So the first pub on my mini Birmingham crawl was The Old Joint Stock.
This is Fuller's most Northerly pub, and is overlooked by Birmingham's beautiful cathedral. It is ironic that I chose to visit this pub only a day or two after Stonch's article which highlighted a London Fullers pub which had a ban on jeans and trainers. So suitably attired in my jeans and trainers I entered the pub bravely. Certainly there were a lot of suits, but I wasn't the only one in denim.
The Old Joint Stock is a former stock exchange building and is an architectural splendour. There is a beautiful high domed ceiling above the island bar resplendent in its dark wood. All the furnitures and fittings seemed quite classy. The pub even has its own 80 seat theatre upstairs.
The full Fullers' beer range is available, although not any of the beers badged as Gales, and there is one changing guest beer from Beowulf. My half of Beowulf Chasewater was a rather expensive £1.40 showing perhaps that we are paying for the splendour of the building. It was nice enough but too cold. I have previously drank Fullers' beers here and have always thought those beers too cold also. As well as the cask beers the full Fullers range (including London Porter) is available, although they are all fridged so again probably not served at the optimum temperature.
I am not sure the pub is worthy of its perennial appearance in the Good Beer Guide. It's certainly a nice pub but the beer quality and range are not particulalrly exciting. I do wonder whether it's the novelty of a Fullers pub that gets it in, but that shouldn't be enough.
I think my favouirte bit of the whole pub is the advert on the wall of the gents for the Child Support Agency warning us that money might be taken out of our wages if we don't pay maintenance. I'm not sure what type of men normally pee in this pub, if that's the type of lavatory reading matter!