There’s a number of ways to skin a Good Beer Guide (no, not a Stanley knife).
Some, like Duncan “The Pubmeister” get their chauffeur
Parker Martin to leave the engine running while they nip across the A584 for a half of DIPA necked in 30 seconds before leaping into a moving car and speeding off to catch last orders in Fleetwood. This is called “winning”.
The other approach is to drink only pints, preferably of the strongest beer, at a leisurely pace over the day before falling headfirst into a ditch and losing your Guide. This is called “BRAPA”.
As with boxing, the two ticking codes have never been unified.
My own approach allows for a bit of cheating, as when I give a lift to another imbiber and drink their dregs for a tick. This is called the “unhygienic” method.
As I employed on Tuesday in the Sussex Downs with Hitchin John.
My last two West Sussex ticks were in the heart of the hills above Chichester, and the first was, excitingly, in a hamlet John had never heard of.
“Oh, down there” he said, as I took on a lane only slightly less exciting than Tandle Hill to the Royal Oak. There is a bus from Chichester to the end of the lane, but you’ve probably missed it for the month.
“Bet they ask if we want to eat” said John, presciently.
Actually, not. And if the Landlord was disappointed at our custom of half a Langham and a small lemonade. I hate ordering lemonade and having to answer questions about ice and lemon; do I look like an ice and lemon person?
I was impressed by the charity boxes and fish tank, though the bar area was a bit cold compared to the gentlefolk’s dining room.
Full marks for a menu made up of readable words and prices.
At the signal, John nipped outside for a fag and I finished his dregs. Flat and tasty, somewhere between NBSS 3 and 3.5 (with dregs adjustment).
“Do you sell much of the ale? ” I asked the Landlord.
Well, that really kickstarted a conversation about cask, CAMRA, craft and Bruce Masters.
“Bruce who ?” you ask.
Bruce who’s been to 50,000 pubs, that’s who; the chap who picked his favourite 50 for an article in the Sun this year. I’d been to 46 of the 50. A good varied list, I thought.
To avoid upsetting Colleen “WAGatha” Rooney, here’s the article in the Scottish Sun.
The Landlord got the piece up on his tablet, and I patiently watched as he scrolled down the list.
Then he reached No.47.