Getting exciting now, isn’t it ? Where will Norfolk feature ? Or Fife ? Or Cambs ?


You probably guessed West Midlands would be there, on account of Wolves alone. It’s the best place to live in the UK, after all.

Besides being the best place to drink Banks’s,


and the home of cheap, delicious pub grub,


it’s also home to one of our top museums. And ornate pubs.


Besides the Stile, Posada and Great Western, the West Mids does have other cathedrals;


I left it late to cough up the £6 to visit the new Coventry Cathedral, an all-time bargain.

Like Cov, Birmingham gets a bad rap for from folk who like everything to have been built between 1649 and 1909.


The introduction of the Urban Maze (aka new New Street Station) has added immeasurably to the pleasure of visiting Brum.

Brummies like BeerMat know that real beauty lies within, as the Beer & Pubs Forum found out on a memorable day out in Digbeth before the 2018 World Cup semi-final.

The Anchor was used to the sight of #PubMen invading the still of the pub at 3pm on a weekday to score halves of pale bitter, and greeted us like old friends. Taytos, the Cure and ornate mirrors.

I reckon that Day Out was as good as it gets unless the Southworths are buying you pints of Bass in Leek.

On the other side of town the Jewellery Quarter is where you go for groundbreaking art installations like “Uncollected Rubbish”.


and one of the best mix of GBG entries anywhere in the Guide, including this eponymous Black Country cracker.


But let’s end in West Bromwich, where crafty favourite The Bromwic goes from strength to strength.

But save your tea for The Vine near the Hawthorns, a ground where City always won after a trip to the indoor barbecue washed down with Golden Glow.

Of course, there IS another Black Country beer you might have heard of..

32 thoughts on “TOP 10 COUNTIES – No.7 – WEST MIDLANDS

  1. I’m enjoying your top ten counties blogs, Martin.

    “The introduction of the Urban Maze (aka new New Street Station) has added immeasurably to the pleasure of visiting Brum.” So enjoyable, in fact, that it’s possible to stay there for hours on end without really meaning to.

    Thanks for the reminder of our Digbeth crawl in July 2018. Seems like another century rather than only two years ago. Is that a photo of me paying for my beer with cash? Something I’ve only done once since 20 March this year. And before anyone says that’s typical, I have in fact been using my debit card instead.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My only question on this county was where it would land on your list. The pubs and locations are so great and then you throw Bathams on top of it; What a winner. A great county to base yourself in on a beer trip. So many great pubs to visit.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If I used more than 400 odd words I’d have raved about the canal walks and industrial heritage, too.
      Some of the best bits of countryside round here are in Staffordshire (Kinver) and Worcestershire though.


  3. The funny thing about the West Mids is…

    …I cut my drinking teeth in the unspoilt backstreet pipe and rough shag boozers of Leicester, and for years thought that us East Midlanders had quite a good beer scene considering. It’s only looking back that I now realise that most of this vibrant smorgasbord of Best Bitters, Dark Milds and Bass came from Staffs and the West Mids, and most of the East Mids fare was from Nottingham so strictly speaking ‘Northern’. Even the Everards was brewed in Burton back then (and all the better for it).

    I’m guessing now, but did the East Mids come in at 11!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. For sure, though in Leicesters favour I would say that when on form the Hoskins Bitter from the old Beaumanor Brewery (and it wasn’t always on form) was the match of the Bathams…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’ll be lucky, the Beaumanor Brewery has been closed for quite a few years. The Ale Wagon has reopened recently for the Hoskins & Oldfield family beers, a great pub regardless if you should find yourself in Leicester

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Mark,
        I remember when Hoskins only had one pub, the Red Lion in Market Bosworth.
        And when Everards was brewed in Burton and it was all keg until they introduced Old Original.


    1. Walsall more than worth a mention, it’s better than Wolverhampton any day of the week 😋
      To add to the breweries , Backyard have come along in the last 10 years and have gone straight to the top in my book. Based on Brownhills (no that’s not Staffordshire) they go from strength to strength.
      Another Walsall brewery AJ’s ales also worth a mention.


  4. Loving these Top 10 counties posts.

    The West Midlands has certainly moved on since my 6 year stint in Birmingham (1982 – 1988). Then it was either an M&B pub serving Mild, Springfield Bitter and Brew 11, or an Ansells pub selling Mild, Ansells Bitter and Tetley Bitter. The Tetley’s being the inferior type brewed in Warrington. Oh yes there was one Courage pub (The Turks Head), it served Courage Directors which was just headache brew.

    Having said that there were stand out pubs such as the Woodman on New Canal Street which were fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Few people speak well of Birmingham from their memories in the ’80s. I think I first visited in 1992 when a very central Balti house introduced us to proper food, but didn’t last until 1993 due to inspectors finding a pair of knickers in the kitchen. We still reminisce fondly about Balti knickers. Probably Life After Football knows more.


  5. not forgetting the Black Eagle on Factory Road in Hockley, in 2000 we were happy with Ansells mild and bitter and excursions to the Wheatsheaf in West Brom for Holdens.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “It’s the best place to live in the UK, after all.”

    Close to the Spa; far enough away so as not to be tainted with ‘red itch’; and it has a famous Mountie just to the southwest (Dudley – Do-right). What’s not to like?

    “It’s the best place to live in the UK, after all.”

    The sign says ‘award winning pork pies’ but that looks like Baps to me to the right.

    “Taytos, the Cure and ornate mirrors.”

    That sounds like some sort of Masonic ritual.

    “On the other side of town the Jewellery Quarter is where you go for groundbreaking art installations like “Uncollected Rubbish””

    Sigh. That could almost be true.

    “where crafty favourite The Bromwic goes from strength to strength.”

    They can forgo the ‘ladies’ icon as the over saturation in pink gives it away. 😉

    “Of course, there IS another Black Country beer you might have heard of..”

    Bull! 🙂



  7. I’d be a bit nervous about ordering one of those “pork pies”: the quotation marks seem to imply that some other, probably inferior, ingredients have gone into making them!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Another fine canal county as well…so it’d be No.2 on my list…but I don’t get out as much as you do!

    I look forward to the places that rank higher for my future reference!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “the Urban Maze (aka new New Street Station)” must be fro using the escalators at the ‘A’ (south) end of the platforms. Use the ones at the ‘B’ (north) end and it’s perfectly straightforward – and you’re near the post Office Vaults.

    Liked by 1 person

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