Good evening, happy Hallowe'en, Samhain and all that jazz.
I might still be reeling from that dodgy GBG churn that we don't like to talk about (the new 'dodgy knee'), but I can report a record 66 new ticks for the month, eclipsing the previous record of 61 set in November 2021. Plus 7 pre-emptives. 3 of which are now in the current GBG. Ooof, anyone got a spare lizard?
Remember when Rishi got made PM, and reporters shouted "cheer up pal" and his face remained stoic? I feel much the same. Far too much work to do to replenish my numbers and get back up past the 50% mark to indulge in any facial muscle twitching.
At the time of writing, I've clawed it back to 2164 (48.09% completion).
Important to remember why I do BRAPA. Best hobby in the world. Love pubs, love visiting different parts of the country, love not knowing what you are going to encounter when you push/pull open that pub door. And if I must insist on a pint / 27.5 mins a pub in the hope of an 'experience' every single time which you then write about, well I'm not going to make crazy progress am I? You can't have it all in this game. If I live another 25 years, then I think the dream is still alive!
But with the dawn of a new ticking year comes plentiful Yorkshire options, stuff in Central London not far from Kings Cross and folk taking pity on me offering my lifts between pubs. Gotta focus on the positives!
So how on earth do you pick a top 5 from 66 to go through into the New Year's Eve BRAPA pub of the year ceremony. I'll give it a go (though to be honest, the standard wasn't fabulous throughout the month, Gwent being the exception).
1. Y Cantreff Inn, Abergavenny
2. Wheatsheaf, Llanhennock
3. Royal Oak, Pencelli
4. Questors Grapevine Bar, Ealing
5. Anchor, Sevenoaks
Plenty of honourable mentions too. Especially the Greedy Pig in Eccleshill near Bradford, who had closed not long after 8pm on Wednesday due to no customers, but agreed to let me in for a pint when I begged at the window!
George IV in Sawbridgeworth, McGlynn's at St Pancras, Goose & Cuckoo at Upper Llanover, Kentish Belle Bexleyheath, Kirkstall Brewery Tap, Owl & Pussycat West Ealing, Boat Inn Penallt, Foxhunter at Nant-y-Derry , Beaufort in Raglan, Bridge Inn Llanfoist and Queen's Head Cmwyoy all were a cut above as well.
|Foxhunter Inn, Nant-y-Derry
Dishonourable mention for the Westbury at Wood Green/Turnpike Lane, for being one of the most abominable pubs I've visited all year, but it is still in the 2023 GBG so there is that! Goose & Cuckoo isn't. Just as a means of demonstrating it really is a 'Guide' and not an absolute definitive best 4500 ale outlets in the land.
Mascot Watch - Colin is having his quarterly wash, but whilst he smells lovely, he'll never be whiter than white again. But we won't ditch him, don't worry! Oscar the Owl has been doing some heavy lifting of late, shame he's Snowy and not Tawny but never mind. And Naughty Little Cousin Pumpy has been enjoying his favourite time of year. Alex the Apple is on the transfer list, Pedro the Plum is lacking match fitness, too much porter. Brekkie the Sheep is recovering from a twisted trotter.
|Oscar on his way to Oakworth
November Plan - Lancashire and South Yorkshire are my Thursday focus areas. I'm tantalisingly close to West Yorkshire completion (one pub, we only want one pub) but we have to wait for a chap to become available who wants to meet me there. Train strikes are blighting me yet again (5th, 7th and 9th so far, I suspect 19th will be too looking at trains) , but Daddy BRAPA is on hand to be a be a chauffeuring hero. I'll be hoping for more Kentish and London progress, and the month ends with my final holiday of the year, in a county where I only have 4 ticks, so that'll be exciting!
|Could Daddy B hold the key to November glory?
Have a nice November, and keep visiting the pubs (if you want, I mean I can't force you).