Cheers! New Good Beer Guide features dozens of the region's favourite pubs

A Black Country pub at risk of closure is among the new entries in the latest edition of a prestigious beer guide.

The Swan at Amblecote features in the 2023 Good Beer Guide
The Swan at Amblecote features in the 2023 Good Beer Guide

The Old Swan in Netherton, Dudley – known as Ma Pardoe's – is one of 75 new entries in the 2023 Good Beer Guide, launched today.

The 50th edition of the guide, produced by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) features a total of 387 which it has judged to be the best in the region.

The latest edition continues to reflect the growing trend for 'micropubs' – small, specialist bars, often opening in former shop premises – with a number of such venues appearing for the first time.

This week Ma Pardoe's licensee Tim Newey warned that the historic pub could close by Christmas if its fortunes did not improve.

Ma Pardoe's is praised for its distinctive ceiling mural. Head brewer Paul Cooksey is pictured with licensee Tim Newey

The guide describes Pardoe's as a 'nationally important' pub that 'attracts customers from near and far'.

It one of just four remaining pubs in the country that was brewing when the first guide was published for 1974.

It praises Pardoe's for its 'labyrinthine interior' with its ornate bar ceiling featuring a tiled mural of a swan.

The guide's West Midland launch was held at the Great Western in Wolverhampton, a previous Camra national pub of the year. It returns to the 2023 guide after missing out last year.

The Great Western in Wolverhampton

The pub, near the former low-level railway station, was refurbished in 2021, and the guide notes its railway memorabilia and cosy real fires. The Royal Oak in School Road, Tettenhall Wood, is another new entry for 2023.

Also new to the guide is The Swan in Brettell Lane Amblecote, which was taken over by Philip Guy last year.

Mr Guy, who also runs the nearby Red Lion, said the pub had seen a six-fold increase in takings since he took it over.

The guide praises the recent refurbishment of The Swan, which saw the removal of a metal divider between the lounge and the bar, which now serves as a garden feature.

The Swan at Amblecote features in the guide. Owner Philip Guy pictured with manager Aimee Evans.

Pens Ale, in the Pensnett area of Brierley Hill, is another new entry, typical of the increasing number of micropubs which feature in the guide.

A sister pub to the popular Tivi Ale in Tividale, the guide says: "It is a smart, plush modern open-plan bar with a wide customer mix'.

It serves up to four real ales, sourced both nationally and locally, alongside a range of traditional bar snacks.

Blackheath has two new entries for 2023, both in Halesowen Street. The Britannia is a J D Wetherspoons' pub, offering six changing beers alongside three permanent brews, while Cyder & Cobb is a micropub which opened last year.

It describes the Cyder & Cobb as 'an intimate and well-appointed micropub... a pleasant place to spend a few hours'.

The Jolly Crispin in the Upper Gornal area of Dudley, which was taken over by the Red Pub Company last year, also enters the latest guide, along with the Bridge Inn and Cottage in Kingswinford.

The King Edward VII, next to Halesowen Town football ground, is also new for 2023, along with the Peaky Blinders-themed Garrison Saloon Bar at The Waterfront in Brierley Hill.

The Robin Hood in Willenhall, where a local archery club meets on Saturdays, is another addition to the new guide.

The Real Ale Tavern, in a converted former bank in Load Street, Bewdley, enters this year's guide, as does The Swan in Blakedown. The Hollybush in Stourport-on-Severn is described as 'a welcoming pub with a relaxed atmosphere'.

In Cannock, the Arcade in Mill Street is praised for its friendly atmosphere, and distinct rooms, one with a post-industrial theme of exposed brick and steel work, the other a comfortable lounge with period furniture.

The Firs Club, in Station Road, Codsall, and the Olde Windmill at Gentleshaw, are also new entries, along with the canalside Swan Inn – known locally as the "Mucky Duck" at Fradley Junction.

The Railway Inn in Castle Street, Stafford, makes it into the new guide, along with the Anchor Inn at High Offley.

George & The Dragon in Gnosall, which opened in 2017, is described as a 'lovely little pub' with 'a good old-fashioned appeal'.

The Belgian-style Beerbohm in Lichfield features in the guide

The Belgian-themed Beerbohm in Lichfield returns after a 12-month absence, and is praised for its cosy atmosphere, beer enamels, gilded mirrors and globular chandeliers. The Plough at Shenstone also features.

Bridgnorth has no fewer than eight pubs in the latest guide, with the Black Horse, Fosters Arms and George all new for 2023. The Eagle at Kinlet is another new addition.

The guide notes that while four new breweries have opened in the West Midlands over the past year – including Dudley-based Cult of Oak – the region has seen 13 closures, with 131 breweries remaining.

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