Issue 192
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Among the many things for which we are roundly and rightly criticised, featuring booze too heavily is among the most common. To be honest, now's not the time for change. On the contrary, we've gone big on the alcamahol throughout this week's email, and we kick off with a whistle-stop tour of the best events at Birmingham Beer Week, which runs from July 21 to 30. Next week: Hangovers. 
Michelin-starred head chef Adam Bennett is coming to town, and by town, we mean Purecraft. The Cross's head-honcho is putting on four paired plates, including beer braised ox cheek, with buttermilk mash and pickled walnut (£17) — paired with Purity UBU — and black forest, cherry sorbet (£7), to be consumed with Saddle Black. Book a table between 5pm and 9pm on July 25 for the chance to order from this one-night-only carte.
Queen of Custard Tarts is a beer. You can drink it at The Dark Horse as part of their three-day long festival, together with five other drops from Blackjack Beer. There'll be more than 30 craft beers, street food, a marquee behind The Horse plus musical thangs. From July 28 to 30, day tickets are from £7, with the whole shebang costing £20. It's a vanilla and nutmeg saison by the way — the queen. More
In the salubrious surrounds of Hazelwell Trading Estate lives a brewery with a tap room you can visit. Birmingham Brewing Company is bookending Brum's week of beer with double openings. On July 22, the Stirchley new kidz are also the final stop on the (don't ask us how it's legal) bike and beer ride, which additionally takes in 1,000 Trades and The Gunmakers' Arms, over 14 miles of pedal.
Residents including Cherry Reds, Brewdog and The Victoria are doing the force joining thing for a beer-based par-tay across the greater John Bright Street area. There'll be an outdoor bar, live music and BBQ as well as plenty of indoor specials, like a Sadler's curated masterclass at The Vic. Starting at six of the PM on July 29, it's first come, first served. And completely free.
Cloudwater was recently voted among the top five breweries on this here globe. The beers to be opened at Clink's afternoon tasting have only ever been available in very limited quantities around the UK. Think Barrel Aged Old Fashioned — a red IPA with orange zest that's been aged in bourbon barrels and the Seguin Bierre Brut, which develops in white wine barrels. From 1pm on July 22, it's also first come first served. More
Ten thousand, one hundred and fifty four miles is the distance between Adelaide and Birmingham. Or you can go to the ever so lovely The Wolf down in the JQ, and try six draft beers from Aus-based Pirate Life Brewing Co. There'll also be cans so you can continue living the dream for precisely as long as you desire. The team's pies, cheese and charcuterie will be your happy accompaniment. July 22, between 12pm and 12am.
Your excuse to try Akram's — a rather good Kashmiri kind of deal — who have teamed up with Stirchley Wines for a five-course, paired menu on July 25. Featured brewers include Lost and Grounded, whose Saison d'Avon is to be enjoyed with Kashmiri cod — as well as the not-at-all-German-sounding Gasthauss & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof, who are getting it together with your popadom and pickle round. Veggie options available. Menu; tickets (£35); joy.


Two decades after Private Ryan was saved, we’ve been conditioned to expect World War 2 to be handled with sacral gloves. Director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, of course) here spares the greatest generation any speechifying, delivering instead a film of almost unbearable intensity with absolutely no Brexity jingoism. It feels odd to describe this as minimalist, given the scale of what we see, but minimalist it is – there’s barely any dialogue, zero backstory on any character, and we don’t even see any Germans. Instead, we’re trapped on the beach and on the water with an ensemble democratically split between stars and unknowns who scramble for survival through three converging timelines – there’s a matter-of-fact-ness that feels almost radical, given the subject matter, and in Tom Hardy’s clipped professionalism as a Spitfire pilot, we have a portrait of what real heroism is. F*ck me, this is a masterpiece. Times & trailer


It takes remarkable amounts to get us out of a beer garden during sunshine hours. But into the Custard Factory's new VR gaming suite we did go, and we couldn't be more delighted. Having donned mask, earphones and motion controllers, Longbow was the game and defending a castle through archery our mission. Immediately addictive, the simple sounding scenario has been praised for its precise controls and range of motion by people who know a lot more about VR than us. What we can definitively tell you is that the experience is beam bringing, and second only to the joy of videoing whoever you attend with completing their make believe mission, then using it against them. Get 25% off by entering "MATRIXVR25" at checkout. The Mockingbird is your half-time thirst-quenching neighbour.


It's Champers in London, Lambrusco in Chorley and Sauvignon Blanc in Brum. That's the cities where the highest proportion of each grape variety is sold. And with most of the Sauv B coming from New Zealand, you're probably already thinking on getting a ticket to Hotel Du Vin's kiwi wine dinner, because it's sort of in your blood. You'll try eight exemplary examples of grape juice from the country's key regions, including McKee Vineyard's 2015 Grüner Veltliner from Marlborough (vineyard pictured) — one of two wines you'll contrast while enjoying your starter — stir fried monkfish cheeks and diver scallop, pickled beetroot and peach textures. On August 18, tickets are £79, also including an SB aperitif, dessert wine and canapés, which we just don't think get enough credit in this god damn crazy world.
Venue: Casa di Carlo at 1000 Trades, 16 Frederick St, B1 3HE; website
Choice: Beef cheeks with red wine (£8) Chooser: Richard Pope

Concentrate on the meat dishes is our not-at-all helpful to vegetarians advice when it comes to 1000 Trades latest pop-up, Casa di Carlo. Caps immediately doffed, by the way, to the people behind 1000 Trades, for providing a kitchen and a setting for some of Birmingham's most exciting food purveyors in which to practice their culinary witchcraft. The carnivorous courses from the tapas-style Italian menu were streets ahead of the at times disappointing veg. Sidestep the porcini arancini, for example, and go all in immaculate beef cheeks (pictured). Like a chocolate orange they fell apart with the slightest of prods. Chef Charlie Leggett has experience at Adams, the Wilderness and El Borracho, and his talent shines on the mercurial Madeira and balsamic glazed pork tenderloin with sweet potato mash and the bread-dippingly good chicken thighs in white wine. If you consider yourself a foodie, you're duty bound, if we might be so bold, to support this month-long Italian fling, that comes to a close July 29. Menu        


Our favourite cocktail of the year so far occurred here. It involved whiskey. Our favourite bar snack of the year so far occurred here. It involved pretzels. Our favourite jazz soundtrack of the year so far occurred here. It involved jazz. The next time you want to go for an actually lovely drink, go forth and find out where "here" is, by calling 0121 236 2400.


Bury yourself in 250,000 multi-coloured balls, listening to unashamed measures of pure pop schmoltz. Get gunked and stuck on a Velcro wall, before fairground riding and Prosecco-ing. Not together. In Digbethtown from Sept 21 to 23, tickets are £21.45 inclusive of a glass of bubbly and Mac'n'Cheese. Or subscribe to our good looking li'l sis, Bell & Smokey, for your chance to win six spots and two bottles of Prosecco.  
  • The Killers will be spending a second night in Brum — get tickets to their November 6 & 7 appearances, from £50.40
  • One day. A 100-metre waterslide. Three of your pounds. And you get to go down it twice
  • Speak to people and learn things — tickets for TEDxBrum, taking place at Birmingham Hippodrome on October 15 are now on sale
  • Early bird tix to Culture Cooking are for the bagging. The UK’s largest indoor African and Caribbean food expo is in Digbeth, Sept 29 to Oct 1. There'll be six pop-up restaurants and loads of eventy sorta things
  • Mr & Mrs Creamery opened their first physical store yesterday, and our Dad swears by their cake-ways. In Erdington, you'll also find a music festival on the same street this weekend
  • Ghetto Golf is a thing that is opening at the Custard Factory this September. And based on their current spot, it looks entirely brillo-pads
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"We are told that Herr Hitler has a plan for invading the British Isles... We shall ride out the tyranny of war, if necessary for years. If necessary alone."
- Winston Churchill, after the Dunkirk evacuation
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Andrew Lowry, Tom Cullen

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