Friday, 9 September 2011

Black Country (part two)

I'm going to jump backwards in time (something I've always wanted to do). To the start of my little Black Country expedition. To the first pub of the crawl, The Swan in Chaddesley Corbett.

It's a pub with personal memories. And if you look on a map, you'll see that it isn't in the Black Country but in the countryside beyond. A part of the rural Midlands surprisingly close to the sprawl of Birmingham. The husband of my cousin used to drive me and my brother out to the Swan when we visited my Mum's family. I always really liked it. And not just because it's a Bathams pub.

The Swan hasn't changed much. It still has two distinct rooms, Lounge and Public Bar. And Bathams Bitter and Mild still flow from its handpulls. I was especially pleased to see the Mild. To wrap my gob and around the glass and breathe in deep draughts of brown gold. It's lovely stuff.

Recent trips to Britain have taught me something: I miss Mild. I miss the unconscious ease with which it slips from glass to stomach. The joy of taking big gulps, like a drowning man coming up for air. The fun that a gallon or a gallon and a half of Tetley's Mild on a Friday night could be. Freshly escaped from the working week, in town with my mates. Stuffing every last inch of stomach with Mild. The slow, gentle intoxication a few hours of Mild brings along. Waxing inexorably but almost imperceptibly like the tide. Not the slap in the face of a double whisky downed in one, but the loving caress of a lover's hand. I really miss Mild. It's left a hole in my life that not even Abt can fill.

When did I last have a whole session on Mild? It's been so long, I can't recall. I did last Tuesday. Four different ones. All hitting that same spot. The soft spot in my heart. Mild's not about glamour. Not about fast living or excitement. It's about fun and friendship, simple, honest pleasure.

I'm rambling. This was supposed to be about the Swan. It's ended as an ode to Mild. My first beery love. I'm just born to be Mild.

The Swan,
The Village,
Chaddesley Corbett.
Tel: 01562 777 302

1 comment:

Brian said...


You just need to start homebrewing. Then you could have drink all the mild you could ever want, brewed to your specifications. I've heard that there is a great blog out there full of historic recipes.