Ma Pardoe’s

Long, long ago my friends and I were on one of our periodic Black Country expeditions in search of interesting beer.
Doris Pardoe had died not all that long before, so we thought it was time to visit the Old Swan before it was snapped up by some brewery. It was one of the famous Last Four Brewpubs, and the way things were at the time, it seemed unlikely to survive.
So we rolled up at about opening time and entered the bar – there was only the bar in those days. We were the first in there, and just stopped and stared at the cast iron stove and tiled ceiling. Next we stared blankly at the three or four handpumps without any clip or other clue to what was on them.
“What’ll it be, lads, beer?” asked the barman. We nodded dumbly. “We’ve got two kinds, pint and half.” So of course we tried the pint, and got talking to him. He took us outside to look at the brewery, and we had another.
The beer? Well a typical West Midlands brew, in many ways – rather sweet, more a light mild than a bitter but rather enjoyable. The pint itself was perhaps not so memorable as the occasion.

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