Monday, 5 September 2011

Beer range in Baron's Bar

I'd heard various reports that the beer range in the Baron's Bar (in the Scarisbrick Hotel on Lord Street, Southport) had diminished from nine to 2 or 3 after the takeover of the hotel by Britannia Hotels, so I decided to check this CAMRA award-winning bar for myself.  I went in yesterday afternoon and found every one of the 10 handpumps in operation.  The beers served were:

Flag and Turret (the house beer); Fullers ESB; Spitfire; Tetley Bitter; Black Sheep; Bishops Finger; Hobgoblin; Pedigree; and Old Hooky.  The 10th handpump as usual served Weston's Old Rosie cider.  For interest, the Fullers ESB, a 5.5% beer, was £2.60 a pint, rather less than the £3.70 I paid in London six months ago.

This range seems to concentrate on regional brewers rather than microbrewers, and can therefore be seen to be less imaginative; it'd be a pity if the Baron's stopped selling the local Southport beers altogether, but perhaps I'm drawing too many conclusions from one visit.  The good news is that all the handpumps are operating; a few more visits will show us whether in future the range will consist only of "the usual suspects", although if we're honest, a lot of real ale drinkers would be quite satisfied with the choice available yesterday. 

Local drinkers' concerns about the Baron's Bar after the takeover have been added to by Greene King's planned conversion of the Freshfield to a Hungry Horse (see post of 31 August), which will almost certainly mean the loss of the great range of beers that that pub currently offers; real ale fans have been worried we might be losing two good local real ale venues.  It just shows the truth of the cliché that you can't take anything for granted.

One other piece of news is that the Scarisbrick's new management have confirmed that they will honour the booking for the Sandgrounder Beer Festival (22 - 24 September) to take place in the hotel.


  1. I suppose the days of SIBA judging are now long gone.

  2. It does sound a bit of a "usual suspects" beer list, that. Nothing local, and not much at 4% or below. I can't see that appealing to the average multi-beer pub customer.

  3. I tend to agree, and the problem is that people who go in for the micros/local beers will stop, turnover will decline and the range will be cut - withering on the vine, so to speak.

  4. Must keep an eye on Barons.If rumours anything to go by Bold in Churchtown needs watching.
    Had a few good beers in Kings Arms and Ship(both Haskayne)last week.Bad news about Freshie.

  5. I've made a few journeys on Merseyrail with The Scarisbrick a definate highlight. I wouldn't travel from Wirral to drink any of those beers.

  6. Yep.Went to Barons on Friday,9th Sept.Of the beers on offer one word springs to mind.......Bland.

  7. I was in there last night and there was Clog Hopper from Southport, Woild Moild (Wold Brewery, Norfolk), a Pendle and a Moorhouses, and a couple of others I forgot. It was my first time in (I'm from Lancaster and have neglected Southport a bit) and I loved it in there. The craic was excellent, with the local barflies taking the gentle piss out of someone who came in and ordered a San Miguel.

    I really hope that the new management will continue with what appears to be a hands off policy. The silly constumes of the staff (black tie embossed with the company logo, waistcoat and dark trousers) look like some kitchen sink drama from 1960s London. Let's hope the beer range doesn't end up looking as though it's from the same period.

  8. This post was more than a year ago, and things have improved since then. However, I have heard variable reports this year, although I haven't been in for a while. I'm glad you had a good evening in there; I must visit soon.


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