You left me in central Solihull with a sub £2.50 pint in Stonegate’s answer to Wetherspoons as arguably England’s “least pubby town” attempted to up its game.
But, whilst the West Midlands answer to Maidenhead laps up its chain pubs, there are still plenty of hidden gems tucked away in the surrounding countryside.
The Navigation Inn was one of the early LAF posts with Mrs BB after a long walk across the canal towpaths around Knowle, Hockley Heath and Lapworth.
There are some classic country pubs on that route towards Warwick but a lot have succumbed to the delights of gastro in order to keep their heads above water.
However, there is still a proper old skool pub in the tiny hamlet of Five Ways, near to Haseley and the delightfully named Haseley Knob.
Whilst that will keep Russ happy the rest of us can look at the bigger map for context and Five Ways is in that patch of land between Knowle and Warwick but not that close to either the M42 or M40.
510 – The Case is Altered CV35 7JD is on Case Lane and there don’t appear to be many chimney pots in close proximity but you wouldn’t have known it as the bar was packed on a Sunday afternoon.
According to whatpub it has been owned by the current owners for 33 years and there is apparently a bar billiards table, but I couldn’t see it.
I counted 25 people in the bar including myself and it felt like a cracking atmosphere with the Sir Humph policy of no phones in full effect although there wasn’t quite the zealous approach you’d find in your usual Samuel Smith’s boozer.
Everyone was really friendly even though I didn’t particularly get involved in any conversations but it just felt like a great pub.
The Pie In The Sky (Old Pie Factory) was cool and quaffable and they had around five ales on and everyone appeared to be drinking cask so the turnover will be good.
I reckon that a pub is only as good as its gaffer. Whilst there are some terrible pub companies who are difficult to work for if the gaffer is good, then the pub can be a success as Ivan proved at The White Lion in Bramcote.
I’ve seen many a good pub that I thought would be there forever disappear off the map after a change of owner and The Case Is Altered feels like a pair of comfy old slippers you can trust.
Clean, well kept beer and a throwback style approach that the locals want and is benefiting from stability.
I really hope this gets into the GBG as not only will it be hard for Martin, Duncan and Si to reach, but it’s the sort of place that deserves recognition as one of the best pubs I’ve been to in 2019.
And it also had a classic Church End Brewery Silver Jubilee beermat!