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806: West Midlands | Black Country Ales | Fireside Bitter

The brewery: "When we bought The Old Bull’s Head pub in 1999 it came with a boarded up brick building at the rear that was referred to by the estate agents as “a two storey outhouse”. Imagine our amazement after the purchase when we finally entered the building to find three magnificent wooden fermenting vessels and other brewing equipment going back years. We love running pubs but there had never been any plan to brew our own beer until this great find. It took a few years to set up and we have had a lot of mistakes to learn from too but in 2004 beer started flowing again from the Gornal brewery." The beer: "A full bodied, well rounded premium bitter, amber in colour, clean in taste. Fruit hop aroma leading to a pleasant, dry rewarding finish." My last beer before heading home and a good 'un to finish with. More of a winter drink as the name suggests than a hot summers evening but I enjoyed it very much all the same. August 2022.  
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805: Shropshire | Ludlow Brewing co. | Gold

The brewery: "Our story began in 2006 with a dream to rekindle the brewing industry in Ludlow, Shropshire. The medieval town had enjoyed a long tradition of brewing until the closure of the Ludlow and Craven Arms Brewery in the 1930s. Launching Ludlow Brewing Company in a disused maltings buildings in Corve Street, it was clear to founders Gary and Alison Walters by 2008 that the business had outgrown the premises. Gary and Alison were given a fantastic opportunity to move the brewery to a derelict Victorian railway shed (built in 1857), off Station Drive, which they sympathetically renovated." The beer: "Our flagship ale is a full-bodied soft and creamy golden pale ale. It packs wonderful flavours and aromas of citrus and tropical fruits – lemon, pineapple, papaya." The last night of my trip coincided with my birthday and my companion had arranged for a meal at the Roe Deer near Wordsley. Despite an impressive range of beers this was the only one I hadn't trie

804: Shropshire | Three Tuns | Stout

The brewery: "In the heart of Shropshire, our 17th Century brewery holds tradition in the highest regard, which is why our legendary ales are made the traditional way, using only the finest ingredients to give each one its own unique Three Tuns Brewery flavour." The beer: "Our award-winning Stout is an old-fashioned dark stout; smooth and creamy to taste, with a bittering finish. Whole bodied with depth and texture in every sip, prepare for some seriously mouth-watering character to transport you back. Delicious, but then so have all the beers I've tried whilst in this neck of the woods. Procured along with a few others during a visit to the Halfpenny Green wine estate. August 2022.  

803: Worcestershire | Bewdley | Severnside Stout

The brewery: " Bewdley Brewery was established in 2008 in the heart of the Worcestershire countryside, set alongside the River Severn.  We are the first brewery in Bewdley since 1912..." The beer: "  Severnside Stout is brewed using a complex blend of six different malts, with chocolate and smoked malts for depth of colour and distinctive flavours, malted oats give an enriched body with roasted barley for an enhanced finish. Bramling Cross hops give flavours of blackcurrant and spice, with subtle bitterness." It always nice to taste something local when away and whilst I didn't get to visit the town itself, I paused at the station whilst on the Severn Valley Railway.  Another lovely drop, though perhaps a tad fruitier than I prefer for a stout. August 2022.

802: West Midlands | Holden's | Black Country Special

  The brewery: "We are an award-winning independent family brewer based in Dudley, West Midlands. Celebrating 106 years this year!" The beer: "A Dark amber premium beer with robust malty overtones and a bitter sweet full bodied taste. Brewed using the Finest English Maris Otter Malt and Goldings hops this big, beautiful malty monster is an industrial strength beer at it’s best." Yep, tasty stuff this indeed, a lovely combination of flavours.  August 2022

801: Shropshire | Hobsons | Postman’s Knock

The brewery: “Hobsons Brewery is an independent local brewery founded in the Shropshire town of Cleobury Mortimer by Nick Davis and his parents back in 1993. Taking retirement in 2000, Nick was left at the helm and today employs a close-knit team of 22 people to run one of the largest breweries in the county.” The beer: “A beer that really delivers, it’s rich and smooth with flavour notes of vanilla, treacle and roast malt leading to a velvety chocolate finish….Splendid with a sticky toffee pudding or sweet treat.” A long weekend in the West Midlands saw another opportunity for ‘research’ and this was certainly a good one to kick off with. Very tasty indeed. Bottle conditioned so needs to be poured carefully.  4.8% A.B.V. August 2022. Related entries.

800: Bathams | Best Bitter

The brewery: “Bathams have become a family born to brew, with the  sixth generation now involved in creating and serving a legendary beer of the Black Country…..The company has continued to expand from that day in 1882 when Daniel Batham senior became the landlord of the White Horse in Cradley Heath. We think he would be proud to know that 137 years later in 2019 that Batham’s would be operating 11 pubs and supplying many more throughout the Black Country and beyond!” The beer: “A straw-coloured bitter which initially seems sweet, but a complex dry, hoppy taste soon predominates.” A little paler than I had in mind for a best bitter but it was nonetheless a nice drop and accompanied a great Sunday roast too. The King & Castle , Kidderminster. August 2022 “