Total Pageviews

Friday 30 November 2018

Beers, Boats and Boozers, 2018. No. 18

We had a few days in Liverpool before our next adventure so we made the best of it, especially as we had lovely weather and our lovely daughter with us too.

In Exchange Flags, behind the Town Hall is this monument to Nelson (Battle of Trafalgar fame). It was the first piece of public art ever erected in Liverpool, and that was on the 8th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar 21st October 1813. I was almost called Horatio as that is my birthday. (The day, not the year!!). Mathew Cotes Wyatt one the competition and it only took 2 months to raise the money by public subscription. On the base are four vanquished foes, depicting Nelson's four great victories. A naked Nelson is standing on a defeated corpse and there is the skeleton of death reaching out to touch him. Britania stands above with laurels and his decorations.

This is one of the most dramatic war memorials that I have seen and it was erected by members of the Exchange Newsroom to those men who worked there, or their sons, who lost their lives in WWI.

A classic case of missing things if you don't look up when walking around cities. This is the Royal Insurance Buildings on North John Street/Dale Street corner. the building was erected between 1896 and 1903 after a design competition was won by James Doyle. It is constructed of Portland Stone over a steel beam structure, one of the first buildings to use this technique. The frieze on the Dale Street elevation depicts all subjects of insurance. It was designed by C.J. Allen. The building became disused in the 1980's and fell it to very poor repair. It was purchased by Liverpool City Council and opened as an hotel in October 2014. A great way to save this Grade II* building.

I love these terracotta brick buildings and this one is heavily decorated. It is the Cain's Brewery on Stanhope Street, near the Anglican Cathedral. It was started in 1887 for Robert Cain and no expense was spared by him. He even had every window arch of his own mansion monogrammed in stone (according to Wikipedia). After his death the company was taken over by Walkers, Then Higson's, then Boddington, and then to Whitbread's who closed it down. It has had several attempts at re-opening and I have had a pint before at the brewery Tap, just below this photo, The Grapes. I hope the building is not lost.

At the Cathedral the Museum of the Moon exhibition was on. As if the massive cathedral is not stunning enough the 7 mt moon made from high definition pictures of the moon was stunning. We have seen it in a couple of different sites and it is surprising how different the experience is in each place.

Image result for lime kiln liverpool
Image result for lime kiln liverpool
Whilst in the Ropewalk area we called into a very different Weatherspoons. It is on two levels and really seems to cater for the younger end of the market. there is a 'disco' deck and music and dancing at the weekends until late. The site was in the heart of the manufacturing area and at various times the site has seen manufacturing chemists, brass foundry, lime juice maker, warehouse and a car park. The Name comes from the fact that the chemical industry started in this area using lime as a raw material. Lime Street's original name was Lime Kiln Lane.

Image result for peerless brewing company
I have had beers by Peerless before, and in Liverpool, but it is based in Birkenhead and started brewing in 2009. The first in the town since the closure of the Birkenhead Brewery in the 1960's. The name Peerless come from the advertising slogan for that brewery of 'Peerless Ales and Stouts.

Image result for peerless oatmeal stout
I tried the Oatmeal Stout this time, 5%. It was gorgeous and slid right down. It was a nice thick mouthful. I think the technical phrase is 'mouthful'. There are the tastes of dark malts, toffee and coffee but there is a nice sweetness there too. Extremely well worth the £2-40 paid. I'll keep my eyes open for more Peerless beers.

Monday 26 November 2018

Beers, Boats and Boozers, 2018. No. 17.

After leaving Carnforth we headed back south towards Preston and our date for our recrossing of the Ribble Estuary.
We stopped off at Hest Bank on a beautiful day and went for a walk to the edge of Morecambe Bay, or where the edge would have been if the tide had been in! In the distance are the Lakeland Fells, Old Man of Coniston, the tallest in view on the picture, and also in the foreground the remains of Hest Bank Wharf that allowed schooners to moor up to over the tides to load and discharge. That is until the railway arrived in 1850. There was even a warehouse on the beach, under where the Hest Bank Hotel is today.

As we recrossed the Lune Aqueduct there were good views of the Priory and Lancaster Castle in the distance. I wish I'd photo shopped out the power lines. Next time we will visit the Old Quay, the old port of  Lancaster.

It certainly is an impressive structure and view on a day like this was.

The dappled shade of the woodland areas we passed through were lovely and photogenic and added to the variety of the view from the boat all along the length of this canal.

I think there were 5 or 6 boats penned down with us into the Ribble and we were the last but one to leave the pontoon. The timings were just about right as we just managed to pass through the lock on to the Rufford Arm of the Leeds and Liverpool canal on the level. They closed the gates behind us.

I had a long weekend away from the boat on the Continent with my brothers visiting some of the WWI sites, leaving helen in the Fettler's Wharf Marina, before setting off once again, and again turning right on the main canal and back down into Liverpool. This is us just getting ready to pass through the first bridge on the route. Macy had been enjoying the sunshine, but likes to be inside when we are moving. We like her yto be too, as we wouldn't want her jumping off when we are on the move.

There was a festival on in Liverpool to do with the Tall Ships Race, but unfortunately by the time we arrived they had all sailed and most things were just packing up. There were still plenty of folk about though. This is the last lock down into the tidal lock basin.

Image result for the belvedere liverpool
We had a few days back in Liverpool and our daughter staying so we did the touristy things again. Up near the Georgian Quarter and the two cathedrals is the Belvedere Arms pub. It is a little back street boozer, but full of character, and worth searching out. This lovely Grade II Listed pub was nearly lost for housing development but was luckily rescued in 2006 and is now a community pub. There are two small rooms, loads of paneling and other original features.

Image result for melwood beer company
There were 5 beers on hand pull and around 60 different gins if that is your tipple. There were no TV's or 'one armed bandits' though. I selected a Locale brewed not far away in Knowsley. The Melwood Beer Co. was set up in 2013 by a husband and wife team and moved into the old dog kennels on the Knowsley estate of Lord Derby in 2016, where he used to keep his gun dogs. It is obviously not a normal kennel as they have plenty of room. What a lovely spot to work. A bit different from the more usual modern industrial estate!

Image result for melwood stanley gold
I settled on a pint of Stanley Gold 4.3%. It was a hot day, and with plenty of walking it was just what I needed a beautiful IPA style that was full of cascade, Amarillo and centennial hops. The citrus taste was spot on and hit the spot. At £3-35 it seems to be about average in Liverpool, outside of a Weatherspoons. The locals and bar tenders were very friendly and I will seek this pub out rather than the Philharmonic in future as much more my taste. One not to be missed next time we are this way.

Friday 23 November 2018

Beers, Boats and Boozers, 2018. No.16.

After a couple of days we headed north again. We had out passage back across the Ribble Estuary booked so we had to keep moving.

The Lune Aqueduct is very impressive. Not a spindly little thing like that one in Wales, but solid and strong, Northern, in stature. It doesn't get much publicity though.

We moored a little away from the current head of navigation as the visitor moorings and services are close to the motorway, that is less than 100mt! However it wasn't as noisy as you may think. The weather was great so we decided to have a walk up some of the lost route.

Restoration would take too  much as the flight of locks are still largely in place for water movement purposes. The cascades above ar over the sills of the locks. The gates may be missing but some of the paddle gear is still in place. I think it is problems with bridges that is the main hold up with restoration.

There are plenty of walks around the area and we had a lovely day wandering around the local villages.

After another day or so we turned round and headed back south and stopped off in Carnforth. The small station punches above it's weight as it was a junction and also the base and 'staging post' for crews engines etc. There is still a yard here that deals with heritage engines and rolling stock. Of course many people know of Carnforth Station as some scenes of the film 'Brief Encounters' was filmed here. It was chosen as being filmed at the end of WWII a place where the Blackout wouldn't need to be enforced was required, as well as a mainline station. I love the curved platforms, subway access and ofcourse there is the famous clock seen in the film. There is the heritage cafe as seen in the film as well as a museum of the film and of the station and railway itself. All in all you could spend an hour or two here.

Image result for the snug carnforth station
The Snug on the old 'Up' main line platform on Carnforth Station adds to the attraction of the Station attraction. It opened  on 1st August 2012. (By coincidence Yorkshire Day, and it is in Lancashire!). It must have been the original station buildings when built in 1846 by the Lancaster and Carlisle Railway. It became a junction a few years later and then a mainline station a few years after that. The platforms then moved away from the first platform and are now accessed by underpass. It is only 300 sq.ft so is very micro., a little too small really. They have 5 hand pulls, plus loads of bottles and plenty of ciders too. They had 4 pale ales and no stout. I tried the odd one out.

Image result for bingley brewery
Related image
The beer a chose was a collaboration between Bingley Brewery, situated in a small village just outside Bingley, and Hooded Ram Brewery that is found in Douglas on the Isle of Mann. I'm not sure how they collaborated but Bingley Brewery started up in 2014 with a 6bbl plant and Hooded Ram in 2013.

Image result for red neck west coast ipa bingley brewery
Red Neck is a West Coast IPA and it is strong at 5.5%. It pulled well with a good head and is a nice red colour. It is brewed with 4 different malts including Red crystal and a wheat malt. The malts came through with a nice malty after taste. Five hops are used in the brewing and then an American hop is added as dry hopping at the end but they seemed to get lost a little. Maybe just too complicated for my simple taste.

Image result for ridgeside brewery
I tried another beer whilst there, this time from Ridgeside which are found in Meanwood, near Leeds. They started brewing in 2010 but in 2015 a new team came in and started a fresh. They are well known around Leeds.

Image result for torquin old ale ridgeside brewery
Tonquin Old Ale is 7% is very strong, but alcohol is not the flavour that comes to you at all. The beer was flat and a dark colour when pulled. It tasted sweet and like a sasperella! to me, sweet and a little licourice like to me. This is the Tonka Beans I expect. The beans are from giant trees that grow in the Amazon. One bean will flavour loads of plates of food so is pretty strong. The chemical in the beans is poisonous if eaten in quantity and is banned in America. I think in this instance the Americans have got it right! As a Yorkshireman I never leave a beer, but I really struggled to get this one down. I don't think it is brewed anymore though.

Saturday 17 November 2018

Beers, Boats and Boozers, 2018. No.15

We spent the day around this lovely town with some beautiful buildings. We walked up the Hill first to Williamson's Park.

The beautiful Victorian Williamson Park is named after the Williamson family that were oil cloth and linoleum manufacturers in the area.  the son of the founder of the business carried on the growth and in 1895 was knited and became Lord Ashton. This is the Ashton Memorial that was designed by Sir John Belcher and completed in 1909. The building is dedicated to the Williamson family, but it is thought that it was dedicated to his second wife Jessy, who died in 1904. He was married three times, with two daughters from his first marriage. It must have been a little uncomfortable for them, and the 3rd wife I  would have thought.

The views in all directions form below the dome a great in all directions with this view of the old port are of the town by the Lune and the castle been prominent. In 1981 the Ashton memorial had to be closed as it needed total refurbishment. After 4 years it reopened and now has an art gallery and is a wedding/conference/party venue.

The citizens of the town are very lucky to have such a fantastic facility. It is a victorian park at its best. It even looks like a canal area connecting with this lake, but isn't. The park was opened in 1877 but the fountain was added by Sir John Belcher when the memorial was erected.

Down in the middle of the town, in the square opposite the Town Hall is the statue of Victoria with these bronzes on each side. They are full of the national great and good of  the day. Florence Nightingale is here and the only other women is George Elliot. How times change. They are extremely detailed, and I like the fact that they were allowed to smoke!!

In the foreground is Covell's Cross. It is a recent replacement for the original market cross and is named after the man who lived in the house behind. He was Mayor, Magistrate and Coroner but is perhaps best known as the Keeper of the Castle during the with trials there in 1612. The house is called the Judging's Lodgings as it was where the visiting judges lodge when attending the assizes held here. They brough many people and hence money to the town as until 1835 all cases from Manchester and Liverpool were also heard here. Just showing what a meteoric rise those city's have had. It now houses a museum of Gillows Furniture that was manufactured just round the corner near the castle.

On the side of the Priory church, by the castle is this plaque to the engineer who built the Lune Aqueduct that we will be crossing soon.

The Water Witch pub is, as you can see, on the tow path, and not far from our moorings. It was converted from boat horse stables in 1978. It is very popular, and doesn't have a car park! We went to a quiz night and managed to come equal bottom. That's the trouble with these University towns! It is a long narrow building due to its original use but the stone floors rafters and pine paneling make up for it. They do good food and have about 6 hand pulls on most of the town.

Related image
It tried a beer from Kirby Lonsdale Brewery that is named after the town it comes from! It started up in 2009 and has a 6bbl brewery. It is in the Old Station Yard, but in 2016 they converted a barn in the town to their tap house and also added a small brewery in there too. They make a large range of beers, with about 6 being regularly available, and sell all over Cumbria and the North.

Image result for kirkby lonsdale brewery
I tried their Singletrack 4.0% beer. It had a nice golden colour with an average head on it with a bouquet of aromas wafting up from it. It was full of hops and the overall tastes was of citrus, but left a nice clean taste too. I enjoyed it, but I only had one so don't think that was the cause of our poor showing in the quiz.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Beers, boats and Boozers 2018. No.14

When we left Gargrave we headed for the Glasson Branch Branch as it fitted in with our schedule. No windlass is needed as the paddle has them attached. The paddles are opened by rack and pinion on the top of the gates. All was well and we had a nice quite trip down to the basin.

As we got in the basin the wide expanse of water meant that we were exposed to the wind a far bit. After first mooring up I spun the boat round in a lull so we could get the boat round the corner when we left if the wind didn't drop. Luckily we did as it was even windier when we left so I could just let the wind do the work.

After this lock the locks were a little more sheltered but it was no place to linger for Helen.

Here we are back at the junction again. We turned right and headed back to Gargrave as we were booked in the Marina as we had to go home for a while.

Once we returned the leaves had really come out and the weather had warmed up. Basically it was to stay warm for the rest of the year too. As we once again headed north there are some beautiful stretches of canal. As you can see though, not the perfect bank for moorings.

I think this is the biggest turtle/terrapin that I have seen on the canal system, and it was in the same spot when we came back down too.

We moored up in Lancaster and later went for a pint at the nearby White Cross pub, just by the towpath as you can see. The pub was opened in 2004 in an old stores warehouse for the Storey's Oil Mill. It was built between 1854 and 1880, by three brothers that started their business in 1851, Thomas, later Sir Thomas, Edward and William Storey. They made oil cloth, leather cloth, linoleum and baize. The company finished in 1982 and the mill on this site contracted so that this building became vacant and the pub moved in. It is a large airy open space, very modern and on a couple of levels.

Image result for rudgate brewery

I tried a beer that was quite local to where I live. Rudgate Brewery was started in 1992, in an old ammunition store on the WWII Marston Moor RAF Halifax bomber base. The brewery was named after the Roman road that ran across the site. However the Vikings used it to conquer the Vale of York and they were used as the theme for the brewery and most of the beers. I'm not sure what they had against the Romans. The brewers that is, not the Vikings! In 2011 they moved into a modern new brewery on the same site.

Image result for rudgate brewery
The pub has many real ales on the bar, around 20 per week, and most are part of the Locale scheme, brewed within 40 miles of the pub, but I really fancied a stout so Settled on the York Chocolate Stout at 5%. It had a medium head on it when pulled and had a ruby colour rather than black. There was very little chocolate taste over all, and for me it was a little 'thin'. However it wasn't bad at all. It was £3-90 which stopped me going back to try another beer. Overall it seemed to be for a younger element than me. I applaud them carrying so many beers though. I must be getting old as it was a bit modern for me.