The Annual Awards post is always the hardest to compile; the fear of making it too long, or missing out something vital or witty.

So I’m pleased to put that one to bed and get back to the diary, even if it returns us to,

7th December 2022.

The number of pub visits ticked past 900 on the 30th, which sounds a lot but isn’t a record, and was helped by days like this is Stafford. Ten pubs in five hours in a couple of miles walk.

Quorate intact, we walked from the station to the Bird in Hand, a pub I really hadn’t want to revisit after some disappointing beer in 2021 (and who wants to keep going back to the same pub, Ugh).

In truth, it was the only place in town serving what you’d consider a normal lunchtime menu, and disappointingly some of our group insist on eating during a pub crawl.

As it was we stuck to the cobs (aka baps) anyway, This is how to place crisps in a cheese and onion cob, folks.

As a beer sommelier (retired) I was able to expertly match it with the Pig on the Wall from the usual excessive Black Country range,

and I don’t know what had changed since last year but the beer quality was a bullesye.

Well, NBSS 4. Perhaps just volume; the Bird was packed, possibly with early December parties, and totally redeemed from a year ago. The Black Country Ales pub lottery in a nutshell.

Will and I left the Mudgies to compare tasting notes while we nipped in the poshest bar in town,

via the Ancient House,

and a twee hotel lobby full of souvenirs.

Again, full of gentlefolk and a few commercial travellers, NONE of whom had any interest in the two cask beers.

As Paul Mudge so sagely notes, punters like to see a beer they recognise on the bar, so why stock two ales from a Stourbridge microbrewery. Not really local, probably not dirt cheap, and not selling fast enough to be better than OK (2.5).

We had to sit on those irritating high stools, too, which never helps the mood.

On the other hand, Mudgie could have his artisanal fish finger butty for only £11 here so I think we missed an opportunity.

Will made notes in his notebook, we caught up with the Mudgies in the Market Vaults, where they were playing U2.

But despite that crime against humanity, was the pub THAT bad. Find out later. I’m worn out after 400 words.

21 thoughts on “STAFFORD CRAWLING PART 2

  1. Happy New Year, Martin.

    I’m obviously not up on culinary trends: what does G, D, F, N, E, MU, SD mean after the dishes on that menu?


      1. “They make this week’s subject concerning the widespread issues customers expertise with doodads as a result of understanding the restrictions of doodads is usually step one to deciding to improve to a full-featured doohickey. ”

        Eh ?


  2. “Punters like to see a beer they recognise on the bar” is probably true in most pubs but not most micropubs.
    “Artisanal fish finger butty for only £11”. Pub food prices seem to have increased by about half over the past three years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d say an increase of a third to half since 2019 is about right, though if you join me for a pie (on a plate) and a pint in the Fat Cat in Sheffield in April you may be pleasantly surprised.


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