So further journeys into the Liverpool beer story, and more on Cains. Clearly the presentation worked as a bunch of us (including some who have had pretty high powered pub pasts) hunted down the nearest Cains pub for a pint. The Dispensary on Renshaw Street was the nearest and was – as promised – a lovely little bouzer. As I had expected the pub operated partially on a Sam Smith’s basis, with nearly all draft beers being in-house (no Fosters or Stella). Attractively packaged the front bar looked good. The only deviations from Cain’s own was a Addlestones Cider and a guest ale (lack of a guest is always the most annoying thing about the Smith’s chain).

The barmaid was very tolerant of our tasters, and the Cains brews were very hoppy, and certainly fulfilled the promise of being well made and well kept. In the end I went for the guest – a blonde ale which was spring in a glass, but if I hadn’t had a mediocre pint of mild in the Vines* I would have gone for that. Décor wise the pub was pretty plain, in a nicely uncluttered way. It looked like the perfect way to do a cheap refurb. If the rest of their tied pubs operate this well, it is unsurprising that they are doing well. But I still did not try the lager: their stab at breaking the big time. At this rate though I am sure I will get back to it later this week.

*aka The Clock, aka The Big House, aka more on which later.

(X-Post with Matt’s helpful suggestion below. Great minds as ever…)