Like The Eagle and Ball, The Woodman is a traditional Birmingham pub that has been gutted and completely remodelled. But unlike The Eagle and Ball, The Woodman has kept hold of all it's original charm: stripped wood floors, frosted windows, tiled walls, somewhere to hang your coat and ten brass rimmed hand pumps. But with modern craft beers and bar staff that are less Bet Linch and more Brody Dalle The Woodman is a local for the twenty-first century.
You won't find a John Smiths or a Tetley's at The Woodman. The ten ever changing hand pumps are rotate with a broad range of interesting beers. They don't shy away from more experimental beers and they can miss the mark but with the range they have I've never struggled for a good pint....and sometimes an experiment pays off and you get a surprisingly nice beer.
Last night I went for a Dark Star Hophead. Part of the slew of trendy modern craft breweries (opened in 1994), Brighton based Dark Star never fails to please. A brilliantly refreshing brew. I found the name slightly miss leading because although it has a clearly hopped flavour it is missing that soapiness of many heavily american hopped beers. Instead it is the citrus and floral flavours that are front and central.
Second drink of the evening was an Urban Huntsman, Outlaw Pale Ale. This brewery was new to me but I'm always up for trying something new. It's a West Midlands brewery, this is something else The Woodman do well, supporting local breweries. This was a more traditional hopped beer. American hops, leave a clean taste in the mouth and the grapefruit taste means its got high bitter notes. It's not the most original drink but it does the job.
Like most of the pubs on the Eastside, The Woodman is a mixed bunch. Lecturers who are avoiding the students up in the Eagle and Ball frequent The Woodman in the afternoon and evenings. Later on you find Camra members after something new to try and groups of twenty somethings livening up the joint. You can sit outside on a summers evening and watch the skateboarder on the Eastside Park.
The only downside is the food. With beer this good I feel the food should match. Traditional pub style food is available and in my experience it's average at best. Although they do do an excellent bar snack.
Pick up your game on food Woodman and you might be damn near perfect.