Good evening all,
The 2016 GBG is officially released today and CAMRA's enforced "secrecy laws" can be relaxed.
Thanks largely to Christine (and I suppose, through gritted teeth, the Good Beer Guide Privilege Club), I have spent the last ten days cross ticking the 2015 GBG to the new 2016 edition ... you will be honoured in the BRAPA end of year awards!
So I can exclusively reveal I have dropped from 742 pubs to 671, a drop of 71 pubs. It was 75 last year so allowing for all the pubs "going back in" and the pre-emptive ticks coming good, I am a bit disappointed. I was hoping for a 50 drop at most, but never mind.
Where did I lose out then? North Yorkshire was a big culprit as I lost 18 out of 100. Tyne and Wear and the West Midlands were also harsh, I lost 10 between these two. All areas of London were quite mean too.
Devon was surprisingly the most successful county with a "plus 2" jump. I haven't achieved a "BRAPA" tick in Devon since I was chatting to Plymouth fans in the Lounge 12:30pm on 9th December 2006 with a 'Dawn Red(?)' by Shepherd Neame.
It was the pre-emptive ticks coming good that most pleased me, especially the Bedfordshire ones in Wrestlingworth and Toddington as I put a lot of research into these days. Donny's Brewery Tap was also satisfying because that came down to 'local knowledge' gained in the Corner Pin back in 2014. However, I have to shake my head at how Selby's Giant Bellflower Wetherspoons has made it in, but it's good news for me.
Satisfying pubs to see removed? Two really stand out. Dog & Gun in Wolverhampton, and Station at Ribblehead. Oh, and Blacksmith's Arms at Naburn. Ha ha ha is all I have to say on that trio.
Most mystifying selections are from East Yorkshire. Boot & Shoe at Ellerton is one of my pubs of 2015 so far so to see it removed when the likes of Larkin's & Hop & Vine (Hull) and Haven Arms (Hedon) remain, is very confusing to me. And the Railway in Cottingham staying in but Bluebell removed, errrm I simply do not agree! Sad too for Great Kelk who are trying really hard to make a name for themselves. Still, no room for sentiment.
To help me, I'm relaxing the rule on "having to re-visit a pub if it has a name change". This was decided when I saw Aberdeen's Moorings has become Krakatoa, which suits it's ambiance better to be fair. It also means Reading's "Alehouse" (formerly Hobgoblin) can go back in.
So, in conclusion, one month reverse owl syndrome only took 2 weeks this year, and I can now focus on pub ticking again, starting in Lewes on Saturday morning. Brighton & London will feature too that weekend, the report will be with you either Sunday or Monday evening.
But the "book work" goes on too, I've got 22 more West Yorkshire pubs (mostly in L**ds) to archive and then, we have 42 pubs that I visited pre-BRAPA but weren't in the 2015 GBG to archive in addition, from all over the UK.
See you soon, Si