“That’s not Carling !” I can hear the pedants shout.
But I bet Peter Allen, South Birmingham Carling Drinker of the Year 1996, spotted it, presented in misleading glassware aiming to cash in on Coors sudden popularity amongst hipsters.
I’m surprised my faithful army of pedants didn’t jump in to shout “Oi, you’re in Tipton, NOT Dudley” this morning. I can only assume they’re not investing enough time to keep up with the blog.
Mrs RM gets the pick of bijou accommodation on her travels, and paid the extra tenner for her driver to stay the night at Oldbury Ibis Suites, just off Junction 2 of the excitingly slow M5.
This Ibis is very much a step up from the usual Travelodge or faded country hotel, offering an escort from reception to the lifts and a free paper bag of sweets. I’d rather have speedy WiFi, Ibis.
And I’d quite like some pedestrian crossings to enable you to make the theoretical 11 minute journey across three dual carriageways. Stafford Paul would cope fine.
What Pub says it serves cask, which I confess I assumed would be something mainstream like Doom Bar or Tiny Rebel Marshmallow Stay Puft.
Sadly/thankfully, new owners have replaced that troublesome cask with beers that folk actually drink.
I really should have had Guinness. Or Thatchers. But I’d never had Carling. Honest.
Mrs RM went for HopHouse, thinking it was some sort of craft keg. The branding is a bit of a giveaway.
It’s a lads pub, the stock entry in Beer Mat’s blog, and all the better for it. Four lads at the bar, two in the plush seats, loads of coming and going to the smoking area, and a barmaid who spent more time at the fruit machine than behind the bar.
The feel is a a cross between a Labour Club and our local curry house, but that’s OK as we’ve come for the food.
And the mixed grill was stunning.
If the job of the Carling is to cool your mouth when you come across a Naga pepper, it does that. But Mrs RM had the better deal.
If you were an easily shocked Guardian reading family from Esher, staying in the nearby Holiday Inn while visiting Cadbury World, you might find the Stores a bit rough and ready. We thought it was great.
By the way, I let local CAMRA know about the switch to keg; it says the entry was updated the day I sent my feedback. But looking, WhatPub still proclaims cask. Perhaps keg really is the new cask.