Nestled in Birmingham’s City Centre lies one of the coolest bars. Tilt has got a lot going for it, 18 taps and a pleasingly large fridge constantly updated with the freshest beers from around the UK and the world. On top of that, you can get yourself a flat white to rival any that you can find on the streets of Melbourne, or get yourself addicted to one of the beautiful, shiny pinball machines that line the walls of the bar (there’s over a dozen!). When we arrived, they had just set up for their Wander Beyond tap takeover. And we sat down with co-owner, Kirk, to chat all things Tilt…
“I used to work just there [pointing over the road] at HMRC as a tax fraud investigator. I used to walk past this building every day. I left that job to open this place.” Unconventional start-up stories seem the norm in craft beer; it invites those who want a total change and already love drinking beer, as Kirk confirms, “It was craft beer first, then we added the coffee and the pinball. Just three things we like. Coffee was my hobby and there’s a resurgence in pinball, so it’s quite unique.”
And with only about three places in the UK with more than a couple of pinball machines, Tilt is one of the few nationwide venues where you can play on such a large public collection, and it’s still growing, “[My favourite] changes with every new one that comes out.” When asked what their latest addition was, Kirk beamed, “Munsters. It came out at the beginning of the year; they are still being made, there’s lots of new ones coming out.” They also hold a Pinball League every year, currently on its seventh season and going strong.
Aside from the glorious distractions Tilt has to offer, we’re here for the beer and they don’t disappoint. They pride themselves on the rarity of their imports, “I don’t like core beers. I don’t like anything that anyone else is going to get.” And they’re not kidding, with the largest stock of Mikkeller beers in the country outside of the brewery’s own London bar, thanks to their distributor, Euroboozer. Usually supplying the beer shelves of Greater London on a daily basis, Euroboozer have now started delivering direct out of their base in Hertfordshire from Birmingham to Southampton and many other cities in-between, hence why Kirk was so keen to take advantage, “We took a massive, massive order, about 12 or 13 beers on draft for the first one. We did an all-fruit event, so it was all the Oregon Series and we had seven spontans [spontaneously fermented beers] on as well.
We got our hands on a few of the Oregon Fruit Series from the fridge to try for ourselves…
First up, the Strawberry Coffee Berliner Weisse made in collab with The Coffee Collective at 3.7%. A seriously great start, with its tangy, acidic sourness. Notes of dried strawberries, and coffee backing up the light wheat malt. Nicely balanced and mouth-puckering.
We all too quickly moved onto their Tangerine Hazy IIPA, bit of jump at 8.3% but we weren’t complaining. A blast of fresh, grassy hops. The juicy tangerine playing off the creamy mouthfeel from the oats and the yeast; deceptively drinkable, this one.
Next up, Crooked Moon, another New England style hazy IIPA with smooth raspberry this time, a light carbonation and citric hops, which leaves a fruity dry bitterness. Another well-balanced and surprisingly subtle brew for the elevated ABV, and our favourite of the bunch.
And finally, the Cherry Flat White Stout, giving warming chocolate malt and a sugary sweetness brought through by the Oregon cherries. With the coffee, again from The Coffee Collective, bringing a smooth, rich body. Finished off with a lingering dry, roasted oat flavour. An all-round top-notch selection of beers!
So, if you’re looking for a real unique beer destination, Tilt is not to be missed!
Catch up with them on their social media, here.