Only fair, after bigging up Bathams, to hold up Holdens as an example of a consistently good brewery and pub operator.

OK, they are to Bathams what Sam Smiths are to, ooh, Ossett. Their pubs a bit less beery, their flagship brew rather less renowned.

But they actually OWN two of the finest pubs in the country. Certainly two of the best pubs next to a station.

Great Western, Wolverhampton

Yes, I know most folk really visit the Great Western for the Bathams and the pork baps. But I’m not “most folk” and always go for the Special.

Codsall Station

The codgers started their Big Day Out in Shifnall here a year ago. Some of us could have stayed here all day.


A large part of the appeal of Holdens rests on that presentation.

Look at this one from that Shifnal trip at Jasper’s.


The Golden Glow, like Banks’s Mild, looks great in aerial shots.

I believe there was a major international incident at the bar here as “Bitter means Golden Glow” had become the new “Bitter means John Smiths Smooth“.


Unlike Bathams, you can expect Golden Glow to pop up in at least half a dozen new Guide entries this year. It’s rarely the best beer on the bar, but often the safest bet.

Last year on my Dudley dawdle it proved the beer of the month.

Chapel House, Lower Gornal


The Chapel House had young people, live Jam covers and a rare and blissful sense of community on a Sunday night.

I’ve even seen Holdens pop up regularly in micropubs, as micros become more like community pubs and less like beer exhibitions run by blokes for their mates.

George & Dragon, Gnosall was a good example.

Sadly the Watneys was off, but the baps rolls cobs were a winner.


That looks a bit end of the barrel” said the Landlord  “D’you want me to change it ?”

That’s how you do it.

22 thoughts on “A HUG FOR HOLDENS

  1. Aye, that’s how you do it, and that’s how you should do timeless pub interiors too – outstanding stuff, quarry tiles and a clock with Roman numerals.

    What more could you ask?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Etu,
        Yes, Holdens is a hundred-and-five-years-old and unique in surviving from those brewers founded over ‘three score years and ten’ from 125 years ago to 55 years ago.
        I remember Holdens’s ‘Black Country Mon’ logo from their advert on the back page of Saturday’s Express and Star several years before I first drank their beer in the Miners Arms, Lower Gornal in June 1974.


  2. When I’m bored at work (which, frankly, is most of the time), I torture myself with pub porn on Google Streetview. You can actually go inside Ma Pardoe’s. Much of the torture involves Batham’s and Holden’s. When all the malarkey is at an end, I shall venture from my Zetlandic exile and purify my soul with these draughts of paradise. Until then, it’s Tennent’s, I’m afraid.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. In my recently closed Shropshire micropub we regularly featured Golden Glow which was readily available. Always well received. Bathams was never an option. On the rare occasions we were offered it, the wholesale price would have meant a 30/40p per pint premium.
    Pretty much the same pricing applied to Landlord, so I never bothered with either.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Martin,
    It’s the George and THE Dragon, coincidently across the road from where I was based for ten years and owned by George who previously leased Punch’s Horns across the other road.

    If Batham’s can shift a hogshead a day in their busier pubs they don’t much need the free trade hence the 30/40p per pint premium. And I for one don’t begrudge paying 30p to 40p a pint more for that quality.

    It’s no surprise that Golden Glow is now Holden’s best seller based as it is on Bathams Best Bitter.
    Likewise Tribute is St Austell’s best seller based as it is on Timothy Taylors Landlord.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Martin,
        Yes, a proper George and wife Lynne doesn’t mind being “the Dragon”.
        There were terrible tragedies nearly a year ago concerning two of the village’s other pubs.


  5. “Yes, I know most folk really visit the Great Western for the Bathams and the pork baps.”

    In the middle photo above I see they have Chili Nuts. You know that you can get fur lined jockstraps, right?

    “The Golden Glow, like Banks’s Mild, looks great in aerial shots.”

    You attached your camera to a drone?

    “I believe there was a major international incident at the bar here as “Bitter means Golden Glow” had become the new “Bitter means John Smiths Smooth“.”


    “Unlike Bathsms,”

    You lost me at ‘Bathsms’. 😉

    “I’m even Holdens pop up regularly in micropubs”

    Say what?

    “That’s how you do it.”

    Indeed! (thumbs up)



  6. I’m pretty sure I drank the entire range of Holden’s draught beers when I went to the Great Western. Their Black Country Bitter was my favourite beer of all those I had in the few days I spent going round pubs in Wolverhampton, Sedgley and Brierley Hill back in 2012. The piece I recall reading that captured the Great Western best was on the blog of the late Richard Coldwell, although sadly that doesn’t seem to be accessible now.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Your post brought back happy memories. My first four pints of 2010 were at Codsall Railway Station – one on new year’s day (Golden Glow) when booking a table for my birthday meal the next day (when I had Holdens Black Country Bitter and two pints of Essington IPA – I’m not remembering the beers but looked at old Facebook posts and found I’d posted details).

    Liked by 1 person

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