Our first port of call after leaving Lime Street was the Ship & Mitre. Well, we did check on the Head of Steam, but although it did have a few beers on, there was nothing too exciting to tempt us. The Ship, however, was a different matter, with a wide selection of interesting beers to choose from. We went for Hornbeam Ale & Grace, one of the birthday beers brewed for Opening Times. This proved quite light and refreshing-if only all their beers were as clean tasting as this.
Next stop was the newly reopened Vernom Arms. The Vernom was a fixture on the Liverpool real ale scene for many years and has now risen from the dead. The team behind it have done a fantastic job in recreating the interior and only the strong smell of disinfectant in the back room hinted that it wasn’t always like that. There were several beers on and I think we all had HSD.
Last time we were here (Feb 08), Rigby’s was a surprise disappointment. Happy to say this time, it was back on form, offering a good selection of food and real ale. However, a surprise did await us here. At the back-which is an excellent drinking courtyard-there is another pub. The Lady of Man nestles in Rigby’s shadow but is completely separate. It has its own food operation and a different range of beers. A very interesting development.
We emerged to bright sunshine. We had been promised unsettled weather with heavy showers, and this being an Eddie expedition, I had come suitably equipped. However, we would have been better in shorts-real life 1 BBC 0. Hmmm.
Eddie then proceeded to march us round the back streets and alleyways of Liverpool. We called at the Baltic Fleet(Do Not Touch The Fire) and then the Swan-excellent Phoenix Hopsack here. The Pilgrim also lived up to its rep, unlike the Fly in the Loaf.
The FITL has more often than not delivered the goods for us, but not on this occasion. Facing a completely unknown guest beer, we politely asked for a taster. This was refused on the grounds that “it’s now against company policy.” If we hadn’t of liked it, we would have had one of the regular beers as we like the place, but with that attitude, we voted with our feet.
It’s a bit blurred after that but we definitely called in at the Everyman and the (also) newly reopened Belvedere. The always busy Roscoe Head was also definitely done. We finished off at the Dispensary with pints of Southport’s Golden Sands.
It was late when we got back into Manchester, but there was still time for a couple in the Angel before giving Hunters the benefit of our custom. A good day out with only the FITL letting the side down. They do like their signs stating the obvious, though.