The Pub is Dead. Long Live the Taproom
Okay, okay, so we're being a little dramatic. Your local boozer is likely to outlive the sun, but the trend is swinging in favour of speakeasy-style, smaller venues. Quirky backrooms and hidden beer haunts. We spoke to Bob Maxfield and Dave Hopkins at the Midlands Beer Blog Collective to compile your cut-out-and-lose guide to Brum's taproom boom.
Cotteridge Wines, Cotteridge
Like Toys R Us for grown-ups, Bob says "They have possibly the best beer selection in Britain and it was voted the number one bottle shop in the UK by RateBeer. The guys are really down-to-earth and have developed a great community." Adjacent to the bottle shop sits a tiny bar with a dozen beers on tap, which hosts tasting sessions and growler fills. A growler is a bottle. More
Fixed Wheel Brewery, Blackheath
Family-run Fixed Wheel is one of Bob's favourites. "You can get a beer and lean against one of their tuns to drink it," he tells us. "That's about as fresh as it gets." Based in Blackheath, the short train hop from Moor Street to Rowley Regis will take you within walking distance of the brewery, so you don't need to draw straws for designated driver. "They not only serve great cask and keg beers, but there's a real sense of community too."
Rock & Roll Brewhouse, JQ
If you're in the JQ it's worth paying a visit to the Rock & Roll Brewhouse. The 100% vegan brewery was based in the Lamp Tavern, Digbeth until it headed north. With new premises comes a brand new taproom, with a strong 60s vibe. "Brewery based taprooms give you a chance to have the beer as fresh as the brewer intended. We're waiting on word if it'll be open for good," says Dave.
The Wildcat Tap, Stirchley
Bucking the trend of taprooms that serve their own ale, Wildcat Tap is all about sharing beers from other breweries. Strolling down the Pershore Road, it's so unassuming that it'd be easy to miss this itsy-bitsy boozer. Bob tells us: "Wildcat is in a refitted shop, and it has a great selection of cask and keg beers from local breweries and national breweries."
Clink, The Custard Factory
For fans of onomatopoeia, Clink is a dream. For those who prefer ace ale to a fancy literary device, it's even better. Based in the Custard Factory, the Clink team don't brew their own, but they know a good beer when they glug it. "They have a fantastic selection of bottles and cans," Dave tells us, "and they have eight taps that they switch regularly."
Burning Soul Brewing Company, JQ
In the former home of Two Towers Brewery there are eight taps fitted and ready to come good on their promise of pouring their own pale ales, stouts, sours and wild beers. Cruelly they are yet to pour a single pint. Bob and Dave have been tracking their progress as they prepare for launch. "Expect artisan beers a month from now," Dave tells us, "they have a pilot kit ready to experiment with unusual ingredients." More
Indian Brewery Company, JQ
Already known for their Birmingham Lager, this Great Barr-based company are expanding into the city centre to pair Indian food with their nine small batch-brews. "Beer and food matching is going to become more popular than ever," Bob says. "Beer's more flexible than wine." The street food cafe will be situated in the old Brewsmiths premises on Livery Street when it opens pre-Chrimbo. More
'I Choose Birmingham' is a free weekly email about the best things to do in Brum. Subscribe below.