You don’t need an OS Explorer map to work out when you’ve left Birmingham for Worcestershire; the pubs take on a different character as you drop below the A456.
Redditch & Bromsgrove CAMRA have some underrated country pubs, including the Swan and a trio of decent GBG pubs I’ve visited in posh Belbroughton recently. The Guide newbie, and branch Pub of the Year is in the tiny village of Drayton, but no doubt greedy Belbroughton will claim it. More important than it’s POTY status, it was also Mrs RM’s loo stop.
The Robin Hood is open all day, which is rare these days. That might work if you’re an Ember Inn or in a honeypot destination like Bromsgrove, but I wonder how long any rural pub can keep that up.
It was painfully quiet on Monday lunchtime, so it was just as well the barman was so engaging and chatty with us. Miraculously, the Enville Ale was near nectar. I’m no fan of weird ingredients in beers, but the honey here is very subtle. This was a superb pint I’d happily interchange with the Bathams (NBSS 3.5/4).
This was a model smart country pub. No table reservations, proper seating, beer mats on sparkling tables, unpretentious high quality menus, ancient cobwebs under the low beams where I left part of my scalp.
A few old boys wandered in about 3, moaning about scaffolding, the taste of the Carling and dog mess, but were oddly unperturbed by the dreadful music choice (possible Asia B-sides).
A cracker. Never mind Branch POTY, this is a Retired Martin Pub of the Month contender.