I’ve been a bit critical of Black Country Ales pubs on here recently.  Their pubs in Halesowen, Worcester, Leicester and even the Welly in Brum seemed to have far too many beers on for their trade.

In fact, whenever I see someone defend them,they always start “It’s a great pub, they always have a dozen beers on“.  There you go then.


Beer Board & The Dog

But their pubs are almost uniformly good, full of character and characters. The two in Walsall and Bearwood, particularly, are just classic town boozers, matching Joules for pub furnishings.

And credit where it’s due, revitalising tired pubs and providing a platform for their own excellent beers (or at least they are excellent where they sell).

In a way, they’re the exact opposite of the giant Ember Inns chain, where beer is consistent and character nonexistent.

Bicycle instead of mobility scooter

Burton 4.PNGSo our trip to The Dog, Burton’s branch Pub of the Year was always going to be instructive, as well as vital to my wellbeing after a nightmare journey.

It’s a corker of a pub, all nooks and crannies and pub life, full of paint-splattered tradesmen, old boys and post-work couples.


Mrs RM found a table where her feet would touch the floor and her eyes could survey the breadth of the pub,

Mrs RM’s view

and asked me for some evil craft keg.

I didn’t see that 9%
Seduced by the pump

That strategy lasted the ten minutes it took her to down the Tiny Rebel Puft, which rather dimmed her critical faculties.

Rare trip where I’m not disappointed by Pig on the Wall

I’d opted for the last beer pulled, which happened to be the Oakham Bishop’s Farewell, which happened to be nectar (NBSS 4.5). Not for the first time in the history of Oakham. My notes say “sherbert” and “Sonoma“, which mean nothing now.

This is nearly pub heaven, folks

Not much beats a great beer served by cheery staff in a bustling pub with bench seating.

With Mrs RM’s observational capacities dimmed, I had to take matters into my own hands and chat to some folk. Two old boys were drinking the Bass.  I hadn’t see the Bass.

Is the Bass here good, then ?”

Oh, yes, and the Elms

Even better in the Conservative Club,you know.  Steve Davis was there the other week (snookering rather than DJ-ing)”

Can we go in the Conservative Club, Mrs C ?”

We couldn’t.




  1. I can’t say I’ve ever had any examples of their own beers that fall into the category of “excellent” or anywhere near. BFG is a very pale imitation of Batham’s Best and Holden’s Golden Glow.


  2. I bring you good news from Ember Inns – after advice from the Head Brewer at Black Sheep (who provide the Ember Pale Ale) – all of their pubs will now have a maximum of four real ales on at any one time (down from six previously!) So far it seems to be working for them, as the gaffer I spoke to said they’d sold more with four on than when it was six!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Must admit I tend to think of BCA pubs as not so much having too many beers so much as seeming to be too small for the number of handpumps (Lych Gate anyone?). If they were all Spoons sized then fine, but they generally seem to be quite small. Having said that, I can’t say I’ve ever been in one where the beer wasn’t, at worst, acceptable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In Walsall at Pretty Bricks, I had a Pig on the Wall that was very good. Dave and I both had one at Black Country Arms and it was good but not as good as the one at Pretty Bricks. We saw BFG but did not have one. Not sure why! Will try it next time I see it.


  5. Your visit must have been expected- the landlord can be nasty and bitter, and is more interested in talking to his buddies than serving people who are just nipping in to try the place. I have personally seen him belittle staff in front of customers.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Enjoy your blog, what’s not to like about a lifelong pub crawl !
    Looked up your reference to Worcester pubs. Good to see you enjoyed the Imperial Tavern. As a lover of pub history you’ll be pleased to know it’s reverted to its earlier (original )name. I know because it’s where I learnt to pull pints 45 years ago. Only Banks then, mild for our dads and bitter for the lads!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Beer Board & The Dog”

    And here’s me thinking that was the nickname of the fellow on the TV reflected in the beer board (and my guess would have been something to do with footie). 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

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