Our local branch of CAMRA (Southport and District) had a trip to the Liverpool One Brewery last Friday. We met in the Lion Tavern in Moorfields, where licensee Sean Porter was surprised to see me two nights running (it had been my singaround the previous evening). After a couple of pints there, we left on the 10-minute walk to Vauxhall Road (in Liverpool 3!) and reached the industrial unit that houses the brewery. There's nothing outside to show what business the building contains, but when you go in, you can't mistake the familiar paraphernalia of a micro-brewery.
It's a 5-barrel brewery, although they hope to expand in time, but at present it is running close to capacity. The head brewer Gary gave a brief talk to us as we ate our bowls of scouse about the brewery, including how he'd learnt brewing from Stan Shaw at the Wapping Brewery in the Baltic Fleet, no doubt an excellent apprenticeship. The brewery has been going for around 18 months, and is one of an increasing number of micros in the Liverpool area, which is great for us drinkers. On sale to us at £1.50 a pint were two cask beers: Liverpool Light, a pale hoppy citrus beer (4.1%) and Liverpool Dark (5%), described as "a traditional stout, packed with roasted and toasted flavours with a dry finish." I found the latter very powerfully flavoured, and though I liked it, I don't think I'd drink much more than a couple, but I could have drunk the Light all evening; it's a very good example of the style. One of our group asked about the bottling process: we were told that the bottles were done by hand, surely very time-consuming.
I was interested to learn that the Bridewell pub, which I visited at the end of June (you can read it here), is actually their brewery tap, and very useful for them to try beers out and, if necessary, tweak them before going into full scale production. The Bridewell, a former lock up, is one of Liverpool's most unusual pubs where you can drink in the former cells.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the visit to the brewery, and afterwards Ian, Carole and I went to the extremely crowded Ship and Mitre on Dale Street for a couple of beers before catching the last train to Southport.
I've just noticed that the brewery's website proudly proclaims that their beer Mersey Mist won Silver in the IPA and Lager category at this year's Macclesfield Beer Festival. I'm sure there'll be more.