February, even with the free day, was another month when I failed to get to the Square and Compasses. Definitely in March when a group of us are walking the Jurassic Way.
I did get to visit 30 new Beer Guide pubs in 14 different counties though, and a couple of Beer Guide selection meetings in Cambridge and Stockport which demonstrated the commitment of CAMRA volunteers to putting quality first.
Beer quality was pretty high all month, with a handful of rare 4s issued, though I can’t say I found pubs any busier than usual outside the weekend.
New Pub of the Month
The revitalised Cutler Arms in Rotherham was the best looking, the most pubby and had superb cheap beer from Chantry. Alongside the New York Tavern it presented a compelling case to pay a trip to a neglected town.
The Star in Beeston was great too, with the best pub food in ages.
Salopian at the Red Lion in Stourbridge was unexpectedly good, helped by the best nonic of the month. The Cloudwater was good in the Nag’s Head in Reading too, if a tad stronger.
Discovery of the Month
Spennymoor Art Gallery had some of the best art I’ve seen in years, showing the real meaning of the word curated. As did Wisbech museum, a real gem of social history.
Re-Discovery of the Month
Not sure why I was surprised by how wonderful Berwick was 10 years on, but a rare combination of great pubs, Titanic Plum Porter, appalling football and battered haggis made this the essential daytrip.
I also remembered just how pleasant fresh flowers are in pubs, and they cost pence.
In March I will get to Worth Matravers, and hopefully get close to completing Dorset GBG over the Easter week-end, when no doubt it will snow. If the sun shines I should be back to walking 15 miles a day more regularly.
I reckon on completing both halves of Sussex and East Yorkshire as well, though unannounced changes in opening hours continue to frustrate best laid plans.
And I really must try that new Sam Smiths keg IPA in one of their scary looking Leeds pubs.