My plan was to visit seven pubs; five of which are in the current GBG and two are possibles. It wasn't a successful day. I'm not going to name the pubs to save their embarrassment, but as you will see I won't be promoting the inclusion of some of these pubs based on this visit.
Pub one on my itinery was the town's flagship real ale pub. It's a nail on certainty for each and every GBG until it has a major change of business plan. My half of Red Lion White Lion was ok. It was in decent enough condition so any flaw in the beer wouldn't have been the pub's fault. It wasn't worth staying for a second; it'll be getting my vote based on the regular trips I make in there throughout the year.
Pub two was a very short walk away. A pub I've visited probably three times in the last five years. Beer quality in the past has been below average with the sole decent beer in memory some J.W.Lees Plum Pudding a few Christmasses ago. I ordered a half of Wentworth Bee Smoked. I was warned this was an acquired taste. Well if you like heavily vinegared beers behind a sweet smokiness then yes you've acquired yourself a strange taste. It was almost undrinkable. That's that pub off my recommendation list then.
From here I decided to go to the furthest outpost on the itinery, and work my way back to the bus station and thus home. I've heard good things about the next pub which is in the current guide, but due to the fact it doesn't open during the day on week days, I've not been in since it's been this good. But it opens all day at the weekend doesn't it? Actually no. I walked all that bloody way to discover it's a four o'clock job at the weekend too. Bugger, bugger, bugger. I don't appreciate a long walk for no sustenance. I'll have to go back soon, but it's a bit of a nuisance to say the least.
Pub four, or three as it happens, is a nice corner local which serves four ales all in good condition usually. I had two halves to make up for my earlier disappointment. The Newby Wyke Bear Island was good, but the Sharps Doom Bar was a bit disappointing. I'm not a big fan of Sharps beers normally, but it worth noting that by the time I'd finished my half the barrel had gone.
My next stop is a GBG entry, but I get the feeling it got in last year by the skin of its teeth. It's a pub I do go in occasionally and it's ok but no Earth stopper. My beer if choice was Abstinence Ale from Greene King. My impression of this beer which again suffered from an undesired acidity was that this is very probably a rebadge of XX Mild. It was not in the best form and this pub will also struggle to get my vote on this performance.
My final two stops were the two Spoons. However both were absolutely heaving and getting near the bar to order a drink proved too much effort for someone who'd had such a rubbish day's drinking.
The reason for this overcrowding appeared to be football related. Northampton were playing Leicester; pretty much a derby game. The streets were riddled with police. Time for an early bus home which at least meant I felt like the bottle of Spanish red we opened in the evening. Alas that too was disappointing. It just wasn't my day.