Last week we were invited to a preview evening at the latest addition to Birmingham’s beer scene Head of Steam Birmingham on Temple Street.
Occupying the site formerly home to Temple Street Social we have been watching with interest as the sight has gone through a massive overhaul to create a space that fits nicely into established aesthetic of the portfolio of 12 other bars operated around the UK by the Head of Steam Group. This the 13th Head of Steam bar to open nationally (following recent openings in Leicester, Nottingham and Manchester) has 20 keg lines with a selection of rotating craft beers, 10 cask ale lines including beers and real cider from around the region and beyond, plus a selection of premium cocktails, wines, spirits and soft drinks. The interior celebrates the railway industry from which Head of Steam takes its name whilst retaining a unique open feel with the entire frontage of the site unfolding to create the feeling of being outside whilst inside the pub.
Its through this grand entrance we step into a huge multilevel open plan bar space with a grand central bar as its focal point. The walls lined with multiple cages of beer cropped from some of Belgium’s finest breweries and interspersed between these electronic screens detailing the plethora of beers available from the bar. With this in mind we hit the bar to peruse the beer menu and check out the beers available on tap… After agonizing for a good few minutes we set off beer in hand to our allotted table to further dissect the beer menu and check out the what food offerings were available.
Like the beer menu before it the food options available was vast and well thought out, with much thought given to which of the many beers could be paired to many of the options. As a menu this covers a huge range of options from simple light bites to burgers, world dishes ranging from a very hearty looking French Boeuf Bourguignon to the staple of Belgian cuisine Moules et Frites. On this occasion we went first for the Beslar board; a selection of three dishes from the light bites menu paired a flight of beers chosen to bring out the best of dish. Followed by the Lamb Kofte burger topped with a mint raita and tomato relish and accompanied by fries and onion rings.
Dinner over we set about checking out some of the finer details of the site and chatting with the other patrons and sharing a few more drinks including a refreshingly tart Framboise from Brouwerij Boon (perfect with the Salted Caramel and Chocolate Torte), a deeply satisfying Flanders Red from Rodenbach brewery which was all at once rich,sweet and soured to perfection with vinous overtones and a dry and spritzy Orval redolent with its developing farmhouse character.
All in all this was a fantastic introduction to a new pub in Birmingham with big plans going forward (not least those that we are currently cooking up with them in time for Birmingham Beer Week); expect quizzes, live music, exploratory beer schools both for the beginner and the more experienced and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Welcome to the Age of Steam…
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