our mates. At Sunlight in the Sunshine the train did disgorge the predicable occupants into the famous Wirral enclave. We'd timed it to arrive for about midday; the festival actually started at 11am (until 5pm) but the hours seemed a little over the top to us.

A fair few on the ale march.

Hulme Hall

The walk from the station to Hulme Hall was lovely. The architecture of the village is brilliant - and now for me will always remind me of early
Peaky Blinders as it was used early on (to represent Bourneville I assume - it just be cheeper up norf. By the time we got there just after noon there were already people sat outside with beers taking in the sun. It was more like Bishop's Castle in July than Wirral in March. The QR code tickets on the phone worked perfectly (which was better than the experience in the Liverpool Beer Festival earlier in the year) and then we were in.

First up a glass (pint glasses with appropriate markings) and a programme. Then a queue to pay for tokens - "
anyone paying cash?" It was all very well organised and then we were in with an empty glass and beer tokens. Wonderful.

Beer Tokens

It's smaller than the Liverpool Beer Festival of course, but at the end of the day you only need enough beer for the session you are at, don't you. Bumped into a few people I knew - and the guys & gals from Liverpool Cake Co too - and a few who knew me only from Twitter.

Later on after a few beers.

Say cheese.

There were plenty of beers I enjoyed. But I don't go to festivals often with a need to try new stuff and had mainly beers I knew or breweries I knew. The attitude towards really strong Imperial Stouts was ridiculous with a 13% not being served in thirds but only in schooners. Ridiculous - and needs to be rethought for the next festival. Assuming the purpose of the festival is to provide a range of good beers to pick from rather than an opportunity to find oblivion, or at least an early end to the visit.

Good news in the programme about the Sanctuary return.

There was a nice advert in the festival programme heralding the return of the Sanctuary on Lime Street. I for one have missed it and am looking forward to seeing what has been done to the place.

Cheers to a good event.

Got home to Liverpool in one piece and a few of us were up for a couple more pints in Rigbys, the Angus, and Dr Duncans. Ended the night with a lovely donner kebab from my local joint in Fazak. All in all a good day was had.

98 pubs and counting…