Club and special interest magazines. Always the butt of the successful media journo. Is there nothing more wrong-footed than the ‘This week’s guest publication’ slot on the Have I Got News For You missing words round? Sneering media celebs guffawing their way through a prepared script of ad-libs, while patronisingly dissing homespun publications? Fair makes our blood boil. So much for industry solidarity. We can’t all live off Direct Line voice-overs, some of us have to work for a living.

Not here. At SevenStreets, we’re more than happy to turn the tables. Especially when, around these parts, they’re already turned for us. Traditional media? Ahem, that joke isn’t funny any more. For the real story, we’re increasingly turning to publications that don’t confuse press releases with proper stories.

Time, then, to celebrate one of our favourite local publications, MerseyAle’s excellent periodical aimed at CAMRA members, real ale lovers, and those with more than a passing passion for our great (and all to often, endangered) ale houses.

Part campaigning call to arms, part elegy for pubs on the brink (or lost), the magazine can’t be accused of giving short measures. Every issue is topped full of news, interviews, featured pubs, comment and opinion.

Treat it as a guide book, and you’ll find  your next pub crawl takes you to lost gems, micro breweries and pub festivals happening right on your doorstep. And the fact that this issue contains a dig at Cains, while carrying an ad for them says all we need to know about its editorial policy. We approve.

Yes, the state of the great British boozer is perilous indeed (as the excellent book, Closing Time, sadly chronicles) but with healthy coverage, and intelligent insight, the pub is fighting back. And its publications like MerseyAle that are leading the charge. You can pick a copy up, free, in many of the city’s best ale houses (we got ours in the Lion, Tithebarne Street)

Five things we learned in this month’s MerseyAle

  • The Grade 2 listed Lion Tavern’s stunning lantern has been refurbished.  Go check it out.
  • New Brighton’s seen five more of its pubs listed in the latest CAMRA Good Beer Guide.
  • The Government’s axed the scheme designed to help communities turn pubs into co-operatives (so much for the Big Society, eh?)
  • Two local pubs, both called The Great Eastern, have closed. One, in New Ferry, featuring stunning Art Deco tiles and fittings from Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s SS Great Eastern.
  • The Philharmonic Dining Rooms has been taken over by the Nicholson’s pub chain – a company specialising in ‘heritage’ boozers.

We raise our glasses to editor, John Armstrong, and the team.

www.merseyale.com