A.J. Walker


The Beer Quarter

A group of pubs situated in and around the Dale Street area of town have recently grouped together as Liverpool Beer Quarter, which you may have seen on Twitter (and I dare say Facebook) with their cheerful looking logo. We are living through interesting and difficult times and forming a collective to market these pubs perhaps more widely can not be a negative. It will be interesting to see where it goes in the future, but this weekend they have had their first 'festival.'The pubs have done various things within the weekend including Meet the Brewer events and discounts beer.

I caught some music in the Angus and the Cross Keys on Saturday, but my main objective this weekend was to visit the ten pubs to fill a card (which has gone into a draw for some prizes). Needless to say I visited the ten (over two days).

Of the pubs in the Quarter there are two or three I don't go to often – in particular Shenanigans (which doesn't do cask ale), the Cross Keys (a bit out on limb in office-central) and the Saddle (which doesn't really do cask ale (Doom Bar)). I do like Shenanigans though. Vibrant, an attractive building and some good music too – you can always get a good Guinness there or you maybe lucky with a keg or bottle.


First up was the Ship & Mitre where I took the opportunity to get some loaded fries with cheesy garlic bread. Hey, it's tasty, good stomach lining and wards away vampires. Next was the short hop to the Excelsior. I was given the Beer Quarter card there and my first stamp. I'd missed the card (and hence stamp) in the Ship. Not the end of the world as it was an excuse to revisit there – and it is most accessible. I wasn't aware of the card before I received it, but once I had then it was Challenge Accepted!

Pub 2 (the Excelsior) or Pub 1 according to the new card.

Shropshire Gold in the Excelsior.

Two down, eight to go.

The Lion Tavern

Next up was the Vernon a little further up Dale Street. I bumped into a Twitter buddy there (Bill) who was doing a walk around the same pubs in the opposite direction to me. Then it was on to a regular haunt of mine – the Angus, where there was a singer on strumming his stuff whilst hiding behind some plants. Following the Angus it was the first veer off Dale Street to get to the beautiful and ever popular Lion on Moorfields before heading out to the most isolated of the pubs –the Cross Keys. Again there was a good musician on there.

The Angus (there's a musician there somewhere).

The four ales on in the Angus.

Having a moral panic in the Denbigh Castle.

The last two stops of this group of pubs was the excellent Denbigh Castle (the sister but to the Bridewell) and then finally the Saddle.

Anyone seen the Cross Keys? It's somewhere around here.

It was good to see that there seemed to be a good coordinated social media management of the weekend with the hashtag #beerquarterliverpool (not sure why it wasn't Liverpool Beer Quarter like on the logo). I guess you should keep an eye on the hashtag to see how things progress with the Dale Street collective.

Back at the Ship. I've done the ten.

A nice building – and helped by a bright blue sky.

On Saturday I popped into the two/three pubs I hadn't done on Friday and got my card fully filled up with a schooner of Double Barrelled 'Parka' in a most packed Dead Crafty and a keg beer in an equally busy Shenanigans. Lastly it was the Ship again to get the missing stamp before walking across town to the Arts Club to catch the wonderful 'The Heavy North.'

It was a nice walk around the ten pubs. Good luck to all of them in these difficult times. Hope the collective creates a little bit of magic for them. Why not go and have a walk around them too?
I went to the ten pubs of the Beer Quarter in the order as follows:

  • Ship & Mitre
  • Excelsior
  • Vernon
  • Angus
  • Lion
  • Cross Keys
  • Denbigh Castle
  • Saddle
  • Dead Crafty
  • Shenanigans
    • and Ship & Mitre again…

Not Quite Clitheroe

Went To Conwy By Mistake

Haven't written or uploaded a blog for a while as I had problems with my FTP. Got some help from Andy at
One.Com in the end and got it sorted (for now). Thanks Andy. Andy's are good, ain't they?

Anyway, so to last week. I decided to go to Clitheroe on Wednesday. It's a bit of a hike by multiple trains (three each way) which eats into a fair bit of time (about 2 hours and 20 mins each way, if you are lucky). But as it transpires trains were not the problem; buses were. Multiple buses didn't turn up and then the one I got on got stuck on the East Lancs coming into Liverpool when cars repeatedly wouldn't let the bus out. People, you should let buses out. Nasty people some of those car drivers. I ended up getting to Lime Street about 5 minutes late (having built in loads of extra time, in theory to catch the 09:36 train).

There wasn't an option to work around it to get to Clitheroe at a decent time (next trains would work out 2 hours later, and it's not like you can just add 2 hours to the later train – it would already have been the last) and the trip was therefore off. It was still early though, so I resolved to go somewhere else that would get me there around the time I would have arrived if the buses had been friendly. I ended up deciding it would either be Lytham-St Annes or Conwy. In the end I chose the latter.

The good thing about that was there was time to get in a full English breakfast first at the Shiraz. There is no finer stomach lining. The train trip itself is a pretty quick and reliable affair (dangerous to say just as you get on the train, but okay after the trip of course). There are lots of train options. Ultimately it was Liverpool Central to Chester and then hopping on a Holyhead train. The train I got from Chester didn't stop at Conwy but stopped at Llandudno Junction just a short walk across the bridge towards the castle. It was a brilliant connecting train.

The famous Full English at the Shiraz Palace (I still miss the Williamson Square Shiraz)

The weather was good and the journey was spot on and rapid. The strangest thing was looking out the window and seeing all the streets I used to deliver to when I delivered parcels for Amazon across North Wales. Virtually every estate, indeed street, I knew from delivering or driving down. The view on the right side of the train was largely of the Irish Sea. Like I say; a good trip. They even had trolley service.

I got off at Llandudno Junction (which I'd delivered to) and the path takes you to the main road from the car park and opposite the entrance is a pub (which I've delivered to). There's a short walk to a cup-de-sac which has a supermarket entrance. There's a funeral parlour and some residential properties (which I've delivered to). Hell you get the picture – it's a well trodden path for me.

Conwy Castle from the bridge (Llandudno Junction is a short walk over the bridge; handy if your train doesn't stop at Conwy)

I crossed the bridge taking in the views in the dry and light wind. It wasn't Clitheroe, but there was a castle – and it had been a good call to go to Wales for a change (a recent change obviously).

The castle and the first three of six pubs of my day out.

First up had to be the Liverpool Arms partly for the name and partly because is it next to the harbour. Spoke a little to the dray who was making a delivery from Purple Moose Brewery. Seemed a thoroughly nice chap as, like Andys, I'm sure most of them are.

Walked straight up the High Street past the Castle Hotel and other pubs and went to the Bank of Conwy. Lovely spot. Good to see it hasn't changed from earlier visits. Then it was a short walk, albeit by a circuitous route, to The Albion. It was spot on as expected (although one of the beers they had on had a Christmas name): points off for that – it's September.

The last three pubs of my not quite Clitheroe day out.

It was another short walk (hell, the whole afternoon was – it's not a massive town centre) next to the Erskine Arms. A quite posh looking pub within a hotel. Had another nice pint there (a Purple Moose) before moving back downhill down the High Street. This time I went into the rather posh looking Castle Hotel. Had a really good chat with a young couple who'd travelled up from Cardiff. The man did some creative writing and the woman was a singer-songwriter – I mean how could you not have a nice chat?!

Lastly venue was the Blue Bell (and yes, I'd delivered Amazon stuff there a lot before) which was a nice almost end to the walk. The George & Dragon next door was closed so I headed back up the High Street, where I put my head in the Old Mail Coach, but it was Doom Bar only so there was a sharp exit and I headed back to the Bank, which after all was next to Conwy station,

The brilliant statues and embossed (something or other) at St Thomas church. The walls are the defensive town walls.

Lovely local pint in the Erskine Arms

Conwy Station – home time

You can never get away from Liverpool totally. After going to the Liverpool Arms at lunch time I bumped into two of the Liverpool Head of Steam staff at Chester station. It can sometimes seem a very small world. Went to Dr Duncans for one when I got back as I feel a day's beer trip should take in seven pubs and I'd only done six in Conwy (and none in Clitheroe),

All in all a very good day – and Clitheroe is there for another day (indeed so is Lytham). If the buses and trains permit.

So the pubs, in order, were:

Liverpool Arms
Bank of Conwy
The Albion
Erskine Arms
Castle Hotel
Blue Bell
(and the Bank once more)

A Huddersfield Jaunt

A Huddersfield Jaunt

On Friday I went for my second (and final) wee day trip of the week; following Sheffield on Tuesday it was a closer White Rose town this time: Huddersfield. I've been a couple of times before on CAMRA coach trips and the like, but it's been many years. The train from Liverpool is a direct one (if you get the Newcastle bound train) and is only an hour and twenty or so, so you don't even need to get up early to get there at an okay time.


Getting off the train the first question is simply right or left? There are two pubs at either end of the station backing onto the platform. I chose right on this occasion: to the Head of Steam. It's a great one, with loads of cask on. So many options. I checked out the mapping on my iPhone whist I was sat there and worked out an approximate route. Second up was the other pub on the Huddersfield station, which was the King's Head. Not as many beers on, but plenty enough nonetheless and right bargains with reduced prices on their Saltaire beers – I went for the '
DDH Citra'.


It was a short walk down the slope from the station and left again to head towards the Sportsman. I headed into a newish place called Wiliams Beer & Gin Bar. Nice tidy place. Ended up with an Oaks Brewing 'East Coast Pale' from back our way at Ellesmere Port. Never had a beer from them before. It was nice enough and I ended up seeing the same beer the following day in Liverpool. Spooky! Just the one though as I intended to get eight pubs in. So I then headed under the railway bridge and across the busy junction to get to the Sportsman. I've delivered beer there a few times, but it was my first time drinking there. Had a Bristol Beer Factory 'Showdown.' Can never go wrong with BBF. Had a nice chat with the barman, who gave me some gen on the places to give a try (and those not to bother with: local knowledge always priceless) and then with a few people who came in for their pre-match pints (it was the rugby league
Huddersfield vs Wakefield that evening). Would have liked to stay for another – there were lots of nice options at the bar, but time was a-ticking.

Next up was another walk north over the busy main roads through and past the retail park. It was this way to the outermost venue: the Magic Rock Brewery Tap. It was worth the walk. The size of the outdoor drinking area was massive. Expect it is bustling on a sunny summer's weekend. There were about four casks on (I say about as I didn't note them down (I'm no ticker)), I went for a '
High Wire.'


From Magic Rock it was the longest walk of the day heading back down and past the Sportsman, Williams and the railway station. Next up was The County. It had been recommended at the Sportsman. Nice place. And a good chat once more in there. Ended up with another Rat '
Ratmsophere.' This was my sixth place so there were only two to go – and they were only ever going to be the Rat & Ratchet and The Grove. So next up was the R&R where I found Neptune 'Abyss' was on. I'd only delivered in the the week before. After drinking Rat in several pubs on the trip and not yet having a stout, I had to go for that. It was lush. Shame I didnt have time for another before the short walk up the road to The Grove. A good selection of beers there and Thornbridge 'Jaipur' was on, Now that's a way to end a session. Jaipur it is. Cheers!

One of the great things about Huddersfield is how close all these pubs are to each other. It's a small centre and even with the stroll out to the brewery tap you probably won't even be hitting your 10,000 steps. Recommended. Hope to do it again soon with a few people.

So the pubs, in order, were:

Head of Steam
King's Head
Magic Rock Brewery Tap
The County
Rat & Ratchet
The Grove