Birmingham, England; a day out

@minutemat and I did a pub crawl around Birmingham today (Mat doesn’t know I’m writing a report/review, but may well comment once he sees this!).

Mat wanted to visit/see some new venues within Britain’s Second City and I agreed to accompany him. Both of us know the bars and city pretty well, so new places sounded fun to me.

We joined the same train and had a couple of ‘train beers’ (two Harpoon cans from Massachusetts), both were ideal for our needs (2 rates each).

New Street Station is a bloody nightmare, where ever you get out, no matter what platform, you get lost. The signage is awful and it’s just not user friendly, it’s the same leaving by train, especially after a ‘session’.

Mat had a kind of list/map/plan, I said I’d just join along. However I discovered Mat had never been to the Bacchus, and it was close to where we came out of the station: Bacchus (Nicholsons) • RateBeer.
Mat found two new rates, I found one; it’s a lovely place and well worth popping in even if the beer selection isn’t that great. My wife Margie loves the joint!

The Bull: The Bull • RateBeer was a bit further away than we realized, but it was worth the effort, proper Old School Real Ale Pub. Two half’s and a new rate each, grumpy barmaid but cracking place.

Next up and very close was the Gunmakers Arms: Gunmakers Arms (Two Towers) • RateBeer. Local artist display their ware on the wall, it’s also home to the ‘Two Towers’ Brewery which is out the back. Loved the lady behind the bar but sadly the beer quality wasn’t too great (and it’s their Brewpub). Two new rates for me, all four new to Mat.

Mat had never been in the Old Contemptibles and we were close, so in we popped: The Old Contemptibles (Nicholson’s) • RateBeer. Sadly they had nothing of interest and we popped out again!

Mat had read about here: Somewhere In Brum • RateBeer, so we duly walked down the stairs to this cellar bar that was like a Speak Easy that wanted to be Gay. To be fair we both had three new hits, but it was a strange place and neither of us felt comfortable in there.

Next up was the Indian Brewery: Indian Brewery Snow Hill • RateBeer. We liked the decor, industrial with an Indian Bollywood vibe, music a strange mix of cultures (Indian, reggae, pop and popular stuff). It all went a bit wrong in here to be honest, we ordered two meals and four halves. Two halves arrives, then two pints and even though the place was almost empty, they managed to give us the wrong food. The beers (all their own) were not as exciting as we’d hoped either.

Not far away is an interesting shop: Lituanica • RateBeer. I got some new Kvass brews and Mat hit some Russian stuff, so all good in here.

We were getting a little jaded now, so we walked back into the ‘city’. I was surprised to hear Mat had never been into the Old Joint Stock: The Old Joint Stock (Fuller’s) • RateBeer. It was three deep at the bar and we couldn’t be bothered to queue, so we left by the back door and hit the Wellington: The Wellington (Black Country Inns) • RateBeer. Obviously an old favourite and still the top rated bar in Birmingham, even with all the new ‘Craft Places’. Two new rates each!

Train home. 18 new rates for me, @minutemat a couple more maybe.

Nice to visit new places and try their beers (curse of the rater), but we had some very ‘iffy’ beers today and if we’d gone to known venues would most likely have had some interesting and better stuff.

Please discuss if you’ve bothered to read this!



A nice afternoon checking out Birmingham’s lesser known haunts… sometimes, despite the ropey beers, it’s nice to just take in the Brummie olde worlde pub atmos.

However… you forgot Attic Barrel Store. Which bizarrely despite the barrels, had no barrel aged beers available.


How could I have missed that off our list!

Just shows a 70 year old can’t be trusted, and you are right, no Barrel Aged beers on offer in there.

I will not alter the original post, but just add that the Attic Barrel Store was another place where we were ‘underwhelmed’ in general.


I think somewhere in Brum is the only one ive not heard of or visited … then the attic BS which ive heard of but told probably not worth bothering with (yet).

A bit of a you’ve tried the best, now try the rest crawl, as famous rater Nick Riviera once said.

The only one i bother with on that list is the Welly … usually at 1000!

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Too be fair it was a voyage of discovery and ‘Real Ale’ was a leading start, both Mat and I knew this at the outset.

Our wives will not be taken to some of the ‘new venues’, but we needed to see where they were and what they offered, both beer and ambiance wise.

My usual little city centre pub crawl will not change because of todays findings!


RICH, drop Bloke.

Sounds like a nice little crawl, a few places I’d visit if in the city, a couple I’d never heard off. Well done Team Shropshire, keep up the good work! Shame the 2 breweries you visited were knocking out below par beers on their doorstep …

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@RichTheVillan was working and couldn’t join us @b3shine.

Don’t know about “Drop Bloke”, he’s a “Top Bloke”!


@BlackHaddock Thanks for the report! From your 10 places visited, I’ve only been to the Joint Stock and the Wellington! Given it’s not so far away from Mid Cheshire and relatively easy to get to on the train I don’t visit Birmingham as much as I should really, and not nearly as regularly as I go to say Manchester or Liverpool. A shame some of the beer quality was a little poor/average but 18 ticks on any city crawl for me these days is a good day. Obviously finding new beers is pot luck and we’re all at different stages with it but always good to try out new places I think. I’ll google map some of the places you went to and hopefully include some of them on future spins.



Pot luck ? Not so much anymore. But if you like to go blind then fair do.

Also on the list was Digbeth and a visit to Autobrew, a self-serve place only 3 have rated, and The Anchor - plus Sommar’s place in the centre, but time was against us. A shame really as we partly started a bit later due to some venues opening at 4pm or 5pm. I think we were happy with the amount of places we did get to.


I’m intrigued to know what Russian lagers were found!

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I was as surprised as you… I thought Russian imports were a thing of the past!


Hmm, so on the left there’s an ultra-cheap Zhigulyovskoe-type beer that I had the chance to re-try 20 or so times last summer thanks to my father-in-law.

And on the right there’s one of those odd Baltika beers that I haven’t seen for years because they’re “export-only”. But at least they’ve moved on from offering it in colourless glass a la corona. Nostalgic stuff.

The situation isn’t as bad with UK beer here, so far. 10–15 or so breweries and cideries still present, but it’s nothing compared to the good old days. A man can still find a proper bitter or ESB if necessary (Russian ‘craft’ breweries can’t make these styles properly, always ends up over-hopped or smelling like green peas or some other nonsense), although the prices are pretty savage.


If I’m pub ticking then I don’t mind not knowing exactly what’s on the pumps/taps, just so long as I have a general idea of the usual range they may have on. Yes, I get that if you’re purely ticking beers then you can do your taplist research online more and more now. I’ll admit I do that as well sometimes too but only really for new breweries these days. I used to chase the beers but found I was going back to the usual few venues and I got a tad bored of that to be honest. There’s also the fact that pubs are closing en masse so I suppose that’s upped my interest in visiting them.


I can remember when Baltika was reasonably easy to find in a fair few UK pubs but #5 is one that escaped me back then!

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I tend to be fairly time limited when im out and about so studying UT check ins etc to max my rates and rates im more interested in .

I didnt tonight and presently sat in the brewery tap norwich … Fat cat

Just dropped on cloudwater its a mild which i missed first time round !

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That’s an interesting route, too many wild cards in that lot for me. When I go crawling around a city, particularly my old home city of Brum, I like to have my favourites then add in a couple of risky / new ones to keep new pubs ticking over.
We did Bristol this Friday, really hit it hard as we can only do it very occasionally, 5 hours of travelling in total is too much really for a day out. We had never done the Llandoger Trow or Little Martha Brewery Tap before, which meant we dropped the King Street Brewhouse and the LHG Brewpub from our normal route. Heavy day but enjoyable.


Cheers for this, I’m due in Brum towards the end of Feb, might check a few of these out if I have time.

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Time can totally be a factor too yes, on many occasions I’ve been restricted by the availability of bus and rail services, especially later into the evening. For my new breweries I find festival lists to be the best source of gen when there are a few to tick in the one place but UT can be excellent for picking off individual breweries and beers. I’ve not done a Norwich spin in too long, presume it’s still a good beer city? Nice pull back with the Cloudwater mild! I actually ticked a mild this evening too, Ilkley’s Ruby Jane.

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