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The Beacon Hotel, 129 Bilston Street, DUDLEY, DY3 1JE [Map]
Well, where do I start with this ummm..., how can I describe it other than a beer cathedral? It really is incredible. The staff are friendly and chatty and told us all about the pub. It's an unspoilt 19th Century building with many of the original fittings and as you enter you feel as if you are stepping back in time to the 1930's. There are several rooms scattered about, all with a slightly different feel, none are particularly that smart, but all are oozing with character. The old gas lamps now have electric bulbs, the seating mainly settles lining the walls and old wooden chairs elsewhere. The bar is very unusual, a wooden hexagonal structure with very low tiny hatches with hatches facing each of the rooms. They make their own real ale. Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild is the one to try, it's incredible, and a true traditional strong Black Country mild which would have been the norm years ago. A black fruity mild that's addictive on a winter's night and slips down all too easily. It's 6% too so we always order a cab home (Beacon Taxis - 20p in the payphone and dial 666666, dead easy), I wouldn't trust my legs after half a dozen of those!
The pub's also got an interesting conservatory that most folk only see whilst going to and from the loos. No music or machines, just good conversation and great beer.
The Victorian brewhouse, built in the 1850's, lies behind the pub and since it was re-opened in 1987 has brewed the famous Sarah Hughes beers. The bottled version of the beer is allegedly available in Harrods and Selfridges down there in London.
YOU'VE GOT TO GO TO THE BEACON HOTEL!
Believe me, if you like pubs and a good pint of beer, you won't be disappointed, and you'll remember your visit for many years to come.