"Are you dancing?

Are you asking?

I'm asking

I'm dancing"

So it was thus whistling the Liver Birds theme tune that we skipped through the streets of the European City Of Culture. Liverpool has provided many a good crawl over the years and an overcast day did little to damper the spirits. First stop was the Ship & Mitre. Now in all the years I've been coming to Liverpool, this pub has never been open when advertised. True to form, it was still closed when we arrived for our first drink. However, after a few minutes skulking, the doors were opened and it was a race to the bar. The more professional of us hung back to allow the warm beer to be pulled through and study the selection, which was very good. I settled for Little Valley (3.9%) which was red and inoffensive. Empire Longbow (4.2%) was golden and despite a slightly unappealing aroma, had a pleasnat hop kick. Then it was full steam ahead and look out Liverpool.

Next stop was the Lion which is a great historic boozer and one of my favourites. Wentworth Venture (3.6%) was chosen. Unfortunately, this proved to be just brown and thin. Perhaps I should have tried the Lees! Thomas Rigbys was a surprise disappointment. This Okells pub (despite the nice back room), was looking decidedly tired. No food available and a limited beer choice didn't help. An Okells pub with only Bitter on? This was tried and I found it only average. The White Star was also looking a little faded, but the beer selection looked good and we had some jovial local banter whilst there. Rugby's Wrong Shaped Balls proved popular, but my Bowland Gold was again only average, and not a patch on its recent appearance in Bury. Looking for food, we headed for the Swan which was new to me. A side street boozer, first impressions were not favourable. Dim red lighting didn't help the gloomy interior. However, a good selection of beers lightened the mood, and the George Wright's Valentine Kiss (4.2%) was excellent.

The Pilgrim had an even better choice of beers including Copper Dragon Golden Pippin. However, as it was Phoenix Brewery's first account in Liverpool (and the brewer was present), I plumped for White Monk which was very good. An interesting pub, each table has a different brewery emblazed upon it. Our next stop-Ye Cracke, has proved inconsistent over the years and so it was today. A combination of deadlegs and poor choice had me scuttling to the Belvedere. This is a cracking little, two roomed (both with real fires), pub set amongst an area that resembles a Chelsea suburb. It was amongst this unlikely setting that two hound dogs spat their dummies out and threatened to hit each other with their handbags. However, this didn't prevent me from enjoying a very nice pint of Pippin. A stone throw away is the Blackburne Arms which is another smart, modern, establishment. Perhaps a little sterile for some tastes, however, it can't be faulted in terms of choice and quality.
Disappointment awaited (once again) at the Philharmonic. This famous Liverpool pub hasn't always been good, beer wise, and so it proved today. Worth visiting if you haven't been before, otherwise keep your beer expectations low. On the other hand, Fly in the Loaf rarely disappoints. Today was no exception with a good choice of Okells beers and guests. My Fullers Discovery was a well conditioned, cool, enjoyable pint. The Okells Bitter was also good. Last stop for me was the Roscoe Head and its cosy, very small, tap room. Yet another pub that is much better after the smoking ban, there were 6 beers on offer. Wisely avoiding the Hambleton, I tried Jennings Bitter (not bad), before sticking on the Pippin.

Just time for a toliet stop at the Dispensary and a dash for the station to get back home in time for the rugby.An enjoyable, if mixed, day out.


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