Before the Cricketers Arms came along, some folk might have thought the Turk’s Head was pretty much St Helen’s beer scene. That would be a bit unfair, but it was the only place for a variety of guest beers.
I’d been a couple of times, firstly when it was a runner-up for National Pub of the Year nearly a decade ago. It impressed then, but last week it hit a new level, with beer, company and architecture coming together.
There’s a fair amount of reservation about the Turk on sites like Beer in the Evening, with several timid folk commenting on the dodginess of the area. That’s odd, as this residential area is only (literally) 3 minutes walk to the centre, and looks no different to 90% of streets in the country.
And the Turk itself is an attractive unspoilt Victorian corner pub in the Merseyside style that clearly appeal to a wide cross-section of society. Rather like Stockport’s Crown, this is a community pub rather than a beer exhibition. Pub quizzes, music and a limited food operation reinforced that feel.
Three rooms, the one below with several levels, were filling with family groups, pool players and Rugby League shirts, leaving plenty of quiet corners for lone oddities like me. Chat was about rugby and house redecoration, whatever that is.
Architecturally it’s a sea of dark red gorgeousness and the sort of etched windows that hysterical reviews on BITE would have you thinking should be smashed by now.
This would be a very good pub, even if it just served John Smiths Smooth and Prosecco. I have reservations about places with a dozen or more beers, but you can only judge them on the quality you find.
I picked the Liverpool Organic, mainly because I’ve never had a good pint of theirs and it’s good to know whether that’s due to brewery or pub. It must have been the pub (a succession of Ember Inns across Merseyside), as their Kitty Wilkinson stout was outstanding. Just as well as turning down the Fernandes was a tough call.
The Turk was a good place to finish my mini-crawl of the town’s Beer guide pubs, as a chocolate and vanilla stout tastes a bit like a milkshake. And I can tell you that adding pale beers on top of a milkshake (or a mango lassi) isn’t clever, particularly if running for a train.