Mrs RM joined my monthly Midlands pub crawl with Charles in Kidderminster, adding a further boost to their Monday night economy. Our B&B owner (Bewdley Hill,very clean) was rather astonished that 3 people would drive from East Anglia to Kiddy and not look at the steam trains, but the Guest Book in the room suggested a passing acquaintance with the town’s top pubs.
Having visited Bewdley and Bridgnorth last year, there is a risk we’ll run out of places close to Charles’s office in Brierley Hill. I guess we could always try Brierley Hill itself, sneaking sleeping bags and camp fires into Merry Hill.
I know Kiddy quite well, but the new street art in town took me by surprise;
If that was in Croydon, someone would tear it off the wall and sell it for £250 in the market. Last year I found some great paintings of the Chuckle Brothers here; it’s that sort of place, as Simon Everitt would say.
I’d chosen the B&B closest to the new Guide pub. That’s how kind I am to Mrs RM. Unluckily, the Weavers Real Ale House in Park Lane shares the exact same name as another Guide pub by the station, in a unique partnership with Wyre Forest Council aimed at confusing Simon. It took several attempts to get all three of us successfully to the start of the crawl.
We found a Black Country gem, even if Kiddy isn’t officially the Black Country. Mrs RM loved it, and kindly ate Charles’s crisps for him so they wouldn’t get cold.
Mrs RM has the advantage of decent hearing, having avoided Motorhead and The Fall gigs in her youth. She could therefore discern conversation centred on the resizing of a JPEG and the sexing of a dog called Holly. If I’ve got that the wrong way round she’ll correct me.
Real fires, cheap cobs and pork pies, bar mats, bench seating, bawdy banter. What more could you ask for ? Well, the Three Tuns was a tiny bit average, but the Woodcote Manor IPA was superb.
On the walk into a deserted town we passed not a soul, and the first of my return visits was due to shut at 7pm.
The Swan inadvertently provided the evening entertainment, as an over-emotional customer forced an extremely competent landlord to call the police. I’d never been in a pub when the police were called before, and I’m a man of the world, I’ve been to the Maidenhead Conservative Club.
I have no memory of my earlier visit to the Swan, a plain town pub catering for the shops and serving cheap lunchtime food. I guess the Baron of Beef is the Cambridge equivalent, though at least here you get decent beer from Bewdley, a soundtrack of The Darts and Starship, and a sense of danger.
Oh, and a loyalty card, which I accepted; they’re doing two Proseccos for a fiver at the moment.
Despite already having got through three packets of Pipers Tomato crisps, there was a sudden clamour for curry. That’s what danger does to you. Being cultural, we stopped on the way to admire the Kiddy music heritage trail.
Now the Seven Stars is a wonderful pub, in my view, but hard to photograph, particularly when the
victims subjects faces are covered with curry. Yes, this is one of those pubs where you eat your own takeaway.
We had a great time. Perhaps the Chicken Dhansak from Cinnamon wasn’t quite top-draw, but it was better than the last effort in Stockport and an absolute bargain.
Few pubs, let alone Indian restaurants, have this much character. That’s helped by a superb smoking area that draws in characterful locals, and top staff. I presume the staff chose a soundtrack of “We’ll Meet Again“, Brotherhood of Man B-sides (Charles is an expert), George Formby and Hawkwind. Even Dulwich isn’t that hip yet.
One chap at the bar said “Welcome to Kiddy“, another “See you later guys“. I didn’t want to leave, but we had craft beer to find. That was just through the Hendrix Underpass.
Well we practically had to swim through the flooded underpass (I hope it was rain),but the steamed-up windows of the second Weavers warmed our hearts.
After a night of false trails, troublemakers, and Vera Lynn, only one thing could seal the deal for Kiddy as a great pub town. The pub quiz.
I’m not a fan of quizzes, despite once beating a Weakest Link contestant in a contest in Sardinia that saw me win two pints of Fosters in 2002.
Luckily we were too late to join in, so focused on annoying the serious folk by shouting “David Cameron” . Quite a few answers did seem to be David Cameron, mind.
Actually, no-one was taking it that seriously. The answer to how Theresa May summed up Brexit in three words is apparently – “F**k the Midlands“. No,I don’t understand either.
Mrs RM worked out we would have won if we knew anything about Saturday Night TV. I’m rather glad we don’t.
The most startling thing about this Weavers was the number of dark beers being drunk, the one below (from somewhere near Dudley) being startlingly good, but Key Keg at sensible prices from Fownes and Fixed Wheel also impressed.
We know when we’ve had enough, and the new micro was (obviously) closed anyway. This was a classic pub crawl, with three contenders for my Top 100 pubs. Beat that, Brierley Hill.
Come to Kiddy when they’re playing at home and you can have the best cottage pie in the country as well.