Some while ago I wrote a post about the ideal Birmingham pub crawl - it's here.
Now over the course of the year this has proved to be quite popular (in so far as my blog statistics appear to show). This post also seems to have had bursts of sporadic popularity, where I am gratified to say, people appear to be actually using it to plan real-life crawls. So I decided to do the same.
The opportunity throated itself when my long-standing and brilliant chum @joneso76 came a-visiting from Leicester. He's fairly new to Twitter and had quickly become enraptured by the exciting adventures that the West Midlands beer community always seemed to be involved in. So, on arrival in Brum he begged for the chance to hit as many hot 'spots' as possible, during his one-day duration. This situation seemed set-up for revisiting as many of the locations on my ideal pub crawl, as could reasonably be fisted into a day.
Before my arrival in the centre, Jones already ticked off Brewdog and walked past Post Office Vaults (2 down).
We rendezvoused in the Victoria, where we were honoured to be the first people in the pub to ever sample cask Magic Rock. In fact, we were possibly the first people to ever sample cask Magic Rock, in the whole history of Birmingham. Ku. dOS. It was Curious. It was history.
After the Victoria it was back to Brewdog for some delicious Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast and a chance meeting with two of Birmingham's foremost international beer connoisseurs Hazel and David. Unfortunately Brewdog didn't have any lager from Bhutan, so they had to drink something nice instead. Ho hum.
Next up, Citra and delicious Thai grub at the Bartons, having walked through Bacchus en route. The Bartons never disappoints, although the lack of bottled Green Devil IPA did remind me just how baffled I am that Oakham will no longer be bottling it - madness.
From there to the Lord Clifden, where it was yeasty Budvar and one of the city's most impressive hand dryers.
The LC is an Urban Art Bar, as is the Red Lion, which I'll come to in a minute. But before that, it was the Drop Forge and a pint of Malvern Hills Black Pear. What a smart place.
So then, the Red Lion for more lager- this time some Estaminet Pils, which was extremely tasty and served in a splendid, ribbed beaker. Golf.
Finally, for a quick pint of Bathams (which turned into several), it was to the ever [and always] brilliant Black Eagle. It has been too long since I visited this esteemed and fabulous location, which seems to transcend the vicissitudes of beer fashion; so I made the most of my stay. 1) Free chips. 2) Bathams served in tip-top condition. 3) Dancing with, and for the entertainment of, an older and surprisingly sprightly clientele (old ladies).
If I say one thing about the above mentioned pub crawl, it is this: it was brilliant. If I say a second thing, it's that Birmingham has loads of great boozers, and sometimes I forget that. I increasingly find myself drawn to a handful of crafty joints in the city centre these days, but in order to de-narrow my beerview, perhaps I need to be more stringent in making sure I remember to visit the other venues of legend, in this, the Second City.
In the coming weeks, I will endeavour to bring you posts on the following:
i) The greatest beer tasting evening I've ever known
ii) My reflections on a booze-free January
iii) An update on the Birmingham Beer Bash