An exciting end to West Midlands GBG21, with two new micropubs in Microland, or north Halesowen/lower Dudley/whatever.

Some lovely contours, and some great names. Mucklow Hill, Hill and Cakemore, Shell Corner. I love walking round places that are a bit indefinable; places that sell pies.

I’m less enamoured by puns for pub names, but Wheelie Thirsty in Old Hill does have the benefit of “good beer“, and I think we can all agree with CAMRA Discourse that “good beer” is an easily definable thing.

Sadly, my triumphant tour was concluded in virtually empty pubs. I know I always moan about places not opening till 4pm, but with the shameful lack of lunchtime drinkers you can see why that might be.

Wheelie Thirsty was welcoming and served a clear pale, but also gave me a significant dilemma early on;

Should I partake of the complimentary black pudding slices on the bar ?“.

I chickened out.

Which left, after a long and exciting walk through industrial estates, to Shell Corner.

What Pub concedes the Clock Inn is “quite interesting”,

but without real ale I have to walk past to the Shell-ter (see what they did there ?)

Micros have moved far from the original Kent model of 3 identical pale beers brewed in garden sheds and a barely disguised hostility to anyone under 50; now you get a normal, welcomimg pub, just smaller, with two beers from regional brewers and the cricket on the telly.

If you can identify those two beers from the top photo, you win the crumbs from the free samosa that a local had left after a party. I left a quid in one of the many charity boxes on the bar.

And then I was done. Not even a Balti to celebrate.


  1. As a shameless lunchtime/afternoon drinker it’s a huge problem. Having said that, on the rare occasions I find myself in a pub after 9, customers seem pretty thin on the ground for the late session. Which just leaves the thin wedge of the traditional after-work surge, and 7-8 pre-dinner tipplers. It’s a wonder any pubs are open at all…

    …and as for bar-top freebie snacks 😱, I think this could be one for the pub historians…

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  2. So many West Midlands posts I’m struggling to keep up – I sense your regret over the missed black pudding opportunity might linger for a while, even with the comfort of a free samosa afterwards. Haven’t done Shell-ter for a while so I wonder if the back room there still has a wartime vibe? I visited the Clock just the other week and rather liked it – there’s almost a ‘canal art’ quality to the signwriting, and I met a cardboard Elvis but did have to make do with the Carling (Pete Allen would be pleased with that). Cheers, Paul

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      1. Meant to say Martin, Fixed Wheel’s new micropub in Cradley Heath is due to open later this month. It’s going to be called the Handle Bar and will be the sister micro to Wheelie Thirsty – could be a pre-emptive in the making there? Cheers, Paul

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  3. A fine effort covering Britain’s finest county! Couldn’t agree more re micros…they are going to be the new estate pubs in five years 👍

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