Chris Arnot

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The Baltic Fleet, Merseyside

 The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool, Lancashire
The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool, Lancashire

The Baltic Fleet in Liverpool, is the only pub on Merseyside with its own brewery.

Separated from the waterfront by four lanes of traffic, the building comes to a point, like the bow of a ship. Indeed, there’s a snug little drinking area, beyond a log-burning stove, that is known simply as “the bows”.

Those who sit and sup here occasionally witness clouds of steam arising from a little hatch beyond the front window, as though the whole place is about to set sail. Fear not: they’re simply brewing down below.

This is the only pub on Merseyside with its own brewery. It’s in the cellar, next door to some blocked-up tunnels that once, it is said, provided access to smugglers ferrying rum and vodka from the Baltic trading vessels of the 1850s.

Wapping Bitter is named after the section of the Dock Road where the Baltic Fleet sits and has nothing to do with the old docklands area of London. It’s a dry and hoppy beer, light on alcohol, heavy on flavour, and it occupies one of seven hand pumps in a bar of bare boards, marble-topped tables and nautical memorabilia.

From other pumps gush stouts and smoked porters, a mild, a draught cider and a summer ale on sale for all seasons.

“It’s always summer in the Baltic,” grins Kevin Yates, who runs the pub with his father Mark.

They offer 40 bottled beers from around the globe and a formidable draught Russian lager called Baltica.

Pickled eggs and pinches of snuff are also available, but not much else in the way of solid sustenance during evening hours.

Meals are served from noon until two on weekdays, however, and the Baltic has a reputation for its scouse, a stew served here with crusty bread and red cabbage or beetroot.

Brunch is available until 4pm at weekends, with newspapers laid out in the back room.

Somebody may well be reading this while sitting in the bows, tucking into the celebrated sausage and black pudding from Muffs of Bromborough on the Wirral, and sniffing another bracing blast of steam laced with hoppiness.

  • The Baltic Fleet, 33 Wapping, Liverpool, Merseyside (0151 709 3116).
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