County Stat Attack Week 3 - Merseyside

Week 3 takes us to the Metropolitan County of Merseyside, created in 1974 it comprises of the city of Liverpool and both banks of the Mersey, Wirral and Irish sea coast which previously belonged to the counties of Cheshire and Lancashire. This is a maritime area, Liverpool in particular benefitting from the Industrial Revolution and rapidly became a major port with trade to the Americas, the White Star liners sailed from here, including The Titanic, much of the Liverpool docks area is now a UNESCO world heritage site. Merseyside has been famous for the arts particularly popular music and The Beatles and Merseybeat groups. Sports in football and The Grand National.

Along with Liverpool other major towns include Southport and St. Helens and also the Wirral peninsula.

Ratebeer has a total of 24 Active and 18 Closed Breweries for Merseyside with a total of 42, 6 of which are either Client or Commissioner. The longest running, currently active Brewery is Southport Brewery Established only in a youthful 2004!. The two traditional breweries that locals remember from this area would be Higson’s, Established in 1780 becoming a major brewery through the 1920’s with rapid expansion. In the 1980’s the Brewery was acquired by Boddington’s of Manchester subsequently by Whitbread who were in their Brewery massacre stage and shut it down immediately in 1990. The other long established brewery, although smaller than Higson’s, was Cain’s, founded in 1858 by Robert Cain, becoming Walker Cains in the 1920’s. This company also went down the Boddington’s, Whitbread route and closed in 1990. Both brands have undergone various attempts to revive them, with little real success although Love Lane Brewery have a range currently with the Higson’s name.
The Merseyside brewery with most beers on here is the short lived Mad Hatter Brewery (2013 – 2018) with 215 beers, it may have only been in operation a short while but had a big impact as you will see below!

The Ratebeer Best Brewery in Merseyside for 2019 was named as Glen Affric Brewery.

The Top 10 Beers are –

  1. Mad Hatter Double Nightmare on Bold Street R
  2. Mad Hatter Fattest Stout R
  3. Mad Hatter Through a Stout Darkly R
  4. Mad Hatter Hare of Darkness R
  5. Mad Hatter Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte Porter R
  6. Mad Hatter Toxteth IPA R
  7. Mad Hatter Fatter Stout R
  8. Mad Hatter Soleil de Grace R
  9. Mad Hatter Who Loves the Sun R
  10. Mad Hatter Manchester Tart R

Looks like Mad Hatter is sorely missed in this area! crazy stuff. For Breweries still going we have –

  1. Black Lodge Brewdog Liverpool Bold Street Coffee The Floor is Java
  2. Neptune Amarillo & Citra IPA
  3. Neptune Mosaic

The currently open top 5 Rated Places –

  1. Ship & Mitre, Liverpool – 95
  2. Dead Crafty Beer Company, Liverpool – 87
  3. Black Lodge Brewing Taproom, Liverpool – 84
  4. Brewdog Liverpool, Liverpool – 84
  5. Roscoe Head, Liverpool – 84

The Top 5 Raters of Merseyside beers are

  1. @ManVsBeer
  2. @cgarvieuk
  3. @fonefan
  4. @madmitch76
  5. @allmyvinyl

To get onto the Top 50 list for Merseyside Beers you will requite 36 Ratings

The person from Merseyside with most ratings on Ratebeer is
@wyzzywyz22 – Currently active.


Not really a county I suppose but I have to say, I love visiting Liverpool, we always try to go there when staying up in the North West, there are always new sites to visit and friendly pubs to go to. We have also visited The Wirral and Southport, so know the area fairly well.

I have a total of 169 ratings for Merseyside, placing me 7th for the area and making it my 37th highest County at an average of 3.16 per rate. Looks like I have rated most Breweries in the area though as I have had beers from 31 of the 42 Breweries. A visit planned for May 2021 could increase that hopefully.

My most productive Breweries are – Cains (Closed) – 25, Mad Hatter (Closed) – 19 and Liverpool Organic (Closed) – 14. My most productive Brewery still running is Peerless on 13.

I have a healthy 8 beers rated 4% and over, the highest being Liverpool Craft Tane Mahuta on 4.3%, George Wright Roman Black 4.2% followed by Southport Sandgrounder, Wapping Summer Ale and Liverpool Organic Best Bitter all on 4.1%. Given the popularity of Mad Hatter I am surprised I don’t have any in my highest rated list.

I have reviewed 64 places in Merseyside, Top for me was the now sadly closed Clove Hitch, 2nd – Ship & Mitre and 3rd – Dispensary, all in Liverpool, but I have a long list of highly rated pubs. Looking forward to returning.


(TLDR: I like Liverpool.)

The composer Dmitri Shostakovich once said that Puccini ‘wrote marvelous operas but dreadful music.’ Which reminds me of Liverpool, where the pubs are fantastic but the beer, well it’s coming along but it’s no Manchester. Which is why I have 20 place ratings (decent for a county I don’t live near) but only 29 beer ratings (joint 10th lowest with Warks).

The top 5 beers are:

George Wright Mild (4.4)*
Liverpool Organic Cascade (3.8)
Mad Hatter / Wylam Feed Your Head (3.8)
Liverpool Organic Liverpool Stout (3.7)
Mad Hatter Toxteth IPA (3.6)

*Now, this is an odd beer to rate so highly but I stand by it. Just the perfect pint of mild: creamy, nutty, well-balanced, in the Dispensary.

19 of my 20 Merseyside places are in Liverpool proper, but the Scrap Yard in Liscard takes the top spot. 20-something beers, not all of them ‘crafty’ and nothing that’ll knock your socks off, but it’s just a ridiculously pleasant place to be. My full top five:

Scrap Yard (88)
Ship & Mitre (86)
Dead Crafty Beer Company (84)
BrewDog Liverpool (80)
Roscoe Head (78)

I plan to hit Liverpool and visit the places missing from the list, but that’ll probably be 2022 now. Would be nice to hit some more non-Liverpool Merseyside venues as well.

As a final note I should add that Liverpool has a good handful of Okell’s pubs, so you may get a few Isle of Man ratings in town.


Our daughter went to Uni in Liverpool and we’d visit on regular occasions. Got to know the city pretty well and have led CAMRA coach trips around the pubs twice since then. Been back a few times over the years and flown from John Lennon airport to various places, of course I have also seen Grimsby Town play a couple of times at Anfield, won one, lost one!

Beery stats not too great:

Total rates: 52 @ 3.26; gets me 37th in the top raters list.

14 Places reviewed, top three being the philharmonic, Ship & Mitre and Pi (Rose Lane).

15 Different breweries sampled, none with over 10 rates.



151 ratings for Merseyside (9th spot), 141 of which are Mad Hatter ticks! (top rater). I used to actively seek out their beers and while one or two were spectacular misses, overall I thought they were a fantastic brewery. Very inventive and bold. Tzatziki Sour was a joy!
Visited Liverpool once for beer while on RB, but I didn’t rate any places.


131 ratings for Merseyside and like most, I imagine, Mad Hatter take the top spot. 98 ratings from them.

I relished a new Mad Hatter, always inventive and challenging at a time when few were pushing things quite so far, and most of the time hitting the spot nicely.

10 other assorted breweries who are still operational, and 4 from breweries who have since departed us.

Really not familiar with this neck of the woods, but my other half has to collect her new French passport from Liverpool some time in the new year, so we’re going to make a day of it. Hopefully hit up some of the grand old pubs covid dependent.


An embarrassingly low 8 for me. 7 of which were from Mad Hatter, a brewery I regret not trying more of when they were around having seen the fondness for them when they shut down.

The 8th beer is one from Carnival which I had a few months ago. Seems to be a very small operation at the moment, only a handful of raters here and even on Untappd only about 2k checkins or so. Not seen their beers around since that one, though they do have an online shop.

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I am at a pretty decent (for me) 12 rates. I think Merseyside is the most likely county for me to reach the Top 50 list, given I visit once a year or so. Also 6 place rates.

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97 Merseyside rates for me at an average of 3.3 which puts it in a relatively healthy place in terms of average score in the UK … about joint 13th highest from 46 on a quick count.

42 from the aforementioned Mad Hatter so a good dose but not as high a % as others.

I’ve probably ticked a few more than my 97 rates over the years having gone out with a girl from Rainhill for about 8 years circa 96-05 time although not a whole lot of breweries around back then … can recall Cambrinus, George Wright and Wapping that have since passed.

Had drank plenty of times in Liverpool itself over the years of course, with the ex and for multiple visits to Anfield and Goodison with Leicester … and one trip to Prenton Park in the old second.

This was all before my time on RB so no place rating until last year when I revisited the city for the first time in about 14/15 years and went to the Ship & Mitre, Dead Crafty and Brewdog.

I recall the fondness held for the old Higsons brewery back in the late 90’s but this and Greenalls (in all but brand name, Warrington based IIRC but found around the outer area of Merseyside and Rainhill) had passed on at the turn of that decade.

I did sink plenty of pints of Cains, particularly on trips to the County Arms prior to football.


Merseyside comes in 23rd for me with just 24 beers sampled so I won’t be in the top 50 soon, especially since 12 of those are from Mad Hatter and Liverpool Organic; curiously no Cain’s although I remember drinking it.
Does anyone know the story of why Mad Hatter failed? It seemed to produce great stuff and the Tzatziki Sour and the Fat Stouts were a delight. I mourn its passing. I seem to also favour Team Toxic in my small sample.
And everyone should have a pee at the Philharmonic if only to admire the toilets!


Clash of personalities, I think. Gaz, the head brewer is now with Orbit, who brew a beer called Tzatziki. I think…

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A meagre 12 rates for me (my 4th lowest county), so well outside the top 50.

Here’s my top 5 rated beers out of that meagre selection:
|Mad Hatter Underneath the Spreading Chestnut Tree|3.9|
|Peerless Dark Matter|3.8|
|Mad Hatter Liverpool Tart|3.6|
|Liverpool Organic Liverpool Pale Ale|3.5|
|Peerless Boston Red|3.5|

I’ve rated 8 different breweries (of which 4 are now closed!). Most rated is Peerless with three rates; highest rated is Mad Hatter at 3.75.

Sadly I’ve not rated any Merseyside places yet.

I think my only visit to the county was to bag the highest points of all the unitary authorities that it’s now split into. One of the two joint highest point for Knowsley unitary authority was in the buffalo enclosure in a safari park, which made for an interesting stop!


Although not made there, Lambrini is classed as a Merseyside tick, so it’s an alright county by me!


My father-in-law is a Scouser but the one time we went up there to see his old haunts was before I joined RB.

5 ticks from 5 breweries. My 3rd lowest County.

One of Carnival’s recent releases was a collab with the US garage rock band the Oh Sees so I guess they have some contacts.

The cider stat for Merseyside is that there’s only one cidery: Brennan’s, which gives the following top raters list:

Merseyside Cider Ratings

Merseyside Cideries

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Only 1 rate for me which was Glen Affric’s Rutting Stag. I rated it 4.1 so I’m keeping an eye out for other beers from this brewery.

Apart from that not much I can add to this thread. I’ve only ever visited Liverpool twice, firstly a Beatles tour as a gift for my dads 50th. No pubs involved sadly although I was never bothered about pubs until I got to my 30s oddly. Secondly had a weekend their with my now wife in one of our early trips, but cant recall which pubs or bars we went to. I may have been a bit distracted.

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71 beers putting me in '29th place in Merseysides top 50 raters

Unbelievably only 1 place rating

13 different Breweries incl: 7 closed

Brewery rating totals

Mad Hatter - 24 (out of business)
Neptune - 10
Cains - 8 (out of business)
Wapping - 7 (out of business)
George Wright - 5 (out of business)
Liverpool Organic - 3 (out of business)
Rock The Boat Brewery - 3
Liverpool Craft - 3 (out of business)
Southport - 2
Brimstage - 2
Connoisseur Ales - 2
Black Lodge - 1
Liverpool One - 1(out of business)

Top five beers

Mad Hatter - Hare of Darkness 4.2
George Wright - Roman Black 4.1
Black Lodge Brewdog Liverpool Bold Street Coffee - The floor is Java 4.0
Brimstage - Oystercatcher 3.9
Mad Hatter - Imperious IPA 3.9

I haven’t really thought about it until now, however as others have alluded to Liverpool doesn’t really pull it’s weight on all aspects of the beer scene when compared to other large cities, great pubs but the brewing scene, mmhh… must do better, a lot better, in fact I was staggered at the amount of good breweries that had closed in recent years. Back to the pub scene, I think it has some great pubs, I’ve been twice in the last 10-15 years, surprised that I had only rated one place as I have hit all of the highlights.

Football link my side Worcester City (non-league) knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup, ok, ok, ok, I know it was 1959 before many of us were born but I’ve stood next to many an old city supporter on the terraces who was at the Lane that day. Also I know Liverpool were not the powerhouse they are now, but it was still an almighty shock and it is regarded by many as perhaps heralding the Shankly era. Also one of my favourite groups Echo and the Bunnymen are from Liverpool, in fact putting the whole Beatles hype to one side btw I don’t dislike the Beatles, I completely acknowledge what they did for the music scene, however I don’t own any of their back catalogue and remain indifferent also I am one of those who are interested in seeing what an alternative music landscape would have looked like had they not existed. I would say the music scene is where the city punches well above its weight, it has constantly churned out a great musical output.

I need to revisit the city, my dad goes a lot as Pauline is scouse, he loves Neptune brewery. However my visits to the UK are likely to be few and far between in the coming years so I suspect Liverpool will not be on the radar anytime soon. It does appear to me that the city is ripe for a Cloudwater, Verdant type brewer.


Just the 1 Merseyside rate for me - a very nice pale ale from Black Lodge enjoyed at a bar, just before Lockdown 2 - so a very poor performance! In my defence (not sure why I feel the need, but will do so anyway!), over the years I’ve had beers from 6 of the other active and 6 of the closed breweries, and enjoyed a number of pub trips to Liverpool, just not during my RB active period. My youngest is at University in Liverpool so am hoping, once normality returns, there may be more opportunities to get up there and sample the delights of the many lovely pubs, including the recently saved Roscoe Head.