A.J. Walker


An Excellent York Jaunt

I’m off work this week so I had to take the opportunity to get out for a few days out, didn’t I? And if you know York, you know how bloody good it is on multiple levels—but particularly with regard to ale places. So it wasn’t a surprise that I picked it for one of my trips out. I last came here for my 50th birthday bash with a few mates. This time it was just me on me tod. I had a train getting me there around midday and I had one night booked in a hotel (well a pub—not a real ale one though). So I had the best part of two days to spend on a good wander around one my favourite (none Liverpool) cities. Huzzah!



It went as well as it should have. I’m not sure how many real ale pubs there are within the wall, but there are lots. So there isn’t that much walking really between one place and another—and therefore not much wasted time either. Without trying, or extending myself at all, I ended up going to ten pubs on each day.

Day One:

First up. as it always is for me if I arrive by train, is The Maltings, which is a top pub just a few minutes walk from the station. There is the York Tap at the station too of course, but that is the same distance from the your train on the way home and it only feels right to leave the station when you arrive in town unless you don't want to feel like you've arrived yet. It's not too far—just across the river--to get to the House of the Trembling Madness on Leland. I had only been to the other TM on Stonegate before so this was the first new pub to me on this trip. It was busier than the Maltings being lunchtime on a busy pedestrian street, but I got a nice come leather chair on the ground floor to sink into there. Got my phone out and plotted a route that I thought best for the afternoon before checking into my digs and next up was the Wonky Donkey/Three Legged Horse which I have a long term affinity for and is a stones throw (don't do that though) from the Minster. A few people message via Instagram and Twitter asking if I was going to pub X, Y, and Z. I was indeed going to most of them but I hadn't planned to go to one—the Snickleway Inn—so I added that to my list when advised by a buddy from Liverpool. But first up was the original House of the Trembling Madness on Stonegate. I'd forgotten how easy it was to walk past, though I got there eventually. Got talking to a couple of American tourists who were passing through. They'd just come from Liverpool. They loved our home town and it sounds like they'll be back there next year. York is of course even more full of tourists than Liverpool (yes, it really is. Madness—trembling or otherwise).
I made the relatively short walk to the Snickleway and gave Dan's regards to X as requested via social media. You say jump and I ask how high don't I? Nah, not usually. Was a nice pint of Y but I didn't have time to stop for another one (I wouldn't have two pints in any pubs on this two day trip) as it was time to get on to Blue Bell, which was on the way my digs (which was in a non-real ale pub on Z.

The Maltings
House of the Trembling Madness
(on Leland)
Three Legged Mare (
aka the Wonky Donkey)
House of the Trembling Madness
(on Stonegate)
Snickleway Inn
Blue Bell
Rook & Gaskell
Red Lion
Pavement Vaults


Day Two:

Three Tuns
Market Cat
Brew York Beerhall
Golden Fleece
York Tap


There will be a write up to follow, when I can, featuring; lots of excellent pubs and ale, the free Majorcan lager club, Chris Kamara, a donner kebab, sunshine and rain. And I reckon a map too.

Watch this space…

The Southport Run

Firstly just to confirm The Southport Run is not a Couch to 5k, it is an ale trip to Southport using the Northern Line Train. I guess people from Southport may choose to do it in the opposite direction to my route (coming as I do from Liverpool) but I get the train to Southport and have a few there before heading back to the train. Of course please bear in mind that the railway peeps won’t necessarily let you on board a train if you’re judged to have had too many. It’s never happened to me, but I do know a couple of people who haven’t been let onto a Merseyrail train after some beers. So don’t go mad at the start lest you get stranded in Formby or somewhere.


There are plenty of stops on the Northern Line where you can get to a nearby real ale pub. And there are some not to get off at all. Depending on your mood, stamina, time available—and any plans you may have for the following day—you could aim for a couple of pubs in Southport, Waterloo, and back in LIverpool while getting off the stations for single pubs at Birkdale, Hillside, Ainsdale, Freshfield, Formby, and maybe Hightown. So you could easily be looking at ten to twelve pubs for the day.



I’ll sort a map out at some point, but the pubs I’d consider are:

Southport - Tap & Bottles, Guest House, Masons Arms (there is also The Inn Shop, Peaky Blinders, and there are Wetherspoons if you are that way inclined)
Birkdale - The Barrel House
Hillside - Grasshopper
Ainsdale - The Golden Monkey
Freshfield - Beer Station, The Freshfield
Formby - The Railway
Hightown - The Hightown
Waterloo - Stamps Too (Waterpudlian), Trap & Hatch, Old Tap, Volunteer Canteen, Four Ashes (there’s also the Liver and a Wetherspoons)
Liverpool - er loads, look ‘em up


All in all a good day out. I’d recommend a Saturday if you are going to do it at the weekend so you don’t have to deal with Sunday service issues. Most of these pubs between Southport and Waterloo are very close to the stations. The Southport and Waterloo ones are a bit more spread out (but Stamps Too itself is close) if you aren’t gong to do a couple there.

For an
All Zone Saveaway ticket the trip itself is only gonna cost you six quid. That’s an absolutely belting bargain. Remember though if you have a weak bladder the Southport trains don’t have toilets on them currently (not sure when they are getting the new trains on this line) so schedule your beers, stops, and toilet breaks with that in mind.


Glasgow Pubs

Visited Glasgow a couple of weeks ago for a wee holiday (hell that’s just the way I roll) and fitted in a few museums and galleries as well as some pubs (see blog on none pub related trip here).

But there were the pubs too of course. Scotland is quite (in)famous for its relationship with alcohol. Whenever the UK government publishes anything negative about their latest thoughts on health or general trouble they always use a stock image of a pint of real ale: despite any societal problems with alcohol rarely having any relation tpo my favourite styles of beer. I suspect it’d be a different image used in Scotland; probably a can of some super strength lager juxtaposed with a bottle of Buckfast. There are some good breweries up in Scotland (I'm particularly a fan of Fyne Ales), but the ale culture is not as deep as in the rest of the UK. One suspects a fair proportion of the breweries have to export most of their products to England.

The State. Oakham Green Devil anyone?

The Three Judges (just opened. It was a lot busier later in the day).

I went around a few ale pubs and asked various locals or staff about ale hostelries around the city and they all pointed to the few I knew about. There was no vein of local knowledge about new micro pubs, which I’d expect to hear about in any medium size town in England. There were lots of shaking heads and apologies - I was in real ale pubs asking people, who’d love a few more options I’m sure.

Everywhere T gangs up on U.

I was in Scotland for four days and twice I visited Wetherspoons outlets (which sounds more appropriate than hostelries). I think I’ve only visited two ‘Spoons in England in the last four years or so: once to use the toilet, and once because I’d just missed a bus and had almost half an hour to wait for the next with no seating etc; I was forced to, I tell ya!). The fact that I went into two ‘Spoons here (one in Glasgow and another in Dumbarton) was because I was exhausted by the ale deserts and dodgy knees. Ho hum.

Some of the Glasgow pubs I got to.

Anyway, here are the ale pubs I went to in Glasgow and I’ll sort a map out at some point to help you out if you’re ever passing through.

Bon Accord
The State
Howlin Wolf Blues Bar
(keg only)
Hop Still
(excellent whisky bar with a cask line too)
Three Judges
Horse Shoe
Counting House
(Wetherspoons, sorry)
Innis & Gunn
(keg only)
Deoch & Doris
(keg only)
Aragon Bar
Curlers Rest
Inn Deep
The Laurieston

Some of these are better than others. My top five in terms of ale would probably be Three Judges, State, Bon Accord, Inn Deep, and the Laurieston.

Glasgow Subway

One thing you’ll spot up in Glasgow is a single circular subway. It’s apparetnly the third oldest in Europe and doing a pub crawl along the underground is ‘a thing.’ Two things to be aware of are that there aren’t many stops close to the subway stations which are ale pubs (
Three Judges by Kelvinhall. Curlers Rest by Hillhead, and Laurieston by Bridge Street) so you’ll end up drinking a lot of keg and Guinness if you decide to give it a go. Also be aware of how narrow and therefore small the platforms are if you are in a big group. Heaven knows how the Ibrox stop is on a match day.

Glasgow Subway Map


It’s not Easter but it has been a week for resurrections. Firstly the Sanctuary on Lime Street, which I’ve got a few fond memories off, has finally been killed off. It has been owned by Liverpool Brewing Co since its latest reemergence on the scene, but it didn’t put the beer to the forefront; keeping its name and much of the appearance. But in the last few weeks it has gone through a refit and rebranding. And the Sanctuary is no more. Welcome to the Liverpool Brewing Company Brewery Tap. It had a reopening event last Thursday, which I popped into - and bumped into a few familiar faces. Had an enjoyable night. Good luck to everyone involved.


And just the day after the little Coach House on Maryland Street reemerged from its overlong hibernation. It has been taken on by the team behind Cask on Queens Drive, who evidently have a fondness for micro pubs. Again, like the Sanctuary, I have fond memories through the various iterations of the Coach House (previously Hard Times & Misery, then Dickens & King). For now the plans - like the LB Brewery Tap) is to open daily. Give it a go over the summer, people. It’s barely a stone’s throw from the Fly in Loaf so there is no excuse not to pop your head in. I popped in for a couple on Friday and bumped into more familiar faces (not the same as the ones from the day before) and had nice beer and a boss time.



With the Vines recently reborn and these two I wonder what could be next?

A Couple of Decent Trips

Taking a few days off work. Been very lucky with the weather for it too. Not got any particular plans for the week. It'll no doubt involve reading and writing. Some guitar strumming (maybe even write a song - we'll see) Maybe some garden stuff. Oh, and some beer goodness. To that end I've had two lovely day trips this weekend letting the train take the strain: on Saturday I went to - the always excellent - Shrewsbury, and on Monday I went to an under visited (for me) Leeds. Sat in the sun a couple of times but mostly took to the shade or the indoors. A suntan will come without me working on it.



It's a small and beautiful city with lots of old building charm. And being Shropshire there is plenty of decent local beers about too. Ended up visiting:

  • Yorkshire House
  • Loggerheads
  • Cromwells
  • Henry Tudor House
  • Nags Head
  • House of Grain
  • Hop & Friar
  • Admiral Benbow
  • Coach & Horses
  • Wheatsheaf
  • Three Fishes
  • Tap & Can

Yeah, I had a very good day out, didn't I!?





On Monday I decided from the many options I was considering to go to Leeds. It's not a place I've been to for beers for many years. It was good to get out there again. And the time on the train (for those without changes) is pretty good from Liverpool. That is, if Bank Holiday cancellations don't hit. And yup, they did. My original train got cancelled. The second too. So I didn't get into Leeds until about 12:30. My return train was the 7pm as the later trains got me back quite late - and there was the fear of later cancellations too. In all then there was just about 6 hours or so to get around some decent (or not) hostelries. It was plenty of time to be fir though. The area I was covering was all very central and close to the train station.

First up was the Head of Steam, which is right next to the station. Started with an Ilkley Pale. I mean a light abv is crucial if you are out for a few hours, innit? Of course this became scuppered with my second pub: the Bankers Cat, just a hundred yards or so up Mill Hill. It's a Thornbridge pub, so Jaipur arrived next then. Predictable,

Just across the road from the Bankers is Tapped. Had a lovely pint of Full Circle 'repeater' there, whilst sat out in the sun. Found out from the barman that the next stout due on ask was to be Neptune Abyss. Nice to hear.

Next up I was sat outside again, but very much in the shade of the alley which hides the Turk's Head/Whitelocks. Sat outside both places (hey it's one and two pubs at the same time). Felt like I was in a Borgen reboot as I sat in-between two tables of Norwegians. Then it was time for another alley hidden pub, the Sam Smiths 'Angel.' Again it was a really short walk to it. Got chatted to a nice local and we went for another pint in the next alley along where the Ship was hiding.

It seems I wouldn't be getting 10,000 steps in. The next place a lot more modern; and less hidden. It was the North Bar, just up the road. Then it was time to head towards the station so I headed for the Brewery Tap just around the corner from the Head of Steam.

Of course it was bound to be painful getting back. It was a Bank Holiday after all. Needless to say illness amongst the rail company staff was very high so more than half the trains were cancelled. Still, I made it home eventually after having had a very good day in Leeds. Won't be as long until I get theee again.

In the end the pubs were:

  • Head of Steam (Mill Hill)
  • Banksers Cat
  • Tapped
  • Turk's Head/Whitelocks
  • Angel
  • Swan
  • North Bar
  • Brewery Tap

A little less extensive than the Shrewsbury trip then.