This local offy in Pershore Road is a treasure trove of beer.
Shelf upon shelf displays an array of multicoloured labels with unusual bottles coming from far and wide.
The shop, celebrating its 20th anniversary in the summer, started stocking craft beer nearly three years ago in a bid to compete with the supermarkets.
After starting with a small number of real ale bottles the shop has drastically expanded its craft beer range, now stocking a staggering 1,300 beers. And staff are about to add 1,000 more.
The website encourages craft beer enthusiasts to share their opinions on beers and retailers across the world, rating each one.
And the annual RateBeer awards show Birmingham is a sanctuary for beer buyers, with Stirchley Wines, further north up Pershore Road, also making the five-strong national shortlist.
At Cotteridge Wines, in-house beer sommelier Roberto Ross says: “We’ve got the largest range in the UK so we score very highly.
“Nowadays there’s no way an off-licence can compete with the supermarkets by selling Carling, Fosters and Stella. It’s impossible.
“You have to change or die. That’s what Kal and Jaz (the shop’s owners) realised.
“They knew they had to do something a bit different and a bit niche.”
After growing their beer range, brothers Kal and Jaz Kandola recruited Roberto, applied for an on-licence to run adjacent to the off-licence and opened the back room as a bar.
Launched four months ago, the little room has 14 beers on tap and hosts tasting sessions with unusual bottled beers.
Each tasting (priced from £25 to £50 depending on the range of beer on offer) is made up of eight to 15 people.
Roberto says: “We’re seeing a lot of couples coming to the tasting events – they make up about 75 per cent – and they are a lot of the faces you often see in Brewdog, the Craven Arms and Cherry Reds. It’s completely reliant on word of mouth.
“I select interesting beers people can’t normally get their hands on.
“Some of the really good beers are expensive and people aren’t always going to gamble on buying a bottle that costs £20 if they don’t know whether they’ll like it or not.
“But if you can go to a tasting event costing £20 with a selection of 10 and you get a glass of each that’s not bad value for money.”
To mark the 20-year anniversary the shop is planning a series of events with popular craft brewers starting in March.
And if you find something on tap that you want to drink at home you can fill a two-litre glass “growler” bottle for takeaways.
Sitting in the windowless back room surrounded by beer paraphernalia, Roberto says: “London doesn’t have anything like this. Manchester doesn’t have anything like this. Birmingham is a good place to be a beer drinker!”
We asked Roberto to share his favourite unusual beers from the shop's shelves.
De Molen Tsarina Esra
This 11% abv Imperial Porter (stronger than a Baltic Porter) straight from De Molen in the Netherlands is all about rich malts, chocolate and dark fruits, a little smokiness finishes this wonderfully dark smooth beer.
Another of RateBeer’s 100 out of 100 best beers in the world.
Brodies / Cotteridge Wines Bish’s APA
Our original collaboration with Brodie’s in Layton, east London, is in the style of a classic hoppy American pale ale.
Its juicy citrus tang compliments its bitter backbone and the results are a very easy drinking, sessionable pale at 5% abv.
Bottles available and periodically on draught in our tasting room.
Siren Odyssey 003
Our friends at Siren Craft, now voted the top brewery in England by RateBeer, crafted this very special edition for us that is only available here at the shop or at the brewery in Finchampstead (south of Reading) itself.
A 6.2% abv blend that is made up of 85 per cent Nacken hopfenweisse, five per cent Pale Ale that has been aged in Chardonnay barrels with brettanomyces (yeasts), 10 per cent fresh Soundwave IPA, dryhopped with Simcoe and then aged on peaches.
RateBeer scores this a respectable 94 out of 100.
Mikkeller Nelson Sauvignon
This 9% abv New Year special from Mikkeller, Denmark, is only available here in the UK. It’s jam packed with the distinct Nelson Sauvin hop from New Zealand.
The beer is then fermented with Champagne yeast, brettanomyces, enzymes and then aged three months in Austrian white wine casks.
It’s an exceptionally dry and vinous grape, gooseberry offering balanced by notes of oak. RateBeer scores this a flawless 100 out of 100 and it’s my personal favourite.
Jolly Pumpkin / Anchorage Calabaza Boreal
Jolly Pumpkin, from Michigan, and Anchorage, from Alaska, got together to brew this wildly fermented Belgian-style biere (7% abv) with grapefruit peel, grapefruit juice, peppercorns and brettanomyces.
A big juicy refreshing beer that’s also very complex from the wild fermentation stage.
RateBeer scores this 99 out of 100.
The Kernel Imperial Brown Stout London 1856
The acclaimed London brewer The Kernel, based in railway arches in Bermondsey, produces this fantastic Imperial Brown Stout at a traditionally strong 10% abv from an old Barclay Perkins recipe from 1856.
Dark chocolate plays with coffee in this smooth, viscous beauty.
Someone back in the 1850s definitely knew how to live!
A 99 out of 100 score on RateBeer.
7. The Bruery Smoking Wood - Bourbon Barrel
This beer, from The Bruery, California, is brewed with beachwood, cherrywood smoked malt and a hefty amount of rye malt contributing to a full body and light spiciness.
It’s then aged in bourbon barrels and the results are a delicious demonstration of what wood has to offer when it comes to beer.
Toasty oak, caramel and vanilla flavours balance the smokiness.
It’s intense, it’s 14% abv and RateBeer scores it a 99 out of 100.
8. To Øl Black Malts & Body Salts Black Coffee IIPA
This black coffee double IPA from To Øl, Denmark, is top of the class in the oxymoronic Black IPA category.
The interplay between juicy hops, black malts and French press coffee is something to behold.
The 9.9% abv ties it all together.
Another RateBeer 100 out of 100 scoring beer.
9. Lost Abbey The Angel’s Share - Bourbon Barrel
One of the highest regarded barley wines in the world, Lost Abbey from San Marcos, California, ages their base beer, The Angle’s Share, in Heaven Hill Wheat Whiskey barrels.
The resulting flavours are: toffee, vanilla, caramel and ripe fruits, the warming finish from its 12.5% strength makes this a very satisfying winter warmer.
10. Buxton Special Reserve Tsar Bomba
In 1978, The Courage Brewery brewed a batch of Imperial Russian Stout, aged it in brettanomyces infected, wooden Hogshead barrels and some time later it was put into bottles.
Thirty four years later the staff at Buxton enjoyed said bottle, rescued its 1978 yeast strain, cultivated then inoculated into their own Russian Imperial Stout, The Tsar (10% abv), and then further aged it for 9 months.
An opaque black beer with flavours of wood, roast malt, nuts, a little chocolate and a very dry bitter finish.
RateBeer scores this 97 out of 100.