Reluctant Scooping: Birmingham

You ought to know the drill by now. For newbies, the gory details are here and here.

I managed to miss out Leicester last month although it was promised; Must Try Harder and it's pencilled back in for next month. Or May. Honest.

Anyoldhow, the prospect of a few interesting brews around Brum dragged me westward today.

The Old Contemptibles

Cask beers on offer:6
Potential scoops: 1
Keg beers on offer: 8
Potential scoops: 0
Actual scoops: 1 (Cropton/North Peak Vicious IPA, pint, cask)

The last time I was here, I was inducted into the unofficial Martin Miller's Gin Appreciation Society. Today, early doors, I'm here for the beer. I'd heard on ratebeer of this odd American/Yorkshire wheat IPA hybrid so I mucked in early doors to see what the fuss was. And it was... worth fussing about. I'm still not sure how a brewpub from Traverse City, Michigan have ended up brewing at Cropton for an English pub chain but I ain't complaining. Just wheaty enough to soften the palate, plenty of hops to keep it zingy all the way down. And bonus points to the pub for actually having some ex-soldiers in there as regulars. Build it, name it and they will drink...

Old Joint Stock

Cask beers on offer:8 (I think)
Potential scoops: 1
Keg beers on offer: 8 (-ish)
Potential scoops:1
Favourites drank: 1 (Fuller's London Porter, keg, two pints)

The seasonal cask offering, Front Row, was on alongside some LocAle guests. And there was a promoted foreign-muck thing that I paid no attention to. Because I only drink London Porter here. No point in doing anything else but. Kegged London Porter is too good to not drink. Anytime of the year. Never mind matching with food or mood. It goes with whatever it damn well wants to. Sat in the plate-glass window overlooking the cathedral, my pint glowed blood red at the base, tasted the right side of licorice and demandedthat I buy a second one. The added bonus of a live, cool, jazz trio made a great pub with a great crowd drinking great beer even, er, greater. Sorry, I just ran out of adjectives.

Note to self - sign on door says no League football shirts to be worn inside. Must buy a Sheffield FC shirt and visit again.


Cask beers on offer:16
Potential scoops:5
Keg beers on offer: didn't look
Actual scoops: 1 (Hopshackle Hibernator, half-pint, cask)

I always tell myself I won't go back here. Nothing personal - Nigel does a sterling job. It's just that my mad ticking days are over, the range isn't that esoteric anymore and the Welly has a reputation for being pricey. I'd call £1.90 for half a Hopshackle Hibernator (5.8%) taking the piss, even for a city pub. Still, I bought it. Scoopers return to rare beers like dogs return to vomit. Tasty beer, well kept, to be honest.


Cask beers on offer:loads
Potential scoops: all of them
Keg beers on offer: Barbar. Erdinger. Some others.
Actual scoops: 1 (Church End Jasmine, cask, one pint)

Drawing towards the arse-end of a Church End festival, there were still in the region of twenty beers left on. Jasmine seemed to offer the path of least resistance. It was inoffensive enough, if a tad warm from an unjacketed cask on stillage. But it's not all about the beer here; half an hour spent watching hurling with the sound down and the jukebox on is an experience that money can't buy. Especially as a bunch of shovel-handed lads appear to be making up the rules to a new ball game whilst Joe Jackson sings "I Should Have Known Better".


Scoops: 3
Favourites: 1
Verdict: Not Very Reluctant Scooping.
Beer of the day: Fuller's London Porter. Well, actually, it was the bottle of Adnam's Winter IPA that I bought from Marks and Sparks and drank on the train home. Wish I'd bought two of them...

The pic is of Birmingham Cathedral from inside the Old Joint Stock. One of the finest views out of a pub window that I know of.