It’s not Paisley, where pink horse drawn carriages are few and far between. The horse’s head has been partially cropped to preserve anonymity.
Yes it’s Blackpool where you can still get a week’s half board for £70, and probably less. No reflection on the pubs here but us tickers groan when a new Good Beer Guide entry pops up in the town. Apart from Simon, who comes every year for the annual Rebellion punk festival to see bands like Rancid, Discharge and Anal Warts. One of those is probably made up.
Blackpool is very congested in the summer or when the Illuminations are on. One year I was trying to do a central pub on the same day as Elton John was due to play an outdoor concert. A howling gale blew in and it was eventually cancelled but numerous roads had been closed for the event. It was gridlocked and to get the tick I had to leave the car in traffic, walk over the road to the pub, sink a half and rejoin the queue before it had moved.
This year there are two new entries, very close to each other.
Albert’s is down some precariously rickety steps under a small hotel. It’s friendly, the beer is excellent and there is a permanent sense that something unnerving is going on behind the curtains.
The owner is a serious beer man and had spent the previous day pub ticking in Stockport, a fine choice, though he was regretting finishing on the cider. He also commended two other newish bars in the vicinity but they had to wait for another day.
The other new entry is a large corner brewpub that was rather good too. It’s full of interesting stuff and nails its colours to the wall, now that the local football club has been finally freed from corrupt ownership.
It has several framed copies of What’s Brewing, making me regret binning them all years ago in an over enthusiastic clear out.
I confess to not having one of their own West Coast Rock beers as they had a personal favourite on, Five Points Pale – 4.4% of crisp, clean tasting goodness- that was served in perfect condition.
Earlier in the day I decided to forego wild swimming in Albert Dock in favour of the Head of Steam, Hanover Street, Liverpool. The Good Beer Guide offers little or no advice on such lifestyle choices, but helpfully comments that it has “no connection to the Head of Steam previously on Lime Street”.
You can always tell when you are in Liverpool.
The new generation of Heads of Steam pubs, now owned by Cameron’s brewery, are worth visiting. This one served up a deliciously fresh glass of Northern Monk Eternal Session IPA (4.1%). With Glasvegas and the Libertines over the speakers and a decent lunchtime crowd in, it was a shame to leave after only a half.
But that’s the price of professional ticking.