I mentioned as a footnote in my latest blog that we had visited the Beacon Hotel in Sedgley on our recent Black Country trip. This pub is an old friend of ours, but I was taken aback to learn from our leader that we had last visited in in October 2009. Gosh it didn't seem anything like as long ago. Doesn't time fly?
Much has been written about this pub and I recommend for those that wish to know a bit about its history to read Jeff Evans splendid piece here. We entered the pub at about twenty five past two. Now this would not normally be a key piece of information, but here in the Black Country where they follow a different path in so many ways, it was important and it brought memories back. We had just squeezed in before the pub closed for the afternoon at half past two. We quickly ducked into the parlour and ordered beer from the odd servery hatch with its sections facing out into each of the separate drinking areas, pausing only order pints of Pale and to specify straight glasses as opposed to the handled jugs preferred here by the majority, not as a result of any modernity or nod to hipsters, but because they always have done. Well at least in recent memory.
We sat at the corner bench seating nearest the door and servery and promptly at two thirty, the shutters came down. The pub was pretty busy, probably around thirty or more customers, all drinking beer on a Wednesday afternoon in a quiet part of the world, on the main Birmingham to Wolverhampton Road. Unlike us, they all seemed to be local and quietly supped up and drifted away. The barmaid emerged and grabbed many handled glasses in a bunch and disappeared with them.
As the pub emptied, we supped up too and left, me wondering how many pubs these days would call time on a busy pub at two thirty on a Wednesday. Not many I reckon, but that's the Black Country.
The very nice barmaid allowed me to take a photo of her with all the empties on the basis that I didn't include her face in the photo.
The other photo is of the closed servery. You have to trust me on the half past two bit.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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