We went to check out the new “Pint Shop” on Bennetts Hill in Birmingham city centre. This will be the third venue that they have opened since 2013. It was founded by Richard Holmes and Benny Peverelli when they noticed that there were many great places to get good beer and many others for food but there was nowhere giving equal attention to both. They found an empty grade two listed office building in the centre of Cambridge and took inspiration from the original ‘Beer Houses’ or ‘Tom and Jerry Shops’ of the 19th century, creating their first ever Pint Shop. The guys then opened their Oxford branch in September 2016, completely renovating a 1970s building society. Finally, after a great night out in Brum, they decided that they loved the people and the city vibes so much that they would open a third there.
The new shop is bang next door to renowned real ale pub The Wellington, so it’s in good company. Using the slogan ‘Meat. Bread. Beer.’ their focus is on offering good quality food, good quality beer, and a great place to socialise. You can sit downstairs and have a casual pint and a burger or come upstairs and have a nice three-course meal to celebrate a special occasion. You can also wander in for a beer or walk in with no prior reservation.
We met with Gary Anderson, one of the managers. He gave us the grand tour, including the beer cellar, and the place is fantastic! The building dates back to 1860 and has plenty of character, an epic swooping staircase and plenty of nooks and crannies to get lost in.
We met Rich and Benny, who as you can imagine were mega busy, but we got a couple of minutes to chat to Rich who said that they’ve been “watching and loving Birmingham’s beer scene really closely for some time now and [they] love the people and the breweries.”
There are a few separate eating areas, with a mix of reclaimed furniture and handwritten beer boards in each room. But as much as we loved the decor, we were here to check out THE BEER! All we can say is WOW! There are 27 lines, 6 casks and 21 kegs! 6 of the keg lines are fairly permanent and the rest are in rotation, ranging from breweries such as; Cloudwater, Lost & Grounded, Magic Rock, Tiny Rebel and Northern Monk.
Gary: “We’ve got something for everyone here, whether you’re a lager drinker or an untapper. There’s a handwritten beer board and we try and keep it quite balanced style-wise. It can be quite daunting to walk in and see so many pump clips, which is why I like this so much, all of the info that you require to decide is up there. I’d prefer to give someone two or three tasters and have them enjoy it, rather than to make them pick a beer at random because they feel pressured and to walk away having not enjoyed it. It’s our job from behind that bar to come up with a new favourite drink for everybody.”
Pint Shop also loves doing collabs with different breweries. Not only with the likes of the bigger breweries like De Molen, but also local breweries such as Birmingham Brewing Company, Burning Soul and Dig Brew Co.
Gary: “We try and keep each branch individual and unique to it’s surrounding area. From the start, we wanted to make it all about the city, moving away from the natural “chain” state of mind. This is why we did a number of collabs with local breweries in Birmingham. Benny and Richie have also spent the last 9 months learning about Birmingham and there are plenty of breweries in Birmingham which are really punching above their weight.”
They also have a great selection of gins too, and a fridge with 50-odd beers to take away and enjoy.
Gary: “We want to add to Birmingham’s beer scene, adding perhaps a bit of old-fashioned hospitality while keeping things simple, like the beer houses back in the day.”
So head up to Bennetts Hill guys; this dig is definitely worth a look-see, with some fantastic food and epic brews on the go!