Tag Archives: Real Ale

A Life Update: Hectic July

It would be fair to say that July 2012 will be, without a shadow of a doubt, THE most hectic yet most important month of my life. This month is the month that sees the biggest transition that has occurred in my 25 years of living…and NO, I’m not having a sex change. By the time this month ends I will have relocated 40 miles away from the home I’ve lived in since the mere age of 5 years old and I will also be a husband. It would be fair to say that despite how tight finances have been and how stressful organising a wedding is without bankrupting yourself is, that I know it will all be worth it in the end….or so I hope.

Beginning to pack for the big move

Between the move and the Wedding I also do have a shedload of other stuff going on that will keep me busy and active. This Saturday (7th) I’m head into town (Liverpool) with a group of fellas for a sort of stag do-ish Ale trail round some of Liverpool’s finest ale houses i.e Doctor Duncans, Ship & Mitre, Ye Crack etc etc. So this will probably get my Liver started for what is going to be a LONG alcohol induced month.

Morecambe away

The following Saturday (15th) see’s Everton take on Morecambe in a friendly at the Globe Arena. So as this is a week before the wedding it would be daft not to head up to Lancaster/Morecambe way for an ENTIRE weekend and drink a shedload of ale, eat a load of curry and watch Everton for the last time as a non-married man. This will be followed up by the final suit fitting on the Sunday.

The following day see’s the big move 40 miles up the ’56 from Wirral, Merseyside to Warrington, Cheshire. Yeh, I know, hardly the most desirable of relocations, but due to circumstances surrounding my Missus’ job it has to be done. To be fair the area I’m moving to isn’t so bad, a little area called Latchford (unfortunately not named after the Everton legend) and the apartment we’re moving to is pretty decent.

The BIG day occurs on the following Saturday (21st) This is the day I become a husband. After 2 years and 8 months of engagement it actually now feels real and a bit scary but extremely exciting at the same time, all the usual cliched emotions surrounding an upcoming wedding I suppose. I guarantee that after all this time of organising, planning, stressing and panicking over the most minute of details that the day will absolutely fly by. Luckily 3 days after the Wedding I’ll be jetting off to Paris with the new Mrs. Barrell for a short 3 day honeymoon, happy days. So yeh, that’s my July, hectic, mad but with all the potential of being absolutely amazing at the same time, let’s just hope this shite summer weather we seem to be having swings it’s hook.

As you can imagine  due to this absolute carnival of a month, I won’t be doing a running commentary on the what’s going on and the full nitty gritty details, but I will try and throw in a few blog entries specially regarding the 2 Ale Trails, the away day and trip to Paris, my apologise in advance if these attempts to blog don’t come to any avail though, I reckon I’ve got a decent enough excuse though.



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Ale Trail #2

I recently read a cracking little article on one of my favourite blogs to read THE CASUAL CONNOISSEUR were the chaps who run the blog went on a real ale weekend to the two famous Roman towns of Chester and York where they basically went drinking good ales in all the hidden gem ale houses of these two famous ancient cities. The thing I liked about the article was that they headed into a city that is fairly local for me (Chester) and basically gave me a load of tips for drinking spots that, despite spending alot of time over the years in the city, I have never been to and had a drinking experience there. So last Friday I decided to grasp the opportunity and take my ale trail to the city I once almost moved to Deva aka Chester.

I’ve always liked Chester, it’s only an hour on the train or hour and a half on the bus from mine so growing up in Merseyside I spent quite alot of time in Chester. I have quite a few close friends that live in the city, have worked a few jobs there and at one point almost moved there myself about 5 years ago. It’s a City full of history and a great layout plus it still has the famous wall surrounding the entire city that dates back to the days of the Romans.

I decided to head in with Kirsty to originally have a mooch around, walk around the famous wall and grab some lunch with her. After she headed home I decided to take in a couple of the spots recommended by the Casual Con article. So armed with a craving for ale and the newest copy of the fantastic PROPER MAGAZINE (review to come) I headed to my first spot, The Pied Bull Hotel on the cobbled King Street near to the central square of the City. Said to be the oldest continuously licensed premises in the city dating back to the 11th century, The Pied Bull is a quaint little which pub, despite the recent refurb, prides itself on it’s history with it’s old fashioned decor. There’s more than meets the eye with this place too, as well as being a CAMRA favourited pub the Bull also has a few rooms for guests to stay in as well as a micro brewery in the basement where they brew a dark ale known as “Black Bull”. Needless to say this was my sup of choice for my visit.

Ale and the new Proper Magazine, crackin'

I’m not a massive fan of dark ales, I usually find them quite stogy and a bit too overly bitter but I figured when in Rome with this one, though I do kind of wish I hadn’t. Black Bull didn’t help change my mind of dark ales I found this stogy as usual and left an overly bitter aftertaste as well as a weird sort of liqourice-ish (say that after a few) taste that I was put off by. A nice pub granted however this particular ale let me down unfortunately.

After spending a bit of time reading through Proper I decided to head across to the other side of the town to another popular old alehouse hidden away near the remains of the Roman amphitheater and gardens named THE ALBION INN.

The Albion is famous for it’s wartime decor, it’s no bullshit attitude towards unwanted punters and it’s gastro pub menu loved by TV Chef’s Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein, needless to say it did not disappoint in the slightest. Despite the lads at Cas Con not rating this place highly compared to the other places I instantly fell in love with the place from the moment I walked into the door and saw a sign that said “Don’t bring your stag-hen or pub crawl here, we don’t need you, we don’t want you, we won’t serve you!” Brilliant, I knew straight away this was going to be my kind of ale house. The first thing you notice when you walk into one of the two rooms in the pub is the, tacky as they may be to some, war related artifacts, nick nacks and posters that decorate the walls and a roaring open fire. No jukebox, no pool tables and no fruity machines just a quaint small bar serving good ales and nice grub.

I ordered a lovely golden ale called “Titanic” which hit the spot perfectly and managed to help remove the taste of the dark I’d had in the Pied Bull. A lovely smooth golden ale full of colour and very well brewed and full of flavour and fairly strong at 5% (hence the name Titanic as you would be likely to sink after a few). After supping on a pint or two I decided to get some scran from the pub’s famous kitchen. Looking through the menu it was fairly expensive, that’s to be expected from a gastropub famous for selling Haggis and Liver dishes I suppose, so I decided to order the cheapest thing I could find on the menu. A dish that was reccomended by Rick Stein himself  a ‘Tunstall Tortilla.” This amazing dish consisted of a Shropshire Oatcake filled with Bacon, black pudding, fried potatoes and cheese. Absolutely PERFECT and hit the spot just right. I certainly will be coming back here again without question and I would recommend anyone to give this place a go.

So after a few pints and a nice bit of scran I headed home feel very happy and satisfied. I’m made up that I got to try these alehouses and I’ll definitely be heading to Chester again in the near future for an ale trail as there are a handful of other pubs to try out as well as another visit to the Albion.

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Ale Trail #1/Birthday & Pre Match Build Up: Chelsea (Carling Cup)

So a triple header Blog update rather than a further three separete blog updates on three different days like I promised I’d try and avoid as that’s what makes blogging stagnant and repetative, so here it goes.


A regular feature what will be occurring in my blog is a little feature I like to call ALE TRAIL. Like most pretentious meffs I like to consider myself a bit of an elitist when it comes to drinking ale, which is a bit weird considering just 3 years ago I was still Straight Edge (HA!). All kidding aside though I do appreciate a good Real Ale when I find one so I figured it would make a decent topic to include in this here blog, so without further delay. My first entry for the “ALE TRAIL” is a newly introduced bitter into my local boozer I’ve found myself drinking and enjoying called “Daniel’s Hammer”

Unfortunately, my local, The Saughall, as much as I love the place, is not exactly the best of pubs for the Ale Enthusiast or CAMRA member, mainly due to the fact it’s more of a modern eatery pub than a traditionalist pub and is licensed under the brewery company Thwaites. Needless to say every now and again we do get a good guest or new regular ale come in on tap that doesn’t disappoint. “Daniel’s Hammer” is the newest ale to come into The Saughall and despite it’s slightly homo-erotic title I have to say is a damn good pint. Described as a “strong pale golden ale with a delicate malty palate and well balanced zesty hop character” this ale is full of body with a good pale colour, not too dry and is actually surprisingly refreshing for a pale ale and pretty strong as well at 5% despite the fact it actually tastes pretty light and doesn’t feel to heavy on the stomach.

It’s a pint that doesn’t leave behind that bitter aftertaste that some ales do and is definitely one of them ales you can at least sup more than one pint of. Granted, it’s not the best pint I’ve ever had neither but it’s one that I’ll happily choose over a pint of Fosters or Carling anyday. Recommended.


So today was my 25th birthday and rather than sit here and moan about “oh mann I’m getting old etc etc.” I’m actually quite chuffed about turning 25. It’s a big year for me this year as it’s the final year of being technically classed as “single” by the time my next birthday comes around I’ll be married, pretty exciting stuff.

As for my day today I’ve spent it relaxing with my family and my missus who bought me a smart Northern Boys Club tshirt (pictured below) and Bulgari aftershave. My plan for tonight after finishing this is head back to the Saughall with the missus for the pub quiz. Sound.


"In Soviet Russia, football plays you"

Everton enter into the 4th round of the Carling Cup tomorrow evening against what can only be described as a deflated Chelsea team. I say deflated mainly because the Cockney rent boys will be without Drogba (thank Christ), Ashley Cole and Bosingwa who all received cards and marching orders in, what can only be described as the most hilarious game of football I have ever watched, Sunday’s defeat to local rivals QPR at Loftus Road, but let’s be honest, it’s Chelsea, even without them 3 they’re hardly shit.

Players like Juan Mata, Ladyboy Torres (if he is no longer suspended I’ll have to check), Anelka, Fat Frank and Adolph Terry are all available for the rent boys tomorrow and will no doubt be out to try and bounce back from their derby day defeat on Sunday. However, despite the recent League defeat to this lot at The Bridge, our record against Chelsea isn’t all that bad, especially at Goodison. We have managed to beat them twice at Goodison in 3 years and once in the FA Cup away last season, as well as countless amount of draws, then again though these bastards have a way of crushing us at the final hurdles in the past, i.e 2009 FA Cup Final and 2008 League Cup Semi-Final.

As for Everton, it’s a mixed season so far. Some crap performances leading to crap results and some crap performances leading to scrappy last minute wins, like that at the weekend against Fulham at Craven Cottage, mixed with drama off the pitch and lack of money, which I won’t get into right now but probably will in the nearby future. All in all making it a bit of a headache so far, however the weekends result against Fulham gave me a glimmer of hope, despite us not actually playing that well, the squad and tactics looked more positive and players like Vellios and Drenthe were given starts which, as we all saw, lead to Drenthe’s AMAZING goal. For me it’s important for us to play positive and really go at Chelsea tomorrow and maybe stick to the squad we started with on Sunday (except maybe put Saha back in from Vellios) because, let’s be honest,despite the Carling Cup loosing it’s reputation as a big trophy over the years, in my eye, it still is and it’s probably one of the only chances we’re going to get on putting our hands on silverware at the current rate so needless to say it’s an important game and a big chance tomorrow. I just hope, for the love of Christ, the players realise this and go at Chelsea. If they do I’m going with a simple 1-0 and that goalscorer to be….oh christ knows, let’s say Bainesy, yeh Leighton Baines Freekick, why not?

So yeh, looking forward to this one, I’ll be in attendance with my good mate Al Bentley thanks to my little sister getting me a ticket for my birthday and no doubt will be supping a few pre-match pints on County Roads finest establishments. So until then, Come On You Blues.

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Filed under 2011/12, Ale Trail, Clobber, Cup Football, Everton, General, Pre-Match Build Up