“Greetings to the new brunette” sang Billy Bragg in 1986, before he got woke and left his pap pop behind on Workers Playtime, the best LP of ’88.
Frankly, this post should just say a huge THANK YOU to CAMRA members and staff for scoring beers, picking their favourite free houses, checking pubs were open, and getting the GBG out against the odds.
It’s still our top campaigning tool, directing folk to places with the best kept beer more often its critics would have you believe.
The new Guide was released to Privilege members 10 days ago (10 hours in Scotland) so that we could finish Essex before it goes into Tier 3.75 b+ lockdown.
Frankly, for the stats, you’re best off reading BRAPA’s blog, or Duncan’s when he stops ticking non-league grounds for a minute.
This year I’d have to visit another 720 new pubs (16%) to complete the Guide and emulate Pubmeister, which sounds a lot but is only two a day, every day.
We’re still poring over the pages and going “What ! Really ? None in Carluke ?”, but the highlights seem to be 2 new pubs in Grimsby and an estimated 377 new micropubs. One of those figures is made up.
Most generous opening hours award goes to FireRock Brewing of Sutton-in-Ashfield, open 17:00 to 21:00 on Friday and 14:00 to 21:00 on Saturday, a grand total of 13 hours a week. It’s following in the footsteps of Notts legends like Robin Hood and the Prior’s Well in Mansfield Woodhouse.
Of course, those opening hours are a bit pointless when you can’t visit pubs in Tier 3 for a beer because the Government doesn’t think you can be trusted unless you’re drinking it with sea bass and samphire.
And that’s going to be the biggest challenge for tickers this year, actually finding pubs open at all. Which might, if I’m honest, actually be a bigger hardship for the pubs and their staff than me. We shall do our bit to keep our pubs afloat while beer tickers sit watching Netflix sipping bottled murk.
I’ll do a separate post on the noble art of Good Beer Guide cross-checking this week, so you can appreciate the effort involved, but in the meantime I’d like to support this initiative by Cooking Lager to get CAMRA to see pre-coloured GBGs, complete with a certificate to say you’ve been to all 4,531 pubs.
For an extra fiver you can get the book presented by Duncan McKay.