You break me off from my transformation into something ghastly, before the witching hour, just in time to tell you how October BRAPA went. Tick or Treat! (I was going to say Tick or Teat, but it sounded wrong).
38 new pubs is a modest total in the grand scheme of 2021 ticking, but with no holidays, two 5 pub Saturdays and less commitment to the 'Thirsty Thursday' cause, it isn't a figure I'm too unhappy with, especially with a pub-heavy November coming up.
October has been a productive month in recent years, with 152 ticks over the three years before this one, but going back further, it was traditionally the weakest BRAPA month of the year. The 16 I managed in Oct 2016 is still BRAPA's least proud moment outside of Newark.
The elephant in the room at the time of writing is the new blue 2022 Good Beer Guide, or rather, the lack of it! The first privilege copies were spied in Hants, London and the Surrey borders on Friday, but as yet, it hasn't arrived at BRAPA towers up here in York. And to my knowledge, Sheffield, Wakefield and Paisley are experiencing the same 'technical difficulties'. I heard a whisper of one in the Stockport area, but nothing further north. Breaking news in today, a copy has reached the fictional town of Newmarket, which likes to think is in Suffolk but we all know it is only on day release from Cambs.
I hope it'll be with me tomorrow, or Tuesday morning latest, as I have Mid Hants creeping up on me with the unnerving swiftness of Jack the Ripper round the back of the Ten Bells bogs.
It all made yesterday's Beds/Herts trip feel desperately futile at times, especially in those pubs that seemed to have a very relaxed attitude to the term 'commitment to real ale' which after all, is how such pubs get selected. You can always tell the pubs that keep on one ale purposefully to a high standard because of the slow rate they shift it, compared to those who have a handpump in a more 'accidental' sort of way.
Anyway. Pubs of the month? I've picked six I enjoyed a lot.....
1. Strathmore Arms, St Pauls Walden
2. Crooked Billet, Colney Heath
3. Congress Inn, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent
4. Cob & Pen, Rhyl
5. Halcyon Quest, Prestatyn
6. Orange Tree, Baldock
I'd also like to say a special thanks to Sports & Social Club, Hoylandswaine, for treating me so nicely (completing South Yorkshire probably the BRAPA highlight of the month), similarly North Mymms Social Club in Welham Green once they let me in, then overcompensated by being lovely. #ClubLife And Dog & Partridge Marchington for having the friendliest locals. Oh, and Malt Shovel Horsham for being the pub I (first) brought up the 2000 in.
Mold Alehouse picks up BRAPA Window of the Month.
BRAPA person & pet of the month are Coxy and Lulu for driving me around some of those harder to reach around the rim rural Herts pubs.
Joke of the month goes to Daddy BRAPA for his Prestatyn / Pressed Hat in attempt which has now amassed three likes on Twitter.
The standard of pub overall wasn't as high as usual this month, more reason a brand new GBG might be beneficial. Many got away with being a bit rubbish by doing good beer, smiling nicely at me or having a lovely hand soap in the Gents, but some had fewer redeeming features.
1. Fox, Darley Hall
2. Crossways Micropub, Blythe Bridge
3. Red Lion, Breachwood Green
4. Greyhound, Haynes
5. Pirie's Bar, Horsham
Right folks, back to my spooky buffet. Keep your fingers crossed for a 2022 GBG plopping onto my doormat tomorrow/Tue morning, and I will see you all in a Winchester area pub very soon!
Pleasant dreams, Si