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My old friend RedNev reported that the Dispensary, one of Liverpool's finest real ale pubs, would no longer stock real ale following the retirement of the previous landlord who had ruled that particular roost for some years - and in his own very strict way. It is a favourite Liverpool haunt of mine whenever I am there, so the news, later corrected by Nev, was not welcome.

Now I hadn't read Nev's correction, so when I was back in Liverpool last week, I nipped in to find out what was what and it seems that apart from some music being played over the speakers, nothing has changed. Most important of all, my beloved White Rat was in its normal place and was in exemplary condition. A brief chat with the barman confirmed that those who had taken it over intended to keep it just as is, which is excellent news, as it is the kind of traditional boozer you just don't see enough of these days.

Looking through the window to the pub next door though things certainly had changed. The Roscoe Arms has now become the Butterfly and Grasshopper which was a bit of an odd one to me, but seemingly has a Roscoe connection. According to the Liverpool Echo, the new name is inspired by William Roscoe’s poem The Butterfly’s Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast which I must say I have never heard of. Here's a little taste of it for you:

Come take up your Hats, and away let us haste
To the Butterfly's Ball, and the Grasshopper's Feast.
The Trumpeter, Gad-fly, has summon'd the Crew,
And the Revels are now only waiting for you.

We didn't notice if the newly refurbished pub was open or not, but with excellent beer on hand and the promise of more, we didn't care to find out.

I thank the Echo again for revealing that the £750,00 transformation of the Roscoe Head is by a division of Star Inns aka Heineken. I sort of regard them much as I did Whitbread in the old days, which isn't highly at all.

The poem can be found here and is a nice little nonsense poem if you like that kind of thing. Which I do.

If you see Rat Brewery White Rat - order it.