Chocks Away – Trip to the Weighbridge Beer
Festival, Alvechurch


On a cold, damp Saturday morning in May, about a dozen of us were huddled outside the Duke William in Stourbridge waiting for Taz‘s Taxi (aka Castle Cars Minibus, Dudley) to whisk us off to our intended destination. Take up for the trip had been slow, possibly because, when publicising the trip, the Hon Sec. had forgotten to mention that there just happened to be a beer festival on at the time of our visit! The weather might also have played a part – it still felt like winter back then! You could also have got there by public transport but it would have used up valuable drinking time! For whatever reason, the rest of us seemed to be outnumbered by Stourbridge Family Stevens (drafted in to fill the mini-bus; AS).

Arriving at the Weighbridge (Redditch & Bromsgrove Branch pub of the year 2012 and 2013 and West Midlands Regional Pub of the Year 2012) just after noon, we queued up at the bar for our tokens and glasses and supped our first drinks. The weather precluded sitting outside so the party went indoors and found a comfy snug of which the only two occupants were Birmingham Branch CAMRA members. We were able to fill it to capacity and this became our HQ for the entire afternoon.

The 30+ festival beers and ciders were all outside under a makeshift stillage. All beers cost £1.50 per half and we were soon getting stuck into them. There were also beers available at the bar but these were separate from the festival beers so you had to pay real money for them. Food was available either from the barbeque outside (burgers etc.) or from the bar inside (baguettes). As the weather improved, the throng were entertained by what I can only assume was a troupe of Goth Morris dancers!

At one stage a breakaway group led by our chairman elect went on an expedition to the Crown, Withybed Lane, a short stroll along the canal, and got soaked for their troubles – serves them right!

Meanwhile, back at the Weighbridge it was good to see that some of the beers were starting to run out (assuming you‘d already drunk them!). Having had our fill, and a thoroughly enjoyable time, we were picked up by Taz and deposited back in Stourbridge at around 7.00 p.m.

Weighbridge Beer Festival –  part 2

Following on from the success of the spring festival, we organised a second trip to take in The Weighbridge, Alvechurch, autumn beer festival on Saturday 21st September. Unfortunately interest was insufficient to justify the cost of hiring a minibus. Nevertheless 5 members from Stourbridge and Halesowen made the trip by train. 

 The Weighbridge is conveniently located near to the station, and the train journey added to the day.The weather was much kinder in September and we were once again entertained by the Goth Morris dancers.  This time they were joined by a group of drummers.  There was a varied range of beers from all over the country, with the menu helpfully marked with the beer colour. There were also 10 ciders and 4 perries on offer. Quaffers have different approaches to choice of beverage, personally I try to start with lower strength beers and gradually move upwards. This time I also remembered my purse, avoiding the embarrassment suffered at the spring event. Selection on description can prove misleading.  One of the beers I tried was described as a traditional IPA – my scribbled comments ―interesting but not trad IPA‖! It is a difficult task and we all have different opinions. My top marks went to Grafton Nottinghamshire Lady Ruby at 4.5% while Tony Morgan‘s comments on our local brewery, Angel Ale – ―Ooh Aah Paul McGrath‖ – summed up his favourite of the day (I think!). We rounded off the day with a stop at The Old Contemptibles in Birmingham located between stations on the way back. A Saturday evening at a popular city pub provided quite a contrast
to the rural feel of Alvechurch.  We all enjoyed our day, deciding that the train was a good, cheap means of travel for a group.
Tony Morgan  (spring)       Addition and photos by Joy  Stevens &