Half Pint Tour: Bridgnorth

Bridgnorth is a beautiful little town, just a 20 minute drive (or two hours on public transport, depending how lovely your Mother is) from my village* and I don’t get to visit the Shropshire tourist magnet nearly enough. Especially considering the amount I’ve heard about wonderful pubs there since I popped on my beer geek hat back at university.

On my days off I have a habit of accidentally spending the day in my jammies, watching Netflix and happily ignoring my messy room (sometimes I spend my day in my jammies, writing blog entries and happily ignoring my messy room) but Tuesday last week came around and the sun was shining in such an obnoxious fashion that I found myself packing a bag with the essentials (phone charger, notepad, woolly hat and a good book) and heading into Bridgnorth in the noble stead that is my Mother’s Kia.

Bridgnorth famously has high town and low town, aptly split up by a rather large cliff and so, instead of walking to the high street from where I was dropped off like some lowly peasant I gave my £1.20 to a sweet old man in a booth and rode the Bridgnorth Cliff Railway into high town. Being gloriously sunny and somewhat too early yet for a beer** I had a wander up to the castle ruins then back down to the little cafe that hugged the Cliff Railway Station. I walked down a little spiral staircase, past a window which delightfully showed the room where the railway engine resided, into a 40s styled cafe where I had a coffee and crumpets whilst every few minutes the building vibrated (complete with rattling teacups) when the Cliff Railway went on it’s way.

Time enough passed that soon I was on the hunt for a good pub and walked the length of the high street to find The Bear Inn nestled at the end of the road. A gorgeous little pub with a great range of local ales and nice relaxed modern decor. Also there was a delight of a barman, Chris, who told me about a load of the good ale pubs in town and even drew me a map which included a little symbol to denote “Don’t go there, it’s rubbish”.

After chatting with the charming Chris and wishing oh-so-much that I could steal this picture from the wall I headed up the high street to The Golden Lion. After enjoying a Salopian Shropshire Gold at The Beer (which was one of the many gorgeous beers I tried at the Hog’s Head festival) I had a good old refreshing HPA in The Golden Lion. A sweet little boozer, it was an old fashioned yet cosy and gentile little inn. The staff were lovely but it wasn’t long before I moved on to the next pub on my hand-drawn map.

At The King’s Head (I sat round back in the beer garden of The Stable Bar) I was delighted to find one of my favourite recent ale discoveries on hand pull, Pardoe’s Bumblehole. It’s refreshing, with a toffee taste too it. The King’s Head was lovely. I sat outside and chatted a bit to some lovely men who worked there who were sanding down some benches. It was all delightfully manly. Also one, who I assume was the landlord, noticed my slightly hazy half (it tasted just like it should have so I wasn’t one to moan) but proceeded to go down to the cellar, check on the beer and appeared back minutes later with a fresh half. Beer always tastes better when it’s free. I sat for a fair bit longer in the beer garden enjoying the sun and the friendly men before heading off in search of food.

The food hunt ended at the door of The White Lion which I was recommended to visit by aforementioned Lovely Chris The Barman Of The Bear Inn as I was stopped in my tracks by a sign that read “pie and a pint” without being simultaneously attached to a pub advertising X amount of Jagerbombs for X pounds**. Not only did I have an utterly delicious pint in the Lion but the beer was actually brewed “out the back”. Always a good sign (especially if you’ve tried Fownes beers at The Jolly Crispin) so I had a Golden Wander by Hop and Stagger (a phenomenal name for a brewery) to go with my delicious chicken, ham and leek pie and mountain of chips. I even went and sat out in the night little nook of a beer garden for a bit. A thoroughly lovely, old school pub.

 

Ale Golden Wander
Brewery Hop & Stagger, Bridgnorth
ABV 4.1%
Style English pale ale
Description Refreshing golden ale
Verdict ★★★★☆

Last on the route before I had to go and (somehow) find my bus home was The Railwayman’s Arms at the Severn Valley Railway station. Such a gorgeous building, filled with railway memorabilia and a great atmosphere. I had a Station Porter by Bewdley Brewing (one of the stops along the Severn Valley Railway line) which was a delicious end to my day. I’ve been recommended the platform situated pub so many times and I can’t wait to get back there but hopefully via the steam railway itself.

Next time I head to Bridgnorth I’ll hopefully get on the Severn Valley Railway, trusty sidekick in tow and go back through the town to check out the pubs I missed out on. A wonderful place to visit for any pub lover and a great little tourist spot.

*Which, strangely enough has a bigger population even though a distinct lack of anything useful like proper town centre shops, a castle or a steam railway.

**Not like having a beer is always awful in the morning (I’d already been up for a fair few hours at this point), just that this is Shropshire, pubs simply don’t open that early unless they’re Spoons ¬¬..

***”SPECIAL OFFER: 6 JAGERBOMBS FREE, JUST PAY WITH YOUR REMAINING DIGNITY”

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