My last Black Country tick in a whirlwind weekend was another of those Black Country Pubs I both love and loathe.
Undoubtedly unpretentiously pubby, they sometimes spoil things by an excess of handpumps, particularly mid-week. And their excellent own beers seem neglected in favour of a long line of guests, neatly displayed on a big scoreboard (yawn).
But they seem to go from strength to strength, taking on some classic ale houses in places like Halesowen, and now bravely moving into the suburbs of West Bromwich, some distance from The Hawthorns or IKEA.
I’ve been to some quite suburban pubs at 3pm midweek recently; who would trek out to the Three Horseshoes for a pint of Pig ?
Answer: loads of people. In big and small groups. Smartly dressed professors and scruffs me). And frankly, it’s a great place for a cheapish pint and a chinwag. OK, most of them looked retirees (nothing wrong with that), but plenty of pubs fail to attract gentlefolk away from the telly.
A few blokes at the bar, but I’d guess two dozen dotted around the room. Bar the odd cob, entirely wet trade too.
A much reduced range of cask, and some beers you’ve heard of like Betty Stoggs alongside the BCA range. Tellingly, as many ciders as beers on the bar.
A lovely hum of conversation, none of it about Brexit or the Baggies, which is all you want to hear. The Pig was decent if not life-changing, but that hardly matters, does it ?