53 new Good Beer Guide ticks, 2 very useful pre-emptives for the 2022 edition, and a brand new shiny green GBG meant October was the most successful month of the year so far, putting July's 47 in the shade, and equalling my October 2019 total. Only twice have I bettered that.
And a good job, innit? As I travelled down to Essex on the morning of Hallowe'en, news broke that we should expect all pubs to be locked down for the vast majority of November. Boo, flippin' boo. Not just selfishly, but very sad for the pubs too who in my experience (over 175 visited since 4th July, pint or more in all bar two) have on the whole been vigilance personified, and worked oh so hard to balance a following of the rules with making as pleasant an experience for the customer as possible.
In my final pub of the day (a heaving outdoor Wetherspoons in Stratford), the news came through that it was official. As of 00:01 today (5th November, Guy Fawkes will be fuming). More on that later.
|Colin hides from the fancy dressers at Stratford's Goldengrove|
There's a silver lining to every cloud, and that is I've been shamefully behind on my blogs. Still stuck at 9th Oct at the time of writing. It has been stressing me out, in a 'back of the mind kind of way'. Now, with all this extra free time, I can finally catch up, and perhaps reliving my experiences mentally will soften the next few weeks, or something.
Pre 2021 Good Beer Guide release, (and I know some fellow tickers felt the same) I wasn't really ready for the new Guide, almost like the whole cloud of 2020 was hanging over us in a 'what's the point?' kinda way. But amazing what a good cross-ticking session can do to help you rediscover your mojo. Your brain is suddenly thinking "Ooh, return trip to Bridlington?" "Wow, new one in Leigh on Sea?" "Two new ones at Marylebone, colour me intrigued, or green." And you are desperate to be everywhere in the UK at once! Cruel then, that the initial momentum has been so swiftly curtailed.
|Cross-ticking the GBG ... that wonderful, painful time of the year|
Five best pubs of the month? Not easy from 53 but let's have a go ....
|Despite locals moaning about the heating, Theobald was pick of a wonderful Grays/Thurrock trilogy|
|Maidenhead Inn, Basingstoke. Dreadful staff, poor beer and very boring (yet it made the 2021 GBG too, but you won't see me complaining, completed it mate!)|
|Victoria Arms, Brentwood. Feel the quality.|
|Leigh-on-Sea Brewery Tap. So friendly, great (free) beer, extended hours for me!|
|Last beer in a pub until .....?|