Sunday 1 December 2019

BRAPA : November Review / December Preview (2019)

Good evening, 33 new Good Beer Guide ticks completed in the month of the November is actually a BRAPA record, even though it sounds a fairly modest total.  Problem is, it always feels a bit of a 'nothing' month, no time off work, and everything feels a bit of a dark, chilly lull before we get into Christmas mayhem!

The good news this time round, we had a five Saturday November, and what with keeping up with the Friday night post-work Brapping, I was able to keep the momentum going.

Cumbria greening up nicely

I'm still three weeks behind with my blogging, which I still blame my week in the Lake District for (and a bit of general laziness), so I've still to write about most of them. 

The month started with a useful South West London trip with Dad his chum Eddie, then I managed to chip away at my key county Cumbria with an outer Carlisle day.  But the month belongs to Durham, as I managed to get the likes of  Darlington, Hartlepool, Billingham, Bishop Auckland and Spennymoor all bottomed out.  Chances of me completing County Durham before the 2021 Guide 'drops' are increasing.  Oh, and don't forget Rugby, what a pub town that is.  One of the best ever, and a rare foray into the alphabetically inept Warwickshire!

The BRAPA march North through Durham continue apace 

So what were the best pub experiences and what about the worst, I can almost hear you asking?    Well, my most enjoyable pub was Alexandra Arms, Rugby but it is quite amazingly not in the current GBG so it doesn't count.  So I'll go for this these ......

1. Squirrel Inn, Rugby
2. Fisherman's Arms, Hartlepool Headland
3. Masons Arms, Teddington

Pub sign of the year in Hartlepool

On the flip-side, I can't really say any of them were total desperados.  Okay, so a few were a bit limited, not my style, or seemed to struggle on the day, but all had enough to commend them.  Stuff like Idle Draper and King's Head in Carlisle aren't pubs I'm really dying to return to.  But then 'never visit the same pub twice' has to be a BRAPA rule! 

December 2019

'Tis that most wonderful time of the year!  Well, NOT if you enjoy going in pubs that is, as the 'Twismas Jumpered, obnoxious, work xmas do, no bar etiquette, not been in a pub all year, think Dry January is virtuous' clowns are out en masse, making pub experiences that less enjoyable.

Bah Humbug!  And I love Christmas. 

Proof of me loving Christmas

In the last week of November, I've already seen rumblings of it.  Uh oh.

But it won't impede the progress of BRAPA, nothing will (apart from death, perhaps, and even then, my ghost will go around the ones I've not got to.  Saying "ooh, that beer went right through me" will have a new meaning). 

I guess I'll just have to be careful to judge pubs more kindly, it isn't their fault idiots will swarm around them, from the Isles of Scilly to John o' Groats, and everything between!

The true meaning of Christmas - Dad bleeds a radiator on Christmas Day 2018

If I can visit 28 pubs, I will have done 448 for the year and that will beat the record of 447 set in 2019.  It sounds easy, but December is a demanding time, and getting as many trips under my belt won't be quite so straightforward as usual. 

I've only got a handful of West Yorkshire pubs left, so that'll be the Friday night aim on 6th, 13th, 27th but probably not Mad Friday (20th)

Only four Saturdays, and I'll be down south looking to complete North London on 7th.  On 14th, Dad and I are heading over to the Merseyside part of Lancs for some high octane train ticking.  21st sees my Christmas Special, back up in Cumbria and similar on 28th, back in County Durham for bus based fun.  Oh, and a bonus Boxing Day tick in North Lincs might just be the boost I need to get to that magic 28 mark. 

It'll be close, so stay tuned - and see you in a month for the End of Year Awards released late on New Year's Eve.