Number 11 bus service is celebrating its 90th birthday with an anniversary Ale Trail

Britain’s longest urban bus route, Birmingham’s famous number 11, is celebrating its 90th birthday with an anniversary Ale Trail and a locally brewed commemorative beer.

Transport for West Midlands and National Express West Midlands have been working with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and Bus Users UK to highlight 11 great pubs on the city’s celebrated outer circle route.


And Birmingham’s Two Towers Brewery has produced a specially commissioned No. 11 beer, described as “a very pale, straw-coloured ale, with light fruit flavours suggesting the sunshine that the ale appears to project, sitting on top of biscuit malt and slight nutty hints”. This special ale is on sale at Billesley’s Hungry Horse, the Inn on the Green in Acocks Green, The Yardley arms and Erdington’s Village Green.

National Express Managing Director Peter Coates said:

“Let us be your designated driver for the number 11 Ale Trail. The number 11 bus runs every 8 minutes and all the stops by the 11 Ale Trail pubs have real-time information screens so you don’t waste valuable drinking time waiting for a bus.”

People can collect a special stamp from each of the 11 pubs on the Ale Trail and when they have all 11, they can enter a monthly prize draw.

Birmingham City Councillor Kath Hartley, who has adopted the number 11 route, said:

“There are some wonderful pubs all over Birmingham, serving craft beers and cask ales in beautiful buildings. The number 11 Ale Trail is a cheap and easy way of trying at least 11 of them out. I’ve already made a start on getting all 11 stamps.”

The number 11 service first ran on the Outer Circle on 26 April 1926. Since then, it has been immortalised in song (by The Woodbines in 1999), in dance (Kenneth Reid from the Birmingham Scottish country dance group created a dance based on the Outer Circle) and in at least one novel (it features in West Midlands author Jonathan Coe’s recent satirical bestseller “Number 11”).

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