A Cracking Little Corner of Kings Heath

I've just spent 25 minutes on the Chouffe Brewery website and now I am well versed in their remarkable history, have a favourite of their four gnome mascots, am subscribed to their email (I mean what idiot subscribes to emails, right?) and am currently listening to their, frankly, bananas Spotify playlists. It's one of those companies it's hard not to immediately warm to.

The same can be said of Kings Heath bar and bottle shop Hop & Scotch (currently CAMRA Birmingham pub of the year 2023 and West Midlands county pub of the year 2023) and their recently opened next door neighbour venue: Houblon.

Houblon — French for 'hop' — opened just over six months ago, specialising in Belgian, German and European imported beers, alongside a small range of traditional cider and perry, spirits and wines. Like Hop & Scotch, it's in a converted shop but with more of a 'traditional' setting and feel to it than its older brother.

If you've not been — or even if you have — the perfect time to get yourself down Institute Road is the weekend of December 8 to 10 when Hop & Scotch will be celebrating their fifth birthday with plenty of top quality real ale, craft keg, and for the first time ever, branded Hop & Scotch merch.

If that wasn't enough, next door at Houblon they'll be showcasing the aforementioned Chouffe brewery, from Belgium. They'll have a range of Chouffe beers on tap and in bottles, with tasting flights available too. They'll be giving away free Chouffe merch, banging out plenty of free cheese, Belgian-style, and just generally being a blindingly good feature of the King's own Heath.

The celebrations will continue (to a lesser extent) for the rest of 2023, but that weekend is "the biggy". And by "biggy" I don't mean head-bangingly intense. I mean comfortably chilled, with just the right amount of added extras to make you feel a bit spoilt. More