A year of joy and sadness, of tears and laughter. And 532 new Beer Guide pubs visited.

Some poorly kept soup throughout the Long Hot Summer, some frankly marvellous cask in the autumn.  By year-end I was up to 82% completion of the GBG, though a little over-focused on the low-hanging fruit;



  • That Endless Summer
  • Gozo
  • The Andros Townsend goal at the Etihad
  • Taking my lad to gigs in London
  • Finishing the pubs in the Scottish Borders
  • Jonathan Pie at Sheffield City Hall
  • One night in Kelso


Losing Alan Winfield and Mark E Smith.  Never forget.



Not just the pubs, not just the Banks’s Tap and its stunning Mild, the beer of the year, but the whole place felt revived this year.


  • Barrels, Hereford
  • The Star, Bath
  • Prince of Wales, Foxfields
  • Three Horseshoes, Coalville

And the winner is;

No words necessary

DRAUGHT BASS OF THE YEAR – Oooh, tough one.

No words necessary here either

PUB FOOD OF THE YEAR – Vegan Bowl – Corner House, Windsor

And who’d a thought that ?


PUBMAN OF THE YEAR – Stafford Mudge


Paul is a gentleman, a fast walker, and truly great company.  Here he is at 10.25am outside the Lost Dene on Tuesday, about to start our “Mad for it Manchester” crawl.  Legend.

PASSENGER OF THE YEAR – Duncan “Pubmeister” McKay

How pleasant it was to drive someone round pubs who didn’t need me to stop the car on the hard shoulder of the A428 so they could have a leak.

MY MOST-READ BLOG POST – Guess.  Thank you, South Korea.

But its stopped. Dead.


Everyone must be winners !”  No, it’s just Russ.  Thanks mate, and not just for the corrections.

OK, honourable mention to Pashmina Pauline for this;

“I share your opinion of Mi*** P*** -,in my case because of the lack of music or general hubbub” 


I did actually read most of Boak & Bailey’s 20th Century Pub in 2018, rather than last year, so it’s my Book of the Year.  I’ve little time for history, but 20th Century Pub works brilliantly as social commentary and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Blogwise, there was great comment from Pub Curmudgeon on the Cask Crisis here, one of his best, and a piece with similar themes from Kirsty Walker that I loved. As did many others.

Yes, we’re now living in a ‘beer culture’ where a celery sour can be considered achingly pedestrian within weeks.”  Go, Kirsty.

Great use of “glee” too. Shame SHE missed the Rifle Drum.

FILM OF THE YEAR – “They Shall Not Grow Old“. I saw some superb films this year, but the Peter Blake WW1 restoration was both stunning and sobering.

Image result for they shall not grow old film

BEST HOTEL – Newport Student Village Residences



  • Julia Jacklin at O’Meara, Borough
  • Lucy Dacus at End of the Road
  • Car Seat Headrest at Cambridge Junction
  • Julien Baker at Gorilla, Manchester
  • Amber Arcades at Deaf Institute, Manchester


  • Amber Arcades – European Heartbreak
  • Lucy Dacus – Historian
  • Car Seat Headrest – Twin Fantasy
  • Soccer Mommy – Clean

And the winner is Record – Tracey Thorn

Songs about contraception, children leaving home, divorce and getting drunk. Still can’t play it anywhere without welling up.


And finally. I’m giving a special award to the People of Northampton.  Not only did they have to put up with our Beer & Pubs Pub Crawl in May, but they’ve had Mrs RM to contend with recently too.

Christine says they’re lovely people, and I’ve rarely met cheerier bar staff. Winners.


  1. Top post. Although I think you have severely overplayed the Banks Mild. Looking at the photos, I believe secretly you think the Rifle Drum was your pub of the year. Nevertheless I will pop into the Partit Laburista Marsaskala later on the week and let them know of their accolade.

    Yes, Paul Mudge its an absolute Gent and a true Pubman of the highest calibre.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks indeed but I’m not quite sure “just an ordinary bloke” to Bill Tidy can be a ‘Pubman of the Year’.to my new drinking pals.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks for the mention -I enjoy your posts even though some of the pubs look decidedly rough around the edges Heres to 2019 -pints & pashminas rule ok !

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Not got a smile now and can sympathise. Booked digs in Wandsworth and flew down today to do Sambrook’s Tap. They have been tweeting all week and twice today but nothing to say tap room is closed for a week.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Very kind and much appreciated but we are meeting friends in north London tomorrow. We would have come down anyway but wouldn’t have stayed anywhere near here if we had known, as long way from other requirements. It’s not on their website or Facebook page either. Won’t get London finished or close to it so, as you know, just have to treat it as an occupational hazard. Managed a few this lunchtime. Hope you got some others in. January can be hazardous!


      3. If it makes you feel better, I’ve visited 18 pubs this year, but only 5 of them are new ticks, so I shall be blogging old stuff for a while. Mind, I don’t regret any of the beers I had with Joan and Dave and co. in Manchester.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Both those beers were based out of the British colonial era. I love Blue Label when I’m on the drink and Kinnie when not. But Blue Label you can get anywhere.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My blog of the year is RM !
    Why ?
    Not sure really. There’s loads of seemingly irrelevant waffle, most of the ale gets chucked away and it often feels like you are a guest observer at an old boys’ drinking club.
    So is it c**p ?
    Maybe, but it is the only beer blog that I *routinely* look at every day, and the only time that I feel compelled to look at any others is when RM links to them. A bit like asking a random 100 year old bloke why he has read the Daily Telegraph since the age of 3. RM has that x-factor.
    So RM it is !
    A request for 2019. Please give live blogging a try. I would actually like to experience the atmosphere and emotion of a pub visit in (your) real time, as opposed to when you write it up in retrospect.
    Thanks for all of your hard work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do appreciate that, Fred. There’s a lot of pubbing blogs and I enjoy them all.

      Simon tried “Propeller” (think ?) a few years back where he filmed himself with a group of mates in a Halifax pubs giggling like children. By live blogging, do you just mean write it up in the pub ? Or is there something more technical.


      1. Yes, just occasionally writing it up and posting it whilst in the pub – if the circumstances are conducive to doing so. It is probably something that you are more likely to do at 11.00am rather than 11.00pm.

        Don’t worry if you feel it is too onerous, we’ll all keep reading anyway !


  4. “And 532 new Beer Guide pubs visited.”

    Hang on. You said in your last post:

    “So I’m afraid the actual count was a paltry forty-two (42) new GBG pubs in the month, well below the 50 I need to hit my annual target.”

    If we deduct the 42 in December from the yearly total of 532, that leaves 490 over 11 the previous 11 months which averages out to just over 44.5.

    Someone’s been telling porkies about 50 a month. 😉

    “Losing Alan Winfield”

    (raises glass)

    “No words necessary”

    That could be anywhere in the Med. 🙂

    “How pleasant it was to drive someone round pubs who didn’t need me to stop the car on the hard shoulder of the A428 so they could have a leak.”

    Well that puts me out of the running should I ever get over there. 😉



    ““I share your opinion of Mi*** P*** ”

    I’m probably going to lose my award for this but I’m still trying to figure out what Mi*** P*** is (blush).

    “and I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

    Added to my wish list (which, along with Pubmeister’s recommendation of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide Belgium puts me over the free shipping amount! 🙂

    “there was great comment from Pub Curmudgeon”

    Actually he’s how I found you lot.

    “and a piece with similar themes from Kirsty Walker ”

    I still think her “Why Ladies Drink Beer By Me, A Lady” is a classic. 🙂

    ““They Shall Not Grow Old“”

    Thanks for that. Have heard similar. Will put it on my list.

    “Songs about contraception, children leaving home, divorce and getting drunk. Still can’t play it anywhere without welling up.”

    I usually get drunk and well up every time I remember my children no longer live at home. (LOL)



  5. Thanks for another year of delightful writing, Martin, and for all the time you put into replying to comments from the likes of me– don’t know how you manage all this productivity, but I feel certain the Deserter lads wouldn’t approve. 😉

    Thanks also for posting the music videos; I really enjoyed that Soccer Mommy track.

    I’m pretty sure it was the Pub Curmudgeon who led me to BRAPA and then onward to you, Martin; so I definitely owe him a debt of gratitude, for that and for his own fine blog posts, from which I’ve learned an awful lot over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Keep up the good work Martin, your posts are always enjoyable and often informative as well.

    I honestly don’t know how you find the time to write them all, let alone visit the pubs in the first place and then reply to the many comments you receive.

    Good beer and good pub hunting for 2019, and look forward to meeting up again – sooner, rather than later!


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