Beer Blog

The Gunmakers Arms, Birmingham

Gunmakers-10

The Good Beer Guide says it’s the Two Towers Brewery tap. I walked into the brewery yard, right up to the door, just as a lass locked the door behind her and told us it was shut, the brewer had gone out.

Disappointedly, I walked back through the double gates onto the dreary back street, surrounded by low rise, modern and older, small factory premises. An information board down the street told us we were in the Birmingham Gun Quarter, once the centre of the world’s gun-manufacturing industry.

I checked Google maps for the next tick, walked ten yards up the street and realised I’d been stood outside the Gunmakers Arms all the time. A cater cornered door led into a large L shaped main room with the bar in the narrow bit looking out onto the street and a smaller snug to the left side.

A lone female sits reading in the snug. Two groups of workers having a ‘just finished work’ pint at either end of the bar. They turn to suss us out, exchange banter between themselves, then watch me survey the seven Two Towers cask ales on the bar.

I wasn’t sure whether they were taking the piss out of my cap? The one with less hair than me, says Peaky Blinders is the best one. 

Bit strong for me mate, so early on.

Oooh … Where you from mate?

Leeds.

I used to live in Leeds.

I worked on that Number 1 Whitehall on the riverside in Leeds, big job that – pipes up orange jacket.

Never been – says the quieter one with the white carrier bag.

And that was my welcome to the Gunmakers Arms. From what the fuck have I brought the Mrs in here for to best mates in about thirty seconds. What nice blokes, although the other two at the opposite end didn’t join in as much.

Gunmakers-3

Turns out Barrett, although a local lad, had lived in several areas of Leeds previously.

Fucking Barrett? Where do you get that from?

It’s my proper name.

You kept that quiet didn’t you … Awwww. I saw something on Facebook the other day … Barrett … I wondered who it was … Is that you then?

 

Orange jacket worked all over the country installing the huge glass floor to ceiling window panels on high rise office blocks. He was quite pleased to be working in his home city at the minute but expected to go away again in a few weeks.

The quieter one with the white carrier bag didn’t say much and just laughed most of the time.

We spent a really enjoyable three quarters of an hour in here with these blokes and my pint of 6% Peaky Blinders Mild. In fact we had a right laugh. Reinforcing the fact, it’s people who make pubs. 

Barrett reckoned the Three Legs on Leeds Headrow was probably his best pub ever. I said I could put up with the all day karaoke but wouldn’t be too keen on the arguments, bordering on fights, that erupt every fifteen minutes or so. Orange jacket looked at me, then back at Barrett, and rolled his eyes. The quiet one laughed, the white carrier bag never moved.

 

I walked round the pub and found a pool table and some interesting pictures. Barrett asked where we were staying and told us we could have stayed in the Gunmakers for thirty five quid and got pissed with them all night.

We drank up, shook hands and said goodbye to this basic back street boozer cum brewery tap with art exhibition. I never said owt about them taking the piss out of my cap. I mean, how would lager drinkers know what the old style, strong mild, or any of the other beers were like?

Welcome to Birmingham! I think they knew I’d been before though.

14 replies »

  1. A year on from my visit and the decor still looks unfinished and tatty, not that, that would bother Barrett and his mates I suspect, nor me really, but I wasn’t very impressed with the beer quality back then.

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    • One suspects minimum investment in decor possibly due to stretching of budget on capital outlay? Beer condition was good, beer quality was average. Laster that day, discussing the Two Towers brews with local beer aficionados, they politely said they thought it the least best of all the Birmingham brewed ales. Sadly there are only a small handful of Birmingham brewers in operation, in fact, for the ‘alleged’ second city a pitiful amount of brewers when compared to say Manchester or Leeds.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. After a few visits, I’m still not sure what to make of the Gunmakers. Of the beers I’ve tried, nothing has stood out so far as being wonderful…but they serve Carling, though even I feel somewhat sacreligious drinking it in a brewery tap!
    The pub itself always feels to me as though they never quite got around to finishing it.
    But, if you meet some interesting characters and have a good time, all that is secondary.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had described the Gunmakers as “the lowlight of our Proper Day Out in Birmingham last autumn” ( autumn 2017 ) and I don’t recall anyone disagreeing with me.
    With the crone on water and the lads drinking Carling I doubt if you expected “the seven Two Towers cask ales on the bar” there to be the pinnacle of the brewer’s art.
    I.am told that Birmingham has two Gun Quarters, one where they’re made and one where they’re used.
    ( I’m just home from my third trip to Worcester this year, but that’s another story )
    ,

    Liked by 1 person

      • I enjoyed Worcester but with limited time there I unfortunately didn’t get in the Dragon.

        Yes, neither tower a peak.
        I remember when “two” in a Birmingham pub would be not towers but two cask beers, M&B Mild and M&B Brew XI – and that was when Brew XI was “for the men of the Midlands” and Carling Black Label Lager was a woman’s drink.

        Liked by 2 people

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