Planned outing to Birmingham, Spring 2010
As with Paul's Bristol crawl there are so many pubs you need some sort of filtering function to reduce them to manageable proportions. I'm going for architecture - be prepared for some impressive buildings (but rest assured, I'm not obsessive about this; I've dropped National Inventory pubs that don't have interesting beer).
Names are links to pub websites, addresses are links to maps showing location.
We start at the Wellington 37 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, West Midlands B2 5SN, UK. Spectacular building, huge range of beers (current list). The Wellington doesn't do food, but lets you bring your own in and provides plates and cutlery. Grabbing pies and bread and pickles from a local shop - or bringing them with us - or fish and chips seems fun, and since the Wellington is the 17 real ale pub it sounds a good one to spend that extra time in. This - partly for the silliness of it - appeals to me.
If not, we can grab a pie at the Old Joint Stock at 4 Temple Row West Birmingham, B2 5NY. This is a Fullers Pint and Pie pub along the lines of the Jugged Hare and so not too exciting for Simon in particular. But it gets included on the architecture stakes (it's a converted old bank) and so is worth a half - even if we aren't eating. It's just about next door to the Wellington, so isn't a detour in any event.
I've decided to exclude the Prince of Wales - we have too many pubs in here we don't know at all. Otherwise it would be a lunch-time option for faggots and mash. I justify this boycott on the grounds of extreme vandalism in opening it up.
Continuing vaguely SE towards Snow Hill we find The Old Contemptibles at 176 Edmund Street, Birmingham, B3 2HB. Very impressive to look at and the beer range (hard to find on the website) looks good too.
We now have a hike out to The Bartons Arms in Aston at 144 High Street Aston Birmingham B6 4UP . In something of a run-down area of town, this looks well worth a visit - it's National Inventory listed (and described as "The most impressive pub in Birmingham") and owned by Oakham Ales. By now we probably could do with a walk.
There is then another longish hike back south to the Digbeth area. This passes very close to Aston University and the best place I've been able to find to break our journey is The Sack of Potatoes (no website) at 10 Gosta Green in the middle of Aston University.
An alternative here is to catch a 51 bus from outside the Bartons to Moor Street station. This bypasses the Sack and puts us no great distance from the Anchor. They run until 1800 on Saturdays. That sounds quite a good idea but one to play by ear on the day.
Continuing on, we now find ourselves at the National Inventory listed Anchor (no website) at 308 Bradford Street, Digbeth, Birmingham B5 6ET which has been branch Camra PotY before now.
We move a short distance up the road to the (also NI listed) White Swan (again, no website) at 276, Bradford St, Digbeth, Birmingham, West Midlands, B12 0Q
and another short walk takes us to the Lamp Tavern (no website again) at 257 Barford Street, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 6AH.
From there it's not too far back to New Street.
Here's a map and directions (although I might take us along some towpaths instead of roads - something Google doesn't seem to know about). It also does something utterly illogical with the station - leaving through "I" and returning to "A" would shorten the route!
Quite a long walk in total, but no legs longer than a mile (15 to 25 minutes as the day progresses).
Not the most touristy bits of Birmingham, but some spectacular pubs and (with luck) beer.
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