No month that starts with Car Seat Headrest at End of the Road
Music and beer festivals tend to eat into pub ticking, but 40 pubs from the new GBG was a decent return, if not in Pubmeister class. Those 40 helped me finish off North West London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambs by the end of September, but tougher times are ahead.
The obvious highlight was moving my son James into digs at Sheffield University mid month. The new Guide pubs there are nearly done but there’s plenty of scope for revisiting Beer City.
A monthly “curry and cask night with Mr Knight” slot in Alcester produced the best “black-and-white buildings against a blue sky” shot, and one of the pints of the month at the immaculate Turk’s Head.
I finally caught up with Cambridge’s own Pint & Pubs in two varying estate pubs in Arbury. The Carlton Arms was the cheeriest lunchtime session in September; Jocelyn Brown, blokes at the bar, and a great (free) pint of Oakham JHB.
It was also good to meet Boak & Bailey for a quick half in Bristol. That’s another Beer City I grow to like more by the year, though scary beer boards like the one below in the Famous Volunteer have come to symbolise the emphasis on range over quality in an increasing number of GBG pubs.
Beer of the Month – Hophead in the Midland, Hendon
No risk of excessive beer range in the Midland, a basic place serving that lone Dark Star in a pint mug, as they had no half glasses. It was unfaultable, but I was mighty relieved to receive a similar report on quality from Sir Quinno. When cask is this good, it’s magic.
And as you know by now, a half tastes better in a pint glass.
Another one-beer pub, the Vine in West Brom, wasn’t far off with its Golden Glow, either.
One an estate pub (another one !) in a new town, the other a traditional village pub in affluent Watership Down country, but both great all-rounders with a universal welcome and lack of pretense (and food, interestingly).
Red mushrooms of the month – Etwall,Derbyshire
October Preview – Doing the Midlands
On Wednesday I’ll be looking for a decent pub near the Royal Albert Hall, any suggestions other than “Take a train to Stockport” welcome. Then on Saturday (7th) I have a 5.30am train to Birmingham, where I’ll tick off Pub bloggers and GBG newbies at a similar rate.
Back to Bewdley the week after to meet our US visitors, hopefully it won’t be flooded and I can finish Worcestershire off in Kiddy.
More Midlands madness in Simon’s favourite city, Leicester, with 4 new GBG pubs and no doubt a braving of the Ale Wagon.
Still time in the month to make a return to Stourbridge, timed for the one day of the month all of their micro pubs are open on the same day.
Whether there’ll be time left to make the Isle of Wight, who knows ?