The Skew Bridge Alehouse – great beer and history in a small pub

IT’S been a long time between drinks, so to speak, but here’s the fourth pub in our Beer Hunter series.

THE Skew Bridge Alehouse set itself an ambitious goal when it first opened its doors on September 26, 2016 – a goal of getting it into the bible of the renowned beer drinker, the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.

The micropub, which occupies the former municipal police office in Rainhill’s Dane Court shopping parade, achieved this goal head on in 2018 and has had an annual entry in each subsequent edition.

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Framed certificates hang on the wall, illustrating the impression the venue has made in a relatively short space of time – with the six consecutive distinctive GBG ‘We are in it’ stickers adorning the front window.

And if you just walk in and overlook the bar you can see why this one room pub with a simple layout has earned this acclaim.

It’s a reward for providing a variety of quality and good looking draft beers and real ciders, creating a light, pleasant environment and atmosphere to match, and for a bar run by people who are always interesting to deal with to chat with them (when they are not serving customers). ) – and not just about beer.

St. Helens Star: plaque on the slanting bridgePlaque on the slanting bridge (Image: Mike Critchley)

In a nod to the history and heritage of the village, the pub derives its name from the nearby historic Grade II listed Skew Bridge which angles Warrington Road across the Liverpool-Manchester line.

It’s a structure worth celebrating as much as The Rocket and the Rainhill Trials; Built in 1829 by George Stephenson, the bridge was the first of its kind in the world to carry a road over a railway.

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Architecturally, The Skew Bridge might not be the most picturesque pub in the village.

That crown undeniably adorns the majestic three-story Commercial Hotel opposite Rainhill Station, but the Skew Bridge makes the most of its space and setting.

Its outdoor seating area, which came into its own as the world gradually emerged from lockdown, merges with like-minded places to eat and drink on the bustling parade.

But not on this visit, it was too cold and humid for that, so indoors beckoned – and a free space for conversation without a noisy soundtrack coming from TV sports or other people’s taste in tunes from a jukebox.

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Inside, the decor is clean and bright, helped by the large glass windows that form the frontage, with the now obligatory plaque listing the day’s real ale offerings dominating the wall to the left of the bar.

At one end of the shelf is a stack of this week’s Morning Star if you want a read that offers an alternative take on mainstream newspapers, with a glass bowl of dog biscuits at the other end.

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The walls aren’t adorned with fabric, but the framed pictures and sketches add a bit of character.

Be it the diagram of Stephenson’s Rocket, the sketch of the actual bridge, or the quirky old photograph of women from a century ago advocating abstinence from alcohol. Every man for himself.

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As always, we’re here for the beer; and there are five real ales on hand on this visit.

Having just covered three miles on the way out, I decided on a light refreshment to start with a Citra Pale from Scarborough’s North Riding Brewery.

It weighs a meaty 4.5% but goes down smoothly with a lemony flavor.

St. Helen's Star: North Riding Citra PaleNorth Riding Citra Pale (Picture: .)

After that, slowly darkening, it was a little more local for the next brew with a 4% Crafty Fox, premium bitters from Wigan’s Wily Fox brewery.

St. Helens Star: Wily FoxSly fox (Picture: .)

At the dark end of the scale, I finished with a rich and dark Burton Porter from Burton Bridge Brewers.

It weighed 4.5% but wasn’t too heavy – like some dark beers – and slipped back down smoothly enough.

It seemed like the perfect drink to sit back and sip on a sparkling Sunday in early January.

St. Helens Star: Burton PorterBurton Porter (Picture: .)

Unfortunately, it was time to move on. Gazza’s Tears – a dry-hopped IPA from Portobello Brewery – would just have to wait for another day.

The beers and ciders change regularly; with all shades taken care of. There is also plenty for lager and wine lovers.

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You’ll find the Skew Bridge Alehouse on Dane Court (the stretch that descends from Warrington Road) near the bridge.

It’s a pub that you can take a pleasant stroll to (or catch the train or 10a) and brush up on your local history along the way.

They are open: Monday-Wednesday 4pm-10pm, Thursday-Friday 4pm-11pm, Saturday 2pm-11pm, Sunday 2pm-10pm.—great-beer-history-one-little-pub/?ref=rss The Skew Bridge Alehouse – great beer and history in a small pub

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