50% off at new ramen restaurant

THE PUB IS DEAD,
LONG LIVE THE TAPROOM

Okay, okay, so we're being a little dramatic. Your local boozer is likely to outlive the sun, but the trend is swinging in favour of speakeasy-style, smaller venues. Quirky backrooms and hidden beer haunts. We spoke to Bob Maxfield and Dave Hopkins at the Midlands Beer Blog Collective to compile your cut-out-and-lose guide to Brum's taproom boom.
Cotteridge Wines, Cotteridge
Like Toys R Us for grown-ups, Bob says "They have possibly the best beer selection in Britain and it was voted the number one bottle shop in the UK by RateBeer. The guys are really down-to-earth and have developed a great community." Adjacent to the bottle shop sits a tiny bar with a dozen beers on tap, which hosts tasting sessions and growler fills. A growler is a bottle. DefinitelyMore
Fixed Wheel Brewery, Blackheath
Family-run Fixed Wheel is one of Bob's favourites. "You can get a beer and lean against one of their tuns to drink it," he tells us. "That's about as fresh as it gets." Based in Blackheath, the short train hop from Moor Street to Rowley Regis will take you within walking distance of the brewery, so you don't need to draw straws for designated driver. "They not only serve great cask and keg beers, but there's a real sense of community too." D'aaaw.
Rock & Roll Brewhouse, JQ
If you're in the JQ tomorrow (September 9) it's worth paying a visit to the Rock & Roll Brewhouse for another of their soft launches. The 100% vegan brewery was based in the Lamp Tavern, Digbeth until it headed north. With new premises comes a brand new taproom, with a strong 60s vibe. "Brewery based taprooms give you a chance to have the beer as fresh as the brewer intended. We're waiting on word if it'll be open for good," says Dave.
The Wildcat Tap, Stirchley
Bucking the trend of taprooms that serve their own ale, Wildcat Tap is all about sharing beers from other breweries. Strolling down the Pershore Road, it's so unassuming that it'd be easy to miss this itsy-bitsy boozer. Bob tells us: "Micro pubs are small independent pubs, usually in old shops or even a converted living room. Wildcat is in a refitted shop, and it has a great selection of cask and keg beers from local breweries and national breweries."  
Clink, The Custard Factory
For fans of onomatopoeia, Clink is a dream. For those who prefer ace ale to a fancy literary device, it's even better. Based in the Custard Factory, the Clink team don't brew their own, but they know a good beer when they glug it. "They have a fantastic selection of bottles and cans," Dave tells us, "and they have eight taps that they switch regularly, so you can visit these guys and get a really good pint one day, and a totally different one the next."
Burning Soul Brewing Company, JQ
In the former home of Two Towers Brewery there are eight taps fitted and ready to come good on their promise of pouring their own pale ales, stouts, sours and wild beers. Cruelly they are yet to pour a single pint. Bob and Dave have been tracking their progress as they prepare for launch. "Expect artisan beers a month from now," Dave tells us, "they have a pilot kit ready to experiment with some seriously unusual ingredients." More
Indian Brewery Company, JQ
Already known for their Birmingham Lager, this Great Barr-based company are expanding into the city centre to pair Indian food with their nine small batch-brews. "Beer and food matching is going to become more popular than ever," Bob says. "Beer's more flexible than wine." The street food cafe will be situated in the old Brewsmiths premises on Livery Street when it opens pre-Christmas. More
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50% OFF AT TONKOTSU FOR YOU


There are 34,488 ramen shops in Japan. Ramen even has a dedicated museum. Probably time to see what all the brothy, smoky, salty fuss is about then. And a low risk, high reward option is fortuitously close with the launch of Tonkotsu's first venture outside the capital this week, in Selfridges Food Hall. These are the people that come with seals of approval from both Jay Rayner and Giles Coren and now, I Choose Birmingham is adding its smaller, but no less impassioned, voice to the plaudits. So enamoured are we with Tonkotsu's tastiness that we've convinced them to give you all 50% off your food bill between September 8 and 14. Just head on over to Selfridges and show them this very email before you order. If they can fit you in, you're good to go. Only valid at Tonkotsu Selfridges Birmingham. No cash value, not to be used alongside other offers. Our own T&C apply.  

MOVIE OF THE WEEK:
HELL OR HIGH WATER


Do yourself a favour and check out this muscular, confident heist picture – it’s one of the best films of the year. Chris Pine and Ben Foster star as a pair of brothers resorting to robbing banks to get themselves out of debt, and Jeff Bridges is the grizzled law man on their tail. This may sound rote – Bridges has days till retirement, of course – and it owes a huge debt to Cormac McCarthy, but Scottish director David McKenzie (Starred Up) brings a fascinated outsider’s eye to Texas, finding rich pickings of background colour and coaxing career-highlight performances from all concerned. This is an unfussy, subtle and old-fashioned film that’s also hugely suspenseful – if only more of these were made. Times & trailer

THE TEMPEST — OLD DOG, NEW TRICKS


In a year of celebrating all that's been, Birmingham Royal Ballet is capping off its Shakespeare remembrancing with a completely new production. Full of theatrical wizardry and magical designs by War Horse’s Rae Smith, the full-length production has its world premiere on October 1 at Brum's Hippodrome and David Bintley's reimagining of Prospero's otherworldly isle is said to be looking entirely spellbinding. Set to a new score by right proper good British composer, Sally Beamish, and lit by Bruno Poet, who worked on Miss Saigon, you can catch the production in Birmingballs on one of eight occassions before it shows itself off to the rest of the country. Tickets start at £20. Book
Venue: Turners at 69, 69 High Street, Harborne, B17 9NS; website
Choice: Oysters. And scallops. And pork. Oh my!  Chooser: Front of house

There's a time and a place for a 13 course taster menu but, call us Nostradamus, we never thought the time was every thirty days and the place was Turners. In a smart move to pull his neighbourhood regulars in monthly rather than annually, chef Richard Turner has actioned a ten course cull of his Michelin-starred menu. Sort of. We couldn't help but order oysters as a pre-starter starter and it was a high-five inducing decision. Hands down the freshest we've had in the city. The scallop with chicken skin starter was so good we started to debate whether Turner's face should appear on banknotes while all three of the main courses we ordered rocked, with the lemon sole possibly pinching pole position. The newly opened front terrace is a lovely touch and the stuffy vibe that meant we'd only visited Turners once in the last three years, is long gone. It's affordable too. Highly recommended. Menu

PAINTINGS, PAVEMENTS AND POUNDLAND


Hard scientific fact: Nobody's favourite part of Birmingham is Martineau Place. Nobody's. With that in mind it takes one hell of artist to gamble on featuring a chunk of the shopping centre — that resembles a prison in the Jetsons — in a painting, and for that painting to still be immaculate. Step forward Reuben Colley whose latest series of Birmingham works, part of his City Living collectiongoes on display at his Colmore Row-based gallery on Monday (September 12) until October 29. Brum-born Colley paints Birmingham in all its gritty reality: rain-soaked pavements, Poundland (actually, though), and pedestrians wrapped up against the cold, going about their business. Each work records a day in the life of an ever-changing and evolving city. Originals and signed limited edition prints will be available for purchase, while a nosy around is completely free and all are welcome. Except, probably, art thieves. Check out four more paintings from the new series, by clicking 'Catalogue' here
 
  • Flatpack Film Festival has launched Birmingham on Film. See some of Brum's big screen and not-so-big screen appearances
  • UK Burger Battle is back in Brum and by golly we've missed it. September 11, £5 
  • The Big Art Project moves to the Library of Birmingham. See miniature versions of five pieces of proposed art, some hideous, some nice, one of which will be biggerized and installed near Millennium Point
  • The Kings Heath Street Festival is on Sunday. From 11 until 8pm, music, street food, boozeage and crafty things guaranteed
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"Hell is empty and all the devils are here."
- William Shakespeare, The Tempest
WORDS: Katy Drohan, Kirsty BosleyAndrew Lowry, Tom Cullen

I Choose Birmingham, Unit 317, Zellig, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA

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