I remember a couple of year’s of so ago when I was first really started moving away from drinking pints of Doombar and discovered the likes of Brewdog, Sierra Nevada and Anchor, I was frustrated, and in hindsight very naive, to think that the only places to purchase craft beer in Birmingham was in Selfridges or on the occasion that Snow Hill Waitrose decided to stock Jaipur.
My first trip to the likes of Cotteridge Wines and Stirchley Wines and Spirits, were like big beery slaps to the face and changed my whole perceptions of what Birmingham was offering it’s adventurous drinkers.
But as expansive as their respective beer selections are, I’m lazy and when I discovered Wine Lord on Constitution Hill last year I was down right over-joyed that there was somewhere within a 10 minute walk from my flat that I could buy some quality beers.
Fortunately, now that I’ve discovered Connolly’s Wine on Livery Street in the Jewellery Quarter, I have double the amount of local shopping options to feed my drinking habits and appease my apathy to get in my car and drive out to the Pershore Road.
Walking into Connolly’s, apart from the Chesterfield sofa and array of wines stacked wall to wall, the thing you notice most is just how big it is. I suppose I’m used to buying beer from shops where you can barely turn around without feeling like you’re going to destroy the whole place – Beermoth in Manchester and The Ship in a Bottle in Liverpool spring to mind – but it took me by surprise and it was a rare treat to have enough space to prance around freely while inspecting the range.
Independent and family-run since 1976, their main focus is obviously wine, of which there is PLENTY. They have the same ‘I’m going to stack boxes of wine everywhere for you to trip over’ vibe of Majestic but with a much more premium feel. They’ve even got the same wine sampling gizmo that Loki have for crying out loud. Here was me thinking that it was a machine that Phil and his team there had brought back from the future in the Delorean.
Being a wine specialist outpost, I always knew that grape was going to triumph over grain in terms of quantity, but with beers from Smuttynose, Hitachino Nest and Liverpool’s Mad Hatter Brewing Company making up the selection along with your Beavertown’s, your Four Pure’s and your BBN0’s, it boasts a solid range that is far superior to anything else in the city centre.
I left with a go-to Anchor Summer, a Shoals pale ale and Club Tropicana from Mad Hatter – one of the best Berlinerweisse style beers I’ve had. Clean and citric with enough funkiness to tantalize and just on the right side of being too tart.
With one man at the helm on a sunny, quiet Saturday afternoon, Lucas, was really attentive and knowledgeable – I was just impressed that with a shop full to the rafters with alcohol, he had the self control not to indulge in at least a swift can of Neck Oil. A stronger man than I, that’s for sure.
I have a feeling I shall be frequenting Connolly’s a lot this summer.