Conceivably, July COULD be the last full month of 2019 GBG ticking if there are no printing or delivery mishaps which have blighted the Good Beer Guide Privilege Scheme in recent years. We could roll back to the halcyon days of 2015 when the GBG arrived on the Friday before August Bank Holiday weekend. I can dream.
June was a productive month, not quite so much as 2018 but that perhaps shows I'm learning to pace myself a bit. Still, my main two week holiday from work saw me manage of 42 GBG ticks and 9 pre (and post) emptives, the majority of which were in Cornwall but I continued to make good progress in Derbyshire too.
It all started in style, negotiating opening hours on the 1st at the marvellous Three Stags' Heads, Wardlow Mires. Despite 41 ticks after it, I think I'd still put it up there as a pub of the month contender!
|The first, and one of the best!|
A week later, an epic day on the East Lancashire Railway (for the third time) threw up six more mainly above average pubs, and then it was to Cornwall for my third year. Fewer GBG 'gaps' meant it was harder to have productive days without lots of travel expense, but I feel I appreciated the county, scenery, locals and even the beer, more than I had done before.
|Appreciating Cornwall - oh dear!|
Some pubs were stunners. Hole in the Wall in Bodmin, King's Arms in Luxulyan, Blisland Inn, St Mabyn Inn, Admiral Benbow in Penzance, Ship Inn Porthleven and Union Inn in Saltash should be on any pub lovers list. Plenty of others I enjoyed a lot too.
|As good inside as it looks out|
|Beware the Bevil! (Dewdrop, Ilkeston)|
It'd almost seem churlish to pick three poor pubs for the month, but I know that's why you read this, let's be honest, you don't want me to say nice stuff, we'll leave that to other nicer people! I'd have to throw Church Inn at Prestwich into the mix, dreadful beer and a peculiar attitude despite having the hallmarks of a good old pub. I probably can't really include the Crystal Palace at Thurlstone as it has been technically 'deleted' but bugger me, what a interesting strategy to go from an ale friendly rival to the Hunstman to a zero customers down and out John Smith Smooth, Carling or Guinness pub. The Ferry House Inn in Plymouth was perhaps the most unfriendly, painful, boring pub of the month - NOT a fan at all.
|Must do better|
My final pub ticking of the month came full circle, back in Derbyshire, in some style in 30 degree sweltering heat. The Boat Inn at Cromford was my pick, but a couple more really eye opening micros in Wirksworth and Duffield again made me realise Derbyshire folk are so lucky, even their micros are brilliant!
|Keeping cool with the A-listers in Birchover|
Though June ended on a really sad note with the shock news that beer and pub lover, blogger, photographer, enthusiast Richard Coldwell had died. I really enjoyed the trip to Sheffield with Richard, Roger Protz and Martin Taylor a couple of years back. Without even getting a single 'BRAPA' pub done, it was one of the Brappiest trips I can remember! How Martin fell UP some stairs, I'll never know. And then, he met me and Martin in L**ds after work to take us round some of his faves, including a new one to me, the Brunswick, where he showed us this incredible photo he'd taken at the bar of these folk dressed up to the nines, and made me realise you could actually ask people's permission before photographing them in pubs! Wish I was that brave, open and honest. Yes, very sad news indeed.
And it all leads me into July pub-ticking with a new steely resolve to be 'the best ticker I can be' (as us proper lit bevvie kids say) even though it looks a tricky month on paper to get too many numbers out of. Frankly, if i can achieve a tally of 27 , thus beating January's yearly low of 26 and last years July total, I'll be happy.
We kick off in some Lincolnshire hovel called 'Gainsborough' (whatever THAT means) which marks the return of Tom Irvin who's been in pre-season training and is raring to go, before a 'chiller' in North Yorkshire with Dad as chauffeur. The 20th FINALLY sees me get back to Derbyshire, before the month ends with work friends in some non-descript Nottinghamshire town which I cannot recall.
It all leaves me a bit anxious. Just where will these 27 ticks come from? I'm going to have to be 'on it' on Friday evenings too, and will really need to push myself to get to that Alfreton area IF I am to finish Derbyshire before the new GBG comes out. Only 14 to do, but they are getting a bit spread out and rural, and some twin better with Staffs or Notts just to slow me down further.
Sorry, waffling on BRAPA strategy again! Zzzz. Anyway, I'll just have to 'squeeze' in a bonus Sunday or Tuesday if things are getting really bluddy desperate.
Blog-wise, still catching up on Cornwall. Then I'll tell you about Ilkeston and my most recent trip. I'll release one tomorrow a bit earlier cos I wanna watch those England wimmin winning.