This month saw Birmingham join the likes of Leeds and Sheffield with the opening of Head of Steam on Temple Street.
I, my two blog cohorts (Dave and Bob) and our other halves were invited to one of the opening events to see what the place was like for both food and beer. (Full disclosure the event was provided by Head of Steam who covered all costs). It’s certainly an imposing setting - the main area feels spacious with plenty of room around a central Cheers-style bar with tables and booths surrounding it. There is a mezzanine area too which can be isolated from the main bar sound system allowing for private events – I think this would be a great spot for a bottle share or meet the brewer event.
So what was the food and drink like?
You all know that we like beer and also some nice food to go with it. We like to sit in pleasant surroundings which are comfortable and create a warm and relaxed atmosphere. We appreciate attentive service. The latest Head of Steam scores pretty well on these fronts. Beer drinkers, whether casual or enthusiastic will enjoy the large variety on offer. Fans of Belgian beer will be very impressed (La Chouffe, Chimay and Delirium on draft!) and I reckon the sheer number of different styles available in bottles, cans and draft on keg and cask will cater to almost everyone’s taste. This is where I think the bar will shine as it does cater to all types of drinkers with not only a great beer list but also wine and some very nice looking cocktails. It is the sort of place I would see myself going to with a group of workmates and everyone being very happy with what was on offer. One of our party summed it up very well “it’s like a greatest hits album, there’s nothing you haven’t heard before but there’s plenty to keep you listening”.
It was also really great to see some local beers in both keg and cask from Dig Brew and Twisted Barrel. I managed to talk to the manager Neil about this and he said they’ve some exciting plans to work with local brewers which is always good to hear. I spoke to some bar staff too and encouraged them to visit some local breweries which everyone seemed interested in – staff day out?
We chose a range of food from the menu (great to see beers recommended with the food choices) – the squid ring starter was delicious but I would have liked something to dip them in, maybe some chilli sauce. The mini chorizo though ticked all the boxes and disappeared quickly! The main menu is pretty varied with a lot of the usual suspects – burgers, pizza, fish and chips etc. I did notice a slight lack of ‘healthier’ options, such as a main course salad maybe, but it wasn’t a showstopper. All the food arrived quickly and looked really tasty. I had the mussels which were lovely accompanied by some sweet potato fries. Others in our party had fish and chips, pie, hot dogs, salmon and burgers. I wish I’d had space for puddings as they looked very mouth-watering!
It was certainly busy on the night we visited and I’ve heard reports that they kept up this interest through the first week. It was great to see the party continuing too into the weekend with a wide selection of live music. It will be interesting to see what events they schedule over the coming months (The guys are also one of the sponsors of Birmingham Beer Week so keep an eye out for events as part of that between 20-29 July) and how their beer selection rotates (as this is something I find disappointing in some other city centre locations) but given its location and range of drinks available I think this will be a great addition to the Birmingham beer scene getting people interested in different beers and maybe onto some of our more specialist locations.