A.J. Walker


Updating the Ale Maps

Have created another page where I'll put the maps up as a when they are ready and/or progress. Aiming to put some overall maps with most pubs that sell real ale, but I dare say I'll make some omissions (both by accident and on purpose). I am doing these largely so people who visit the city can easily find a decent resource and not have to mess about with Smartphones too much (and bearing in mind not everyone has a Smartphone - or at least decent battery life).

I'm going to add some local popular places that do keg only beer. Don't hate me a) for including them or b) missing out other keg only venues. On the map these will be obvious (Green circle instead of Red).

On my first iterations I hadn't put on any Wetherspoon pubs. This was totally my semi conscious decision as I put the maps together. I may have been to over 100 pubs this year, but I've managed to avoid all Wetherspoons in doing so. However the basic maps will be there for people to find places when they visit Liverpool and if they are asked to meet someone in the Lime Kiln or the North Western I guess it would be churlish of me to not put them on the map. So I have added them. I continue to avoid them for a few reasons but like so many other things it is not me to judge others who choose a different path.

Still learning to use the graphics package. Which means I've messed up with the layering a little on them, so may mean a bit of repetition/messing about with them to get them sorted together. But currently thinking if I make the base map less opaque it'll be easier to read.

Anyway the maps are progressing. Watch this space - or more to the point the Maps page.

Beginning Some Pub Maps

Looking at putting together a few maps showing some recommended ale pubs (ok, just my choices) in Liverpool if you fancy a wee crawl or two.

Early days messing about with maps from
OpenStreetMap and then using Vectornator to mark up. Having a few problems at the moment with Vectornator but hopefully I'll sort it soon. Will aim to sort a series of probably three maps covering Liverpool and some text to go with them when I can.

The Guild of Real Ale

Yet again I am late with my weekly beer blog. You could almost not set your watch by it. Anyway its been less than a fortnight so that's an improvement I guess.

I got to one hundred venues a week ago or so with my visits to
Shenanigans (Guinness) and Carnival Brewery. Chatted to some lovely people in both places. After that the week panned out with the usual places including Dr Duncans for the Benfica v Liverpool match, and another open mic in the Keystone.

On Friday I spent the evening with my mates in
Doctor Duncans drinking a few Neptune and some Salopian. It was a good evening of chat and ales.

I decided during the evening that (if I woke up early enough) I'd make a visit to Preston. It was the place I went on my last CAMRA coach trip before the lockdowns hit, and I'd been pleasantly surprised.

I did indeed wake up in good time. Unfortunately because Saturday was the day a) Everton v Man Utd and b) the Grand National at Aintree, I had not a cat in hells chance of getting a full English in the Shiraz. Shame. But it will make my next successful visit there all the more great.

Firefly Class, Serenity

A Pre-Drinks Breakfast in Head of Steam

I grabbed a wee breakfast in the Head of Steam instead and therefore had a pint (of Galene) instead of a coffee. Then I (un)fortunately had time to take in a Thornbridge 'Ruin' before heading to Lime Street. Did a bit of surfing to make sure I knew where the headline pubs were. It's a small city in any case, so even if there was some wandering around I'd never impact too much on the day.

Strange Goings On Abound in Liverpool

Whilst I was getting a beer in the Head of Steam a group of blokes came in all rattling with bells. It was a Morris Dance troupe from Yorkshire or Derbyshire I think. The things you see when you haven't got a gun. It turned out that it wasn't a one off. As I went to Lime Street Station I came upon another three groups doing their thing. Not sure what the occasion was.

In my plan for the day I'd written '7 hours, 7 pubs; read book; pick Grand National winner" - spoiler alert: I managed (or even exceeded) only one of those planned items. To save you scanning the whole page: it was the pubs in Preston. I actually went to eight. Unfortunately. In hind sight I really wish I'd missed pub 2B out. The full walk took in:

1. Old Vic
Winkley Street Alehouse (shame I didn't get in for a beer)
2B. Hopwoods
(shame I did get in for a beer)
3. Guild Ale House
4. The Orchard
5. Black Horse
6. Plug & Taps
7. Plau
8. Vinyl

The Old Vic

The direct train to Preston from Liverpool was only 52 minutes which was very handy really. First pub up in Preston was the
Old Vic just up the street from the station. It was pretty busy with standing room only. Being so close to the station it was a magnet for football fans up for the Preston match, so it was full of Londoners up for the QPR game. Had a nice pint of Black Edge 'Blonde Ultra Pale.'

Winkley Street Ale House

Walked down Fishergate and then right down Winkley Street to the Alehouse. Looked a cool place and I'd definitely go there if… if took cash. Unfortunately my cash csrd is damaged and won't work as contactless (or indeed if inserted into a card reader). The bar is one of the few I've been to which is card only. Legal tender is illegal in some places. A shame. Maybe next time though.


Back on to Friargate and I came upon a nice looking place called Hopwoods. Had four casks on. Asked for a Loweswater Gold. There hadn't been prices on the wall and the beer isn't strong, nor the place any great shakes, so I was a little (lot) shocked to be asked for £5.50, Shame it wasn't card only. Ho hum.

The Guild Ale House

Next up it was one of my fave Preston pubs (hey only my third visit, but it is): The Guild Ale House. It's a must visit pub with plenty of cask options (seven hand pulls). I went for a Brewsmith and a Wild Childe, but there were other equally good options.

The Orchard

Across the road in the market is The Orchard, a small unit which is a sister pub to the Guild. A couple of casks on. I had 'Swan Blonde' from Bowness Bay.

Black Horse

It's a short walk from the Orchard to the much more traditional Black Horse. Nice big place with plenty of rooms.

Plug & Taps

And then it is a similar distance to the next pub, which is the fabulous Plug & Taps. The city centre is very small really and ideal for a nice crawl of 6-8 pubs or so. There's not going to be any worry about sore feet - or much valuable time wasted walking between one pub and another. Had a lovely Track Brewery 'Sonama.'

Plug & Taps


A few people I chatted to on the crawl recommended Plau (pronounced Plough so if you here them saying it, it's this place). Nice bar with four casks on.


Last up was
Vinyl Tap (and yes you can probably crank it up to 11). A bit more of a walk, but only in comparison with so many being so so close together. Ended the day with an all so traditional Oakham 'Citra.' All in all a damn good day out. I'd recommend everywhere I went - apart from Hopwoods (and of course make sure you've got contactless options if you're heading to Winkley Street Alehouse.

I'll do a proper map at some point. In the meantime here is a very rough sketch. Maybe next week I'll have something better (I'm just playing with a new bit of software).

Very Rough Sketch Map - Forgive Me

The Vinyl Tap was venue
108 for the year… still counting, if not ticking.