While it’s fresh in the mind, a report on my valiant attempt to complete Beer Guide Brum today.
A pleasant circular walk from industrial Deritend to the German Christmas Market via the University; what could go wrong ?
I start in BritainBeerMat land, in the industrial estates of Deritend (A), a giant Ian Clarkson hoof over the St Andrews Road terraces. Down by the canal, I spot a ball in the water but it seems to have more in common with the beach ball thrown by Scousers back in 2009.
You’ll know all about the Brum canals having better street art than Venice, and here’s the proof;
For a moment I thought it said Ian and was a homage to his role on the first Velvet Underground album. Or graffiti from visiting Man City fans.
The canal towpath is a little scary at 2pm, rather like the east Manchester canals at 2am, but you quickly come to the shiny new University buildings.
This is the home of the Eagle & Ball (B),which eagle-eyed readers will remember as the pub where I had a tizzy during the big Brum bash back in October.
Back then it was closed when it should have been open (it closes weekends, if you can believe that). So I’d done extensive research this time, employing Columbo to determine exactly when if and when it would serve me a drink.
Facebook confirmed it had closed early last week when it was cold (!), but all looked good. I phoned for good measure, but got through to the University answering machine.
Despite initially trying to enter a fake door, I did eventually gain access.
There were a couple of students eating nachos, always a good sign in the absence of a mobility scooter at the door.
I went to the bar to see if the beer selection had improved from last time I peered through the window;
Now I know I argue against choice, but NO Doom Bar and Nothing ? In the week before Christmas. Real ale only in busy periods and they’re winding down for Christmas, apparently.
In situations like this, I treat the pub as “NRA” and go for something tasty. “Mmmm”, Greene King Key Keg.
I should have had the Bud Light. This pale, fizzy monstrosity (£1.95 a half) was the most tasteless beer I’ve ever drunk. Really.
With decent seating, cheery staff and “Don’t Stop Believin’‘” playing, it felt a nice pub, but a travesty of a Beer Guide entry.
I pressed on to the famous Frankfurt Market (C), stopping at Money Shop to buy some US Dollars. If Simon gets bored of pub life I recommend a tour of Money Shops.
Loads of people carrying 2 litre glasses of something called HB but I don’t reckon was Hofbrau, so I resisted.
I couldn’t resist a £4 bratwurst, though. Not as good as Black Country offal.
Birmingham was heaving, and looked better than I’ve ever seen it.
But the walk back along Digbeth onto Deritend High Street remains, thankfully, as gritty as ever, though interspersed with great art, weird autos and a rare Digbeth pub with real ale.
Inviting as it looked, I’m going to let Ian investigate the Wagon & Horses…