A Saunter Round Stafford
Stafford is easily accessible from Rugby, with trains running regularly up and down the Trent Valley line. The county town of Staffordshire offers you the chance to visit pubs from four north Midland breweries, as well as a number of good free houses that are well worth a visit.
Arriving in Stafford, cross the River Sow, turn left and near the windmill you will find The Lamb. This is a wonderfully traditional pubs that is somewhat surrounded by the Stafford Ring Road. Three real ales are on offer with beers from the nearby Lymestone Brewery of Stone available.
Take the A34 out of the town till you reach County Road, where you will find the Greyhound Inn. A pub since 1831 and a former local CAMRA Pub of the Year, it offers Bradfield Farmers Blonde and 7 rotating guest beers. One of best selections of beers in the town.
Walk back into town and shortly after you turn down Gaolgate Street you come across Slater’s. This is a brand-new brewery tap for the local Slater’s Brewery. Built with a horseshoe bar to the rear, it gives you the opportunity to sample the entire range of their range of beers. Try the beers, as they are only brewed a couple of miles away.
Continue walking along Gaolgate Street and then turn left into Market Street, just before the T junction you will find Ye Olde Rose & Crown. This is one of an increasing number of Joule’s pubs situated in the Cheshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire area. Try the crisp Blonde or the darkly mysterious Slumbering Monk. Joule’s incidentally are currently brewing Sunchaser and Old Original, whilst the Everards brewery is being rebuilt.
Turn right along Eastgate Street and soon you will see the Shrewsbury Arms. Owned by Black Country Ales, it displays a wide range of guest ales along with their own beers; BFG, Pig on the Wall and Fireside. Each room in this pub has an open fire and the pub unusually its own conservatory.
A short walk now but well worth the effort. Take Tipping Street and then turn left on Greengate Street, continue along Bridge Street to cross the river again. At the ring road walk around the island and down the A449 – the Wolverhampton Road. A short walk down the road takes you to the Star and Garter, a beautifully appointed pub owned by the Dorbiere pub group. Four rotating local beers are available, which included Weetwood Bitter from Cheshire when I made my visit.
Retrace your steps to find yourself at The Sun Inn, one of two public houses in Stafford owned by the Titanic brewery of Burslem. The Sun Inn is a fantastic pub with friendly hosts. Twelve pumps offer a full range of the brewery’s beers as well as another four or five guest ales. For me, it is the best pub in town.
Our final pub is the Bird in Hand, found by re-crossing the river and turning left on Mill Street. On the right is the second Black Country Ales pub of the day. The Bird is a multi-roomed local with a bar, snug and lounge around a central bar. Eight hand pumps offer plenty of choice as you think about your train home. The station is just a short walk along the Victoria Road past Victoria Park.
There are two micro pubs in the town centre, the Floodgate Tavern and No.7 Market Square. They were closed when I visited, but if they are open give them a go. I’m sure you will agree that Stafford has plenty to wet your whistle.
Regards, Richard Potter