West Midlands Region in Liverpool

blackpooljane

BoB_summer_2016

West Midlands Region in Liverpool


Contents

3. Sally talks Bull….

5. News Page

11. Pub Preservation News

15. The Great British Beer Festival

18. The Mild, Mild West Midlands

23. Libation in Lichfield

31. Crawl Wreckers Part Five

38. Canal-side Casks - The Malt House

41. Revitalisation (Baby)

44. Puzzle Pages

46. Branch Diary

47. Branch Contacts

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in “Barrel of Brum” are not necessarily those

of the Editor or the Campaign for Real Ale.

Birmingham Trading Standards: 0121 233 9600

Editor: Sally Lavender magazine@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Advertising: editor@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Design and layout: Simon Richards newsletter@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Published by Birmingham CAMRA Branch

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Sally Talks Bull….

It’s that time of year again, Festival

Time! Although we still have quite a

wait for Birmingham Beer and Cider

Festival (27th – 29th October), the

highest preponderance of beer and

cider festivals always seems to fall in

the next three months. At the time of

writing we are looking forward to

Kidderminster, Stratford,

Wolverhampton, Bromsgrove,

Hereford, Stafford and Worcester in

our region, to name but a few.

Outside of the region, the GBBF is also

coming (see Dave Glenwright’s Article

p.15), and outside CAMRA we also

welcome the Birmingham Beer Bash

at the end of July (21st – 23rd) along

with festivals at the Black Eagle, Old

Moseley Arms, Inn on the Green,

Anchor, and many others.

I always feel nervous introducing

our Summer Edition, particularly so

this year as, like many, I am worried

that our summer may already have

happened in early May! If I extol the

virtues of warm weather and beer

gardens, I am bound to be called a jinx

by mid-August! But please remember

our beautiful city beer gardens and

summer beers on any random warm

day that may transpire. Enough said!

We would like to welcome Daniel

Webb to this issue. Daniel is our Pub

Preservation Officer and has offered

to write frequent Pub Preservation

updates for us at BoB towers. This

issue he has explained the reasoning

behind the pubs we are supporting

with ACV applications as a branch. I

hope you will find it interesting to

hear about another aspect of our

branch’s work (p.11).

We have recently celebrated Mild

in May with the excellent Regional

Crawl in Potteries Branch, and our

very own Birmingham Mild Crawl

arranged by our Mild Officer (by beer

style not temperament) Martin

Collinge. There are some superb

milds around at the moment (see

p.18) and it is lovely to see this

traditional style enjoying a

resurgence.

Hope to see you for a beer

someplace, somewhere.

Happy Drinking!

Sally

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Firstly, a brand new pub to add to

the Birmingham real ale scene.

The Hammer and Anvil on Priory

Queensway opened in mid-May

as a Real Ale and Rock pub. Two

of my favourite things!

News Page

Pub and Club News

The Inn on the Green in Acocks’

Green will be holding their next

festival from 14 th – 17 th July, with

a super selection of rare beers

and ciders. Hope to see you

there! See Branch Diary

The Old Moseley Arms are

holding their next festival from

30 th June – 2 nd July with live

music each night, 16 real ales and

two ciders or perries. See Branch

Diary.

Birmingham Pubs: Stories that should be shared

Do you have a story to tell about pubs in Birmingham? How have they

changed? Do you have fond memories that others would be interested to

hear about?

The branch is looking for just that. If you have something you would like to

share please send your thoughts to editor@birminghamcamra.org.uk

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The Black Eagle will be holding its

annual festival on July 29 th and

30 th this year. This is always a

fantastic event, and an excellent

excuse to visit their beautiful beer

garden. See Branch Diary

The Anchor in Digbeth will be

holding an organic beer festival

from Thursday July 7 th to Monday

11 th . Friends of the Earth will be

providing the Friday night

barbecue. The Anchor are now

offering a buy 5 pints and get the

sixth free offer, which has

replaced the old CAMRA discount.

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Brewery News

Birmingham has for many years been the poor relation in terms of the

number of breweries we have within our branch area. Whilst this does not

look like changing much anytime soon, we do have a new brewery to

celebrate, and other established breweries are going through some exciting

times.

M

oseley Beer Company. A welcome addition to the brewery scene,

the Moseley Beer Company started selling to the trade a couple of

months ago. Based in Moseley Village (no surprise there) they aim to brew a

core range of 4 beers, 3 of which are suitable for vegans and all are

unpasteurised. Check out their website (www.moseleybeercompany.co.uk)

for further information, and we will hopefully give them a bigger write up in

the next issue.

R

ock and Roll Brewhouse. As this issue

went to press, Rock & Roll were due to

be doing test brews on their new 6 barrel

plant based in the Jewellery Quarter.

Brewing has totally finished at the Lamp now

and whilst that was a sad day for both Mark

and Lynn, they are excited by the

opportunities having the bigger plant will

provide for them. They have been doing

some brews on a small test plant and these

should be available in bottled form soon and

they hope to have some of their new beers

available in the trade within weeks of you

reading this. In amongst all this activity, they still find time to continue

brewing at their other plant, the Blue Bell Cider House near Earlswood.

T

wo Towers Brewery. Another brewery with exciting times ahead, with

plans to move the brewery to a premises adjacent to their brewery tap,

the Gunmakers Arms, coming on nicely. New beers are also coming on

stream with the Birmingham Mild being very well received in the area as an

excellent example of what a Brummie Mild used to be. They have also

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continued brewing bespoke beers, including one to celebrate the 50 th

anniversary of the local Canoldir Male Voice Choir, and Drawing Dave, a beer

brewed in memory of the late Roger Lloyd Pack. Meanwhile in the

Gunmakers there continues a varied and innovative series of historical talks

along with a full programme of live music, well worth popping down to if you

are in the City Centre any time.

Unfortunately the planned Glassjaw brewery which was to have started

production in Digbeth in March has failed to materialise. This is a great shame

as their beers that had been brewed at other breweries were of a very high

standard. Oh well, win some, lose some, although as said in the introduction,

we need to win a lot more as soon as possible.

F

roth Blowers Brewery. We have received very little news from this

Erdington Brewery of late. We understand that they are still working

hard to overcome the challenges of their move to a new building. The beer is

still excellent! Piffle Snonker, Sniffle Plonker (a variation) and the Midland

Red have been sighted recently.

Cider News

Moseley Cider Circle’s new crop is eagerly

awaited. I have not seen any yet. I am distraught!

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10


Pub Preservation News

It can often be heard touted that

twenty-nine pubs in the UK are

permanently closed for business each

week; Indeed, protecting the pub is

one of CAMRAs national campaigns.

This statistic is one that is repeated

frequently but perhaps to its own

detriment: albeit useful as a means

to gauge the situation nationwide, it's

rather less meaningful when it comes

to explaining what the effect is at a

local level.

I would argue that in fact the

focus of another CAMRA campaign –

Pubs and Wellbeing makes the

importance of the local pub far

clearer. There are many ways in

which the pub plays an important

role in the community - from local

employment to a place of recreation -

but it is its role as a social institution

that has the greatest impact on the

community. The pub can be a place

to relax after work with your

colleagues or friends, or to watch

sport or play with your local darts or

pool team.

Ultimately what the pub provides

is a place to engage in social

interaction - something that has been

shown time and time again to be of

great importance in personal

happiness and wellbeing and

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therefore mental health. Research

for the Pubs and Wellbeing campaign

showed that people who use a ‘local’

have more close friends that they call

on for support, and are happier and

more trusting of others; feel more

engaged with their local community.

This then could be considered the key

reason why it is important to do what

we can to protect pubs. It is why

CAMRA nationally is asking its

branches to do what they can to

protect their local pubs.

There are many reasons why a

pub might be under threat.

Sometimes it could be that the

demographic of its surrounding

community has changed over time;

or perhaps it could be that new

developments in the area make it

attractive for re-development. But

there are ways to help protect our

community pubs.

One of the most significant ways

to help protect a pub is to apply for it

to be granted Asset of Community

Value status. This is an instrument in

planning law that grants certain

protections to the asset. At the

present time a pub is classed in such

a way that it could be converted to

another business such as a shop or

restaurant with no requirement to


obtain planning permission. ACV

status means that any development

has to go through the planning

process - giving interested parties the

opportunity to express their views

and voice their objections.

Birmingham CAMRA branch

recognises that due to the size of its

area it cannot work to protect every

pub. What it can do however, is to

focus on pubs that we know are

under threat, or that we feel are of

significant importance due to their

location, or are outstanding

establishments that make it worth

doing what we can to safeguard

them.

As a branch we have four ACV

applications listed with Birmingham

City Council: The Navigation King’s

Norton, The Great Western Acocks’

Green, The Prince of Wales Moseley,

and The Swan and Mitre Aston.

There are different reasons for each

of these being nominated which I

would like to share with you.

The Navigation, King's Norton

This is a pub that has been under

threat before. Previous planning

applications had been made for the

construction of a supermarket in the

car park. Members of the local

community, local elected

representatives and our own Pub

Protection Officer at the time, Andy

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Maxam, helped generate sufficient

opposition to the plans and the pub

and car park were saved. An ACV for

this pub would provide a measure of

protection for the site; providing a

means to keep the community

notified and prevent the conversion

or destruction of the pub (unless such

plans were approved by the planning

committee).

Great Western, Acocks’ Green

This pub was brought to our

attention by our branch members as

it has had a chequered history of

being opened and closed - only

recently being re-opened. Already

part of the premises has been lost to

the construction of flats. The

location of the pub is close to Acocks’

Green itself and adjacent to the train


station – a prime location and any

therefore opportunity we have to

help it to remain a pub should be

explored. Although it is a not

currently a real ale pub, should it

close it never will be.

Prince of Wales, Moseley

A well-loved pub in Moseley

village - it has a strong community

following and has recently been

fighting a proposed development of

flats next door. The pub itself has a

large outside area and it was feared

that noise complaints could limit

business and therefore its viability.

An ACV for this site, although not

impacting upon the planning

decisions to be made regarding the

adjacent development, shows our

support for the premises and would

add to the case as to why it is

important as a community asset.

The Swan and Mitre

This pub is just outside Aston train

station and has been for sale for

some time. The Britannia opposite,

ceased trading some time ago and

has re-opened as a cafe downstairs

with flats upstairs; the result is that

the nearest pub is now The Villa

Tavern some distance along Holborn

Hill – making the importance to the

community of The Swan and Mitre all

the greater. An ACV would help

provide a measure of protection from

development until a suitable buyer is

found that can restore the pub to its

former glory.

ACVs are only one way to help

pubs, but they are a very useful tool.

However to be most effective, it is

important to identify places that are

threatened as early as possible - this

enables the application to be made

before it is too late.

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This is where branch members

and Cluster Masters play the biggest

role and where they can make an

important contribution. By knowing

what is going on in your local area, as

well as what you see and hear on

your travels through the city, you are

best placed to give early warning of

places that are threatened.

Ultimately it is community

support that is the biggest factor in a

pub’s survival and hopefully success -

but if there is no awareness of there

being a problem then an opportunity

might be missed and a pub lost. By

being involved in your local

community and the branch, we can

work together to help protect those

pubs that need our support.

Going forward there will be

regular updates in Barrel of Brum as

we make progress in submitting

applications for ACVs along with

other related pub protection news. If

you have any concerns regarding

your local (or in fact any city pub)

please let me know – to contact me

please email:

pubsp@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Daniel Webb

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The Great British Beer Festival –

or should that be Family?

In the two and a half years that

I’ve been a member of CAMRA, I’ve

had the pleasure of meeting a

plethora of interesting and friendly

people, as well as the privilege of

holding a number of roles ranging

from Festival Head of Marketing to

Regional Young Members

Coordinator, one of the posts that I

currently hold. Most of my time and

efforts have been focussed on

Birmingham and the immediate area,

however there are times that I like to

spread my wings further – and this

August I’ll be returning to the

spectacular halls of Olympia in

London.

Last year I volunteered for my

very first Great British Beer Festival

(GBBF) – I had never been to the

festival before in any capacity, so

every aspect of it was new for me. I

had heard stories about the

camaraderie of the volunteers at

CAMRA’s flagship event, but even

then I wasn’t prepared for what I

discovered. Even before I arrived at

the venue, I got chatting to a

volunteer on the bus who had flown

in from the United States to be here

for the festival, and he wasn’t the

only overseas volunteer. The draw of

this event truly is global.

Due to my particular skills as a

social media trainer (yes I get paid to

teach people how to use Twitter), I

had volunteered to work in the press

office and help run the festival’s

various social media channels. The

very fact that there is a dedicated

and fully staffed press office gives

you an idea of the scale of the

festival, and the myriad of volunteer

roles available. I quickly learned that

over the course of the week there

would be well over a thousand

volunteers helping make the event

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possible. Some, like myself, would be

there for the week or longer, whilst

others would be helping for an

afternoon. No matter how much time

they gave however, all were most

welcome.

I was also surprised by some of

the roles available. The usual

suspects – such as bar staff,

membership and stewards were all

there, and in great numbers, but

there were also some other roles that

you may be harder pushed to find at

other festivals, from camera operator

to children’s entertainment.

My week as a whole was an

amazing experience. I learnt a lot

about the work that the Campaign

had done in the last year, and I had

the opportunity to enjoy some

absolutely superb (and in some cases

award winning) real ale, however the

real memories came in the form of

the people that I met. From veterans

of 10 years+, to other newbies such

as myself, there was not a single

person who wasn’t willing to sit and

have a chat. Within days it became

clear as to why people would fly half

way around the world to work at a

festival – it’s because they were

coming back to their GBBF Family.

I cannot wait to return to GBBF

this year. I’m excited to see all the

friends that I made last year, and

equally excited to see who else I

might meet for the first time. It’s an

experience that reminds you what

CAMRA is really all about, and I

would urge any and all of you to

consider volunteering at least a day

or two of your time and experience

the family for yourself.

To volunteer at GBBF, please visit

www.gbbf.org.uk/volunteer, or if you

have any questions, email

gbbfvolunteerstaffing@camra.org.uk

David Glenwright

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17


The Mild, Mild, West Midlands

As we go to press, Birmingham

Branch have been having a great

deal of fun celebrating CAMRAs

mild month, the conveniently

alliterative May.

Personally I always look

forward to my walk on the dark

side each year (I know that there

are light milds – but dark mild is

by far and away the more

prevalent style). Although I

understand precisely why CAMRA

choose to campaign for this

traditional beer style; it would

seem that the West Midlands has

somewhat bucked the trend for

mild decline along the way.

Mild was always well known as

the workers’ drink as it was light

in texture, refreshing and low in

alcohol; just the thing when you

had spent all day slaving over a

hot furnace. Its popularity

started to wane in the 1960s as

heavy industry decreased, and

reached its nadir in the 90s when

a mild could hardly ever be found

across large swathes of the

country.

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However, a quick scan of a

1980 GBG of the area now known

as the West Midlands County

shows more mild than the

statistics would suggest. There is

a mild in just about every guide

listed pub! Yet perhaps the

decline is proportional, and we

just had more mild to begin with?

One night my partner and I

decided to make a list of

breweries in the same area that

had brewed a mild in our

lifetimes. The (probably not

exhaustive) list came to 24

breweries. Of those breweries,

seven no longer exist as the

original brewery, but in two cases

(Ansells and M&B ) the products

are still made in keg form, and in

three others (Simpkiss, Highgate

and Davenports) their recipes

have been reproduced by other

companies. Only two have

disappeared for ever; Hansons

who were taken over by Banks’

and Skittain (WHO?). What this

means is that seventeen are

currently producing mild. Threat?

What threat?


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So therefore the sensible

advice for any mild producer

seems to be as follows; produce a

good mild in the West Midlands

County, and whatever you do DO

NOT get taken over by any large

conglomerates. That should

ensure your survival!

My favourite new milds (tried

for the first time this year):

Fixed Wheel Mild Concussion

A completely stunning 5.5%

Strong Mild from Fixed Wheel.

Deep red in colour, the flavour is

rich and fabulous with lots of fruit

and caramel, yet balanced with

just the right amount of hop. It is

not a hoppy drink, but the perfect

caution would be a sensible idea

(Good luck!).

Twisted Barrel Beast of a

Midlands Mild

balance makes it dangerously

drinkable and extremely

refreshing. Proceeding with

20

This modern, forward thinking

brewery have produced a lovely

traditional English mild at 3.8%. It

is luxuriously dark with a creamy

head and has coffee chocolate

and caramel flavours, and comes

in at 3.8%. Part of the beauty of

this mild is that the addition of


vanilla means that rather than

heavy black coffee flavours, it

drinks like a very smooth latte.

Delicious!

Green Duck Lynn’s Figgy Mild

Green Duck sometimes name

their beers after their regulars,

and Lynn is a very lucky lady!

Another Ruby coloured mild with

a lovely balance of fruit and mild

bitterness. Just a little roast

flavour and spice comes through

on the palate too. Highly

recommended!

Sadly, one of the milds that

inspired this article; Two Towers

Birmingham Mild sold out so

quickly that I only got to drink it

once, with a heavy cold. It will be

back, and I will tell you more

about it then.

Please remember that Mild is

for life, not just for May!

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22


LIBATION IN LICHFIELD

by Jane Stuart (@blackpooljane)

It was a gloriously sunny morning

when I headed out to explore

Lichfield with you in mind, dear

reader. As well a striking medieval

cathedral, the city now houses two

micropubs, two Joules pubs - and a

good number of other real ale

hostelries. Lichfield is also easy to get

to from Birmingham by train.

Unfortunately I don't live in

Birmingham and, despite being

geographically much closer to

Lichfield, I had the local bus services

to contend with. Now this was my

first visit to Lichfield, so I was

depending on Google maps to guide

me on the buses. It really is very

good - just type in your start and end

points, click the public transport icon

- and it tells you where and when to

catch your buses (or trains).

I left the house without knowing

in which direction I was headed,

tapped 'Lichfield' into my phone and

followed the map to the bus stop

round the corner. Now this bus stop

was in a bit of a tricky spot, with the

approaching bus only visible for a

few seconds before reaching the

stop - so it is necessary to be alert.

Crouching Passenger, Hidden Bus

Stop is quite a good game but I

couldn't do it every day - my nerves

would be shot.

The second bus would be easier

to board, surely? I had alighted in

unfamiliar territory (Burntwood, I

think) - but the sun was shining so I

waited in relaxed mode sporting my

shades and breathing in the aromas

of spring and recently cut hedges.

What a beautiful day.

By the time the bus eventually

arrived I was being pelted by

torrential hailstones and the sky was

black. Just how long had I been

standing here? I had to check the

bus timetable to make sure it was

dated 2016. "Departure times from

this stop are approximate" it said. It

wasn't joking.

Anyway I did finally get to

Lichfield. Thankfully there would be

no further delays as I was armed

with a map detailing pubs to choose

from for today. The base of this was

a Lichfield Real Ale Trail map,

produced by the Lichfield District

Tourism Association, which is

available online and in the featured

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pubs. To this map I added the new

micropub and a few other pubs

recommended by friends.

Now down to business. The first

pit stop was The King's Head - the

oldest pub in Lichfield, dating back to

the 15th century - and the birthplace

of the 1st Staffordshire Regiment.

This was an impressive old building

with multiple rooms - and is well

worth a visit.

The beers on offer here today

were: Marston's EPA, Lillingston's

RegimentAle (brewed especially for

the pub by Marston's), Marston's

Pedigree and Banks's Sunbeam (I

had this one and very nice it was,

too).

I was very excited to discover that

this pub was today serving roast

dinners - and it wasn't even a

Sunday. What a rarity this is! Quite

why it is nigh on impossible to find a

roast dinner on any other day of the

week, I have no idea. Needless to say

I jumped at the chance today and

tucked into a roast beef dinner,

complete with roasties and Yorkshire

pudding.

As I sat in the sofa after lunch (yes

'in' - I sank right into it - I think the

25

springs had gone - nothing to do with

my hearty lunch) I surveyed my

surroundings. There was a Tom Jones

Weekend coming up at the place

across the road. A whole weekend?

Intriguing. I perused a flyer for a

forthcoming festival in Burton, at

which Pirate Pat, Punch & Judy and

Buzz Lightyear would be appearing.

That was pretty exciting.

The pub had sets of dominoes

and also a “Reading Snug”, with

books to read while you drink - or to

take away with you for a small

donation to veteran's mental health

charity Combat Stress.

The next stop was the George &

Dragon - a proper traditional boozer,

complete with dominoes (again),

cards and dice. Such a joy to find

pubs such as this.

The beers on offer in here today

were: George & Dragon (brewed for

the pub), Marston's Pedigree,

Banks's Bitter, Wychwood

Hobgoblin, Marston's Old Empire,

Ringwood Boondoggle and Thwaites

Wainwright.


I found the menu here intriguing,

as it offered 'lupin free' food *. What

was this? Food that doesn't contain

wolves? No ingredients from

Wolverhampton? What?

Confused, I decided to venture

out into "the biggest beer garden in

Lichfield, with outstanding views of

the cathedral". I confess I missed out

on this view as I was distracted by a

massive cat in the car park. I don't

encounter cats as often as I would

like, so this presented me with a rare

opportunity to submit a review to

@thecatreviewer on Twitter (if you

like cats, seek it out and join in, it's

fun!). Alas it had just started raining,

so the cat ran off and hid before I

had time to photograph and review

him. Bah!

Next stop was the Horse &

Jockey. Traditional-looking from the

outside, this pub sports an eclectic

interior.

The beers on offer here today

were: Bathams Best Bitter, Doctor

Morton's Safety Beer, Butcombe

Mendip Spring, Timothy Taylor's

Landlord, Holden's Golden Glow,

Fuller's London Pride, Marston's

Pedigree and Wye Valley HPA.

Next stop was the Angel Inn, the

first of two Joules pubs to be visited

today. Now this was my favourite

pub of the day so far - full of nooks

and crannies and full of character.

The beers on offer here today

were: Joules Blonde, Joules

Slumbering Monk, Joules Pale Ale,

Piddle April Showers and Joules

Shropshire Hop.

In celebration of the latter ale,

there was a card on the table

sporting five facts about Shropshire.

Did you know that the remains of

Bridgnorth Castle lean at an angle

26


three times greater than the Leaning

Tower of Pisa?

The menu here was exciting too,

including homemade black pudding

sausage rolls and goat curry. I began

to wish I was hungry again.

Now for the micropubs! First up

was the new one, Beerbohm, which

only opened last December. This is a

popular little pub where bringing

your own food is encouraged (plates

and cutlery are provided). Additional

seating is available upstairs. Coffee

and tea are served here.

As well as a wide range of bottled

and keg beers, cask offerings here

today were: Great Newsome Sleck

Dust, Whim Ales Magic Mushroom

Mild (my favourite beer of the day),

Salopian Shropshire Gold and Whim

Ales Beerbohm Dandy Bitter.

Lichfield's other micropub, the

Whippet Inn, is directly next door to

Beerbohm - but is a very different

pub indeed. For me, this is a more

homely micropub, with Beerbohm

having a more cosmopolitan feel.

The Whippet is much more compact

with a 'living room' feel and a more

relaxed clientele (there was a man in

shorts at the bar). There were

cushions with whippets on them -

and two whippet ornaments in the

corner. It is almost as if there is a

North/South divide in the wall

between the two pubs - with this one

being the North.

The beers on offer here today

were: Hartshorns Reaper, Fixed

Wheel Chain Reaction Pale Ale,

Nethergate Stour Valley Gold and

Front Row Pause Chocolate Stout.

Real ciders were also available: Seidr

27


O Sir Maes Edwy and Lyme Bay

Driftwood.

By now the hunger was

resurfacing - and I could hear the

Angel Inn calling. Unfortunately what

I thought was the goat curry calling

turned out to be a drunken Irishman

singing ballads. Charming though this

was, it wasn't satisfying my hunger,

so I left without partaking.

We all know Wetherspoons is a

banker for food, so the Gatehouse

was the next stop. No beer for me

here (chicken & chips instead) but

they had on the following: Derventio

Barbarian Stout, Salopian Far Side,

Salopian Hop Twister, Greene King

Abbot Ale, Sharps Doom Bar and

Ruddles Best.

Next up was the second Joules

pub of the day - Duke of York - also

apparently the oldest pub in

Lichfield. This multi-roomed pub was

very hot and again there were lots of

games to play.

Hop, Joules Slumbering Monk,

Joules Pale Ale, Joules Blonde and St

Austell Spring Fever.

There was an enticing poster

advertising Lichfield Storytellers'

"Tales in the Courtyard" - an

storytelling evening at the pub. I was

almost tempted to go back for that

later in the week. But the buses...

The final pub of the day was Malt

Bar, situated opposite the Garrick

Theatre. This has a restauranty feel

as you walk in, with tables for diners

at the front of the building,

overlooking the theatre. However

The beers on offer here today

were: AJ's Ales Stuck in the Mud (one

of my absolute favourite beers,

brewed in Walsall), Joules Shropshire

28

drinkers can relax at the bar towards

the back of the building, where there


are TVs (the football was on at the

time of my visit) and even a jukebox.

The beers on offer here today

were: Oakham Citra, Church End

Goats Milk, AJ's Ales Black Jack Mild

and Wye Valley HPA.

In conclusion, dear reader, there

is an interesting array of pubs in

Lichfield - within a very compact

area. I would recommend a visit in

the summer so as to enjoy the beer

gardens. And if you should happen to

glimpse that massive cat (or indeed

any other cat), perhaps you could

review it on Twitter. Many thanks.

*It would appear that lupin is an

allergen that is often used in gluten

free food. We have informed Jane

that the answer is nowhere near so

interesting as she supposed! - Ed

29


30


Crawl-Wreckers Part Five

This issue our crawl wreckers take

a slightly different turn. Until now

the focus has been on pubs that

wreck crawls. However, more and

more breweries are cutting out the

middle man these days and

attempting to wreck your crawl

themselves. Five such successful

breweries are featured below. Visiting

these breweries is every bit as

hazardous as visiting the preciously

featured pubs, and every bit as fun!

Bewdley Brewery, Bewdley,

Worcestershire – A traditional

Worcestershire brewery, Bewdley

Brewery is on the picturesque banks

of the River Severn in Bewdley. The

brewery is family run (father, mother,

31

son) and their bar is open Friday and

Saturday from 12.00 – 18.00 serving

two real ales on handpump and a

large selection of bottles which can

be drunk in the bar or bought to take

away. It is close to the centre of town

or a 10-15 minute walk from the

Severn Valley Station.

What makes Bewdley Brewery

extra special? The home of this

brewery is a slightly pre-Victorian


school building, of the type that I

love. The setting is peaceful with

maybe a few other regulars, beer

tourists, or people enjoying a brew

day. The small bar is festooned with

breweriana, railway memorabilia, and

old maps and charts. The beers are

tasty and in lovely condition, the

means of dispense at their Halesowen

Brewery every Saturday from 11.00 to

18.00. The bar is ‘family run’ by Scott

whole place smells amazing (they

brew on Saturdays), and you can get

there by STEAM TRAIN!

Fixed Wheel Brewery, Halesowen,

West Midlands – A relative

newcomer to the beer scene, Fixed

Wheel have been producing for

around 20 months, and have rapidly

become a solid name for high quality

ale. A range of five of the brewery’s

products are available by various

the brewer (a keen cyclist which

shows in many of the beer names),

his partner Sharon, her daughter

Harriet and various members of their

extended family. Transport access is

via bus 140 (goes past the brewery)

or from Rowley Regis station (10 mins

walk).

What makes Fixed Wheel extra

Special? – Leaving this bar is often

one of my greatest challenges. Some

Saturdays I am actually grateful they

shut at six so that I get away before I

fall down! There is always a lovely,

convivial atmosphere, and a selection

of cheese, bread, pickles and pickled

chillies for your enjoyment, supplied

by Scott and his Brewery Liaison

Officer Phil. But the most special

thing is the beer! There is a certain

beauty in popping around there on a

Saturday to see a test brew being

32


made in Scott’s magic pot (pictured)

only to find that within a few weeks it

Green Duck Brewery, Stourbridge,

West Midlands – Just a short 5-10

minute walk from Stourbridge

Junction Station you will find the

Green Duck Badelynge Bar. Open on

Fridays from 16.00 – 22.00 and

Saturdays from 13.00 – 19.00, you will

normally find the core range (Duck

and Dive, Duck and Cover, Duck

becomes Pope of Dope (also pictured

– cycling analogy if you were

wondering!). Sometimes we stand

around the bar and discuss in hushed

whispers whether we think Scott has

ever brewed a beer that is less than

Blonde and Duck Under) along with a

couple of Special or Seasonal Brews

for your delectation. ‘Gaffer’ Alan

Preece and Brewer Alex Hill and their

friendly and knowledgeable staff are

always on hand to talk you through

your selection, and really add to the

superb welcome. The duck theme is

continued throughout (pictured).

What makes Green Duck extra

special? Situated in an industrial area,

amazing. We are fairly sure the

answer is no! Whatever the style,

they always surpass expectations!

33

but always bustling with people this

bar has an ‘oasis in a desert’ feel

which is compounded by your first sip


of delicious beer! The room is very

large and family friendly, but there is

plenty of space for everybody and

even those that dislike family friendly

pubs find that the children do not

encroach on their ‘drinking space’.

Alex the brewer has recently

reworked some of the core beers, all

gorgeous, but the Duck and Cover, a

session IPA with mosaic is particularly

worthy of note. Green Duck sell

excellent traditional beers, but also

brew a range of ‘flavoured’ beers

which have amusing names and are

truly tasty; Duck à l’Orange,

Dandelion & Burduck and

Quackcurrant & Liquorice (my

favourite!) to name but a few. Green

Duck events are fantastic too, over

the year there are a plethora of Beer

Festivals and Beer Tasting events, all

very well worth attending.

Magic Rock Brewery,

Huddersfield, West Yorkshire –

Around a year ago, Magic Rock

moved to a new brewery on the

outskirts of Huddersfield. Around 15

minutes’ walk from the station and

ten from the Sportsman, it is only

slightly ‘off the beaten track’ and

offers eleven of their beers, two on

cask and nine on craft keg. The

opening hours seem to increase all

the time, proportionally to the

popularity of the Tap. They are now

advertised as Wed and Thu 16.00-

22.00, Fri 15.00 – 23.00, Sat 12.00 –

23.00, Sun 12.00-21.00. Gaffers

Duncan and James are often to be

seen in the bar and all members of

staff are far too good at selling me

beer!

What makes the Magic Rock Tap

extra special? Have you ever wanted

to drink in a sweet shop? This is your

opportunity! The cask ales tend to be

34


more traditional beers, Ringmaster

and Rapture at last visit, but for the

keg selection, anything goes!

Ginspired (Gin and Tonic IPA),

Bearded Lady (Various), Custard Pie

(Vanilla), Cross Pollination (Heather

and Honey); It’s like having dessert in

a brewery, and I can’t leave until I’ve

tried everything! There is an ageing

cage at the top of the bar (pictured)

which contains plenty of delights

waiting until they are ready to serve,

and you can also watch the brewery

at work through the windows. There

is also a selection of burgers, coffees

and ‘Magic Rocktails’ for those (odd)

people who are not solely motivated

by beer!

Moor Brewery Tap, Bristol,

County of Bristol – The Moor

Brewery is located ten minutes’ walk

from Bristol Temple Meads Station,

and features ten of the brewery

beers. Dispense is keg, and Moor

Beers are not only very tasty, but also

unfined and completely vegan (but

not necessarily hazy). The Tap is

open 12.00 - 22.00 Thursday and

Friday and 12.00 - 20.00 Saturdays.

All staff are cheerful and helpful, and

plenty of beer is available to take

away.

What makes the Moor Brewery

Tap extra special? A wholly keg

venue is still out of my comfort zone,

and well south of what my partner

generally expects to find, but this

beer was an immediate converter.

Lovely flavours, and plenty of top

quality ingredients. The corridor is

festooned with the award certificates

they have been awarded by CAMRA

for the same beers in cask. The

venue is peaceful and had seats on a

Friday and Saturday night, which is

35


very unusual for a city centre. Also

the staff are more than happy to have

geeky hop conversations at the drop

of a hat (not mine!). The flurry of

brewing activity is very enjoyable to

watch, and peering through the gap

in the doors adds to the evening’s

entertainment. A truly lovely place to

visit.

36


37


Canal-side casks – The Malt House

Part 2 of David Glenwright’s journey along the pubs of

Birmingham’s canals – he hasn’t gone far since the last

time we saw him…

In the last edition of BoB, I presented

the Fiddle & Bone as a fantastic

pub for starting any canalside

crawl that you may be planning to

undertake in our fine city. Of course,

there are many fine qualities about

this pub in its own right, however its

location and proximity to other pubs

makes it a fine choice when plotting

a route. One such pub can be found

just around the corner – The Malt

House.

Part of the Taylor Walker family,

The Malt House is large, traditional

pub that sits proudly on the Birmingham

Canal Old Line, nestled between

the Barclaycard Arena and the ICC.

As the name suggests, the building

was once a malting, though of course

this rule with pub names isn’t always

reliable (red lions have rarely been

on the sites of their namesakes).

In terms of a drinks selection, The

Malt House offers up to 6 real ales,

many of them from the Greene King

stable. This includes the 1730 pale

ale, a dependable pale that is

brewed for Taylor Walker. The ales

available have always been in a good

condition, and bar staff have all been

well trained in offering suggestions

for the drinker looking for a particular

flavour.

Now, the experienced ale drinkers

amongst you are unlikely to find anything

new or unusual at The Malt

House, and that’s one of the reasons

why I enjoy the pub so much. The

Malt House doesn’t pretend to be

38


anything that it isn’t, which results in

a dependable, reliable venue that

perfectly suits a pre-show drink if

you’re going to the Barclaycard Arena,

or a post-conference drink if

you’ve just been in the ICC!

The biggest strength of the Malt

House however is its size and layout.

Many of Birmingham’s wonderful

city centre pubs have the habit of

filling up rather quickly, especially on

a Friday or Saturday night. The Malt

House meanwhile has a large, open

plan layout along with a sizeable canal-side

terrace for those three summer

days we get each year. This

makes the venue ideal for both people

looking for a less crowded space,

along with large groups of people

who don’t want to be broken up and

separated. If you’re looking for a

post-work office drinks venue, The

Malt House should certainly be on

your list. Of course, the pub does get

busy, but the open plan space stops

you from feeling the claustrophobia

you may encounter elsewhere.

The Malt House is a fantastic city

centre gem that is all too often underrated

when compared to other

pubs in the immediate vicinity. That

being said, a pub should in my opinion

only ever be judged on its own

merits, not compared to other venues

that are ultimately offering

different things to different people.

The Malt House sets out to offer a

large, family friendly venue that

offers traditional pub food, great

drinks and a beautiful view of the

canal – and that’s exactly what you’ll

find here.

The Malt House can be found at

75 King Edwards Lane B1 2NX. More

information can be found at

www.facebook.com/

malthouseofficial.

39


40


Revitalisation (Baby)

“People try to put us down

Just because we like beer brown.”

Please take the heading of this

article as proof that my adult-life-long

dislike of CAMRA generalisations can be

overcome by my wish to write to a

happy reader with a Who song

circulating around their head! Of

course we don’t all love brown beer,

but this article is about CAMRA’s

attempts to think forward to the next

‘Generation’ of members with the

Revitalisation Project.

I normally try not to write about

CAMRA politics, as therein lies insanity!

However, there are things that need to

be said. I tell you what we’ll do, let me

rant, listen politely and I’ll leave you

with some Led Zeppelin. Deal?

In April, the national press seem to

have received a CAMRA press release

auguring the demise of the organization

based on CAMRA’s mission to save real

ale being over. Apparently the job is

done, ale is safe and we are all

twiddling our thumbs. Forgive my

rudeness, but WHAT?

If the job of campaigning for real

ale, cider and perry is over, would

somebody like to explain to me what I

do with my time every weekend and

lots of evenings? This story gives the

impression that there are thousands of

us sitting, practicing the art of crochet,

41

just waiting for the Revitalisation

Committee (Baby) to tell us what we

need to do when the membership

reaches a decision NEXT YEAR!

In the meantime, I, and thousands

like me will be making sure that pubs

are cared for and publicized to the best

of our abilities, supporting and

publicising brewers and cider makers,

making sure beers have proper tasting

notes and have the chance to be

considered in national competitions,

ensuring the most deserving beers

ciders and perries have the awards they

so richly deserve, arranging socials,

tastings and festivals to give our

members the opportunity to taste as

many products as possible, supplying

information for the Good Beer Guide,

lobbying and campaigning for duty cuts,

editing, producing, delivering or

contributing to magazines such as this

one and hopefully having time for the

odd pint or five. Yet the job is done?

Hey, HQ! Hand me those laurels, I need

somewhere to rest!

CAMRA has become a massive

organisation of late, at least in terms of

membership, yet things are not getting

any easier for those of us who are truly

involved. It is only a few weeks since a

friend of mine told me that he was

rejoining CAMRA. I wondered whether

he was keen to volunteer at the


festival, help the branch with

campaigns or at least NBSS score the

beers he drank. None of the above.

With the current discounts available to

CAMRA members, he announced that

“Not being in CAMRA is costing me a lot

of money!”. He is not alone. CAMRA

has always had a large number of

‘armchair members’; these days there

are a greater proportion of ‘economic

members’. Hence the enormous rise in

membership numbers over recent years

without any real increase to the active

members doing the (very real) work

that is still needed.

And there is so much more that

needs to be done. Many of our

membership suffer from

monochromatic vision. Cask is good,

keg is bad. Yet very often we are

talking about the SAME FLUID which

has been dispensed by a slightly

different method. People complain

about fizz, yet twice in the fortnight

before penning this article I have sat in

a pub with a glass of cask and one of

‘craft’ keg beer to find that the cask

product had a higher level of

carbonation. This is not common, but it

happens. The new wave of keg beers

has an enormous amount of support

from young beer drinkers, who are the

future of quality beer, whether or not

they ever choose to join CAMRA. Yet

instead of reaching out a hand of

friendship we sit in tired Facebook

groups explaining that this isn’t what

42

we joined CAMRA for in 1972 (not

personally), and teasing the way that

the youngsters do their hair! (Man bun?

In my day we could only dream of a

man bun….). Why on earth does the

Revitalisation booklet not even deign to

recognize this widespread and

extremely tasty influx of new beers?

So CAMRA, pat yourselves on the

back for the very real results you are

successfully achieving, then start to

think of the future in terms of a legacy

for our publicans and brewers. Do not

risk destroying the very things that you

are trying to protect with blindsided

dinosaur thinking. Are you really

intending to be forward thinking with

this, or are you buying a Stairway to

Oblivion? (I did warn you)

Good name for a beer that!

Perhaps a traditional porter, a black IPA

or a crafty sour in keg. I’d be happy to

drink any of the above.

Sally Lavender

These are my personal views, and

not necessarily the views of

Birmingham Branch. They are certainly

not the views of CAMRA as an

organization! If you have strong views

about the Revitalisation campaign or

about any aspect of CAMRA, we would

love to hear what you have to say.

Please email to

editor@birminghamcamra.org.uk


43


Puzzle Pages

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

9 10

11 12

13 14 15 16

17

18 19

0 0 0 20

21 22 0 23 24

25 26

27 28

Across

1 Lives (6)

5 Pest (8)

9 Pubs have one every night but

don't want too many ! (10)

10 & 12 Where to drink in summer

(weather permitting) (4,6)

11 Just the thing at bedtime! (8)

12 See 10

13 Asterisk (4)

15 Belonging to the first ages of the

world (8)

18 On the outside (8)

19 Home of Goddards Brewery (4)

21 Leisurely walker (6)

23 Female child (8)

25 Male deer (4)

26 A jumbled mixture. Much like

these clues! (10)

44


27 Item of furniture (8)

28 Arm or leg (6)

Down

2 Indian dish (from Brum?) (5)

3 Release (9)

4 Lead astray (6)

5 e.g. Piers Morgan (9,6)

6 Badge of office (8)

7 Traffic light colour (5)

8 English county 1974-1996 (9)

14 It may count on us getting home

from the pub (9)

16 Burrower (9)

17 Possible result of bad beer in the

USA! (8)

20 Home of Hill Island Brewery (6)

22 Science of reasoning (5)

24 Compere (5)

Answers for last issue’s crossword:

Across

1. Paraphrase

7. Aspen

8. Rainbow

10. Kilowatt

11. Bier

13. Opener

15. Length

17. Brew

18. Spinster

21. Retrial

22. Eagle

23. Aristocrat

Down

1. Pupil

2. Renowned

3. Purity

4. Rail

5. Sibling

6. Bankrobber

9. Workhorses

12. Reindeer

14. Elector

16. Apollo

19. Tight

20. Kiss

Sadly, nobody got all the

answers last time - better

luck this time

Would you like to advertise your pub or business in the magazine? Reach

thousands of discerning beer, ale and cider drinkers!

Contact editor@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Prices start from £50.

The deadline for the next issue is 1st August 2016.

45


Branch Diary

Saturday June 11 th - Social to Wolverhampton Beer Festival.

From 3pm. Contact socials@birminghamcamra.org.uk

for further details.

Friday July 1 st – Social to Old Moseley Arms Beer Festival. From 1pm. Meet

at Festival B12 9QU. Contact editor@birminghamcamra.org.uk for details.

Saturday July 2 nd – Social to Bromsgrove Beer and Cider Festival from 6pm.

Contact socials@birminghamcamra.org.uk for further details.

Thursday July 7 th - Branch Meeting 7.30pm. All Welcome. Lamp Tavern,

Highgate B5 6AH

Friday July 8 th - Beer Festival Meeting 7.30pm. All Welcome. White Swan B12

0QY

Saturday July 9th - Regional meeting 12pm. All welcome. Red Lion Inn,

Market Drayton TF9 1JP.

Friday July 15 th – Social to Inn on the Green Beer Festival from 6pm. Contact

socials@birminghamcamra.org.uk for further details.

Saturday July 16th - Regional social for Black Country Day - Meet Fixed Wheel

Brewery B62 9LL 11am or contact editor@birminghamcamra.org.uk for

information.

Monday July 25 th - Committee Meeting 7.30pm. Cherry Reds, City Centre B1

1BN

Saturday July 30 th - Social to Black Eagle Beer Festival from 1pm. Contact

socials@birminghamcamra.org.uk for further details.

Thursday August 11 th – Branch Meeting 7.30pm. All Welcome. Eagle and Ball

B4 7RJ

Friday August 5 th - Social to Worcester Beer and Cider Festival from 1pm.

Contact socials@birminghamcamra.org.uk for further details.

Friday August 12 th - Beer Festival Meeting 7.30pm. All Welcome. White Swan

B12 0QY

Thursday September 1st – Branch Meeting 7.30pm. All Welcome.

Brasshouse B1 2HP

46


Branch Contacts

Chairman Phil Barker chairman@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Vice Chairman Clive Walder vicechairman@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Secretary Jane Stuart secretary@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Treasurer Dennis Guppy treasurer@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Membership Secretary Martin Collinge membership@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Social Secretary Brendon Daly socials@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Branch Contact Martin Bull contact@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Cider Representative Rob Clark apple@birminghamcamra.org.uk

NBSS Co-ordinator Gordon Brignal nbss@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Pubs & Clubs Officer Roger Allen pubs@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Magazine Editor Sally Lavender magazine@birminghamcamra.org.uk

LocALE Co-ordinator UNFILLED locale@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Press and Publicity Officer Martin Collinge press@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Public Affairs Clive Walder public@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Pubs Database Co-ordinator Andrew Bull websupport@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Website Support Thomas Barker websupport@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Local Guide Publishing UNFILLED guides@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Student Liaison Officer UNFILLED students@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Young Members Contact Alex Wright youngmembers@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Pub Preservation Officer Daniel Webb pubsp@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Beer Festival Organiser Andy Goundry organiser@birminghambeerfestival.org.uk

Public Transport Officer Kath Hartley transport@birminghamcamra.org.uk

GBG Submissions Coordinator Simon Richards gbg@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Health and Safety Officer Paul Taylor healthandsafety@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Tasting Panel Co-ordinator Sally Lavender tasting@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Campaigns Officer

UNFILLED

Products Officer

UNFILLED

Mild Officer Martin Collinge mild@birminghamcamra.org.uk

Social Media Co-ordinator Karina Bradley socialmedia@birminghamcamra.org.uk

47


48

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