Monday, 2 January 2012

My favourite pubs: The All Nations Inn, Madelely

The story of brewing in the UK in the twentieth century - or at least the first three quarters of it, was the story of increasing concentration in the hands of a few large brewers. Brewpubs - where beer is brewed on the premises were once common but by the early nineteen-seventies there were just four. Thankfully, the situation is now vastly improved, there are now well over a hundred brewpubs in the UK.

Quiz question: one of the original four was the All Nations Inn, where were the other three? Answer at the bottom of the page. :-)

The All Nations Beerhouse opened in 1831 and began brewing the following year. Except for a brief hiatus from 2001-2003 it has had a brewery on the site ever since. In 2009 the brewery was rebranded as Shires and supplies the All Nations with its house bitters, Dabley Ale and Dabley Gold and Coalport Dodger Mild. There is always at least one other guest ale on offer, usually another local beer, and a cider (not that I drink  that stuff).

The All Nations is a pub that has not been mucked about with. It's one long room with a real fire in the grate in winter and a small central bar and solid wooden tables and benches. It is, in short, a proper pub. I also like the fact it displays its prices on one of those price boards from the seventies. I always thought it was the law that pubs should display their prices clearly, but these days hardly any seem to do so.

It is the perfect place to spend a peaceful weekend afternoon, reading the papers and supping on one of the always excellent beers, with one of the pub's excellent cob rolls or toasties to soak it up. A trip to the loo involves stepping over the dogs which can almost always be found stretched out across the floor or in front of the fire and then a trot (or a sprint if it's raining) across the back courtyard to the outside toilet.  The pub is popular with locals and visitors alike, being just a step up the hill from Ironbridge Gorge and opposite the 'Victorian Town' at Blists Hill.

Its situation, on the opposite hill also makes it the perfect place to view the very popular Blists Hill firework display in November, I had a fantastic evening here watching the fireworks and enjoying the hotdogs and burgers offered by the pub, and in the summer the courtyard is used for live music entertainment.

Shropshire, in my opinion, is the best county in the country for decent pubs, and the All Nations is up there with the best of them. It came as no surprise to me that it won the local Camra pub of the year award, even with such excellent competition in the area.  As I've just bought an annual ticket for the Ironbridge Museums, I have an excuse to visit the pub a few more times over the next few months, not that any excuse is needed...

Iron bridge Ironbridge

Sign in Blists Hill

Blists Hill

Quiz Answer:

The other brewhouses still in existence in the seventies were:
The Blue Anchor, Helston
The Three Tuns, Bishops Castle
The Old Swan, Netherton

History of the All Nations and other brewpubs

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