|Holts Mild at the Lamb Hotel, Eccles. One of the highlights of March BRAPA.|
We are now more than half way through the year, my 2018 Good Beer Guide is starting to show some serious signs of wear and tear, as I aim to put as much distance as I can between last year's 'locked down' figure of 1236 and wherever I'm at come late Aug / early Sept when the 2019 GBG is published.
The aim for March was simple, try to tick off at least a pub a day (so, 31) but this looked fairly precarious right up until I realised I could take advantage of the four day Easter break, and went to stay in Warrington, as one does!
In the end, I achieved the target comfortably with 39 (plus a pre-emptive), though the 31st wasn't 'ticked off' until late afternoon on the 30th March in the Gardeners Arms at Woolton. A very nice locals pub that one.
|The monthly target of 31, finally achieved in Gardeners, Woolton.|
It was a good month for the North West, I finally got Cheshire back up and running which is supposed to be my 'northern priority county' of the moment though you wouldn't have known from the year to date. Greater Manchester Friday nights have also resumed for the first time this year, nearly always rewarding.
A bonus London trip thanks to work, and managing to complete both Rutland and Buckinghamshire were the highlights in the south, and suggest things are coming together a bit.
The best three pubs, oh why do I make myself choose? Oh okay then ....
1. Sportsman Inn, Hyde
2. Inn on the Green, Acocks Green, Birmingham
3. Lamb Hotel, Eccles
But so many honorary mentions, such as the Fox in North Luffenham for being about the best dining pub ever, the magical Queens Hotel at Patricroft and Ferry Tavern at Penketh which were just undone by circumstances 'on the night', and the Old Coffee House in Soho must be one of the nicest London pubs I've in for a long time. So many others too. The Malt Disley in Disley was a great mirco pre-emptive.
|Inn on the Green, Acocks Green - excellent pub|
Only a few duds, the Dawnay Arms at Shipon-by-Beningbrough was lame, the Three Horseshoes at Marlow simply annoying, and the Royal Oak in Wigan probably too, just a victim of circumstances on the day and is quite averagely good most of the time. The Captain Noel Newton in Oakham was one of the least impressive 'Spoons I've been in since BRAPA began, quite an achievement!
|Three Horseshoes in Marlow. Bit annoying but glad to finish Bucks.|
Well, progress update time and I've already done 8 pubs and a couple of pre-emptives, but the counties in which they've been are quite unusual for BRAPA, being Cambs (3), Staffs (2), Shrops (2) and Suffolk (1).
Yes, I've finally made a start on Cambridgeshire and whilst yesterday became increasingly difficult, I'm confident it won't be as difficult as Bucks was to complete and am looking at next Feb as a possible completion target. A bonus summer overnight trip in June will help.
Also looking more long term, I'm going back to Cornwall in June. Yes, I was thinking of the Channel Islands but that strange urge of mine to keep some kind of alphabetical strategy in place has won the day, especially as I can see a route through to finishing Cheshire before too much longer.
I could go to Channel Islands as part of my October holiday, but strangely North West Wales seems to be calling out to me after a chance conversation yesterday. Btw, how difficult does that Porthdinllaen pub look to do? I like a challenge, but some places stretch it a bit!
Back to April then, and next Saturday I'm looking at making further inroads into my Cheshire challenge, though have to be back early for a gig in L**ds sadly, luckily it's at the Grove, one of THE best pubs in the country surely.
I was forgetting though before that, I have a bonus Tuesday in a very special pub town I've not been to before, am sure you can work it out!
As usual, my Bristol BRAPA hopes have been stymied as it clashes with MPF (Manchester Punk Festival) so I am going to try and tick 'sporadically' what I can in the Greater Manchester area without missing too much wonderful punk music. I need morning openers really! If I can get half a dozen done, I'll be happy.
And the final week of the month is back in the Cheshire area, though if I can do what I plan on 14th, it might be more Wirrally based which is quite exciting as it helps with Merseyside and I've been looking at it for quite a while now.
Keep on pubbing, see you soon,