Birmingham – Craven Arms

I am very reliant on the Good Beer Guide to find me decent pubs in areas that I don’t know and this was another excellent suggestion from the book (or app in my case) in central Birmingham. As is evident from the above signage, this was once a Holders pub and the building dates from the mid-nineteenth century. It’s now operated by Black Country Ales who have a small chain of pubs, most of which are located in the Midlands.

There’s a mixture of old and new in terms of the decoration, with a traditional feel to the pub’s interior, but with a wide range of different beers on. You could never really design a new pub to look like this with that wallpaper and carpet combination, but I like it in this building.

Service was friendly, engaging and warm, with the beers clearly visible on the front bar. There were also monitors in the pub which showed what beers were available and I noticed a couple of other options that I would have liked. It’s always good in my view to leave a pub thinking that there was more to try, it encourages me to want to go back.

I went for two of the pub’s staple beers from Black Country Ales, the Pig on the Wall on the left and the Fireside Bitter on the right. Both were well-kept, at the appropriate temperature and had some flavours of note to them. I accidentally ordered some Mini Cheddars to go with them, which I felt complemented the taste of the beers perfectly.

The pub gets very good reviews on-line and most are along the theme of this being a hidden gem that it’s worth the walk from the city centre to get to. I thought that this was a well-run pub which I had expected to be a little busier, but these are challenging times. The service was friendly, the pub was spotlessly clean, the environment was relaxing and there were plenty of beers to choose from. All rather lovely and I’m very definitely pleased that this is in the Good Beer Guide.