Sunday 3 April 2016

BRAPA - March Review / April Preview (2016)

HMS BRAPA has sailed blissfully into Ale Harbour, having spent most of the month docked at 'Shut Pub Haven'.

23 new pubs visited was a pleasing result in the end, especially as 8 of those were done in the final few days.  I also managed 4 pre-emptives, all of which I'd rate as very high potential to appear in a future edition of the Good Beer Guide.

The month was frustrating as predicted, with factors like 'shut pubs', 'cat-sitting', 'rubbish Hull City' and 'recurrence of December ankle injury' all conspiring to hinder my progress.

The quality of the pubs visited however was the best so far, here are the three that I'm putting through for 'pub of the year' contenders:

1.  Bell, Aldworth
2,  Spotted Dog, Digbeth
3.  Duke of Wellington, Danby

Others like the Cock Inn at Birdwell, the Blacksmiths at Lastingham, the Old Moseley Arms at Balsall Heath and the Crown and Anchor at Barugh Green were very close to getting the final nod.

April Preview

I am predicting that April will eclipse my 'pubs visited record', mainly due to my 4 day Berkshire Beezer mid month where I'm focussing mainly on the rural ones of West Berkshire.  I still can't decide a definite agenda but it'll be pub fuelled fun whatever, and I can't wait.

By the time you read this, I'll have done some more North Yorkshire rural pubs to kick off the month , whilst Tuesday sees us celebrate BRAPA's second birthday with a trip to that wonderful ale town of Derby.  Surely at least four new pubs on the agenda there.

Next Saturday is "dead-ticking" as I go to watch Hull City at Huddersfield, a wonderful pub town but sadly I've done all the ones in the GBG so hoping to stick to 1 or 2 of my favourites.

The week after is Berkshire, and I don't have any time to recover before I get a rural South Yorkshire tick in after playing golf, and then a punk festival in Manchester gives me a chance to get some of the remaining Manchester/Salford pubs that I need, as long as my sister doesn't try and be a BRAPA Crapper.

My liver will be silently sobbing by the month end trip to Bolton, which again is too good an opportunity not to get some ticks in the town, as I normally go to Horwich for that game.

South Yorkshire midweek coverage might be a bit spotty, but I'd love to crack the Donny Marketplace conundrum once and for all, possibly combined with highly rated Tickhill.

Just to remind you all, say NO to Motion 10 (a proposal to no longer have a 4,500 pub limit in the Good Beer Guide from 2018 onwards) or else they may as well rename it the 'Average Beer Directory' and I think ABD doesn't sound as good as GBG! (not to mention my task becoming impossible).

Keep on pubbin', keep on hidin'.


Bertie reacts with disbelief to Motion 10 announcement


  1. 28 pubs in the month is a good achievement considering you had initially estimated 22, so well done on that. With that in mind:

    An average of 27 per month thus far this year. From 850 at March end, extrapolation gives us an estimated 135 further pubs in the 5 months up to the end of August, reaching lockdown on 985. Based on previous gains:
    September 2015 for 2016 GBG -71 from 742, -9.57%
    September 2014 for 2015 GBG -75 from 548, -13.69%
    Averaging these out gives an average new GBG gain of -11.63%, which would give you a gain of -115, leaving you on 870. With the gains in the last four months of the year, I estimate you would gain 108 between September and December inclusive, and hence hit 978 at year end. Note this is all based on statistics which are slightly less crude than last time.

    I must also point out that by doing this analysis I am not accepting that statistics is a proper science nor that it is as good as maths.

    Is Bolton officially designated as an NFFD? It is a daft kick off time, 12:30 or something similarly stupid. I never thought I'd live to see the day when my last fixture of the season was in early February.

    1. HinTom, it was just 23 not 28 sadly. Hope that doesn't affect your in depth calculations too much!

      By the time One Month Reverse Owl comes along, I'll be happy with 985 as things stand now.

      Bolton we are currently planning on going to game but could change, kick off time change is daft but makes no difference, just means I'd do more pubs after rather than before which I quite like. Could we lobby the FA to make all games kick off 9:15am?

  2. There is something about the juxtaposition of Bertie and the sewing machine - very Kate Bush Aerial-era.

    Your April looks more exciting than mine. I think sometimes you have to revisit great towns without new ticks though, so Huddersfield is something to write about. Always though the southern suburbs would have lots of micros but none yet.

    Should we find out whether Motion 10 passed ? I vaguely remember try alsos before I started this lark properly.

    1. I know that album through my Mum so what you say actually makes some sense. Has she done her comeback tour yet?

      Yes I agree, I'm more relaxed about non BRAPA ticking days than I used to be as long as I get my monthly quota, and with Berkshire 4 day special on the horizon, I can afford to relax in hudds. And thanks again re that pre-emptive!

      So happy re Motion 10, relief all round in BRAPA HQ! Oh yes, and 'Pubs in Brief' which confused everyone!

  3. Motion 10 rejected. May make it 4501 to force you to change your name, with the 4501st pub not being publicised, you'll only know what it is when you get there (it'll be Wolfie's wine bar in Skegness)

    1. Ooh I need a good Skeggy trip. Never ever been, not even on a family holiday or day trip. On a similar note, where do you stand on pubs that CAMRA forgot to put in the physical GBG but have rectified by putting on their Mobile App and in the amendments? I can't physically highlight anything so very frustrating. Only 2 I can see this year.

    2. Surely the unpublicised 4501st pub is the Green Owl. I assume the omitted two are counted in the 4500 and there are actually only 4498 printed entries.

  4. Don't go to Donny Marketplace next sunday they have said they will be closed!

    1. Thanks Rob, have you ever known a 'pub' have such erratic opening hours? I think I will try next Tues but combine it with Tickhill so it isn't a total washout (well, unless Tickhill does a Birdwell!)

  5. I thought omissions were very rare; two this year first for ages. Luckily I'd done both; bet the Manc one unimpressed. You'd think crosschecking would pick up; I guess eyesight at CAMRA HQ poor now they work to 67.

    On Kate, surprised you missed her comeback album of Vice Squad covers; understand she might stand in for Becky Bondage at Blackpool if Doctors strike caused he hip op to be put back again.

    1. My tuppence worth is I'd suggest going to the accidentally omitted pubs, as whether or not you see them as currently being in the guide, CAMRA clearly consider them to be of a worthy standard, thus they must surely count as a very good pre-emptive at least.

      Duly noted for Bolton Wanderers, I'm happy to c communicate by email for any 11:00 or earlier openers. There will likely be trains to the ground put in the system very last minute, it is difficult to look for precedents for funny kick off times. If all games kick off at 09:15 I shall go ballistic.

      Rob, your username has reminded me to look up the Isle of Axholme bus day, for more frequent services to the likes of Haxey and Epworth. Si, it is on Sunday the 16th of October if you are interested (obviously subject to Axholme pubs being in the 2017 GBG). Rob, you should have a gold star or a pint or something.

      Si, you've been good recently. You don't need a Skeg trip. If ever you are bad, I will let you know long before you reach that level of behaviour.

    2. Is Skeggy that bad Tom. Only been a couple of times and it was quite bracing. Last time there I saw Roger Protz, actual editor of the Beer Guide in the Vine Hotel (though not in the Wetherspoons, tellingly).

    3. Skegness is an interesting form of shithole. Whilst it isn't as rundown as Blackpool (I use this comparison because I know both you and Si know the place and the towns are approximate equivalents on opposite sides of the country), it lacks the charm. It also seemingly has a lower calibre of visitor, probably encouraged by the massive Butlins.

      Chapel, a few miles to the north isn't so bad. Ingoldmells is terrifying, but has a pub with GBG potential (I'm sure you'll tell me if I'm wrong and it isn't in) conveninetly located right by the bus stop.

    4. Can't argue with you. That Ingoldmells pub (Countryman) will meet Simon's favour, if he hasn't been.

      Scarily Chapel st.L has a pub new to the Guide (Adm. Benbow) which I'll visit when it actually opens in the summer. Will buy you an ice cream in the shape of a dagger.

      Your comment elsewhere about reinstating smoking is spot on.

    5. My trainee at work is a regular at Butlins weekends in Skegness and she's a nice lass, she wears by Jaipur X which I've never had but I believe is a bit stronger than the 5.9% normal Thornbridge Jaipur! She pronounces it Jay-pure though.

    6. Martin, is this true re Kate Bush cover album of Vice Squad. It sounds right, she's always been a bit off the wall and both a proper female artists, my sister was impressed and now I want to get her it for her birthday but can't find it anywhere! But I might be being naive again.

      I'm planning to do the "hidden" Manc pub next week but definitely include it - after all, it is only an oversight in the physical book....

    7. A regular a Butlins? Please tell her that she has my deepest sympathies. Whilst I probably won't be very good at it, I am more than willing to attempt counselling on such an unfortunate person. I can only imagine the Jaipur is an attempt to take in alcohol through the skin to relieve the pain.

    8. Apologies Simon, just realised I've been playing "50 words for Snow" at 78rpm and it does sound just like "Gutterchild". Innocent mistake.

      By the way, Google Beki and Kate pictures from '82 and you'll see an uncanny resemblance.

  6. If it is actually any good, that Chapel pub is proof that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Services 1 and 9 from Skegness Railway Station. 3 in addition will take you as far as Ingoldmells and generally is roofless, as is the 1 on occasion.