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Published February 17th 2017
Enjoy A Drink Or A Meal While Watching The Canal Boats Go By
Rarely can a pub have two great locations in one. But this is certainly true of The Red Lion, a delightful country pub and restaurant in the Staffordshire village of Hopwas. For The Red Lion is served equally well by water, in the form of the Coventry Canal that passes alongside it, and the more traditional roadway which happens to be the main A51 route between the town of Tamworth just over two miles away and the cathedral city of Lichfield about five miles or so in the opposite direction.
With such a prime position it is no surprise to find a hostelry in this location. In fact, it is such a good spot that another pub, The Tame Otter, can be found on the opposite bank of the canal. The tiny village of Hopwas itself dates back to the time of the Domesday Book, and boasts the ancient Hopwas Wood on its outskirts.
The Red Lion does not appear to be that old, judging at least by the AD1903 stone set into the brickwork at the front of the building. Of course, that doesn't mean to say there wasn't a much older establishment — drinking or otherwise — that may well have existed on the same site long before the current red brick structure was built. Certainly, the current pub doesn't look as though it has altered much over the last century and a bit, although the large lounge appears to have undergone a fairly recent modern makeover.
My February visit prevented me from enjoying the two large beer gardens at the rear of the pub, so a return visit when the weather is considerably warmer is definitely in order. But a quick stroll around the beer gardens reveals a raised wooden decking area immediately outside the lounge, while there is plenty of picnic-style seating throughout the gardens - particularly the main area from where you can enjoy the boats and birdlife passing by on the canal.
Back inside The Red Lion the main lounge provides plenty of seats for diners to enjoy the hearty dishes on offer, while drinkers also have the option of sampling a beer or two in the small traditional bar on the other side of the main entrance. Both rooms feature solid fuel stoves to ensure visitors stay warm at any time of the year.
The pub seems to serve one regular beer, which is Wells Bombardier, but when I was there they also had a guest beer called Wadsworth Dirty Rucker which I am told is temporary. My friend and I sampled both and had no complaints. There is also a range of lager, cider and bottled beers available if preferred.