The 2022 Good Beer Guide embargo period was over, and I travelled down to Worthing in West Sussex safe in the knowledge that there'd be no more 'under the table ticking', no more pre-emptive charade, no more worrying that I'd said too much on Twitter even though I obviously had. Liberation! Throw off those CAMRA shackles! BRAPA will not be repressed any longer!
Okay, so that is touch over the top.
Daddy BRAPA travelled down as far as London Victoria with me, but then declared that he was off to check out Arundel Castle (WHEREVER THAT IS!) rather than tackle the full six pints and an ESB nightcap. He'd catch up with me somewhere down the line.
Today's other special guest, Tom Irvin, was so far incommunicado. though I was quite confident that he was somewhere on the southern rail network ticking track, units, crossovers, or whatever these train stans do, and would also join me later on.
So I ploughed a lone furrow through the backstreets of sunny Worthing, as the clock struck 11:45am, in readiness for my first official tick of the 2021/22 season. This was it ......
|Brewtel? Doesn't work, mate
A delightful pale blue building to twin with this years GBG cover, kind of, but at the end of the day, it was a Brewhouse & Kitchen (1937 / 3501), the Worthing edition. If you've been to one before, you've pretty much been to them all. Walk in, be wowed by the brewing equipment visible through a glass window, walk through shiny wooden echoey bar, let smug young bearded men serve you their own brand of beers with names specific to the location, so for example, in Highbury, you get stuff like Parlour's Nob and Limpar's Swedish Sausage, here you get errrm, Swiss Cottage. Is this building a former Swiss Cottage? If I hadn't been yawning, I'd have looked it up. Look, I'm being facetious, they have certain qualities, the ale was spot on even if the tankard was a bit OTT, handle at a weird angle, staff busy, and a very nice man & elderly mother sat near me and smiled. I drank the pint pretty darn quick, as this insanely large group of screechers arrive and I felt sorry for the awkward embarrassed teenage boy as aunties and family friends kissed him sloppily and said hasn't he grown. Course he has, it's been ten years! The nice man and mother went to find a more peaceful place to sit, the roof perhaps, and I greened my guide, swigged off my Swiss Cottage (realising 'cheese' links both words), and left pronto.
Just coming up the path as I left was Tom. So my quick drinking had saved him entering B&K, good because I fear he'd be even less tolerant of the chain than me. Though I hear they do a fine blackcurrant.
But what was this? Tom was wearing a suit. He'd had a job interview back up at home, and he tells me it 'made sense' to hop on a train and head straight down to Sussex rather than getting changed first. I love how Tom's mind works in different ways to most folk. Genuine sentiment that.
The next pub was on the horizon, and we had to stop a bit of people traffic to get the iconic shot you see below:
|New Doctor Who auditions?
Anchored in Worthing (1938 / 3502) was one of the strongest pubs of the day, and the perfect example of a micropub firing on all cylinders, in just the way that nature (well, that Hillier chap) intended. And when you have a suited Tom, you don't need a Colin the Cauliflower to help break the ice. "He's worn a suit just because he knew he was coming here" I told the guv'nor and locals, and you know what, I think they half believed me. Tom didn't deny it. 'Wankered with Irvin in the Anchored in Worthing' - I felt a song coming on, but didn't sing. It was a tiny, warped little place with high wooden stools, low ceiling, and one of those atmosphere's that were both other-wordly and effortless. I half expected a woodland creature to leap through the middle of it, playing a flute, or a magic tree to sprout up like in the Combermere in Wolverhampton or the Boot & Shoe in Ellerton. I think the owner deserves a lot of credit, getting the balance right between gentle good humour, full engagement, but not too 'in ya face'. With no blackcurrant (a real drawback of most micros), Tom got this posh Costa Rican pineapple juice Ooh la la, you can tell we are on the south coast. It made the man from Del Monte look kinda Poundland. A really special place this, not at all forced.
|Col's first appearance of the day, but he's dying inside