Tricky one, this.
The Connoisseur Ales Tap in St Helens prompted my post about opening times in the Good Beer Guide back in September.
Back then I said “Now the Connoisseur can open whenever it likes, but having a place in the GBG open 11 out of 365 days is just daft. ” And I stick to that.*
My local brewery (Milton) will serve you some of the best beer on the planet from the back room if you ask it to open nicely. And the Great British Beer Festival is open 60+ hours; should that be listed under West London in the Guide if the beer is as good as it ought to be ?
I tipped up at 11am so I’d know exactly where it was when it opened.
In the centre of town, but it took some finding tucked behind the Quaker Meeting House and round the cobbles towards the crumbling Liverpool Echo advert on George St.
Time to explore St Helens. A town for the connoisseur of civic buildings and street art.
You’ll know how much I love Christmas and shopping, so here’s the St Helens festive display,
and here’s the man who has to dress up as a chicken to promote a vaping shop.
In the Spoons I filled up with flat whites and noted the Punk IPA was £2.99; it’s a £2.99 Punk sort of town.
But there’s the odd sign of creeping gentrification to try to stop folk travelling to Warrington for their craft thrills. (Not that you can actually leave town with the Northern Rail strike rumbling on).
But thankfully not too much craft. Try telling the pubs round here the smoking ban was a good idea.
See Phil’s blog at Merseyside Pub Guide for a more adventurous St Helens day here.
Back to Parr Lane, where I stood nervously outside the door at 11.59.
Whatever my views on GBG and Brewery Taps, the Connoisseur is worth the trip. Cheery welcome, beers well pulled through,
and there’s a really pleasant front room to sit and enjoy a stunningly good Ruby (NBSS 4). The beer was so good I took a bottle home for Mrs RM, and you know my views on drinking at home.
I complimented Mr Connoisseur on the pleasing homeliness of his Tap and he admitted his Mum was behind the deccies. A woman’s touch.
Well done Mum.
At that moment a couple of gentlefolk popped in for a sharpener.
“How’s yer mum ?”
Suddenly, it felt like a pub, and I can’t say fairer than that.
*They’re open the next two Saturdays as well.