Friday 1 March 2019

BRAPA - February Review / March Preview (2019)

Life of the pub ticker #1

52 new Good Beer Guide pubs visited in the month of February, my third highest monthly return ever, and even more impressive considering it was a 28 day month with just the four Saturdays. 

Of course, 30 pubs on an epic holiday in the wholly rewarding county of Dorset made the difference.  Finishing Cambridgeshire back on the 2nd Feb in the wonderful Woolpack in the Stanground area of Peterborough seems a long long time ago, in fact I've heard the pub has since closed, which is sad if true! 

Still not caught up on my blogs, I have 'six pub Saturdays' in Lancs and London to write up, which I'll crack on with this evening.  The standard of pubs and beer was above average, better than what I experienced in Jan on the whole.  Hard to pick just three highlights out of 52, but here goes ......

1. Vine Inn, Pamphill
2. Ship Inn, Shaftesbury
3. Lower Buck, Waddington

Tonnes of honourable mentions, was great to get to the Square and Compass in Worth Matravers, the last of the 'fantastic five' I still had to do and a little cracker.  As was the Dove in Hammersmith, another deservedly famous pub, I think we fell lucky on our visit too.  Hark to Bounty at Slaidburn is quite magical, and Corfe Castle Club served the best pint (Tim Taylor Landlord) I've had so far in 2019 and that is a lot of pints!  Oh, and don't forget both the Bull Inn and Wee Howff in Paisley, both crackers in their own different ways.

Worst pub experiences of the month?  Not many in contention but oh go on then!

1. Arnos Arms, Arnos Grove
2. Firkin Shed, Bournemouth
3.  Green Man, Wimborne

It might not be an accurate representation of the finished product, but I saw what may have been the first glimpse of the 2020 Good Beer Guide, good timing as today, 1st March, kind of marks the "half way point" in 2019 GBG ticking........

To me, it'd be quite a departure from how GBG's have looked for years now, probably most like the classic 1980 design.  But to me, looks more like a Wisden Cricketers' Alamanack, so if a TWAMRA printing faux-pas means that Roger Protz gets voted one of the five Cricketers of the Year, remember where you heard it first!

Life of the pub ticker #2 (by Ken Pyne from the 1987 GBG)

So, what is in store for March then?  Well, I'm quite excited really because it marks the start of Derbyshire, seeing as Cambs is now complete, Dorset is progressing nicely, Cornwall is a 'once yearly special' and Cumbria is quite frankly too terrifying to contemplate just yet.   And don't even mention bloody Devon! 

I've actually visited 35 Derbyshire GBG entries already as part of other trips, football away days, gigs and the like.  Most of those are in Derby or Chesterfield, also done Glossop,  a good chunk of the Hope Valley, outer Chesterfield, and even Repton in the south.   But tomorrow marks the 'official' start and I hope to have it done by the end of the year.  

Classic CAMRA types in the Brunswick, Derby, on a previous visit

As well, I hope to get back to Derbys on 16th and 23rd but no specifics on what areas exactly yet. But knowing me, I'll try and follow some kind of alphabetical logic!  

Staying in the East Midlands, there'll be an away day at Nottingham Forest on 9th so I'm thinking this area called Beeston which has 3 GBG entries, plus a visit to an old favourite in Nottingham itself as it is a friend's birthday.  

There'll be a bonus midweek trip to Norwich where I have approximately a zillion GBG pubs still to do despite many previous trips there, and the month concludes with a rare County Durham NFFD day.  

So all in all, I think a pub a day (31) has to be the target,  I'll also try and get back to Friday evening local ticking in Yorkshire but only when I'm up to date on writing my blogs! 

Pub life in Chesterfield on a previous visit in 2017

So yeh, I think that is it for now.  Oh yes, 5th April will mark the 5th anniversary of BRAPA so I'll be doing something 'special' for that.     Happy weekends all!  



  1. Cumbria will have to be done one day. And it won't get any less terrifying.

    1. Hoping they get independence from the UK. That's my long term strategy anyway.

    2. That strategy worked for Hollandshire in the 80s, used to be GBG entries in Utrecht apparently.

      Is that true ?

  2. You'll never guess how many I did in February.

    What's the release date for GBG20?

    1. Am gonna guess 53! Just to be annoying. The email doesn't say release date, am guessing Mon 16th Sept, but Tue 17th for us!

    2. Miles out. It was 52, though that includes the dead one on Wight. If you're not counting the dead one (RIP, minute's silence at Dean Court tomorrow) you can have the win.

      Have put 18th Sep in my diary.

    3. Hooray, yes not counting the Woodpecker in Spet so I'll take that! Were you in Bournemouth? You poor thing!

    4. No, never get tickets for Bournemouth v City as their ground only holds 85 people, less than the number of micros.

      If you beat me again in March I'm in trouble !

  3. "52 new Good Beer Guide pubs visited in the month of February"

    Impressive (really!).

    "Still not caught up on my blogs"

    That's ok. I'm still not caught up on reading what you've written to date!

    "and that is a lot of pints!"


    "Life of the pub ticker #2 (by Ken Pyne from the 1987 GBG)"

    Blimey. Things haven't changed much over the years then. (sheesh)

    "Classic CAMRA types in the Brunswick, Derby, on a previous visit"

    Gandalf looks familiar. :)

    "so I'm thinking this area called Beeston"

    Check LAF's blog for tips.

    "Oh yes, 5th April will mark the 5th anniversary of BRAPA so I'll be doing something 'special' for that"

    Can't wait. :)


    1. Cheers Russ! Yes I saw LAF had been to a Beeston pub that actually was a GBG regular, so looking fwd to that one. After yesterday though, I'm just itching to put all my focus on Derbys so it's a bit of an annoying distraction is Notts! Amazing how those 1987 cartoons are still appropriate, pub culture doesn't change too much, well in behaviour terms at least, oh wow this is getting a bit deep for morning time. Best write a blog while I'm inspired!