One of my venues for catching up with ex-colleagues is the small Staffordshire town of Kinver. It’s only a few miles from the Black Country towns of Wolverhampton and Dudley, with the affluence of the many attractive villages leading out to the Shropshire hills.
Kinver is worth a visit for its wonderful National Trust caves, and some Malvernesque walking trails, but is used by us because it has that pleasant combination of great beer, Indian restaurants and good value B&B
Due to the limited CAMRA branch allocation for Beer Guide entries (separate blog entry needed on that), it only has 1 entry in the new Guide, but our tasting group can vouch for the high quality of the Bathams in the wonderful Plough and Harrow, where the Bitter was as good as I’ve come across it outside the Bull and Bladder. The pub is a multi-roomed gem, typical of the Black Country’s finest brewery.
Our new favourite restaurant, the Kinver Tandoori, can’t be described in words, but just provides simple excellence and grease-free curries in an unpretentious setting. It also allows us to bring our own alcohol in from Vino, the wonderful off-licence opposite. The range here was one of the best I’ve seen, with the pleasant owner telling me he collects from breweries like Kernel in person, and clearly knowing his stuff.