Thursday, 26 January 2012

A quick sortie: through gin palace and seat of learning

Today, unable to sit idle on an afternoon of annual leave, I plunged headfirst into some Birmingham pubs that I rarely get to - all in the name of my Birmingham Pub Map project, which is now nearing the completion of phase 1.

My first port of call was The Gunmakers Arms, located in, wait for it, the Gun Quarter now officially to be renamed St.George and St.Chad.

But here's a sordid confession: upon arriving, I daren't go in.  You see it was the middle of the afternoon, the windows were covered from the inside and it's not exactly in a busy area.  So I took the coward's way out and declined to push open the door and enter.  This is apparently a Slovakian run pub, which advertises it's National affiliations with a flag on the outside, and lists it's drink prices on a blackboard outside, including real ale.  If you have been in, please let me know what it's like, but as an ungregarious, solitary boozer, today was not the day for me to peer inside.  Not that I have anything against Slovakia you understand, in fact if a dyslexic currency salesperson at Marks and Sparks had had their way, I may almost have gone there on holiday once.

So, scuttling briskly from the Gunmakers, I ducked into the always lovely Bull, which is 5 seconds away.  This pub is a marvel of homespun, traditional charm and always has einen well presented bit of booze on tap, in this case Acorn Barnsley Bitter, which was as rugged and lovable as Gene Hackman.

Next up was the Sacks of Potatoes, located fairly and squarely in the centre of Aston University's campus.  I last came here when I was an actual student, which was an eye-wateringly long time ago.  I admit that I expected this to be full of trendy herberts supping WKD and snakebite or something, but clearly today's student is much more savvy than I ever was/am.  6 real ales were on offer here including 4 guests.  I felt like a bit of an old letch propping up the bar, so I necked a tasty Sadlers Honey Fuggle and an odd Wentworth Rock-Spalt and slung my hook.

This was all happening mid-afternoon, sadly too early for the Wellington beer fest, which was kicking off at 5.00; so I consoled myself with a brief nosey inside the Jekyll and Hyde.  This place is quite smart, a bit trendy and therefore probably demands a slightly cooler clientele than what I am.  Unfortunately my visit coincided with zero Thornbridge beers being on, even though I know that they have been offering 3 err offerings from that brewer during the week.  I nursed a half of Freedom Stout, whilst marvelling at the range of gins/gin cocktails and gin-tasting events which the J&H offer.  I tell you, if I liked drinking gin, I would certainly gravitate to this place and drink some gin.

After that I headed homeward boundish.

Kings Heath and Moseley beckon tomorrow, for some concluding beer map visits.   

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