M&B are probably responsible – aside from Wetherspoons of course, for most of the cask ale in Solihull.
Granted, that doesn’t give you a massive selection but both their Ember Inns and Sizzling Pub & Grill chains of boozers do actually provide a decent ale.
Solihull, as often reported on this blog, is not known for being a Mecca for beer tourists and the local authority don’t appear to have cottoned on to the idea of an ale trail just yet.
It is a Mecca for shopping though and has plenty of Costas, Slug & Lettuces and Walkabouts of course, which suit the Jack Wills/Crew Clothing Co brigade just fine.
However, it does have some better options in the surrounding areas with Knowle and Shirley both offering some boozers of repute and then there is that no man’s land area between Solihull and Shirley.
Monkspath has a decent Ember Inn – The Fieldhouse – but poor old Sharmans Cross has been completely forgotten about by CAMRA.
It hasn’t even got a picture of the pub, let alone any details so here is an exclusive ground breaking snap of 431 – Sharmans Cross B91 1HT
It may not be exclusive enough to get Jim White excited in the Sky News Transfer centre but it’s proof that estate style pubs exist even in the smart suburbs of Solihull.
It’s attached to a small shopping precinct with a Premier newsagents, an off licence and a hair salon so definitely has the right credentials, albeit surrounded by some expensive housing stock.
Sharmans Cross used to have a Secondary school back in the day but even that’s gone now although there are still rugby and football clubs nearby.
It was that post Sunday lull at around 4.30pm when I popped in for the first time in what must have been about 20 years and it definitely has the feel of a local about it.
A dart board and Madness cover bands are the sort of things that will get punters in this area into a boozer and chuck into the mix live sports and the mix is a winner.
There was a bloke with his better half who had clearly been on it for the afternoon and was oblivious to the Women’s World Cup Final as the USA set up camp in Holland’s penalty area.
There was another feller who was steadfastly refusing to watch the football and watching golf on Sky instead but the atmosphere was relaxed before the Sunday night squad appeared.
And this is where M&B have made a bit of a difference as I had an absolutely corking half pint of Tribute (St Austell).
Just over three quid for a pint and obviously more people than just me are drinking it as it was in great nick.
I reckon this place is similar to The Red House on the other side of Solihull – another pub I’ve not been to for over 20 years and is a decent solid local selling good beer with live music and sport on the box. What’s not to like?