Shires: What is it?


I’m a beer writer writing an article on fictional beers and I’m looking for your expertise and collective knowledge about Shires.

From what I understand it’s the only beer sold at the Bull. The bull was originally a brewer owned pub owned by Southampton Breweries before being bought out as a Free House in 1959.

Do we know if Shires is a Southampton brewery beer, or has it only been sold since it became a free house?

Also is there ever anything mentioned as to what style of beer it is? I’d guess an ale but from everything I can read the specific style is never mentioned, is this right?

Thanks for any help you can give me!

— Paul

[edited to clean up formatting - HedgeSparrow]


Welcome to the board, Paul.

The Bull used to be a tied house, and its brewery was called Stourhampton (not Southampton) Breweries between 1957 when they took it over and Jack and Peggy Woolley buying it in 1959, when it became a free house.

The Bull sells Shires, which has been called a bitter on air once or twice and also described as a cask beer, and an unnamed lager preferred by the younger inhabitants of the village.

It has been claimed in the past that there were guest beers, though none was ever named or ordered, and also that while Sid Perks was the landlord and cellarman it was a Camra pub, with coach parties coming in sometimes. Why they would go to a one-beer pub is hard to say, but I think we have to assume that Shires is a real ale…

There is an article behind the Telegraph paywall which might have more information in it:
Liquid assets: Shires
and there are some inventive reviews of The Bull on Tripadvisor:
The only beer available seems to be one called 'Shires' - The Bull, Worcestershire Traveller Reviews - Tripadvisor

Good luck. Give us a link to the article when you have finished it?


I certainly will, a bitter eh? That’s certainly helpful!


I’ve heard it referred to as bitter (I think when there were cricket-related visitors to The Bull. Or something). Sorry not to be able to be more specific.
Welcome! by the way.


Welcome Paul

As new folks are offered a huge drink by the rest of us my card is behind the bar


…and no, it doesn’t have to be Shires or Unbenanntesbräu


Nothing to add but ‘Welcome, Paul’. Do stick around.