“Those who attain any excellence, commonly spend life in one pursuit; for excellence is not often gained upon easier terms”.
Samuel Johnson, on completing the 1770 Good Beer Guide.
What a wonderfully underrated little place Lichfield is. There’s not much to do, but its streets are made for walking. Mostly into the back of slow shoppers.
You’ll have seen the cathedral, but the half-timbered businesses along Dam Street are the real gems. Dam Fine Barbers attempt at Amsterdam chic is commendable.
The shops are much more interesting than those in Sutton; you can get five different types of sourdough in Hindleys Bakeries, which is almost Cambridge levels. There’s a proper market too, with a statue of someone with a highly tenuous connection to the city.
WHO IS THIS AND WHY IS HE COMMEMORATED ?
There’s certainly a healthy collection of proper pubs in Lichfield, though disappointingly few of those are in the Beer Guide now. That’s no criticism, local CAMRA folk know much more about beer quality than I do.
Other factors may be at play apart from the micropub
fad explosion; I couldn’t help notice how many beers Joule’s Duke of York has on now. Pale and Slumbering Monk are all I need, thanks. When there’s that many on I might well avoid the cask lottery by going for the Green Monkey lager.
Just like the red Bass triangle, the red Joules cross is the symbol of quality, and this is a classic town pub. Pleasingly, the Duke was packed with drinkers, which is telling. No place in the Guide for the marketplace Earl of Lichfield Arms either (sob), and that was also packed with an earthier type of boozer.
But there is another new micropub, right next to the ancient Whippet.
Or so I thought. “This is NOT a micropub” screams Beerbohm, just like Macclesfield’s classic proclaiming “This is NOT a free house” for years. (Until it was).
And Beerbohm is distinctly pubby, perhaps with more in common with Leek’s Den Engel than it’s excellent Herne-compliant neighbour. For a start, it’s got Whim as a slightly challenging house beer (NBSS 3). The customers aren’t your usual either.
QUIZ – WHAT CAN YOU DO IN THIS PUB THAT YOU CAN’T IN THE WHIPPET ? CLUE IN THE PHOTO
I walked the hour to Wall, worth it for the slightly elevated view back to the Cathedral alone. The pub at the end will be well down my year-end list though. This was the extent of the seating for drinkers in the Trooper.
I don’t know where to start;
The Pedigree (£3.60 a pint) was near undrinkable, a real first-out-the-pumps beer. There were no other drinkers, or diners by the look of it, so no condiment-based hilarity either. Just as well I’m a big Prosecco fan…..
Unlimited Prosecco and jam jar cocktails. “Bliss it was in that time to be alive”.