The trouble with blogging is that you have to blog regularly. Readers expect new content even if they don't think much of what is written. So even when I've been tempted to blog during the last few months at he back of mind I've thought "If I re-start can I continue?" The answer's been 'No' but I thought it was time to make an effort again.
What sustains the beer blogging world is the discussion of 'craft beer'. What it is, what it isn't, where it is found, who likes or doesn't like it and if it even exists. What many bloggers fail to realise is that the vast majority of beer drinkers aren't aware of craft or if they are, don't have the chance to drink it/ignore it in their local pubs - I use the word 'pub' because bars are still mostly found in large cities.
I was out in Liverpool on Friday for my firm's Christmas lunch followed by the obligatory piss up. Now Liverpool has been a little bit slow in grasping the craft mantle. Scousers aren't slow in responding to new trends but they mostly like to drink their beer in pints - low gravity and lots of them. Being a sociable animal I was resigned to being dragged wherever the group took me. I knew the beer would be crap but the company of numerous drunken women was one consolation.
The meal was booked for 2:00 p.m. so there was time for a few drinks in a pub of my choice with a few like minded souls. The Lady of Mann was the choice. near to the restaurant and decent beer. I started with a pint of a hoppy beer from a new Welsh brewery who's name escapes me. Very nice too. I then decided I should try a half of a keg beer which is very much in the craft category. Magic Rock's High Wire was available and the pub enhanced its craft quotient by offering the choice of half pint or schooner. Another excellent beer.
On to the Bar and Grill for food. A slightly upmarket venue where it's not unknown for Premier league footballers and other 'celebrities' to be spotted. No beer of note but the bosses had paid for the wine so no problem.
After the food came the difficult bit. The Slaughterhouse is an iconic pub name in Liverpool, but despite it's resurrection as a comedy venue it no longer has any atmosphere and has no decent beer at all. I even sneaked over the road at one point to neck a half of Greene King IPA in the Cornmarket. Desperate measures.
Next was All Bar One. Not my sort of pub, but surely there will be at least one handpump? Surveying the bar my hopes were dashed but there was consolation. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale amongst the keg fonts. £4.50 a pint is extortionate for Liverpool but beggars can't be choosers. An hour and a half later to time to move again. 'Matthew Street' is the call. The tacky, drunken touristy centre of Liverpool with it's homage to the Beatles and fake Irish bars. A glimmer of hope though. A few of the pubs/bars stock the odd cask beer. My hopes are dashed again when I realise that the Revolution Vodka Bar is our destination. I'd normally not be seen dead in there but on we must go. But perusing the beer menu I'm mildly surprised. Curious IPA, Duvel and Chimay Bleue are listed. Pretty average apart from Duvel but better than the poxy lagers on draught. Three hours in there and I've seen off the stock of Curious so finish with Duvel. Time to move on is the cry but it's the last train home for me. You can't walk across the Mersey and I don't fancy forking out a fortune for a taxi just to have more beer that I don't need.
The moral? Slowly but surely the rise of craft beer is improving the choice of beer in venues you wouldn't expect to stock anything drinkable.