In case you missed it the Coach & Horses (Weatheroak) has recently been refurbished! On the evening of Thursday 23rd June I was lucky enough to be invited, along with several food bloggers, to celebrate the makeover. We were all invited to taste some quality craft beers, meet the owners and share some delicious new sharing platters. The format of the night was for the guests to provide a test run of the ‘Monthly Brewery Tour & Talk’. An offer hard to resist and, of course, for me it was more about the beers and less about the food!
The pub is situated just outside of Birmingham and has plenty of parking available. It has been in the same family for nearly forty six years and is comprised of a traditional bar, a lounge and a restaurant. The Weatheroak Hill Brewery is also based there and this evening was designed to highlight the new restaurant & menu, the beers and the brewery tours.
The evening began with a chance to have a look around the restaurant and also browse the new menu. The restaurant is spacious and homely rooms and provides a lovely setting for everything from a large party or a dinner for two. It’s well set out and you really need a visit to see it for yourself, as a picture does not do it justice. The menu is excellent and has something for everyone. If you take a look now your mouth is sure to be watering. I will be making a return visit to relax and enjoy the restaurant more, because as it turned out we were not to enjoy our food in there.
I chatted with a few attendees and found myself drifting through into the comfy, spacious lounge which is a bit modern for my tastes. I passed through and quickly found myself in the two roomed traditional bar (my favourite part!) with its tiled floor, open log fire, antique pine tables and old church pews. There are eleven hand pulls serving five Weatheroak Hill Brewery ales and six guest ales. This is a very good selection in anybody’s book and I started the evening with the very moreish, award winning 3.8% Icknield Pale Ale. It turned out that this was the first of the ales to be used in the food pairing menu which formed part of the Tour & Talk.
The traditional bar was the location where the Tour & Talk was bring held with Head Brewer Robert Walker. We were seated and a few introductions followed before we led to the brewery, which is about a five meter walk from the pub. The six brewers barreled kit fits snugly into the old two story stables. It really is a fabulous setting for a micro brewery and must be a joy to work in. Robert explained the brewery’s history and some of the brewing process before we returned to the traditional bar.
Now we started the food and ale pairing part of the tour. There are five core beers in the range and they also produce a series of single hop IPA’s. I had a chance to try five ales on the night. The ABV’s are low enough to make each of the ales very sessionable. Is that a word? The exception was the ‘Cofton Common’, which at 4.9% this would be out of my session beer range. The Weather oak ‘Dark Mild’ was not on the bar that evening but it is currently available.
Robert took us through his brewery tour talk and commented on which ales he thought went well with which courses. The food was brought out during Robert’s talk and we had a change to try each ale in combination with the various starters, main and sweets. The portion sizes were very generous and there was almost too much food on offer, this may be altered when the tours are ‘live’.
All of the food was very good but my favorites were the ‘Smooth Chicken, Bacon & Brandy Pâté’ starter, the ‘Crispy Pork Belly’ main and the ‘Chocolate & Caramel Tart’ sweet. We also had a change to sample the cheese plater which I thought went very well with the ales. All of Robert’s suggested ale and food pairings matched. The balance of flavours from the First Gold & Cascade hops in the ‘Gold’ went well with the pate. The ‘Cofton Common’ with it’s smooth, crisp flavour profile was a great accompaniment to the crispy pork and the biscuit and bitterness of the ‘Hill Top’ complimented the tart.
The staff and service at the Coach & Horses were excellent.I’d like to thank the pub for the invitation and Robert for his tour & talk. Get yourself along to sample a brewery tour.