The Birmingham Mail today produced a little article entitled "Brum's Best Beers".
For anyone too lazy to click on the link, they were/are:
1. M&B Brew XI (now contract brewed in Wales)
2. Ansells Mild (now contract brewed in Lancashire)
3. M&B Springfield Bitter (no longer brewed)
4. M&B Mild (now brewed in Burton)
5. Davenports Original (now brewed in Walsall)
6. Two Towers Baskerville Bitter
7. Aston Brewing Company Aston Distressway
8. Silhill 4 Percent (Solihull)
9. Birmingham Mild (no longer produced).
10. Two Towers Mild and Brazen
OK. So of that list two no longer exist and five aren't actually brewed in Birmingham. Whoops, not exactly a ringing endorsement of the current scene.
Hooray though for Two Towers who seem to be really pulling their finger out now, with tasty beers such as Complete Muppetry and Jewellery Porter, both of which are available at their heartwarmingly spartan Brown Lion tap in the Jewellery Quarter.
Hooray also for Aston Brewing Company (ABC), who I had assumed had disappeared off the face of the Earth, until I fortuitously tried their Dizzy Blonde at the Queens Arms, just days before sampling their festive offering A Berry Christmas at the Brasshouse on Broad Street (of all places).
So brewing in Brum is not entirely dead then. But... where is the beery guile, the craft brewing inventiveness? After all, we can't keep living off the glory days of factory workers swigging Mild; I mean, I like a nice pint of Mild as much as the next man, but most days what I'd prefer to drink is actually a pint of Unmild. Just like Birmingham once revelled in it's reputation as a City of a Thousand Trades, I'd like to see our next generation of microbrewers turning us into the City of a Thousand Beer Styles.
So who is going to pick up this mantel of hoppy creativity? Well, these lot look promising for a start .... no pressure lads.