Well, I’m up-to-date with the blog, for the first time in 37 years. Just in time for a trip to Newcastle tomorrow.
So I can now give you my considered views on the new Good Beer Guide.
1. The micropub craze is dead.
Only joking. Seven new ones in Tyne & Wear alone, nine in Lancashire, etc etc
Old Dylan LPs are now available in 23% of the Guide’s pubs.
Plenty of taprooms too, which are arguably even less likely to provide you with a couple having an argument over a ferret.
2. Opening hours remain 100% reliable.
Except on Thursdays.
3. The correlation between questionable new entries and CAMRA discount remains a complete coincidence.
Despite Timbo’s retrenchment, loads of new Spoons in the Guide, oddly. Their beer has been good lately.
4. Soft toy grabbers are now more likely than dartboards in GBG pubs.
5. North Notts declared a “No Go Zone“, which if you’ve been to Retford you already knew.
Surveyors have been unable to enter the northern part of Notts to visit pubs and hence there are no new entries this year. Access to Sundown Adventure Land remains possible for under 10s, with a police escort.
6. Weird place names remain de rigeur in Durham.
7. Many exciting new places for tickers to visit.
Top of the tree is north Rotherham, of course. Having survived that, I have Maidenhead to come, possibly this week.
Elsewhere, a first GBG entry since the internet for Crewe, two on Holy Island, and yet another newbie on the Isle of Portland, which now has more ex-GBG pubs than residents.
On other islands, the good folk of Hayling are celebrating their GBG renaissance by dancing round the Maypole.
Sadly, the Isle of Wight seems to have survived to the 2020 edition.
8. Completely made-up places introduced to confuse GBG fans.
After two decades happily in Bristol : Central, the Old Fish Market has been moved this year to a new location called Bristol : Old City, where it is very lonely.
Even more inexplicably, the Twice Brewed Inn moves from Twice Brewed to Once Brewed, in an unsuccessful attempt to foil BRAPA, who remains convinced that Hadrian’s Wall is the border with Scotland (it’s not, it’s the border between CAMRA branches).
9. Where’s the Dyffryn Arms gone ?
Sadly the Pontfaen wonder recovered from its fire just too late (I guess). Still great.
10. A Pub of the Year but not in the Good Beer Guide ?
Where’s the wonderful Wylam Boathouse ? One of the most famous beer houses in the country, the 2019 local pub of the year, the Nags Head or Wellington of the North.
Its absence from GBG 20 has created the biggest debate on CAMRA social media since the great undercooked broccoli crisis of 2018.
How can that happen. Here’s a clue;
“Superb two roomed pub with FIFTEEN handpulls”
Less is more folks.