Evenin' all, just a quick note to say that the new Good Beer Guide 2021 finally reached York this morning, so I have started the arduous task of the yearly cross-ticking.
As a result, I'm prioritising it over my Hants blogs so like the best cliff-hanger ever, you'll just have to wait to see what I REALLY thought about Andover.
The new GBG is out 'officially' on 29th Oct, so for these next 10 days, I'm under CAMRA's embargo not to reveal details of what is contained within. So any pubs I do check in on Twitter in this period, I'm asking you to believe me when I say I'm doing them either because (a) they were in the 2020 GBG or (b) they are preemptive tip-offs someone has told me about.
We are not amused. Or are we? Just like the year of Queen Vic's death, I've 'declared' on 1901 pubs for the 2020 Guide, and that means, I need to lose less than 158 to stop myself from going backwards (1743 was the number I declared at in 2019). Fat chance of that, but at least we can blame that March-July period where no ticks were done.
Still, at the time of writing, I'm up to Cornwall and I've only lost 11 (6 in Berks, 4 in Cheshire, 1 in Cornwall). I've somehow broken even in Beds, Bucks and Cambs despite hardly any visits to those counties in the last calendar year.
What else can I quickly tell you without breaking embargo? I like the green, clashes with my green Stabilo & Colin, but I like it. If the 2020 edition looked like a Wisden Cricketers Almanac, this is more like a dictionary of herbs from a market garden Tasteful.
I quickly noticed it didn't feel as heavy as usual. The number of pages has been increasing year on year, 1,060 last time but only 912 this time (lowest since 2012!), feels like they've made the effort. So I am too, and not gonna use my Stanley knife to extract the brewery section. It's manageable, you see. After all, even with the help of my work colleagues and parents, it was a right botched job last year, back cover fell of, and a laminated Isle of Man suddenly meant I wouldn't be able to 'green off' any pubs there, long before Covid became a thing.
So all in all, optimism bounds. Shame this week I have to work. Shame I'm having to train a guy remotely whilst Working From Home. He's pretty chilled though, so if I said "let's just take half an hour whilst I cross tick Notts & Oxon" I don't think he'd mind.
Back to the ticking (Cumbria next up, always fun!), see you in a week or two.