See the Shropshire and Mid Wales pubs listed in this year's Good Beer Guide

Staff and regulars at one of Shropshire’s oldest pubs is celebrating after making it into a prestigious pub guide for the first time.

Heather Wheway and Philip Cole, at the Old Coppers Malt House, celebrate after getting into the Good Beer Guide
Heather Wheway and Philip Cole, at the Old Coppers Malt House, celebrate after getting into the Good Beer Guide

The Old Coppers Malt House in Church Stretton features in the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide 2021 following an extensive renovation.

It is one of 14 new Shropshire entries in the latest edition of the guide, which celebrates the best real-ale pubs and breweries across the UK.

A total of 84 pubs across Shropshire and Mid Wales are listed in the guide, along with 26 breweries.

Heather Wheway and Phil Cole, who took over the former Chinese restaurant three years ago, have turned the Malt House into a thriving real-ale pub with a restaurant serving traditional food.

Heather, 32, said she had worked at the pub on and off since the age of 15.

She said it had become quite run down by the time she and Phil took over, but the transformation had given it a new lease of life.

“Phil has a real passion for real ale, and he’s always looking for interesting beers,” she said.

“He’s even started brewing himself for a hobby, he believed that if he could understand how beer was brewed, he would understand how to serve it better.”

Heather said she was delighted the pub had been recognised in this way.

“It’s brilliant, it’s been a lot of hard work, it’s recognition of what we have achieved,” she said.

She said the pub had suffered as a result of the coronavirus restrictions though.

BORDER COPYRIGHT SHROPSHIRE STAR STEVE LEATH 29/10/2020..Pics in Church Stretton at pub: Old Coppers Malt House, celebrating after getting into the Good Beer Guide. Landlords: Heather Wheway and Philip Cole are pictured..

“Church Stretton is a tourist town, but nobody’s coming here,” she said.

“A lot of people just aren’t coming out. It was a bit easier when people were sat outside in the warmer weather.”

Shrewsbury appears to be the county’s real-ale capital, with a total of 12 pubs listed in the guide, with the Tap & Can micropub in Castle Gates being this year’s only new entrant.

The Tap & Can opened last year, and the guide describes it as offering a choice of real ales, keg conditioned beers as well as canned craft ales which are served from a giant fridge.

“The rear wall of the gents’ is the exposed castle foundation, and is 900 years old,” it says.

The Salopian Bar, which has been closed since being hit by flooding in February, retains its place, along with the Abbey, Admiral Benbow, Coach & Horses, Cross Foxes, Loggerheads and Montgomery’s Tower.

The Salopian Bar in Shrewsbury retains its place, despite being closed due to flood damage

The Nags Head, Prince of Wales, Three Fishes and Woodhouse are also listed.

The Bridges, near Ratlinghope, returns to the guide after a 12-month absence, and the Royal Oak in Cardington also retains its place.

Bridgnorth has four pubs in the 2021 guide, with the Black Boy in Cartway returning to join the Golden Lion and Old Castle in High Town, and the Railwaymen’s Arms at the Severn Valley Railway station.

Other new entries include The White Horse in Clun, Stiperstones Inn in the Shropshire Hills, the George & Dragon in Much Wenlock, and the Fighting Cocks in Stottesdon, in the south of the county.

Ludlow has five entries, with the Charlton Arms and Wicked Grin joining the Blood Boy, Ludlow Brewing Co’s Railway Shed, and the Rose & Crown.

Ludlow Brewing Co's taproom retains its place

Market Drayton has six entries, with the King’s Arms and the William Chester joining the Clive & Coffyne, Red Lion, Salopian Star and Sandbrook Vaults.

The New Inn at Newport retains its place, as do the Bailey Head and Black Lion in Oswestry, although the Queen’s Head drops out.

In Shifnal, the Anvil in Aston Road is a new entry following an extensive refurbishment after being taken over by Black Country Ales. The guide says the pub has been ‘thoroughly brought up to date’ and the inside expanded, although the original fire place has been retained with a coal fire in the winter.

Also in Shifnal the Plough Inn and the White Hart keep their place.

There are three new entries in Telford, with the Old Fighting Cocks in Oakengates, the William Withering in Wellington, and St George’s Sports and Social Club being added.

The Coracle Micropub and Bar Shop in Ironbridge is listed once more, along with the All Nations in Madeley, and the Crown Inn and Station Hotel, both Oakengates.

The Crown Inn at Oakengates keeps its place in the list

The Pheasant Inn in Wellington retains its place, along with the Lion O’Morfe in Upper Farmcote and Stonehouse Brewery in Weston, near Oswestry.

Over the border in Mid Wales, Watson’s Ale House in Knighton and Arvon Ale House and Middleton Arms in Llandrindod Wells retain their places.

The Sun Hotel in Llansantffraid is a new entry for 2021, while the Dragon Hotel keeps its place in Montgomery.

In Newtown, the Sportsman is joined by the Exchange, with the Railway Tavern dropping out this year.

In Welshpool the Pheasant Inn is joined by the Angel.

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