57 new Beer Guide pubs in November, in 24 different counties, a geographic high. Some very consistent beer quality in month, with one notable exception. More importantly, it was a month I had some decent beer in that London for a change. Plenty of evidence that CAMRA branches get GBG selection right most of the time.
There may be more craft taps in ordinary bars these days, but I rarely see it being bought. For all my reservations about micro-pubs, they continue to be the places I really do see beer “selling like hot cakes“.
NEW PUB OF THE MONTH – SHIP ISIS, SUNDERLAND
This chap was the star of the month. Chatty, enthusiastic and informative about Sunderland; a great advocate for Sunderland as well as Head of Steam/Camerons. That Almasty stout was pretty special, and the upstairs rooms are Vaux heaven.
Heaton Hops wasn’t far behind, with similarly great service, and Stockport CAMRA really should find a way to get it listed under its heading in the Beer Guide.
BEER OF THE MONTH – BATHAMS BITTER @BLACK HORSE, BRIDGNORTH
If ever there was an example of the difference between great beer and great pubs, this was it. The Black Horse may well be a Work-in-Progress, but presently it’s as uncomfortable a pub as I’ve been in. The Bathams was nectar, so all is not lost.
DISCOVERIES OF THE MONTH
Northampton (top) is the new real ale boom town.
As you get older, you can have too much choice.
Wigan has the best pies, and some of our great micro-pubs.
December is a virtual write-off, with our pubs full of amateur pubgoers shamelessly keeping our pubs going with their Prosecco and Peroni orders. I shall be saving myself for a trip to Stockport on 1 January.
Before then there’s a trip to Poland which may curtail blogging over Christmas. The 17th is a significant date for Mrs RM, marking 23 years since she last agreed with me. We will be in Osnabruck, a German town with no notable features at all, unless you can advise me otherwise.
And finally, I still require an identification of this piece of street art from Gateshead;