Back into Metropolitan County territory this week, created in 1972 by taking parts of Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. It is the second most populous county in England after Greater London. The area has long been important industrially and commercially stretching way back to the Middle Ages, initially with wool and cloth manufacture but the current West Midlands became more involved with heavy industry during the Industrial Revolution. Birmingham itself becoming known as the city of 1000 trades, Coventry and Birmingham with motor manufacture, Wolverhampton with locks. The Black Country being the source of raw materials and the whole area well served with canal systems and rail links.
The principal river is the River Tame, the basin of which became the most urbanised in the United Kingdom. Whilst there is heavy urbanisation there are still green areas like the Meriden Gap between Coventry and Birmingham, Barr Beacon, Sandwell Valley and Sutton Park.
There are many cities and towns in the area, the most prominent would be Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Coventry, Walsall and Dudley. Many of which are good for beer tours and pubs with a mixture of traditional and craft.
For Breweries in total we have 79 on Ratebeer, 52 currently Active and 27 Closed. There are 12 Client / Commissioner companies within these.
The oldest brewery we have for the West Midlands is Sarah Hughes Brewery (Est 1860 and still running).
Whilst the Sarah Hughes Brewery is well thought of in the West Midlands probably the 2 most famous would be William Butler & Co of Bilston (Est 1833) and Ansells Brewery of Aston Cross (Est 1838). William Butler Brewery was founded in Bilston but moved to Wolverhampton in 1874. The brewery became very successful across the Midlands building an estate of 830 pubs but finally succumbed to a buy out in 1960 becoming Mitchells & Butlers Ltd. The brewery closed in 1991 but parts of the old Springfield Brewery can still be seen. Joseph Ansell started brewing at the Hope & Anchor pub in Fisher Street in 1838 before opening a brewery in Hope Street in 1857. This brewery was much extended over the years and many smaller breweries bought out to increase distribution of the beer. In 1961 they merged with Ind Coop and Tetley Walker to form Allied Breweries with 2,400 pubs. After a series of strikes in the 70’s and early 80’s the brewery was closed and production moved to Burton upon Trent in 1981.
The brewery with the largest range we have on Ratebeer is Twisted Barrel Ale of Coventry (Est 2013) with 199 beers.
In the Ratebeer best awards the Best Brewer award went to Twisted Barrel Ale and the award for Best Beer was Twisted Barrel Big Wednesday. No New Brewery award was made.
The Overall to 10 Beers for West Midlands are -
- Banks’s / Vasileostrovsky Burov Imperial Russian Stout R
- Twisted Barrel Wrapped in Simcoe
- Twisted Barrel Be Back Before Dawn
- Banks’s / Three Weavers / Golden Road California Session IPA R
- Banks’s / Feral Hop Hog R
- Burning Soul Breakfast Stout
- Fixed Wheel / Brewdog Birmingham Coffee Fix
- Fixed Wheel Carbon Black R
- Fixed Wheel Omerta R
- Burning Soul Coconut Porter
The Top Bars for West Midlands on Ratebeer are –
- Beer Gonzo Shop, Taproom & Lambic Bar, Coventry Earlsden - 96
- Wellington (Black Country Inns), Birmingham – 94
- Waggon and Horses (Black Country Ales), Halesowen – 93
- Post Office Vaults, Birmingham – 92
- Brewdog Birmingham – 90
There are also some extraordinary Bottle Shops in the area –
- Cotteridge Wines, Birmingham, Cotteridge – 100
- Stirchley Wines & Spirits, Birmingham, Stirchley – 97
The Top 5 Raters of beers from the West Midlands are –
You will require 60 beers from the West Midlands to enter the Top 50.
The Rater from the West Midlands with the most ratings is –
@RichTheVillan who sadly appears to have ceased rating at the end of 2020.
The highest placed Rater still in operation is @johndoughty