View Full Version : Old Boots’ annual pilgrimage to the Midlands

30-09-2012, 22:00
This year my annual pilgrimage started on Sunday in Burton upon Trent, a place I have not only read about in my vast library of beer books but have often visited in the line of work, but sadly never been able to stop off for a pint. That will change over the next two days. The train was on time and arrived at Burton at 13:42, my hotel is some distance to the east and my first error is apparent- there is a Travelodge opposite the station! A short walk brings me to the GBG listed Alfred (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34277/)so just to settle the dust I pop in for a quick pint of Burton Bridge Bitter - lovely. On to the hotel and after a quick wash and brush up plus a check on the free wifi all is well and off we go. My list of pubs shows then next pub to be the Derby Hotel (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34236/)– already reviewed but the welcome inside is fine and the review basically still stands, a quick and excellent pint of Pedigree later and we’re off to the next back street local. The Hanbury Arms (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34254/) is a PuG virgin and a review will follow, a fine but odd pub, strangely the Aston Villa V West Brom match was discarded in favour of Red Dwarf on Dave. Next is a walk back to Horninglow Rd with a good crop of pubs, when I reach it the first thing into view is the Navigation (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34265/), no picture or review so I won’t spoil the fun except to say it was an almost acceptable half of Pedigree in bland surroundings. I had noticed another pub to my left as I approached the Navigation so that was the next one up, sadly a depressing experience, The Victoria (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34308/) will be reveiwed for completenesss not quality, I suffered a half of Grolsch just to fit in and pay for the time to take some notes. Just a few doors away is the Crescent (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34229/), a sad depressing place, half a Grolsch here too while I took some notes. Over the road is the Foresters (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34243/), a very promising exterior but once more my hopes were dashed. A hasty half of Grolsch later I was heading into town and soon reached the Loaf & Cheese (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34260/), photos but no review, a decent back street pub of the sort that abounds in Burton but is rapidly disappearing elsewhere. A poor Bass while the barman eyed me suspiciously led me to offer a PuG card as explanation, he looked bemused, showed it to the Guv’ who also looked bemused and no more was said. Perhaps when the internet reaches this corner of Staffordshire they will change their minds. Over the road is the Trafalgar (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34303/), the Pedigree was off so I had a Greene King IPA and a long chat with the regulars and bar staff cleared up which pubs were open, closed or about to close across most of Burton, great value local intelligence. On now to the last pub of the day the Byrkley Arms (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34206/), fairly plain and again a poor choice of beers, Pedigree or Hobgoblin, I went dark this time. Again a poor pub with mediocre beer but a great bunch of locals, which seems to be the norm in Burton… generally crap beer,(most locals drink the local brew - Carling) shoddy pubs but great friendly people and bar staff. Perhaps tomorrow will provide some better pubs. Being a bit peckish by now I went for a chinese, bad move, those who know their cockney rhyming slang will realise how well named this place is.


Tomorrow will include a trip round the brewery museum before a few of the more central pubs, I will update you all after that I hope.

01-10-2012, 00:26
...a PuG virgin............. Being a bit peckish by now I went for a chinese....


An enjoyable read so far. The phrase Pug virgin makes me shudder, when I think of our esteemed troupe. I notice the Chinese is an all you can eat establishment. You can take the man out of Yorkshire.....:D

Bucking Fastard
01-10-2012, 10:15
I noticed the Royal Harris was a restaurant and bar,are you going to add it to PuG;)

Heroic research in Burton by the sounds of it,good luck with your investigation of the rest of the town.

Are you spending the whole week in the Midlands finishing off with the Black Country tour ? I look forward to reading more installments.:cheers:

01-10-2012, 12:40
A useful tool for me Mr Boots. I need to tick off the new Burton Albion football ground at some point and would no doubt need a reliable guide to the areas hostelries!

01-10-2012, 22:14
Burton day 2

After a leisurely breakfast and a surfing of t’internet it was time for the short stroll to the National Brewery Centre (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/75058/), formerly the Coors Visitors Centre and before that the Bass Museum. Actually short stroll is a misnomer, Burton is slightly bigger than it first appears. Anyway for the small sum of £7.95 I was in and with four beer vouchers to play with. The site is a bit disorganised being spread around several buildings but if you follow the signs you won’t go wrong, you can always join an organised tour where a young lady will guide you round and tell you interesting stuff. You will have to go at the tour’s pace so it’s up to you, an audio guide thing is available as well. Ok a quick summary:- usual museum stuff on the history of brewing, importance of Burton and the history of Bass. Highlights depend on your tastes, there are steam engines, heavy horses (big buggers called Charlie and Macey, Charlie is short for Carling but no-one calls him that), old lorries including the Worthington bottle van, interactive thingys, locomotives, the well known model of Burton in 1921 at 2mm to the foot, a cut down Union set with a nice clear explanation of how it works, the Worthington micro brewery and lots more. There’s actually a lot to see and being a bit sad I took over two hours before giving in and using the beer vouchers. A word of warning do not use the Brewery Tap just after an organised tour ends. Each voucher gives you a miserly ¼ to 1/5 a pint of beer, sadly no White Shield on draught today so I put up with Red Shield and Worthington E (no not the nasty 1960s keg one). I was collared in the bar by one of the volunteers, a nice bloke but he did tell me the place is struggling a little and could do with more visitors and more importantly more support from British brewers, British brewers unable to work together in a good cause, surely not!
A wander past a full double Burton Union set in the carpark set me off down the road towards what could be the Town centre. Burton is an odd place, most English towns have an old core with later industry on the outskits, Burton has its 19th century industry spread all over the town where ever the brewers could buy land, there were 30 odd breweries here in its heyday. As the breweries shut and got demolished big areas of waste land got created and some are now filled with awful housing developments or a Tescos or Adsa or some nasty light industrial estate. You will sometimes stumble on a bit of industrial archeology like a Victorian tower brewery. The first pub on the list was the Coopers Tavern in Cross St, hidden behind part of the Coors brewery, sadly shut till 5, also no luck at the Devonshire round the corner, again no Monday afternoon opening, better luck at the Roebuck (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34286/) near the station. An interesting Victorian interior although not all of it probably started life in this building. Lured by an unfamiliar brewery name I fell for a Dancing Duck Dark Drake stout – ok but just too much black malt to be easy drinking. Plan B took me across town a little way to the Black Horse – shut, then down to the Builders Arms – obviously closed and out of business, further on I came to Billys (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/67241/). Unpromising name and looks but once inside it’s a bit eccentric with a Brewers Tudor interior and in spite of just a couple of pumps not bad ale. Full of coffin dodgers watching Dickensons Real Deal so I drank up and set off again toward the High St looking for lunch. I’d heard a couple of moans about a fun fair in the town but the High Street area was blocked off to traffic and a full blown fairground was in progress. I took refuge in the Anchor (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34199/) and yet another drop of Pedigree, more moans here about closed roads from the residents. Off again and strangely some pubs (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/67242/) in the middle of all this custom decided not to open – you can’t help some people. Being a miserable old git it was time to move somewhere quieter so the south east suburbs beckoned, there are lots of pubs unreviewed in this area of small back streets. First open and still trading pub was the Uxbridge Arms (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34307/), the landlord saw me writing notes and so we fell into a long conversation about PuG and the pub trade in general, a nice pub with good beer so I assured him I would give a good but honest review and he should write something himself without pretending to be a punter. He also cleared up the status of a few local pubs. The next few pubs all fall into a certain category that Burton excels in, small two bar relatively unspoilt pubs serving a very local trade, they are usually very friendly and the staff and locals will chat to any stranger, probably because it makes change from ribbing each other or gossiping about the one who’s just left, first was the Argyle Arms (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34202/), I missed the New Talbot (bit of a detour) and the Coopers Arms was shut till later. Eventually I found my way back to Wellington St, one of the main roads through the town, some of Burton is not pedestrian friendly, and checked out the Wellington (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34311/) and the Oak & Ivy (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/65411/), both in a similar mould to the back street pubs, friendly local pubs for local people, both selling only Pedigree. Most people in Burton seem to drink either Carling or Pedigree. A quick bite in the chippy and I moved on to the GBG listed Old Cottage Tavern (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/65315/), apart from the Alfred and the Brewery Tap the only GBG pub I’d managed so far. This is Burton’s enthusiast/tickers pub, it’s a brew pub with guests, so that’s all good then except it was just a little less open to strangers than most other pubs, however the last pub of the day was less welcoming. The Grange (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/34251/) is another back street pub, it majors on pool having a table in each bar and as I arrived so did some very serious looking pool league players. A single pull in each bar and… guess what… both serve Pedigree. The chap in front of me got his pint of Pedigree for £2.70, my half cost £1.50.
Tomorrow it’s off to Gloucester and swapping the industrial 19th century for medieval splendour or perhaps not.

02-10-2012, 23:17
Gloucester Day 1

An relatively uneventful rail journey from Burton to Gloucester, Coors were brewing something nasty judging by the smell from the brewery by the station but the train was on time, there is a waiting room and there are (free) toilets. A word of warning to those travelling to Birmingham New St, at least one platform is out of action due to building work so you might be a little later getting into the station than normal but it won’t be that long. At Gloucester I walked up to the Heritage Docks for some culture before a pint of Wadworths and a spot of lunch in the Tall Ship (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/12697/). Functional rather than anything else its virtue is its location by the Heritage Docks and the fact it opens on weekday lunchtimes. More culture, book into hotel then off to see the pubs. The first pub I came to was the Baker St (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/12598/), possibly named after where Sherlock Holmes lived, I must admit to being lost as to the link between Holmes or Conan Doyle and Gloucester – answers on a post card please. Anyway poor Doombar was all that was on offer so a quick half and gone, nice old carved front on the former pub across the road by the way. Next stop was the Robert Raikes (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/12640/), an incredible medieval building opposite the remains of the Greyfriars Priory. Now who do we know that buys wonderful old pubs, doesn’t put their name on the front (or anywhere) and sells cold nasty beer, yep Mr Humphrey has bought this one and must have spent a shed lot of money on the restoration so I’ll forgive him his attitude to short measures for now. Alas not even the OBB was real but at least it was all as cold as charity as usual. Priced at £1.30 a half for Sovereign I knew we weren’t in Kansas Yorkshire anymore. A bit fed up with the ale quality I decided on one of the GBG pubs next, after a quick check for the Malt & Hops (no sign of it) I found the little hidden Cross Keys (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/12623/), a weird pub with weird customers, the only ale was Gloucester Dockside Dark at 5.2%, given the strength and the fact that everyone else in the place was drinking Carling I had a half. Not a bad beer but not one for a session. Going out a different door there was a bigger pub than I’d first seen from the other side. Next a longer walk to another GBG listed pub while noting a couple of others to investigate tomorrow, neither looks promising but you never know (famous last words). The Fountain (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/12633/) is another hidden up an alley pub like the Cross Keys only this is bigger and smarter and much less odd, actually a very nice pub. Seven pumps on with mainly stuff from Regionals but being a fan of Purity beers I had a pint of their Gold and this was the first pint of the evening I actually enjoyed. I see the ale choice was exactly as Roger, Thuck Phat and Bucking Fastard found in 2011. Back out the way I came I headed down the hill for the Dick Whittington again noting two pubs for tomorrow, one looks dross the other could be something special (more famous last words?). The Dick Whittington (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/12628/) appears to be a favourite with the local Camra mob for some reason, its basically ancient but very mucked about with, the beer choice is wide but mixed (Bombardier for one, but three from the local brewery), and the quality wasn’t exactly GBG standard. Nice amount of black old beams, but honestly quaintness isn’t a reason to stick pubs in the GBG, a quick look at the GBG shows the Gloucester selection appears pretty much based on quaintness or quirkiness or a pump count. Finishing a poor pint of Butcombe it was off to a former GBG pub the New Inn (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/12663/), those who know the George in London’s Borough will recognise the style of this galleried inn. Another Butcombe here, as the choice was between that, Spitfire or Pedigree; showed just how poor the Whittington beer was, this one sparkled for a bit in the glass. It’s a splendid survivor and somewhere I’ve got a 1930s illustration of the place looking almost the same. Rogers review says pretty much all there is to say, the beer range is differentand not in a good way; they've also got builders in and scaffolding up. Next to the bar was a note from Gloucester Camra saying they checked the beer and gave it 4s and a 5 on the NBSS (5 is the highest score possible). The weather had now turned against me so I headed back towards the hotel stopping only for a quick Arkells in the Whitesmith (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/12717/), which was now open and it's not a bad little boozer.

Tomorrow will bring more culture before sampling the non-GBG pubs which could either throw up some gems or some dross, hopefully more one than the other.

03-10-2012, 23:30
An early day of culture, first up a visit to the National Waterways Museum, lots to see and lots to keep relatively intelligent kids happy for a few minutes. I’m sure the Captain and his shipmates have had a look round here before being inspired to paint everything with roses and castles. A brisk walk up to town brings me to one of the likely suspects on last nights list – The Old Crown. Stepping in is a step backwards in time, Sam Smiths have beautifully restored this pub to its Victorian glory, stunning is the word for what has been done here, expensive would be another. Cold keg is all that’s on offer so onwards we go after a swift half. Retracing steps up to the main cross then down Northgate St the Imperial is a fine looking pub with shiny old tiles as a frontage. Inside it’s a fake but well executed Victorian pub with a few handpumps, not a great choice so I go for Draught Bass. It’s ok but doesn’t actually taste of very much till near the end when the taste of Burton comes through. A short walk back through some narrow lanes around the cathedral brings me to the Old Pelican, elation on seeing it’s a Wye Valley pub then depression at thinking it might be closed then ecstasy on finding it’s open and has Butty Bach on one of the five hand pumps. A great welcome and chats with the locals means it’s difficult to pull myself away after two pints but on I must. Another quick bite curtsey of Messers Greggs and back down Westgate St another of last night’s possibles is the Union. I didn’t actually expect much but it’s a good pub, frequented by a number of Welshmen so Brains is the only show in town but it’s good stuff and it’s a comfortable pub so it’s more trouble leaving here than I thought it would be. Another pub noted in the big book last night is the Westgate across the road, I didn’t see any hand pulls from outside so I thought this might be a dead loss, I was right so a quick half of something and off we go again in search of the perfect pint. Next stop is the Regal, a good JDW in an old cinema, clue’s in the name of course. Being an old cinema there are some obvious decor ideas but a big King Kong with attacking aircraft is a bit much especially for JDW but full marks for lunacy. Things are winding down now so heading back to the hotel there is one pub, the Nelson, on the way untried by anyone, I looked in and saw nothing but dross last night however when I got in a little gem called to me from the fridge. Over the sea of keg founts calling my name loud and clear were a few bottles of Guinness, well I won’t drink Carling or such like so a bottle of Guinness it was, only when I poured it did I notice it was Foreign Extra Stout not bog standard Guinness. I mentioned my good luck to the Tom Courtney lookalike at the bar and he nodded with a knowing nod. Not much to recommend the pub apart from the FES but nice to know it's there. Fortified by the FES I decide to go for the two pubs on the way out of town, no sign of the Basketmakers but the Linden Tree is a reasonable Waddy’s pub, not great but a good place for a pint. Now I am fairly dead so I’ll call it a day and save my liver for Wolverhampton tomorrow.

04-10-2012, 22:57
I arrived at Wolverhampton at lunchtime, the trains round Birmingham seem a bit off today, trouble near Milton Keynes possibly backing up? The first pub I found was the Posada (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/39258/), with a beautiful tiled front and leaded windows, although these are partly hidden by the GBG2013 banner. My first Black Country beer this trip was a drop of Holdens, sadly the bitter but a great dust settler. A very nice pub, shame I noticed the sign for a Camra discount after I’d paid. Next across the site of the UK s first set of traffic lights to the Hogshead (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/57308/), not a bad pub but reminiscent of a better class of ‘spoons, Enville White was ordered to keep up the Black Country theme and good it was too. I got a voucher from the barmaid for a buy 8 get 1 free offer, probably not a lot of good to me. Heading for the hotel to dump my bag I spotted the Lich Gate Tavern (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/78224/), it wasn’t on my list as it only opened in August but what a find. The fulsome reviews give all the details, I shall ad something what there’s little else to add, great pub, as it’s a Black Country Ales pub I had to have a BFG. I suspect there will be a fight for GBG places next year. After dumping the bag, I set off for another GBG listed pub The Stile (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/39291/). A back street community local, Banks’s and guests from Marstons but occasionally something different going by the clip collection. Fairly well untouched the surprise with this pub is the immaculate lawn at the back, cricket pitch or even crocket lawn standard. From there I thought I’d wander up to the Combermere as it’s another GBG pub. Along the way the parky was ringing a bell to get everyone out the park as it was closing something I haven’t heard for years, also a strange odour in the air. After a few breaths I knew it as brewing and of course just up the road I came across the back gates of Banks’s. Not far away is the Combermere (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/65589/) looking for all the world like an ordinary house with “freehouse” sign, actually it belongs to the Spirit Group so not quite a freehouse then. Not a bad place inside, a few tiresome suits in the main bar and some old blokes from CAMRA in another room having pre-meeting drinks, fortunately the meeting was elsewhere so they left. Soon after so did I for the Clarendon (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/67255/), Banks’s brewery tap, it’s in Brewery Road and says “Home of Banks’s” on the wall outside so it must be. A fine pint of MILD - but then it ought to be. A quick stop for food followed by a trip to the Giffard Arms (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/56191/), Rob Camra recommended this as a weird pub in the mould of Shrewsbury’s Yorkshire House. This one is more Satanic based although the customers are not the devil worshipping Blood Drinkers you may suppose, I sat down next to what looked like a couple of off-duty Hells Angels, they turned out to be a couple of hairdressers called Julian and Sandy in Death’s Head T-Shirts. All in all a bit disappointing , so was the lack of a decent drink, the barman however was masterfully pissed off and determined not to serve anyone. Onwards very soon of course to the Old Still (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/39243/), I noticed the review was a little thin so decided I’d take a look myself. I wish I hadn’t. The barman was wearing a baseball cap and due to the darkness I couldn’t see what was on offer, I knew there were no handpumps and what was left wouldn’t be nice so I plumped for a bottle of something drinkable I thought they would have. An infallible rule is never trust anyone who wears a hat indoors, and I include cars as indoors so it’s obviously true. Therefore I didn’t think it was worth asking him about his stock. Another rule is pubs with nasty handwritten “our facilities are for customers only” are also best avoided. This one went one step better and referred to “Paying Customers”. Over the road is the Tap & Spile (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/39299/), I assume part of the erstwhile “Alehouse” group from Hartlepool. The signs were good on entering apart from the landlady putting stools on tables, I soon found out it was still open so after a perusal of the eight non clipped pumps I had a bottle of something fizzy and fairly nasty, what a shame, what a waste. I should have realised what was in store because of the hand written notices about toilets. By now I’d had enough of poor beers and decided to save myself for tomorrow and have an early night.

06-10-2012, 22:11
Just to round things off here's my, slightly hazy, memories of yesterday's "bostin" trip round the Black Country, admirably well organised by Andy Ven.

A nice later start than usual for these occasions and time for breakfast in the Moon Under Water (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/39224/), Wolverhampton's JDW. Not a bad place as 'spoons go, at 9am there were a number of early morning drinkers in including what must have been a stag do on their way to terrorise some town or other. Oddly the exact same breakfast here was about 50p cheaper than in the Regal in Gloucester, although later Roger B told me the price varies between the two 'spoons in Dartford.

Off by slow train to Birmingham arriving at 11 to grab a quick sandwich before going round to the Welly (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/37946/). A quick check in there showed I was alone so I quickly popped down to the Briar Rose, which was hot and uncomfortable, no-one there either, this lot must be slipping 11:30 and no-one about. Back in the Welly I got a Blue Monkey and took a seat. A quick text to Soup Dragon who, having lost his old phone with the contacts was nonplussed as who was sending him texts. My solo stint ended when Oggwyn arrived and soon the company was arriving thick and fast. No offence meant. A great place to meet and the only argument was "is this the pub with the most reviews on Pubs Galore?", it currently has 29.

Last one in was RPA narrowly beaten by Soup Dragon. All 18 present and paid up so it was time to go. No room in Bennett's Hill for the bus, not the mini-bus of course as it was poorly, so we all trooped out the back door and Andy counted us onto the coach. Then off on a whirl through the streets and inner suburbs of Birmingham.

The Waterfall (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/38289/) in Cradley Heath is a great little pub and I'm guessing about 15 reviews of it will soon appear, of there will probably be a sudden innflux of Balck Country reviews anyway. We were told a bowl of chips might be provided here but after getting our drinks we were shown a steaming vat of curry and many baskets of chips for us to help ourselves to. Good beer and curry and chips, a brilliant start to the trip, but a tight schedule meant all too short a visit. A shame we couldn't repay the hospitality by buying more of their beer. Delboy joined us here and after counting us back on the coach Andy brought out the Black Country delicacy - pork scratchings, there was even a choice of traditional hard or in deference to the southerners, the soft variety. The bags of scratchings kept up an endless tour of the coach from that time on.

Off again and a short trip to the once notorious area of Lye. The Windsor Castle (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/65583/) is the home of Sadlers Ales and as the smell of cooking hops proved it was brewing day. A good choice here of the breweries products even if the names didn't give much away about the style of the beer in some cases. Soup Dragon made his way to the Shovel but was soon back as the pub was shut; just in time to be counted onto the bus again.

Soon back to the bus as we head for the Black Country Shrine - the Vine (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/38031/) or as it's better known the Bull & Bladder Bathams brewery tap. Unfortunately the schools were just coming out so it was slow going along the road into Briebut Soup Dragon pointed out the landmarks (pubs) along the way breaking off for just a moment from trading insults with Quinno. Everyone was mightily impressed with this famous pub even though a lot of us had visited before. MILDs all round (nearly) and Ray treated some of us to a portion of his pork pie. Just time for two pints of the brown nectar and in one case (RPA) a side trip to the only pub in the Black Country SD hasn't reviewed (probably).

Well the only way to follow the Bull and Bladder is a trip to Pardoes (The Old Swan) (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/53681/) to sample the Olde Swan beers and get lost in the maze of rooms. Arriving at the back door instead of the front throw some of us off the trail but things soon sorted themselves out. Most people took the full tour to check out the Swan on the ceiling and sample the small snug behind as well as the larger back bar. Most of the brewery's beers were sampled but again time was pressing so only time for a pint or so from a choice of the four home brewed beers on offer, Original (MILD), Dark, Entire or Bumblehole. The last named gave rise to some rather tasteless jokes about Ray's Yam-Yam incident.

Gornal is a place with a great concentration of wonderful pubs, we paid homage as we passed the Britannia and the Jolly Crispen and headed down the hill into Lower Gornal passing the Black Country Ales brewery tap at the Old Bulls Head and just over the road we stopped at the Fountain (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/38320/). Already busy when we descended on the place, one poor girl behind the bar wasn't going to cope. Fortunately reinforcements arrived and we were all sorted with a selection of beers from the extensive range available, I don't think anyone tried the Greene King products however. A few souls decided they could make the trip over the road to the Bulls Head, they nearly didn't make it back as Andy's count was a few short. This was the only near miss of the day and we didn't leave anyone behind.

Just up the road from Gornal is Sedgely which of course is home to the Sarah Hughes brewery in the Beacon (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/38292/) pub. Not the largest of entrances with a narrow corridor leading to the bar with serving hatches or the serving hatch in the corridor, it was slow going just to get in the pub. Our fourth brewery tap, or the fifth for some, of the day. A fair amount of Dark Ruby Mild was sunk in our short visit, a little too quickly by some.

The final pub of the tour was the Great Western (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/39188/), hiding behind Wolverhampton's bus/train interchange edifice. Yet another cracking pub and being Friday evening pretty busy in spite or perhaps due to its location and the lack of much credible opposition in the city centre. More strong beers here in the form of Ape Ale (Blue Monkey, of course) and Holdens Black Country Special, but after Ruby Mild at 6.3% anything weaker would have seemed a bit thin. A number of us were showing the beneficial effects of drinking strong beer fast to the extent in a certain case of having a great deal of trouble rolling a ciggy. The one thing everyone forgot was the traditional group photo. Bus and train timetables were calling their last orders so people now began to drift away slowly and once more I was the only PuGite in the place.

As I post script over the week I have visited 54 different pubs most of them new to me, and appear to have drunk about 110 units of alcohol.

08-10-2012, 07:28