Liverpool Pub Reviews
One of the most interesting (depending on how you look at it) changes in the beer industry in Britain has been the rise of “Craft Beer Bars”. Places such as Craft Beer Co. in London, Port Street Beer House in Manchester and the numerous BrewDog bars that are cropping up in nearly every city. Fuelled by a rise in consumer demand and a growth in craft beer bars, the bars will often stock the rarest or most sought after beers by some of the world’s most outstanding breweries. It is not uncommon to be told that your half of Stone Ruination IPA is £4.50 as you clasp the cool snifter or tulip handed to you by an enthusiastic and young (not always Australian these days) barman or woman(I know as I was once one of them).
On the other hand of the good beer drinking locale scale we have the real ale pub, a CAMRA favourite. This will stock nearly only cask-conditioned beer, with a few lager pumps, not always serving Stella or Fosters, but sometimes more less well known lagers such as Pilsner Urquell or Paulaner. These are frequented by beardy CAMRA types and are excellent pubs, but sometimes stock a less than inspiring range, but do a good deal of work in bringing in the mass market to the varied world of cask-conditioned beer. But is there an inbetween drinking establishment, Liverpool has the answer it seems in Bier.
Bier is a relatively new kid to the Liverpool pub and bar scene. Located on the rather unassuming and proudly dank Newington Temple inbetween the sparse Renshaw street and the more consumerist Bold Street , almost typifying it’s place in the good beer establishment, it is a hard place to pin down.
You walk in to a beautifully tiled and wooden décor, which has airs of a Georgian drinking house with its wooden chairs and rickety tables, backed by a light green like grey colour scheme which, creak with the eclectic indie soundtrack that can blast out such artists MGMT to the Kinks to Arcade Fire to Oasis as well as a bit of Beatles (you can’t escape them in Liverpool). A nice touch is the rows of empty bottles of beer that sit along the shelving and anywhere that will stand them which seem to project a utilitarian elegance to the place, almost as if saying: ‘come in and sample some great beer, all are welcome’.
The first thing that strikes you is the well laid out bar with six handpumps and 8 kegs dispensing some obliquely common yet uncommon beers. Kozel sits beside Guinness. On the cask side there remains some stalwart favourites, such as Timothy Taylor Landlord, the ‘Rolls-Royce of cask ale’ as Pete Brown neatly puts it, to some more crafty beers such as Roosters Yankee, bursting with a nearly every tropical fruit under the sun, Mango gives way to lychee, to pineapple to orange, so refreshing after a long day of lectures and essay writing topped off with a healthy dose of writers block. Most of the beers are standard Liverpool prices, around £3.00 - £3.50 for a pint.
But the most interesting feature of this particular Liverpool haunt is it’s selection of bottled beer, so much so they have a selection booklet that lists every bottle that they regularly stock, including Orval. Orval for crying out loud, you have to go looking in some pretty special places to even find such a beer in London, this is just the tip of their Belgian selection; they also stock a wide range of Cru beers (or champagne beers) which will cost you around eight to ten pounds a bottle, which even by London is a pretty good price. The bottle list also contains some world lagers which I have failed to try and am also hesitant to do so due to the fact many seem oh-so-familiar to the mass produced, though refreshing, lagers we are served by the bucket load in Britain. Sure Mythos is great next to the beach with some Greek salad and barbequed chicken in Kavos, but it will just taste like a regular mass adjunct lager if drunk on a frigid day in Liverpool (at the time of writing Liverpool has not had any snow but feels as if the cold is scraping your face with daggers).
But if you are in any mood to drink some interesting beers, local or world, this bar-cum-craft beer bar is a great start to your drinking experience in Liverpool before you head over to the ale houses of the Ship and Mitre or the Dispensary; and if you would like an introduction to some really great beer than I would recommend this heartily.
Possibly the first craft beer bar in Liverpool? Maybe not, but it’s sure getting close to it.