Monday 31 July 2017

BRAPA - July Review / August Preview (2017)

The sun sets over an amazing BRAPA July in Cornwall

A RECORD BREAKING month of 56, yes 56, new pubs - easily eclipsing the previous record of 45 set in April 2016.  Will it ever be beaten?  If it is, call my liver consultant.  She's called Elly.

Even leading (and only) BRAPA strategist Tom Irvin will be pleasantly surprised, predicting I'd need 53 for the month to keep the 'dream' alive (the 'dream' is being not to drop back below 1125 - the quarter point - in the GBG - when the new edition is released late Aug/early Sept for Privilege Members like me).  

I'm currently on 1214 as I write this, and considering I lost 110 pubs last year, 90 the year before that, 75 the year before that, I'll probably lose about 130 pubs, meaning I'd need to be on 1255, a 41 pub month coming up??  Arrghh, probably not.  If I can beat the August average of 24.67 (so, 25 whole pubs then!), I might not be too far off.  Aim for 30?  Oooh go on then, but August is traditionally a tricky month as we'll see below.

So, pubs of the month?  How can I choose 3 from 56 - I'd say beer quality has been the highlight of the month, and the standard of pub has been very good.  We'll go for 6 ...... with lots of excellent near misses....

1.  Bhurtpore, Aston
2. Star Inn, St Just
3.  New Inn, Tywardreath
4. Old Town Hall Vaults, Whitchurch
5. Wenlock Arms, Hoxton'
6.  County, Gosforth

Star Inn, St Just
The month had a nice varied feel, the highlight was my first ever Cornwall tick, followed by 24 more in the best BRAPA holiday I've been on so far.

I made important Cheshire inroads, gave Buckinghamshire a little tickle, kept on with 'surprise' county Tyne & Wear, did a bit of Central London to irk the purists, and continued the resurgence of Tuesday nights in Greater Manchester, near where most of the pubby woodland folk live.

August Preview

If I could pick one month I find pub ticking a real psychological effort, it is August.  However, with all the above stats and projections whirring round my head, I'm a bit more focussed this year and will be getting off to a good start in the North West (Greater Manchester on 1st, Blackpool area from 2nd through the weekend in between punk rock bands).

Will the punk festival deliver, as in 2015, or will it be the 2016 no ale venue?

I'll try and keep on with Tuesday nights throughout - some 4pm finishes might help as places like Poynton, Disley and Bromley Cross really need that extra hour after work!

On the 12th, I'll be cracking on with Cheshire, who knows I might have finished the county by the winter.  There is no Buckinghamshire this month sadly, I've only got six pubs left there and allowing for new entries, Cambridgeshire should be in sight by Christmas.

The football season starts of course, scary bad if you are a Hull City fan, but 19th sees a first football/NFFD trip (TBA) with an away game at those Drama Queens Park Rangers, easily the easiest offended club in the football league.

Loyal Trooper, South Anston - Fun fact, I've visited pubs on 2nd August in every year of BRAPA history

And on the 26th, I'm back in Cheshire for more posho thrills n spills / down to earth proper pubs - it is really a strange pub county but I'm enjoying it, diverse is interesting for blog writing.  You can be annoyed and awe struck in equal measures.

Of course, if CAMRA's GBG distributors do their jobs better this year, privilege club members outside the south east may receive their GBG's on something like Fri 25th Aug (before the bank hol weekend as in 2015).  This could change my final Cheshire trip plan, literally overnight!

But the likelihood is it'll come more like early September, hopefully in time for my next Bucks trip on September 2nd but wouldn't even guarantee that.

I find August hard because I have one eye on the new GBG, suffer an inner crisis of confidence, where I find myself sat in pubs mid August thinking "waaaah this could be all pointless if it's not in the new GBG".  I know you could say that about any time of year, but I feel it most strongly in August.

When GBG pub scenes descend into this, you question whether they'll make the new edition come September

And once I have the new GBG and I've slashed out the brewery section (I'm a pro now, having practised on 2 past editions), I'll retreat into "two week reverse owl syndrome" which veteran readers know means I'm ticking the Guide behind closed York doors and can't leave the house.  We'll also have the new 'kit' released for the 2017/18 season, new highlighter pens, a new Ryman's pad, oh my lord, can you feel the excitement??  Course you can!


1 comment:

  1. We do feel the excitement! And share it. Nice month.