The 'Jiggers Whistle' is Brownhills first micro pub - if you don't count 'Chesters' for those of you old enough to remember the 1980s. It opened yesterday on the site of the old photography shop and thankfully they decided not to reference that history in their choice of name (although I bet it would have made the local Camra branch happy - ha! See what I did there?)
I apparently dodged a bullet not going yesterday as it appears to have been heaving with first day visitors, and being notoriously anti-social I held off until this lunchtime for a more relaxing first visit.
So, what do I think (as if it mattered)?
First impressions are very good, a really friendly welcome and some nice folk running the show, five minutes in and I was feeling at home which is always a good sign. The decor is nice, and the whole place is clean and open with lots of places for people to sit and have a chat and more importantly, four ales on tap.
The range of ales may not have been that exciting yet, but it's early days and everything I tried was in excellent condition. I avoided the Wye Valley 'Butty Bach' as I have drank so many pints of that over the years its hard to get up any enthusiasm for it, but it was really nice to see Brownhills own 'Backyard' Brewery represented. Today it was the lovely porter appropriately named 'Jigger'. However, for those who appreciate fine beer, the lovely Victorian recipe 4.9 dark mild is due to go on in the next day or two and I suspect that may lure me back up at some point as I love the stuff (Nice one Austin).
The two other beers were from Walsall newest brewery AJ's. which have been brewing for two or three years now. I am a Walsall lad and I would love to be able to sing the praises of AJ's beers - but with the best will in the world, I can't. I have never had a bad drink or even a badly kept drink of the stuff. It is good bog-standard beer that does what it says on the pull - but its just not exciting.
I met the brewer at Walsall Beer Festival and he comes across as genuinely passionate about his job but that never seems to translate into beers that you crave or desire (its as if something is holding him back from expressing his love of the art as he is obviously competent at what he does). If you think I'm being partisan, I'm not - my regular drinking crew ('The Grumpy Old Men') feel exactly the same about it, if A.J.'s do something new we try it - usually just once and then say "OK, what else is on".
|Just to prove I did have the AJ's !|
In summary, Nice Venue, Nice people, well-kept 'Pop' and something new in Brownhills that isn't a charity shop - could things finally be looking up? Bottom line is that I will probably be an occasional daytime visitor, particularly if the range of ales becomes more adventurous, I have already agreed to go in and do my best to drink as much 'Bad Santa' as I can if they get it on.
Note: Backyard Bad Santa - a genuine, traditional and proper Christmas beer, not (like too many these days) a bloody ordinary bitter with a picture of a Snowman on it !!!
Anyway all that is left to do is to say well done all and to give my very best wishes to the enterprise, I hope it gets the following it deserves and becomes a popular feature on Brownhills High Street
That's it for beer for now, those who aren't interested can start checking out the blog again. Next birdy update early next week all being well - enjoy the weekend all - Chaz
PS. Interesting note. I rarely go on the Chasewater web-site these days but for some reason I did so today and was very interested to see that on Monday the 13th there were apparently two Hawfinch seen in Pool Road. With the the group that passed through the Mere on the same day it seems as if there was an ongoing movement of the species, lets hope for more as winter progresses.