We popped out for a few pints to The Midland last night. It's in Bearwood, which involves jumping in an Uber but it's well worth the trip.
It's one of three real ale pubs in Brum run by the Black Country Brewery, including The Wellington in the city centre and The Craven Arms near the Mailbox. In my opinion it's the best. Unlike it's, perhaps better known, sister in town I've never struggled for a seat in The Midland. While The Welly can be unmanageably busy on on a Friday evening The Midland is bustling but breathable, with a real mix of young and old, couples and groups and old fellas propping up the bar (on bar stools none the less) striking up conversation with anyone who'll listen. The one thing everyone has in common is enthusiasm for a proper drink! Real ales and ciders are plentiful and ales are rotated regularly- you can try something new every time you go (last nights ale list can be seen above). And these guys know how to take care of their beers, I've never had a bad pint. They'll also do you a paddle of three schooners so you can taste a wider range before buying a full pint.
Last night we went for two paddles between the two of us, which covered about half of the ales on offer. The staff were really helpful in making sure we knew which drinks were which and giving us a wide range. My particular favourite was the 4 T's Pale Ale. I tend to love a hoppy or citrusy pale ale but this was unusually fruity, almost like blackcurrants.
The Midland does have regular beers from the Black Country Brewery. We had three of these on our paddles: The BFG, Pig on The Wall and Fireside. These aren't really for me. They're very mild in flavour and lacking in the punch I normally look for in my beer. My partner described them as "different shades of water". I actually don't think they're bad beers they are just very traditional, concentrating on barley malt roast for flavour rather than hops or different choices of malts and if you're a fan of a mild or traditional bitter they'll be right up your street.
My best pint of the night was the Watneys Pale. Beautifully hoppy and citrus in flavour, poured to perfection.
If you're not an ale drinker but love a nice pub I would still recommend The Midland. It's in a restored Midland Bank with amazing high ceilings with ornate trimmings. It still maintains some of the old featured, like the vault door and the vault is now the cellar and has a glass window so you can see the barrels and workings of the pub, I find this fascinating to see. In the winter there's a lovely open fire as well!
The Midland, like all of the Black Country pubs doesn't do meals, so don't go in expecting a pub meal. They do have pork pies and sandwiches as well as crisps and nuts. I can't comment on the quality though as a veggie, their veggie option are thin on the ground. They do offer plates and cutlery if you want to bring your own food, which I always think is a brilliant touch.
I'd really recommend a night in The Midland, even if it involves travelling across town. It's a brilliant real ale pub with an excellent atmosphere and some brilliant ales!