One of the best things I signed up to with CAMRA was the Good Beer Guide subscription. With so many new breweries springing up every year it is now an essential purchase. The 2013 edition was launched last week and my copy was waiting for me when I got home last Friday.
The only advantage of working away from home is the freedom to do as I please in the evenings. I have been working in Stratford-on-Avon for a number of months now and I have already managed to find many new beers and pubs. I still haven't been to all the places I want to and now I notice there are three new breweries in Warwickshire to discover. Added to that there are two new breweries in the West Midlands and three in Worcestershire. With family in Leicestershire there is one more new brewery I could possibly check out there too.
This constant expansion of the number of independent breweries has got me thinking. Is it possible to sample a pint from every UK independent brewery? I haven't counted how many there are but I'm guessing it is in excess of a thousand so assuming I have a pint from a different brewery every day it would take me 3-4 years. During that time there could be at least a hundred new breweries started up too. Is it therefore an impossible task? We'll find out. As from September 1st I will make a conscious effort to track what I drink. To force myself out into pubs and beer festivals I will not count bottled beers I drink at home. I will allow myself to only drink halves though when at a beer festival as that is my norm.
Tonight I went to my favourite Stratford-on-Avon pub, The Bear (at the Swan's Nest) and consumed pint number one. A delicious traditional bitter from the Hobsons Brewery of Shropshire (3.8% ABV). It had a classic bitter taste and it was most enjoyable. A great start to the week.
I won't mention my challenge again until this time next year except to say I predict that I will never complete it. However, it will be fun trying.