A good month pub wise, with 37 new Beer Guide pubs in 15 counties (more if you’re using proper county definition), and finishing off the West Midlands, West Yorkshire, Warwicks chapters of the GBG.
I didn’t get to the Anchor in Anchor or the Isle of Wight, but an impromptu trip to Thanet compensated for that. As Erlangen Nick will confirm, Thanet continues to compete with the best Britain has to offer for pubs, art and nature, and is not just for micropub fans.
Quite a bit of drinking with pub legends from Erlangen, Fulford, West Brom, Dereham and Rawmarsh during the month. Mrs RM is a pub legend as well, of course, and it was good to attempt to keep up with her in tourist London this week.
A good month for beer quality again, with plenty of scores of 3.5 and the odd 4. While CAMRA debates its future direction I will continue to emphasise the importance of the role branches play in finding the best beer in their area for the Good Beer Guide. They don’t get a lot wrong in my experience.
A good result from the CAMRA AGM too, kicking out a suggestion to increase the size of the GBG, as Simon Everitt recorded on his own site;
New Pub of the Month
I really enjoyed Jeff Bell’s (very) new home at the Resting Hare in Euston, a successful combination of back street boozer and smart bistro. The Harveys was wonderful, and Euston Square is a gorgeous little piece of old London.
In complete contrast the Lulworth Castle was as good a tourist pub as I’ve been to, and made a trip to Bridport to taste Palmers at source a matter of urgency.
Beer of the Month
Firmly from the Boring Brown Bitter stable, I had wonderful Joules Pale and Draught Bass from the Red Lion and Wellington respectively. Joules pubs never disappoint, and beer is always served in nonics.
Just as good was the Abbeydale Moonshine in West Brom’s Vine, washing down a paper plate of methi kebabs in what remains one of the great UK pub experiences, at least for non-vegetarians.
Discovery of the Month
Somewhat amazingly, my first visit to Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove revealed just how great the Dorset coast is. Even my teenage sons looked mild impressed, though the walk through farmland sewage en route was a challenge for the little dears.
At the other end of the tourist spectrum, I found that Selby has some cracking boozers. And a great church.
Darwen, and particularly the views to the hills from the market place, is a overlooked joy, and the Italian deli provided the coffee of the month.
Shrewsbury was Shrewsbury, glorious and unchanged.
Simon Everitt gave us these wise words (April 97 onward) to help accidental acceptance by Salford University.
Meanwhile, Pub Curmudgeon’s excellent piece on beer quality created some of the most entertaining discussion of the month.
I start May at a family wedding in Cornwall, where the mother-of-the-bride (Sis) is supplying the beer (from Penryn). She’s also just bought a house in Penryn, which is going to help me clear the rest of Cornwall GBG this year.
Hopefully the tent will get some use in May as I start to tackle the places poorly served by trains, buses and Travelodges.
May is, of course, the month the wheels come off Leicester City’s season, and I shall be at the Musician and Ale Wagon in that city the day after their end-of-season wake to revel in their misery.
And I finish the month in northern Bavaria with my youngest son. Not really a pub trip but I may well drop in on Erlangen, Forcheim and Munchberg, because I like the names.