Saturday was a jolly day indeed, for it marked the first Birmingham Twissup and another positive sign that Birmingham is inching towards a stronger, beefier, more something something beer culture.
As Otherton Aleman has already reported, the festivities started at the Lamp Tavern, before moving through the Anchor to the Post Office Vaults, with an epilogue at the Wellington.
Strangely enough, most of the participants of Birmingham's first Twissup, aren't actually from Birmingham. We had @19irishdragon (Walsall), @ckdsaddlers (Wolverhampton), @MarbleTim (Manchester), @OthertonAleman (Penkridge), @RobertoRossUK (Halesowen) and @CarlDurose (Birmingham resident, but recently imported from Herefordshire). Luckily I was there. I come from Leicester and live in Sandwell. Errr.
Most of the party met up at the The Lamp Tavern, which is a warm little pub, tucked away on the edge of industrial Highgate. I chose to start here because I wanted to showcase a hidden gem, a survivor, a pub of principles. I sampled a Welback Abbey Donovan - a dry golden ale, billed as a Polish pale ale: which was a bit of a novelty. The Lamp was throbbing with conviviality.
From heritage and values, we moved on to some solid real ale choice. The Anchor has been the best pub in Brum for ages, and it's still my favourite (shush). The assembled throng swelled slightly here, with the arrival of our Southern guest @mrdavidj, along with a cameo from one of Birmingham's top pub reviewers ilooklikeme. Sat in the 'quiet room' of the Anchor, we had a good chin wag and sampled (well I did anyway) a beautiful Stout George from brand new Middlesbrough brewery Truefitt. Like I said - beautiful. I also took advice from Twissup's chief brewer and enjoyed a De Ranke Pere Noel. Microbrewed UK excellence and established Belgian spiciness - a nice blend.
The most exciting moment of the Twissup's Anchor period came when 2x unexpected guests joined us. Stewart and Kate had learnt of the gathering via, wait for it - social media and allowed their curiosity to get the better of them. What a massively pleasant boost, to tangibly realise that there are like minded, intelligent beer fans in the city, just itching to be part of the movement towards a more robust beer topography. In addition to the people who had already arrived, obviously.
From the Anchor, we bolted to the Post Office Vaults for a stint of quality foreign bottles, including Nogne Saison, Rodenbach Grand Cru and a Hellers Kolsch, the latter of which didn't quite meet the standards of the evening. PO Vaults was as rammed as expected, but we miraculously got some seats and hooked up to the wireless to tweet some photos into the ether.
The Wellington was an extra helping, but by that point, the good work had already been done. A bunch of friendly, passionate West Midlands beer fans got together, in the name of Twitter and made concrete, a previously nebulous network.
What was the point of Twissup? Well as far as moi is concerned, it was to put down a starting point, another marker on the route to good beer. I'm not suggesting that a load of blokes drinking beer in some pubs is in any way an unusual thing, but when a gathering happens in the name of something, then perhaps it means err something. Our route took us from humming local boozer, to scoopers' stronghold, to our newest beer bar - provider of the best beers from outside our borders. Perhaps by the next Twissup (or the one after), we'll be able to add an extra venue onto our journey - a bar offering kegged IPAs, the hottest US-brews and a palette of the very [very] best UK microbrewers.
(Oh and big respect to Richard of Porter Pages - Twissup was his idea and even though he couldn't make it, I notionally raised several glasses in his honour on Saturday).