Tewkesbury and Birmingham in search of cask ale.

Hofmeister Helles in Rosado Lounge

I was visiting family in Tewkesbury over the weekend. It’s a relatively small town in the west midlands of England. There are some historical points of interest there and an impressive cathedral if you’re interested in that sort of thing. My quest for cask got off to an inauspicious start with a Hofmeister Helles. The glass told me to ‘Follow the Bear’! So I did.

The Black Bear, Tewkesbury

The Black Bear, established in 1308 is the oldest pub in the area and the fourth or fifth oldest in England. I’d say they’ve done a bit of work on the inside though as it was bright, airy and quite modern. I enjoyed a Black Bear Bitter, well, you’d have to really, wouldn’t you? After that I supped a nice malty English Stout called Eclipse from Beartown Brewery. That made three bear related beers in a row.

Inferno Brewery Golden Embers

Just a short walk up the road I found Inferno Brewery’s bar. They’re a nano brewery and they also have a performance space. Their Golden Embers is a really good example of a traditional English Ale. And that’s where I got into trouble. I fell in with a few gregarious septuagenarian local CAMRA members. Suffice to say, I finished the evening in the rather marvellous Cross House Tavern with a pint of Wobbly Bob. It’s a 6% Strong Ale from Phoenix Brewery. And I didn’t take any pictures.

Bundobust Birmingham

The following day I had the afternoon in Birmingham. My twin loves Indian food and, you guessed right, beer, led me straight to Bundobust. The Galaxy Simcoe collaboration with Thornbridge and their own Roggen Pils proved to be the ideal accompaniment to some very tasty vegetarian street food.

Bitter and Mild in the Gunmakers Arms

Then I went in search of some Batham Ale. Google directed me to the Gunmakers Arms. They didn’t have what I was looking for but they did have a decent local Baskerville Bitter from Two Towers. My Dad didn’t care for the pint of Mild I got for him, but he still drank most of it. He said it was too watery and lacked flavour. There was a fairly lively band playing too and some spoken word artists invited us to watch their performance in another part of the venue. But we were happy enough where we were, had another pair of pints of bitter before hitting the road home. You can probably guess where I ended up in the airport but I am not going to advertise it! If you are looking for some Irish content then worry not, Mullingar Wild Beer Festival is returning on the 29th of June. And my own little shindig is returning for the tenth time to Don’s Bar, Moate. That’s right: Midlands Craft Beer Festival is on the 31st of August. Mark yizzer diaries folks. Sláinte!

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