The pub blogging market is getting as crowded as the
home micro-brew one these days, what with Pubmeister and now BritishBeerMat starting blogs this year to entertain us with tales from Littleover and Lund.
To stand out from the crowd you therefore need random pub cats (even shy ones),
or the stirring of a hornet’s nest, or controversy around the pronunciation of obscure English market towns. Like Alcester.
I pronounce it “Owster”, as that helps with rhyming, and “Al-Ses-ter” sounds clumsy.
It was a good place for my latest “Craft and Curry with Charles” evening, even if that craft was likely to be Goff’s, and Alcester unlikely to provide me with a dozen new GBG ticks.
A mile north of town, King’s Court Hotel provided us instead with “Crossroads” style motel accommodation with breakfast for £40 on a Wednesday, and the most overpriced menu seen outside Brunning & Price. We resisted the probable warm Marston’s at the on-site “pub”, attractive though it looked. It’ll be in the Guide next year, no doubt.
The hotel clientele ran from minor Bromsgrove businessmen to Redditch ramblers (wearing far too many layers for a hot Indian Summer).
Charles and I rambled the 20 minutes into town, passing approximately 300 family dining pubs, and the largest secondary school in Christendom which was obviously providing their custom. Every other building was a garden centre or Farrow & Ball shop.
But a quiet gorgeous English market town is a thing of beauty as sunset approaches, with hidden squares reminiscent of an undiscovered Franconian village.
Even if there is only so much black-and-white timber anyone can bear.
A decade ago I thought it a handsome town, improved by 3 pints in an hour of ticking the 3 Beer Guide pubs of uniform quality while Mrs RM bought phone charging equipment (I presume, they constitute 85% of our household spend).
Just the one pub survives, and despite Charles’s protestations I steered him towards it, away from a great looking Everards house in the market place.
Still, Charles enjoyed stopping to gaze through people’s windows as much as I did.
For a Wednesday night in mid September, the Turk’s Head was buzzing, and more than the standard 10% were drinking the ale.
So busy we had to take pints out, past the narrow dining room, into the fluorescent garden. This was no hardship as the quality of drunken banter was a notch up on the Public.
An exceptionally well-managed town pub selling the local(ish) HPA and Salopian, the reliable foreigners (Landlord) and something from BrewDog that wasn’t Punk IPA. Sadly, no Goff’s Jouster on this occasion (does it still exist ?).
As it was in 2007, beer quality was top notch (NBSS 4), and we stayed for a couple rather than exploring the reasons why the competition had dropped out of the Guide, but left before Charles got thrown out for innuendo offences.
Upmarket pub toilets now comprise brewery signs apparently.
Ignoring competition from OrangeMabel Tearoom, we finished at the “Bring-Your-Own” Romna II Balti next to Waitrose. The “Staff curry” was of a good standard, the lack of drunken behaviour from other customers a bit of a let-down. We may book Stourbridge for our next trip, but of course their new GBG pubs are bound to be shut.
The views on the stagger home were magical.