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Find out which Shropshire pubs make the CAMRA 'Good Beer' grade

By Mark Andrews | Dining out | Published: | Last Updated:

A total of 85 pubs across Shropshire and mid-Wales feature in the 2018 edition of the Campaign for Real Ale's Good Beer Guide.

Grace Goodlad and Duncan Borrowman outside The Bailey Head in Oswestry

This new edition of the guide includes 51 pubs and 11 breweries in Shropshire. Over the border in Powys, the guide lists 34 pubs and eight breweries.

In Shropshire, eight pubs and two new breweries are included for the first time.

The inclusion of The Bailey Head in Oswestry marks the end of a happy year for Duncan Borrowman and Grace Goodlad, who took over the pub last year.

Previously known as The Eagles and the Castle Tavern, the pub had a chequered past, but in April it was voted market towns’ pub of the year by Shrewsbury and West Shropshire CAMRA.

The Bailey Head has proved popular since being taken over last year

The Queens' Head in neighbouring West Felton is also among the first-time entries, along with the Horse & Jockey in Grindley Brook and the Three Tuns Inn in Bishop's Castle.

The Lion o'Morfe in Upper Farmcote, near Bridgnorth, The Wrekin Inn in Wellington also make an appearance for the first time, along with two new entries in Shrewsbury, the Abbey and the Cross Foxes.

Sam Jervis, who took over the Lion o'Morfe two years ago, said he was delighted the pub had been included.

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"I didn't think we would get in so soon," he said. "It's great, I'm over the moon, we always try to keep a good pint."

Sam Jervis of the Lion o'Morfe – delighted to be in the guide for the first time

Gorgeous Beer Company, which operates a 10-barrel plant in Tweedale Court, Madeley, is also included for the first time.

The brewery, founded last year, produces a 3.8 per cent Golden Bitter, a 4.8 per cent Blonde Ale – described as "smooth tasting with a slightly citrus bitterness" – and a "sweet, malty and dark" 5.5 per cent Porter.

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Another first-time entry is Newport-based Plan B, which produces Nova Gold 3.9 per cent, Newport Pale Ale 4.4 per cent, Woodlands Midnight Stout 4.7 per cent, and New India IPA 6.0 per cent.

However, the county has lost Wrekin Brewing Co, which was based at The Pheasant in Wellington.

Wrekin closed earlier this year, following the retirement of owner Dave Goldingay, although although its popular Ironbridge Gold beer is now produced by the nearby Rowton Brewery.

The Three Tuns at Bishop's Castle

Shrewsbury can lay claim to be the county's real ale capital, with 10 pubs being listed in the guide, as well as the Battlefield Brewery. Salopian Brewery is a short distance away in nearby Hadnall.

In mid Wales, Welshpool's Pheasant Inn, Knighton's Red Lion, Montgomery's Dragon Hotel and the Railway Tavern and Sportsman in Newtown all get a mention.

Across the wider West Midlands, a total of 105 pubs and 16 breweries are included for the first time.

Editor Roger Protz said he was delighted that breweries were continuing to open.

"It's fantastic to see a continued growth in local brewing," he said.

"The first edition of the Good Beer Guide published 45 years ago was a call to arms for beer lovers at a time when the brewing industry was in dire trouble and the market flooded with tasteless, fizzy beer.

"Today, in spite of closures, a growing number of pubs clamber to offer the best-possible range of real ales and we are still seeing remarkable growth in the brewing sector."

The Horse & Jockey in Grindley Brook was also included

But Mr Protz voiced concern at the number of small breweries being bought up by the brewing giants in an attempt to counter the declining sales of keg lager.

He said not only did global beer brands sometimes change the recipes of popular beers as they shifted production into large factories, but some were also using their dominance to patent certain ingredients.

He added: "First Big Beer busy up a swathe of independent breweries. Now it's attempting to control the natural ingredients used to make beer.

"The power of the global behemoths is frightening and it has to be vigorously resisted."

He added that pubs were continuing to close at a rate of 21 a week, although the rate of decline had slowed.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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