Friday, 5 June 2009

Get down to the Vernon

I went to Dale Street in Liverpool yesterday afternoon to meet some union friends in the courtyard behind Rigby's, nice when the sun was shining in but draughty later. The Okell's IPA (4.5%) and Elixir (6%) were fine, the latter being a fuller flavoured and stronger version of the usual Okell's style. My idea of a good session beer.

Steve and I then strolled to the Vernon Arms, my first visit since the pub was reopened. Six cask beers were on: Brains Reverend James and SA Gold, Lees Game On, Wapping Summer Ale, Cambrinus Deliverence, and Betwixt Dark Matter. Between us we tried them all, and they were in excellent shape. I don't know much about Betwixt, except that it's a Wirral brewery, but the Dark Matter was nicely well-balanced dark ale, not overpowering in flavour as some dark beers can be. The Wapping was good as usual, and I rather liked JW Lees Game On. They were keen to show me was lined up: Baltic Gold, Everards Tiger and Sunshaker, Wadworths, Wychwood Rye Smile, Thwaites Bomber, Betwixt Sunlight, and from Wapping a blonde and a dark beer. I've listed them all to show the range of breweries and styles they are featuring. The pub also has reasonable priced food until 6.00 p.m. and a choice of 6 malt whiskies.

The pub is much as it had been before (although the paintwork is now in better condition): a long front room with a sloping floor, and the back room where militant Liverpool city councillors used to meet to decide their strategy before going to council meetings. Steve and I chatted to licensees Jimmy and Barbara Monaghan who are rightly very pleased of what they have done with the pub. Unfortunately, the future of the pub is not as 100% secure as we would all like, although one positive result of the recession is that destroying this Liverpool gem is currently impractical for property developers, so the more successful the pub is, the better its chances of a long-term future. So get down there and get drinking ~ it is just around the corner from Moorfields Station, and thus very convenient for the Northern Line to Southport.

The Dale Street area is a wonderful place for a pub crawl, with Rigbys (and the Lady of Mann behind it), the Hole In The Wall (currently selling George Wright beers), the Ship and Mitre, the Lion in Moorfields, and of course the Vernon itself ~ every one just a few minutes' walk from Moorfields Station. The last train for Southport is at 23.40 (23.10 Sundays), so there's plenty of time for a good evening out. Highly recommended.

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