By Ryan Gilbert | Assistant Editor
Coming from the Black Country, real ale is something that you are raised on. So when we were asked to visit The Wirral and go on the Wirral Real Ale Trail, we jumped at the opportunity.
It is one of many ale trails run by the Real Ale Trail Co and is a circular trail of the 10 best ale pubs in the area, showcasing beers from some fantastic local breweries… and a perfect solution to help our quest to sample new ales and try new pubs to share with you.
The first stop was Gallagher’s Pub, a stone’s throw from Peerless Brewing and two-minute walk from Hamilton Square station in Birkenhead, just around the corner from the famous Mersey Ferries. We arrived just after midday with many other trail-goers, ready to board the bus and kick off our epic trip of real ale discovery.
After Jostling through the merry crowd to the bar we took to the back of the pub to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a pint of White Rat from The Rat Brewery. It’s here that we got to see the real history of the place, which holds a massive collection of military and maritime memorabilia. Time flew by and before we knew it, we were on the bus to The Scrap Yard.
When we arrived at The Scrap Yard we realised just how popular the Wirral Real Ale Trail is. With a bustling bar, they were serving nearly 20 amazing beers on tap, including Lervig’s Sippin’ Into Darkness which I swiftly ordered a third of. There was a real community feeling here, it seemed to be the perfect bar for locals and tourists alike. They had a great mix of craft beers as well as traditional real ales, something that I’ve not come across before.
The next stop for us was the Irby Mill and the atmosphere on the bus at this point was brilliant, a lot of light-hearted banter, with everyone having a good time. Irby Mill is a lovely small pub in Greasby, quite some way from the last stop. They’d gone the whole hog, with a grill outside serving hot dogs and burgers, as well as indie/folk artists performing inside. Irby Mill to me had everything that you could want in a real ale pub. There were a good few ales on tap, a welcoming atmosphere and fresh local food. After a nice meal and a couple of pints of Blueberry Hill Porter from Big Bog Brewing, we were on our way to our final stop, The Rose and Crown.
One of Wirral’s best cask ale pubs and recently under new management, they serve 8 ales on tap, with permanent fixtures and rotating guest ales. It’s situated in the centre of Bebington and on the edge of the picturesque Mayer Park. By the time we arrived there was very little room inside but no one cared, the band were playing and everybody was having a great time. Unfortunately it was time for my last pint, Peerless Brewing’s Oatmeal Stout.
We had an epic day and the trail gave us a great opportunity to visit pubs in a totally different area that we were not familiar with, being transported from pub to pub without much planning. It was a brilliant example of good pubs and great beer bringing communities together, showing a fantastic variety of ales local to the Wirral, many that don’t even travel much further than the Wirral shores.
The trail had a great mix of men and women and as the event is 24+, so the day had a mature crowd, good vibes with everyone here for the beer. I was able to get on and off where I liked and as I couldn’t do them all, we’ll definitely be returning next year to hit-up some of the pubs that we missed. The nearest trails to us are the Shropshire trail and the Kidderminster & Wyre Forest trail on September 14th but you can check out the Real Ale Trail Co site here to see where your nearest trail is, it’s definitely worth giving one of these a go!
Buses run all day, come every 30 mins and stop right outside the pub. The one-day event starts at 11am finishing at 10pm and costs £20 a ticket.