The pubs in Wolves were ticking over at lunchtime, but I’ve a real nervousness about the health of our more rural pubs these days. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, open at 4pm if you’re lucky, and subject to unannounced closures.
Wolverhampton was all about revisiting proper boozers, but my two newbies on the edge of Oswestry took me back to the Beer Guide staples; gastropubs and brewery taps/micros.
Starting with the Queens Head in the eponymous village by the Montgomery Canal (no, I didn’t swim it).
It’s the start of the Easter holidays, the car park is full, it’s a dining pub which will surely have enough turnover to serve the local Stonehouse beers in good nick ?
The Station Bitter looks OK. It wasn’t vinegar. It was just warm and tasteless (NBSS 1.5). A shame, as the bar was smart and traditional (all the families were in the conservatory), and the menu appealed. Failing to find a pot plant inside, I took the beer outside, left it on the table, and made a runner.
Surely I’d get the beer as intended at the Stonehouse Brewery Tap, in a farm next to an exciting industrial estate that also houses Munchies Diner and FindASaw.com.
Perhaps I’m not made out for this beer blogging world; I just can’t see what’s exciting about small modern identikit breweries.
Or small single room tasting bars with hops and diagrams showing how beer is made on the walls.
It was OK,it was OK (Dexy’s reference for you there). A bit cooler and chewier, perhaps NBSS 3. I’ve had much better Stonehouse beer in a proper pub.
But tellingly, I made no notes. I’d stood at the bar for 5 minutes while someone came from the factory to serve me (politely, but without any chat). No-one else was around, there was nothing to do but drink my OK beer and move on.
No doubt, if you came with a group of mates from Shrewsbury in a mini-bus and drunk them dry, it’d be great.
Anyway, on to the micro pub in the treehouse.