“Once famous as the city with a pub on every corner, Liverpool is one of those places where it’s never been difficult to get a good drink. And in that respect at least, little appears to have changed. Even though the landscape has changed indelibly - tough industrial past softened in the transition to vibrant modern city - the pubs still possess a magnetic attraction. Grand old boozers suck you in with their splendour, and underground drinking holes hold dark, decadent appeal.” Sam Turner, Hop & Barley Volume 8
The imagery here features a nice cross section of the different areas of my work. A mix of travel photography, street photography, interiors, as well as still life and portraiture. Working with the team at Hop & Barley I was commissioned to capture a selection of photography for the Liverpool focused Volume 8.
The project was split into a few different sections. We explored the city creating images of the obvious main sights, as well as digging into the more obscure, and finding different takes to sum up the feel of the city. Later in the day we visited a wide variety of the pubs, bars and breweries that call the city home, capturing the atmosphere and feel of each space. These included the maritime referencing The Ship and Mitre, craft mecca Dead Crafty Beer Co just across the road. Cosy corner pub The Grapes over on Roscoe Street, the semi speakeasy 23 Club underneath the Clove Hitch restaurant (sadly no longer open). Back towards the centre of town we stopped by the Merchant, a vast space, serving pizza and well know for putting on big name DJ’s. Finishing off we wandered over to Black Lodge in the Baltic Triangle area, a new microbrewery and taproom, arriving before the evening rush it was the perfect spot to capture some portraits of Steven Burgess for the In Conversation feature.
To see the full feature get a copy of Hop & Barley Volume 8 here.
“Liverpool’s strength lies in venues of this kind; their quirky charm shaped by the city’s past and the Scouse desire to plough a different furrow. It may not match up to fellow northern powerhouses Manchester and Leeds in terms of the depth and maturity of its beer scene, but it possesses an allure that remains hard to beat. A handsome, compact city centre, a friendly welcome and a respect for heritage will surely see it thrive in the years to come.” Sam Turner, Hop & Barley Volume 8
I’m still not sure when I first heard of Mad Hatter Brewery. It might have been seeing Penny Lane a few years back, or maybe Nightmare on Bold Street. The names reminding me of trips to Liverpool when I was younger. The labels jumped out at me, simple, yet fun, all featuring the Mad Hatter Rabbit up to different escapades. Between the pales and stouts there was the signature experiments, from the (slightly less common at the time) Imperious IPA (11.7% double IPA), to the Rhubarb and Custard (featuring Yorkshire triangle’s forced Rhubarb). The drinks might not have been to everyone’s taste, I remember the reaction of shock and confusion to a Tzatziki Sour from a group in the Wakefield Beer Exchange one weekend.
Growing from a smaller space in the trendy Baltic Triangle in Liverpool, to a newer warehouse on the North Dock’s area things seemed to be going well. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be, last year time was called on the Brewery. Gaz, moved onto Gibberish ( https://twitter.com/gibberishpub ), Angus is now Head Brewer over at Glen Affric Brewery down the road in the Wirral (https://glenaffricbrewery.com ).
The imagery featured here, was captured for Vol 8 of Hop & Barley. With Liverpool as the focus location it was only right that Mad Hatter featured as the Brewery story. At the time they were putting the finishing touches to the new facility, there was talk of possible starting to can. (Which they did a little while later). The space was massive and could have hosting such a variety of events, however it wasn’t to be.
To see the full feature on Mad Hatter Brewery, and the Liverpool city tour buy a copy of Hop & Barley volume 8 here. Thank you to Hop & Barley for a little paragraph from the article here written by Sam Turner.
The Mad Hatter story is one in which everything seems to have aligned nicely for the company; limitations were turned into strengths, a restless passion for brewing translated into a journey of bold new tastes, and characters coming into the fold who faithfully represented the brewery’s philosophy. From the name and the distinctive aesthetic, through to the vibrant tastes and direction of the constantly rotating roll call of beers. “I think [the hand-drawn bottle designs and logo] goes really well with the beer and the way the brewery has been set up,” says Sue of artist Stealthy Rabbit’s designs. The crudely-drawn rabbit starring in the eye-catching illustrations perfectly encapsulates the lo-fi ethos of the brewery which, early on, translated into unknowable brewing results. Gaz takes up the narrative: “It was never the same each time, Penny Lane was 6.5% to start off with and it was like that for a while and then it slowly came down. So if we did make the same beer twice, it was probably completely different.”
Sam Turner, Hop & Barley Vol 8
Thornbridge is a brewery who when I see the beers on the bar I pretty much always have to go for. Jaipur on cask was one of the earlier drinks that got me interested in the Beer industry without even realising it. I remember seeing it pop up not just around Leeds, but also when I went back to Derby and Nottingham to see friends and family. So when Hop and Barley asked me to document a visit to Thornbridge to celebrate the brewery’s 10th birthday I was looking forward to it.
I headed down to the brewery with Nick (Hop & Barley) and Scott (from Little Less Known, who made a video to accompany the visit which is available here). We were welcomed into the main site, and given a full tour of the brewery, popping into the lab, as well as the impressive barrel store. After exploring the main site to really tell the story of where everything started we jumped in the car to visit Thornbridge Hall. Less than 10 minutes drive we pulled up at the original home of Thornbridge the 10bbl kit housed just behind the Hall. As expected it’s a cosy space but has a lovely contrast to the newer and sleeker production facility.
To read the feature in Hop & Barley Vol 5 grab a copy from their site here