Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas From Us All

Just a brief line to thank all our readers for their continued support and our good wishes to all of you and your nearest and dearest for Christmas and the New Year. We will continue to try to keep you up to date with the local (ish) beer scene in our inimitable way in 2015.

Timbo, Ale Ambler, Ale Louse

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Briggs & Mallinsons staged a stellar tap takeover at The Star, Huddersfield

Elaine Yendall, left, Nick Briggs and Tara Mallinson
This is the post that so nearly got away.
Aswiftone is indebted to Steve Goodwill for providing us with words and images about one of the ale events of the year.
Regular readers will be recognise that Steve has provided the blog with a feast of photos over the last 12 months following the launch of Briggs Signature Ales last Christmas.
Well, he saved our bacon last Saturday night by stepping into the breach for the aforementioned brewer's first anniversary celebrations at The Star in Huddersfield.
Everybody knew that the anniversary, which included a joint tap takeover with Mallinsons, started at 7pm down at Folly Hall. Yet, two rather optomistic aswiftone.com scribes decided - independently - to chance their arm by turning up five hours early for an afternoon-only session.
Needless to say we were well and truly taunted by several one-off beers, which were so near but yet so far. I texted Steve to let him know which beers were headed his way and he kindly volunteered to ride to the rescue.
So after taking this opportunity to wish all our readers seasons greetings, I'll bow out of this post.
Words and pictures by Steve Goodwill:
Last Saturday night saw one of Huddersfield's premier pubs (and the Mallinsons/Briggs unofficial brewery tap) hosting an event that is becoming increasingly commonplace in progressive drinking establishments, namely a "Tap Takeover", combined with Briggs Signature Ales 1st Anniversary. Which really doesn't warrant an in-depth explanation, suffice to say 6 out of the 10 hand-pumps at The Star in Lockwood were dedicated to Briggs and Mallinsons Brews, including a number of one-off specials. Regrettably, due to all the regular contributors of Aswiftone being otherwise engaged, I thought I might just try my hand, I just hope I don't make a fist of it (with prior apologies to the English Language)! 
Elaine samples one of the takeover beers
So to the beers, three each from both breweries but where to start? Well, as a well known pedant I strongly espouse the ascending gravity method, so I started with one of my favourites, Nick Briggs' "Northern Soul" original pale ale at 3.8% abv, well hopped with Centennial and Cascade hops and a good opener, whetting my appetite for the special version to follow. The "Northern Soul, Anniversary Special" certainly lived up to expectations being the standard offering but "quad hopped" with additional Nelson Sauvin and Citra in the cask, giving an added citrous bite and making it my beer of the night!
Mallinsons was next on my ascending scale with Bravo and "Top Tap Takeover" both weighing in at 4.1%, Bravo being from the brewery's popular Single Hop range that imparts a nice fruity floral taste and the alliteration beer being a variant of the Lockwood Bitter. After discussions with the brewsters it seems that the "Top Tap Takeover" was something of an experiment in the use of the hop essence called "Hop Burst", which is a recently introduced pure hop oil product designed to replace actual hops when "dry hopping". Elaine from Mallinsons then informed me that rather than use double or triple the recommended dose of Hop Burst as on previous attempts, they actually used eight times the standard amount, as earlier attempts were left somewhat lacking in aroma and hop bite....not this time though, hop aroma by the bucket load. On the down side though it did have a strong residual saccharin sweetness that I personally couldn't quite get on with, though a couple of the punters were being rather effusive about it. Ah well, can't win 'em all, as they say!
There then followed a glowing tribute to Nick Briggs and BSA by Sam the landlady with Nick giving a generous return speech, thanking the Star and everyone present (except the local CAMRA branch, who were conspicuous by their absence) for their continued support. We were also introduced to his support group consisting of Martin Simpson of "Martin Illustrates", of Lindley, who produces the esoteric and expressive pump clip artwork (a most useful in-law), his friend and website designer Conrad Pigford and his wife Emily together with other members of his family, who I'm sure are suitably proud of his on-going success.
Right, just two more to go. The last one on the Mallinsons list was the beer with the psychedelic pump clip "Totes Experimental Citranel" (Totes are evidently nothing to do with gambling, it seems), Citra & Nel-son Sauvin hops being used in the boil then dry hopped with Citra and Centennial.......in a word, "Heavenly!" Definitely my kind of beery salvation (or should that be salivation?). 
With the evening inevitably blurring to a close, just time for the last libation "Black Metal", this being a black IPA variant of Nick's latest evidence of his continuing success, "Metal", also dry hopped with another undoubted success story, king of the "C hops", the versatile and very scrummy "Citra"!
A very enjoyable night was had by all, including a party of hardy aficionado's from Liverpool who I'm sure would agree with me that we are indeed very fortunate in Huddersfield to have the holy trinity of Mallinsons, Briggs and The Star to light up our lives!
Here endeth the first lesson.

Here commences lesson the second.
I managed to be in the pub on Sunday, and all the beers were still available, and all still in good form, and as a treat another Mallinsons special appeared . 'Super Nelson' was a dry hopped nelson sauvin beer with more nelson. A beer not for the faint hearted, but an excellent end to a great takeover. Thanks to all who it possible . Timbo 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Briggs Signature Ales and Mallinsons news

This weekend sees a couple of monumental events in the careers of both Briggs and Mallinsons beers.

It is the first anniversary of Briggs Signature Ales, and to celebrate the event what better way to do it than take over the bar at the Star, in company with his collegues at Mallinsons. This will happen tomorrow night (Saturday 20th) from 7 p.m. We are promised some special beers unique to the event from each brewery. Congratulations Nick!

And, just in time for Christmas, Mallinsons will be opening a bottle shop at their Lockwood Road brewery. It will open from Monday 22nd December between 10am and 4pm. At present it is cash only, and they ask you to be patient in their answering of the door, it depends where they are in the brewery. Guess where I will be at 10.05 on Monday!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Manchester before Christmas

The Marble Arch, Rochdale Road, Manchester M4 4HY
The Christmas music piped up just as we piled off the train at Manchester Victoria.
But this blast of brass was the closest some of us got to the festivities all day. Not that we are entirely Bah Humbugs on this blog, it was just a bit chilly out and there was surely a pub with a roaring fire waiting for us somewhere.
The idea behind the 'First' group's monthly outing was to combine Manchester's Christmas Market with a tour of the city's pubs.
A few hardy souls did stick to the game-plan but let's say the majority weren't singing from the same hymn sheet.
The splinter group's first stop was a fine sight. The red granite exterior of The Marble Arch in Ancoats was bathed in wintry sunlight, giving it an almost holy glow.
Inside was a revelation too, with a sloping tiled floor leading inexorably to the bar. There we found a wide range of Marble Brewery on cask and some keg beers from other breweries.
I was ready to be cliched and drink Manchester Bitter, one of my favourites. But it wasn't on, and I saw a new beer from Marble, Antipodean: a New Zealand Pale Ale.

This four percenter won unanimous praise from the Christmas market naysayers and turned out to be beer of the day for many. There was no hop info on the pump clip but Neslon Sauvin came out top in our guess the hop competition.
The perceived wisdom in beer circles is that Marble beers are not quite as good as they used to be. Although we only tried one beer and it's difficult to make an informed decision from that, the evidence before us suggested otherwise. I have never closed my eyes to Marble but I shall look forward to more of their beers based on this experience.
After much purring over Antipodean on cask, it was time for the keg debate to rage. Our group consisted of the keen, undecided and the anti-keg.
Two beers were kindly shared among the group, one from Beer Moth, a 7% plus percent affair, and a collaboration involving Magic Rock at a shade over 6%.
The Beer Moth was cold and fizzy, while the Magic Rock combo was less lively and more like normal temperature. 
I think the consensus was for the Beer Moth but our keg dissenter liked the other beer.
After a promising start, I was a little underwhelmed by the next two pubs: The Angel up the road and The Smithfield. Both bars seemed to have little for me on this occasion and I chose badly instead of sitting them out.
Crown & Kettle, Oldham Road M4 5FE
But The Crown & Kettle  was a return to form, both in look and beer.
I'd been instructed to marvel at the ceiling but not to be alarmed if a flake or two fell on me. You see, one side of the chandelier clad beauty was scraped back, while the other was beautifully decorated in claret and gold. Both were covered by netting.
After observing the architecture - including the church-like windows and arches - I returned to beer-blinkers mode.
A scan down the bar revealed a collaboration from the Riverhead and Rat breweries, involving coriander  and something else; Ossett's Nervous Turkey; Arbor's A Winter's Pale and a beer from the mysterious Vagrant Brewing Company.
I was tempted to try the latter but I am a bit of an Arbor junkie so I went for their Aussie Pale Ale. This 4.7% trip to the New World was my beer of the day by a whisker and we had some good ale that day.
The pub was busy but we found a table in the back room and settled down to talk beer.
One of our enterprising group went to enquire with the bar staff about Vagrant. The bartender promptly went on the Internet and told us all about this cuckoo brewery who work out of Black Jack.
I don't know which site she used but I suspect it might have been this informative Q&A on Manchester Ale News
Later, when we did a trip 'wash up', The Crown & Kettle and The Marble Arch stood out for welcome, helpful bar staff and beer.
Next up was a Robinsons pub, The Castle Hotel on Oldham Street. Here another splinter group formed, those who filed into this beautifully brown-tiled Grade II listed pub and those who sloped off down a side street for a chip or fish butty.
Castle Hotel, Oldham Street, M4 1LE

Suitably nourished, but miffed not to have seen the Holland's Pies until it was too late, we headed out 
of the Northern Quarter to the Port Street Beer House.
Port Street Beer House, Port Street M1 2EQ.
Last three pictures courtesy of Steve Goodwill
I wondered if we were going to the dentists when we suddenly turned 90 degrees off the street into a pastel-hued hallway. But my fears were allayed when we bore right into a packed ground floor bar.
Here the choice, for me, was between two more Arbor beers, Oyster Stout or a saison with clementines. But as the light was fading, it was time for a dark beer. It continued the remarkable run of Arbor beers I've had.
The only gripe I and others had was the price of our different beers. I think mine was £1.90 for a 4.6% and a First colleague complained to me about not getting much change out of a tenner for four halves.
But I can't say I wasn't forewarned as the excellent Manchester Pub Guide, published by CAMRA, told me it was a "rather expensive experience". 
From here we went to the first of two food orientated bars. The first was Pie & Ale, which lived up to its billing.
Pie & Ale, Lever Street M1 1FN
But these weren't any old meat and potato pies but pigeon, game and a horse pot. I abstained but never have I heard so many people enthusing about knowingly consuming horse meat.
After a veritable Grand National sized field of horse puns, we got back on track to beer. I think all of us were looking forward to Mallinsons Citra but it promptly ran off as we were about to order. Then I think another beer went, so my choice was between the house beer, brewed by Wells & Young's, and a pilsner.
I went for the pilsner, I can't remember who it was brewed by. All I recall was that it was OK and it's the second pilsner I've had lately which has left me nonplussed. It's normally a beer style I tend to favour but I wonder if I'm growing out of it. Time will tell.
We talked long and hard about staying for another as new beers were coming on the bar, like Summer Wine Brewery's Hit Man.
We were tempted but it was time to go to our final destination: Common on Edge Street.
It was another food and drink type place.
The pub, which is basically a series of converted shops, is known for its artwork. But it was packed when we visited on early Saturday evening, so I don't recall looking at the walls.
One of our group stumped me with a question as we were standing at the crowded bar. We could see the ABVs for the cask and keg beers but no percentages for the cocktails, which were advertised prominently on a sign hanging over the bar.
Later as I watched one being made - and saw all the combinations of spirits and liqueurs going in - I guessed they don't tell you the strength as you may need some algebraic formula to work it out or they don't want to scare you with a 45% plus monster.
Beer-wise we were all delighted to get a second chance at Summer Wine's Hit Man, only for it run off before our eyes. Some opted instead for a golden beer from Prospect, of Standish.
Looking around, the clientele here tended to be of the younger hipster end. They seemed to be enjoying the food, which seemed to be of the burger and nachos variety.
Inevitably, talked turned to planning the January expedition. This had been prompted by a text from aswiftone contributors Aliain who had suggested a Wakefield district trip to the likes of The Junction in Castleford, the newly re-opened Robin Hood at Pontefract and the bars of the Merrie city itself.
I suspect we will combine it with a mini tour of Leeds, taking in Northern Monk's Refectory in Holbeck and maybe the pubs of Water Lane.
Well, the world is your oyster on a West Yorkshire day rover.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bah Humbug - again !!

Those  of you who have been following 'A Swift One' over the years may recall I have visited this subject previously, but I make no apologies for visiting  it once more . It is THAT time of year again. The time when the world seems to go mad, and the shops and pubs are full of people whose one intention seems to be to get in my way.


My gripe is not with Christmas per se, although I would prefer it to be staggered throughout the year, so maybe different parts of the country celebrate it in different months and I could move around and miss it. My gripe is with the brewing industry. Not all of it, but just those brewers who mislead me into drinking beers I do not like, and had I been aware, would have avoided.


Let me explain. I do not like my beer messed about with as a rule, and especially not so with spices. Many brewers seem to think this it is a tradition to make beers with such things at this time of year. Lets face it, if I wanted a Xmas pudding (which incidentally I don't) I would buy the real thing. I do not want to order a beer and suddenly find it has all the ingredients of a pudding in my glass.



Before you start and say it is my own fault for being a 'ticker' and 'needing' to score the beer anyway, let put you right. I am happy to be given the choice so if I see a beer called 'Noel' or 'Christmas Cracker' I roughly know what to expect and it is up to my feeling at the time whether to subject myself to it or not. What I object to are those breweries who disguise their Christmas beer under names that give no clue as to what is to come.


I had a trip around Leeds yesterday, and came across a couple of beers that perfectly fit that description. 'ECB' - what is that ? Ah English Christmas Beer, my fault for not reading the small print maybe. However, 'Nippy Nights' - no clue there. But a spicy concoction. Strangely 'Miseltoe Myth' which I expected to be of this ilk, was light and hoppyish. Some were a little easier to work out admittedly using words like Christmas, Santa, elves etc. etc so I knew to avoid them. But I got to the point of treating every beer I had never previously encountered with suspicion. Thankfully I did not get my fingers bitten again but I will be very pleased when January comes and we can see the back of the Christmas pudding mix.


So please brewers if you are going to make a Christmas beer with spices, and I have no objection if you do, can you call if something I can associate with spices, so I can avoid it if I want and don't inadvertently end up with a beer the taste of which lingers for hours.

Friday, December 12, 2014

West Riding LRR Celebrates 20 Years in The Guide


Time really flies doesn't it? I remember walking into The West at Dewsbury station for the first time as if it was yesterday. Goodness knows where it all went - though not sure I want to. Two decades is a slice though, and to maintain standards consistently enough to be recognised without interruption by the Good Beer Guide is truly impressive.


Last night a special presentation by Andy Kassube of  CAMRA was made to Mike Field & Sarah Barnes, whose latest venture at The Old Turk we reported on just last month. The West Riding, it has to be said,  doesn't look any different all these years later - and incredibly neither do Mike nor Sarah! 


For many of us mere mortals - ravaged by relentless time and good beer - the pub played an important role in bringing us an endless stream of quality ale from all over the UK, right at the start of what was to blossom into a full blown brewing revolution. And for this more than anything, we are truly grateful. Cheers - and here's to the next twenty!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Empire Brewing Award at The Commercial in Slaithwaite

Huddersfield Oktoberfest 2014 - Mild of the Festival 

Now in it's fifth year since reopening, The Commercial at Slaithwaite has firmly established itself as the village's top attraction for ale lovers. In beer terms it's anything but commercial, with the emphasis very much on small brewery output,  in particular the locally produced Empire range.


The very keenly priced Commerciale is always to be found here but it's the award-winning Moonraker Mild that has brought in the crowds this evening. The Huddersfield Oktoberfest best mild award has found it's way up the Colne Valley this year and into the deserving hands of  Russ & Lorraine Beverley (pictured below with Bob Tomlinson). 


Our first experience drinking Empire was one Sunday lunchtime a few years back in the Fieldhead at Quarmby where a certain Strikes Back was being served. And what an impression that made! If memory serves, a similar award was bestowed on the brewery that autumn - and very few could argue. The beer set a standard to be followed up by the likes of Mallinsons, Summer Wine and Magic Rock, breweries that have since put Huddersfield very firmly on the map - and the rest, as they say.... 

Monday, December 08, 2014

The Junction at Castleford

Reasons for taking so long to visit the 'home of the wooden cask' have been mainly a combination of idleness on my part and the somewhat scant availability of my tour manager (who could never be accused of dragging his feet incidentally).





But getting to Cas has been greatly simplified since my job-switch to Wakefield in the summer, so when an opportunity arose recently to join the ubiquitous Bloke (or Blerke if you're coastal) From Hull at The Junction, it was time to board the badlands express.


Whilst not a complete stranger to the town, I had never done any drinking in it, or eating for that matter - a situation soon rectified, in no small degree on both fronts, by my inestimable colleague.

There's lining your stomach before a few beers and then there's getting totally pie-faced at the Pop-Inn cafe on Wilson Street. No short measures here. £3.50 for a mountain of pie, mash, veggies and Yorkshires was the best value anything I've ever had I reckon. And top quality too - just be sure to skip breakfast.





The Junction has had a remarkable transformation recently and though waiting to have it's exterior buffed up, the bar and snug are quite something. And the attraction here is far more than just the experience of having all the real ales drawn from wooden casks, this really is the sort of pub I would happily spend more time in than is good for me if it was at all local.




Hosts Neil Midgley & Maureen Shaw (above) are at the heart of things and quite justifiably proud of this extraordinary oasis in a town  predominantly doing keg and a handful of cask from the giants. The beer choice is their's, and right now allegiances are strongest with Ridgeside (with whom the pub struck up an instant bond when the brewery formed) and Elland. 

Our beers on this particular chilly afternoon couldn't have been better scripted. The award winning 1872 Porter from Elland for the man, and for me, the indescribably beautiful Coda (a 5.6% IPA) from Ridgeside - the late and much-missed Simon Bolderson's lasting legacy.





A tour of the cellar, an extra pint, a brief history from Neil, another unscripted beer, a chat with the locals by the open fire, more extra-curricular ale, all resulted in two missed trains - and it could easily have been three. And it's not often I lose track - which probably says more about this pub and it's regulars and it's relaxing atmosphere and it's great beer than anything else.





If you're thinking about going - just do it. David Litten is probably on some sort of commission at both pub and cafe - though won't admit it - so contact him through the usual channels if you need a guide - just make sure you put aside plenty of time. 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Star Winter Festival Review

Last night the doors opened on the 13th Star Winter Beer Festival, obviously 'A Swift One' was there, and this is a quick resume of what we found.

I won't bore you with the technicalities, the system is the tried and tested one, with 46 beers on offer in the marquee. But what of the beers available ? There were beers from all over the country with plenty of unusual Yorkshire breweries represented, along with a few from the North East, and a couple from Scotland and Wales as well. It was just a problem where to start.

I did have a bit of help here actually, when Bad brewery's 'Comfortably Numb' was recommended to me. A very impressive beer, full of flavour, and very moreish at 3.8%. This is a new brewery to me and led me to try their second beer 'Love over Gold' which was equally as good. Whilst I was in new brewery mode I tried Twisted 'Conscript' - a fairly traditional tasting bitter and The Olde Potting Shed 'Swanee River' which was similar but stronger.

Time to take a look at some of the local specials, and they don't come more local than Mallinsons whose brewery is just over the road from the pub. Their 'Elved' was a dry hopped version of one of the beers and was excellent, I would have tried another had not research got in the way. But 'Super Calypso' was another good choice, with a massive fruity hop hit. Since I had tried them it would have been churlish to overlook the Briggs beers. 'Symphony no3' was a quad hopped (whatever that means!!) special, and 4.6%, and very pleasant. I must admit to have been less impressed with 'Christmas Carol', a 5.5% dark beer with hints of cherry. But it was not my style of beer unfortunately.

There were still plenty of beers to sample and I tried my best. Everything I tried was in good condition, and there were plenty of good beers available, but I still managed to save some of the interesting sounding ones for later in the week. Great Heck 'Mount Mosaic' sounds good, Pictish 'Away In A Mash Tun' is apparently a typical Pictish offering, and the Three Daggers beers sound interesting.But before you leave take a look at the main bar, and if you have the capacity have a try of the North Riding/Five Towns '281 DIPA'. Admittedly it is 8.5% but it is my beer of the festival so far packed with hop flavours (but is is only a 4.5 gallon barrel, so you will have to be quick !)

So if you fancy a weekend away from the Christmas shopping get down to the Star, and give it a go yourself. Thursday night is another of the festivals 'Bake Off's - this time Christmas themed, and on Saturday night the 'Monotones' play live.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Star Winter List

Star Festival List, (starts tomorrow at 5pm)

Beers 1-46 served in outside marquee, 47 onwards in the pub as space allows

1 TEMPEST CASCADIAN BLONDE 3.9
2 BRIGGS SYMPHONY NO3 4.6
3 MALLINSONS ELVED 3.9
4 GOOSE EYE IPA (INGROW PALE ALE) 4.1
5 TWISTED CONSCRIPT 4.2
6 OLDE POTTING SHED SWANEE RIVER 4.5
7 BRIGGS CHRISTMAS CRACKER 5.5
8 TEMPEST EMANATION PALE 4.5
9 TWISTED GAUCHO 3.6
10 TOOLMAKERS YANKEE DRIVER 4.2
11 GREENMILL GORSEY BREW 6.6
12 PICTISH AWAY IN A MASH TUN 4.3
13 DUNHAM MASSEY OBELISK 3.9
14 MOLES MOEL MOEL 6
15 TRUEFITT ERIMUS PALE 3.9
16 BARTRAMS COAL PORTER 4.5
17 SUNNY REPUBLIC GUARDIAN ANGEL 4
18 FIVE TOWNS CORRIDOR OF UNCERTAINTY 5.5
19 TWISTED PIRATE 4.2
20 BAD CO COMFORTABLY NUMB 3.8
21 THORNBRIDGE MADE NORTH 3.8
22 THREE DAGGERS DAGGERS BLONDE 3.6
23 REVOLUTIONS DEAD POP STARS 4.5
24 RAW XTREME NO3 4.6
25 THREE DAGGERS DAGGERS ALE 4.1
26 CRYSTALBREW CRYSTAL JADE 4
27 BAD CO LOVE OVER GOLD 4.1
28 TINY REBEL ONE INCH PUNCH 3.9
29 SKYS EDGE RUM CASK STOUT 4.3
30 ALNWICK ALNWICK LONGSTONE 3.6
31 JUST A MINUTE GINGA TICKER 4
32 EDEN EDEN GOLD 4.2
33 WILSON POTTER FA LA LA 4.3
34 GLENTWORTH SUN QUEST 4.3
35 TAYLORS REMEMBER ME 4.4
36 ABBEY OH MR PORTER 4.9
37 BOGGART RUBY RUDOLPH 4.5
38 WAEN RUSH AND A PUSH 3.7
39 BOGGART COFFEE PORTER 3.5
40 GREENMILL GIBBLE GIBBLE 4.6
41 TWO ROSES BPA (BARNSLEY PALS ALE) 4.1
42 GREAT HECK MOUNT MOSAIC 4.5
43 WAEN ALRIGHT TREACLE 4.2
44 HALF MOON AURORA 4.1
45 SMALL WORLD THUNDERBRIDGE STOUT 5.2
46 MALLINSONS SUPER CALYPSO 3.9
47 PLASSEY WELSH PALE ALE 4.1
48 TOOLMAKERS LYNCH PIN 4
49 SKYS EDGE BELGIUM BLONDE 4.2
50 MOLES LITTLE GENTLEMAN 4.7
51 PICTISH ULTRA 4.5
52 FIVE TOWNS OLD NORRELL 5.5
53 SUNNY REPUBLIC HOP DOG 5.5
54 DARK STAR SKINNERS 3.7
55 FIVE TOWNS 281 DIPA 8.5

Monday, December 01, 2014

A curious tale of Dickens, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Iron Maiden: aka Liverpool pubs tour part three

Pictures by Steve Goodwill
The final part of the First Group's trip to Liverpool.
After leaving Liverpool's Georgian Quarter pub crawl, we were in for an architectural treat of a different kind.
We had visited quite a few Grade II listed buildings on our tour of city pubs but not one with a bizarre history involving Charles Dickens, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and some Victorian rogues.
Liverpool One Bridewell  on Campbell Square was a jailhouse from about 1850 until the 1930s.
The pub's website maps out its rich history. Novelist Charles Dickens was a special constable for a day in the 1860s as he researched his tales and sketches for The Uncommercial Traveller.
But it wasn't the only literary work penned there as Frankie Goes to Hollywood wrote Two Tribes there after it became a recording and rehearsal space in the early 1980s!
Moving swiftly on to the modern day, the Bridewell is part pub, eaterie and event space.
After walking in through the red-brick archway and court yard, the bar is immediately to your left. Ahead lies a long corridor of former cells now replete with plasma televisions.
I've flirted with the subject of pubs in TVs before in an earlier Liverpool post but now I'll tackle it head-on and present an contrary view.
Shoot me down if you want, but I am not against TVs in bars. I realise I may be swimming against the tide here but as long as they don't drown out conversation what is the problem? Why are they so taboo in real ale pubs?
Here the amount of screens was a bit over the top but on a Saturday afternoon full of sport I thought it was providing a valuable service and saved us from surreptitious glances to our mobile phones to check the scores or craftily listening to Five Live on headphones.
Anyway, time to climb off the hobby horse and return to the tour.
I scanned The Bridewell's bar but wasn't grabbed by anything. I recall seeing the JW Lees/Marco Pierre White's The Governor beer, which is apparently on permanently. But I couldn't see much else to tempt me. To be fair, I think we caught them during a change over period but they do a wide range of other drinks if you are not in the mood for beer, which strangely I wasn't that particular day.
Next, we moved on to what turned out to be my favourite pub of the trip, The Baltic Fleet
The Baltic Fleet, Wapping, near Albert Dock 
Approaching the pub, you can't help but notice the shape. Some call it a 'flat iron' pub while others go for triangular. Closer inspection reveals an abundance of doors, which John, our local guide, told me were used to dodge the excise men back in the days of yore.
Apparently there were more exits underneath the pub in past, one leading to the docks, possibly for quick access to the press gangs from the merchant navy, and rumours of another tunnel to the red light district.
But now the the cellar is home to the Wapping microbrewery, who had at least three beers on when we visited.
I recall seeing Wapping's Summer, which promptly ran off but was replaced in next to no time, and their Stout, which ended up being my beer of the day.
I made my way out of the packed bar, which seemed popular with Scandinavian speaking Liverpool supporters, and back round to the other side, to a corridor lounge near a wood stove.
I don't know which I liked best, the woodsmoke or the coffee undertones of my drink? It looked as though we were just too late for food, which was a pity as it is well known for its Scouse dish. I could have quite easily have done a session here but time was running out on our day rover and we still had two pubs to visit.
Our next port of was to be The Lion Tavern on Moorfields back towards the city centre.
The Lion Tavern on Moorfields
And here was another architectural wonder. You didn't know where to look: the tiles, the glass or the woodwork. But I would've missed the best feature if John hadn't have shown me. In one of the back rooms was a domed cieling with a lantern hanging down from it. As a wise beer scribe once said on here: "Do you ever look at the ceiling?" when you walk into a pub.
After admiring the architectrure, I made my way round to the bar but it was heaving. All I could see from a fair few feet away was the Iron Maiden/Robinson's Trooper ale. So I ignored Eddie The Head on the bar and loitered near a serving hatch where I noted some fine looking pork pies.
You can tell by now that I was ravenous, but the chance of devouring a sizeable pie in a half-pint pit stop in a busy pub was slim.
My last hope of grub lay at The Ship & Mitre where I was told they did a mean Scouse. 
The Ship & Mitre on Dale Street
I once again found myself at a serving hatch, only to be told the Scouse had sold out. Undeterred I ordered some food from The Galley and cast my eye around the crowded bar. We had arrived at peak time on a Saturday night but I'm told the pub is constantly busy, which of course is great for ale quality.
I could see a Mallinsons on one of the 13 wickets from where I was standing, which I think most of our group had as their thoughts turned to returning to Huddersfield.
At the time of our visit, the pub was just on the cusp of doing a beer festival with a difference. The festival wasn't in the pub itself but in Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight for the 2014 Wirral Beer Festival.
I quite like the idea of going on tour with your favourite bar, we see it at The Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival.
Talking of which, my food arrived and some kind souls let me perch on the end of their table as I set about it. The queue at the bar hadn't subsided so there was little chance of washing it down with a farewell jar.
But I will definitely return to Liverpool to revisit some of the ten pubs we visited and some that I didn't.
It was an excellent day out and was a jolly useful reconnaissance mission for next time.
All that remains is for me to thank John and Adam, our guides, and Steve Goodwill for the pictures and the invite to The First Group's monthly tour. 
Roll on Manchester in December!


Here are links to parts one and two of our city of Liverpool pub tour.