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Beacon Hotel, Dudley

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user reviews of the Beacon Hotel, Dudley

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Iconic brewery tap and shrine to Victoriana close to the highest point in the West Midlands. My recent visit was (I think) my fourth, so I’m surprised I haven’t reviewed it for BITE before.

Entering from the front, you are immediately confronted with the central serving hatch – and I do mean hatch. It was obviously built when people weren’t so tall, I had to bend down a way to see in. The pub retains the classic 4 room layout. To the right on entering is the Tap Romm, which is very basic with dark wooden settles, and not much else. To the left is the snug which is also fairly plainly furnished, but contains a piano. Straight on past the hatch is another open plan drinking area, but the most ostentatious room is to the left beyond the server – full of items of Victorian splendour. There is also a conservatory, full of tropical plants, and a large outdoor drinking area at the back (behind the brewery).

As for the beer, it is legendary ! They usually have 3 or 4 of their own beers on, and on my recent visit I noticed a couple of (interesting) guests as well. The 6.0% Dark Ruby is one of my all-time favourite beers, and the Surprise and (seasonal 8.%) Snowflake are very nice too.

The main downside to this place is that it isn’t open all day, so you have to time your visit carefully.

8/10 – a real local’s local, but also a magnet for beer nuts from far and wide !

Martinsh - 1 Jan 2016 10:55
Friendly heritage pub where I enjoyed the Sarah Hughes Pale Amber in the snug early this afternoon. As previous reviewers have found, the pub was very full but, if I lived nearby, then I would be a frequent visitor too! In addition to the 4 regular ales, the two guests were from Mallinsons in Huddersfield (one being their Amarillo). A wonderful place to while away an afternoon.
paul_d102 - 25 Jan 2014 18:22
Hadn't been in here for some time (although I've had their beer elsewhere). Great pub in typical Black Country style with a tiny serving hatch and rooms off. Beer was fine (didn't touch the Ruby Mild as it was too early in the day). I always like pubs that do rolls and good beer - this is one of the best. Brewery trips are available if you book but there is nothing better than sitting with a pint and listening to the local banter.
mcroyal - 12 Aug 2012 09:50
Really good to enjoy the excellent Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild on home territory and the Sedgley Surprise was very good too along with a nice cheese and onion cob. I agree wholeheartedly with 'Carlurmston' comments below as I often do, and took his advice to visit.
Very interesting interior and good atmosphere and is a great pub, a Gem too, however I could not call it one of the Best Pubs in the Country as many have on here, maybe I was let down a bit after reading all the glowing reports and planning a visit with high expectations, don't get me wrong this is only my personal opinion and I liked it very much but there are plenty of others that could vie for that accolade. Maybe the fact that you couldn't see the bar staff made it impersonal, I don't know, but it did not gel for me, still a great pub though and fantastic Dark Ruby Mild. Would definitely visit again if in the area.
Wirral_RealAlians - 8 Jul 2012 13:09
One of the best pubs in the UK. Excellent beer, superbly pulled. Cosy old school, happy locals. Often too full but that isn't the pubs fault other than being too good.
scocky - 16 Feb 2012 09:52
It is perhaps a good job that the lunch time opening hours are limited. When the three regular beers at 4%, 5% and 6% are supported by Snowflake at 8% plus guest ales Espresso Stout and Kinver Edge it can quickly become a heady drinking experience. Very pleasant.
GazzaTheBeerMan - 22 Dec 2011 11:36
I have to agree almost entirely with the comments from 'Carlumston' below. We arrived there on a summer weekday evening after walking up to the top of Sedgley Beacon (a couple of hundred yard away), and enjoyed an excellent pint to refresh ourselves after the exertion. But it was very full, so we had to spread ourselves around, which gave the opportunity to engage in conversation with other patrons (confirming the friendliness of the locals). An easy bus journey took us to Coseley station for our return journeys.
FotWBF - 21 Jun 2011 23:46
As good as it gets - the Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild @ 2.65 was excellent - without a shadow of a doubt one the best pubs in the country - very busy.
KeithP - 30 Apr 2011 12:19
A true gem of a pub. Great service by very friendly staff. Well worth a visit.
OldGrog - 12 Apr 2011 12:23
This is one of my favourite pubs in the country, the service is excellent the locals are very friendly and as you would expect the beer is top quality.
cooperman2 - 26 Oct 2010 11:46
One of several well-known Black Country brewpubs, this unspoilt Victorian gem lies about half a mile west of the town centre.
It's highly unusual layout- 4 completely separate rooms, served by hatches from a 'pod'-like bar in the middle- must be unique, and has earned the pub a place on the CAMRA National Inventory. The only way to see bar staff is from the door at the side corridor or to duck at the hatches- a throwback to days when privacy was paramount.
The two snugs at the front of the pub are the cosiest, with fires and an intimate atmosphere- but are also very busy. The smoke room at the rear is larger, and an extension area creates more space, but you still may struggle to get a seat.
In the toilet corridor is an unusual collection of tropical-looking plants.
The beer here is excellent aside from the famous (and deceptively strong) Ruby Mild there is the excellent Pale Amber beer and Surprise Bitter, all served in traditional pint pots- another bonus.
You should make every effort to get here, there are frequent buses but note the limited opening hours of the pub, especially at weekends. One of my favourites.
Carlurmston - 31 Mar 2010 17:52
Simply fantastic. a very friendly pub, with great beer. Many rooms add to the quirkeyness.
Jez1996 - 27 Dec 2009 15:30
This is an excellent pub and one that i don't visit as much as i would like, the ruby mild is superb and goes perfectly with a cheese and onion cob, staff are friendly and serve you as quickly as they can, can't wait to visit this pub again
Ispy - 20 Dec 2009 12:26
As good as ever!
The Beacon never disappoints. Mild as good as ever and you sometimes get 2 guest beers on now as well now (that is if you can get past the Sarah Hughes beers). Always a sight to see the majority of drinkers having the mild. The cheese cobs are amazingly tasty too....
What a classic pub

Andythebaggie - 3 Dec 2009 09:02
Legendary pub, visited on my annual beer pilgrimage to the Black Country, a 6% Mild, a beer garden and sunshine, doesn't get much better that this!
Abteilung - 28 Jun 2009 18:04
Ruby Mild YUM 8/10
fat_beer_badger - 14 May 2009 18:46
A lot about this great Black Country pub has been mentioned already so I will add the following - there is an excellent beer garden with play equipment for children and one room which leads out in to the garden, in which children are allowed. You can keep an eye on the garden from this room. Indoor and outdoor toilets are available, there is a covered smoking area in the garden, and a conservatory extension to the side (which seems to serve no other purpose than to house many plants!) It has ample parking space, and although they only serve cobs (which I believe are lovingly created by the local butcher), there are plenty of other bar snacks including chocolate bars, locally produced pork scratchings and there is an excellent chip shop just opposite.
OoOoObubbles - 3 May 2009 14:04
Hmm ruby mild.
Oxford_Wolf - 1 May 2009 15:22
I love the Beacon. All pubs should be the same imo. The Ruby Mild what a lovely pint. The only snag it's approx 200 miles from where I live, however I have some friends who live in Bilston, which only a few miles away. So if I'm up there for a few days we ALWAYS call into the Beacon.
shed16 - 28 Apr 2009 21:19
Visited here for the first time on Easter Sunday evening. What a great old building with a wonderful old-fashioned central bar. Sarah Hughes Pale Amber, Sedgley Surprise, Dark Ruby, Oakham White Dwarf Acorn Barnsley Gold and Elland Amnesia were the 6 real ales. Sam Smith's Organic cider is also available. The place was packed with standing room only - we ended up on the outdoor patio at the rear. But this place is steeped with atmosphere. Definitely worth a visit.
blue_scrumpy - 15 Apr 2009 18:09
You can walk here from Wolverhampton. Go to Jeremy Road, and follow the footpath heading east. At Northway, cross Wolverhampton Road and take a left up to the Beacon hill; there are wonderful views. Carry on towards the transmitters and the Beacon, and then along Beacon Lane to the pub. There are buzzards and skylarks in the fields. I love this pub. I am fortunate indeed that it is my local.
Idler - 5 Apr 2009 21:32
I won't review at length as many I'm sure have said it better, but just to add a brief 2 cents......this place is bloody bostin ay'it!!

A warren of some of the best preserved traditional interiors I've seen in any pub. Almost a living extension of the nearby black country museum and one of the finest examples of our pub heritage. The black country is oft much maligned, but I think this establishment gives testament that the area is not without charm. And, yes the beer is very nice too.
Klaude_Martner - 3 Apr 2009 10:37
It may be 50 miles away but whenever I'm in the West Midlands I make a point of calling in - it really is an absolute gem. Where to begin? The classic interior, (though I agree with the comment about the lack of real fires), the wonderful brewery and the sublime beers - Ruby has to be one of the classic beers of Britain - a real shock for anyone who thinks Mild is a weak pretty tasteless beer. It's eminently drinkable - but beware -when you step outside!! If you're there in the winter do try Snowflake. Excellent range of other real ales too! Shame Sedgley is a pretty dreary place - otherwise I'd move there!
matty_northants - 7 Feb 2009 18:19
I am lucky enough to live just a mile away from the beacon hotel, The ruby is my poison of choice and its still only 2.35 a pint!
Well worth a visit mid week (I tend to avoid on a friday night cus its heaving)
Best pub i have ever used bar none!!
twistedbliss - 17 Jan 2009 21:24
Time to bang on again about the wonder that is the Beacon. Following the mighty RFC to any Midlands away day game invariably means a detour here, no matter to which ground we may be headed. After a very pleasing 3-1 demolition of the Blues this time, the trip here was all the more sweeter.
Arriving at about 7.15pm on the Saturday evening, the whole pub was already packed. The Snowflake was as superb as it normally is and the rest of the range was equally on top form. The recently awarded CAMRA award for the best pub in Birmingham, propelling it into the running for the National award, is long overdue and thoroughly deserved.
Gristy - 22 Dec 2008 11:53
So, where to start?

Let's begin with the interior. It's a lovely, unspoilt (or apparently unspoilt) gem. A number of different rooms, with four of the clustered around a central 'bar', which is essentially little more than a serving hatch on two of the sides. Sucha set-up allows for a relaxed atmosphere and some welcome variety.

Secondly, the beer. This is the home of the Sarah Hughes brewery who produce, amongst others (Surprise and Pale Amber usually) the sublime Dark Ruby Mild. A drink that anyone who enjoys beer should try at least once. A wonderful, dark fruity brew with a pretty unique taste weighing in at 6% abv. Along with three Sarah Hughes beers, there are usually a couple of guest beers available. All are served in sublime condition. The brewery is located at the top of the building - it's well worth a tour, a real old-fashioned brewing affair with a large dose of love added.

And other stuff includes cobs to eat, excellent chatty clientle and a dog-friendly policy. One very small point is that the fires don't appear to be 'real' fires, which is a small let-down. How amazing would it be to have some coals/logs on there in the winter?

I wish this was my local. An absolute gem.
Quinno - 13 Oct 2008 19:37
Another 12 months on from our last visit and time for the annual trip to the Beacon...yet again, nothing has changed at all and praise be for that. The Snowflake and the Dark Mild were both on absolute top form, although you REALLY don't want to be driving if you imbibe either. We normally coincide our visits with football matches in the area, but it really is worth coming up here just to visit the pub. It's 120 miles from home for us, but worth every minute that it taskes to get here.
Gristy - 14 Jan 2008 12:28
One of the best Midlands pubs with beer brewed on site.

As John Bonser says be aware of the "potency of Ruby Mild". My first visit here was as an 18 year old, and it was the second pub of our crawl. I had 3 pints of this gorgeous tasting ale (an elderly drinker - experienced no doubt had told me to be aware of its strength)and ended up legless. I have visited the place many times since, and on top of the ale the interior is very traditional split into several smaller roooms. For summer drinkers there is a smallish garden out of the back.
wbafc_beer - 9 Jan 2008 16:51
Lovely interior with small Victorian bar serving different rooms that are worth a wander round in. Good beers from its own brewery as well as guests. Friendly staff.
gillhalfpint - 6 Jul 2007 09:57
Renewed our acquaintance with this old friend after a gap of just about a year and nothing has changed, thankfully. Magnificent beer in unsurprisingly top condition, very friendly and obliging staff. Beautifully preserved interior, very tidy and clean despite the very wet red clay from the car-park surface being dragged in on the soles of everyone's feet. The tiniest disappointment came when they said they had none of the cheese and onion cobs available, but we still came away very happy indeed.
Gristy - 29 Jan 2007 09:06
Fine old pub, the Dark Ruby Mild is certainly very moreish.

The garden can be very noisy in summer.

No food except for cheese and onion cobs at lunchtime (I can recommend these).

Everyone should try Dark Ruby if at all possible but the other beers are also good. Snowflake (The Christmas beer) can be treacly when first brewed but improves with age (usually particularly good during Christmas week).
crosswordqueen - 30 Oct 2006 11:02
Famous West Midlands home brew pub, the home of Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby, brewing there since 1921. It's an unspoilt Victorian pub with a small enclosed kiosk - type central bar with 2 hatches serving a total of four old fashioned, but well preserved rooms. The pub features on CAMRA's National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors.
There is a garden at the back with facilities for children, but thankfully there were no families or children there during my visit and the only sound to disturb the peaceful tranquillity was the constant rumble of passing traffic - the pub is situated on the A 463 going to Dudley.
Beer drinkers should be aware of the potency of the Dark Ruby and, as I did, stick to the Surprise Bitter or Pale Amber, both of which are typically pale and sweetish Midlands beer, but nonetheless very palatable.
Pub is accessible by bus from both Dudley and Wolverhampton, but the evening service is less frequent.
Highly recommended if you're anywhere remotely in the vicinity
JohnBonser - 29 Sep 2006 17:37
My all time favourite pub. The atmosphere is always pleasant, and the ales are outstanding.
petem111 - 29 Aug 2006 11:25
The dark ruby sold out very quickly at the recent London Drinker festival at King's Cross, much to my annoyance as I didn't get to try it. However I must admit the chances of me ever washing up in Dudley are nil so perhaps I will never get a chance to taste this elusive mild...
anonymous - 8 May 2006 16:07
Sarah Hughes DARK RUBY MILD at 6% is a MILD you just have to try. Brewed here and rarely available anywhere else. A real pub well worth a visit.
Stus.search.4.mild - 8 May 2006 16:00
Quality pub. They brew their own beer, which seems to be very popular with the CAMRA types. And me. The Ruby Mild, Sedgley Surprise and Snowflake are all cracking - they taste great but are absolutely lethal. Don't expect to spend a boozy New Years Eve there then go to a christening at 10am the next day, without regretting it. Oh my head....
ElDickster - 2 May 2006 19:07
Superb, classic pub.
Uncle_Dunkel - 24 Feb 2006 16:42
It is the only pub I know that is unchanged in 30 years. John Hughes simply waited for it to come back into fasion!
tel - 14 Nov 2005 21:53
excellant-no other word for it.its like a living museum.excellant atmosphere and own brewed beer.
dont miss it!
covman2003 - 25 Sep 2005 17:21
Traditional ale, warm friendly atmosphere and fine variety of characters and ales
Richie - 3 Nov 2004 13:00
I can do no better than quote from another website comment:

"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".

Food is not served here, so a top score can't be given, but as a "throwback" drinking place and for the sheer brilliance of the Dark Mild...GO THERE!!
Allan - 25 Aug 2004 13:00

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