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CAMRA's British beer bible out now

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted September 19, 2012
real ale in Harrogate CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2013
Real ale: Thanks to CAMRA, a good pint these days isn't hard to find. © Ignatius Rake

The UK's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has unleashed the 40th edition of its Good Beer Guide.

Jointly sponsored by Cask Marque and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), the Good Beer Guide 2013, a CAMRA press release states, "features the best 4,500 real ale pubs from across the UK, with details of food, opening hours, beer gardens, accommodation, transport links, disabled access and family facilities".

Although we haven't actually laid eyes on a copy yet, we're happy to take CAMRA's word for it that the current edition has been fully revised and updated by the its 143,000 beer-loving members and now contains "1,033 new pub entries as well as a comprehensive brewery section listing all breweries operational across the nation".

"The UK beer and pub industry," says the book's editor Roger Protz, "has changed enormously over the last 40 years and throughout this period the Good Beer Guide has remained the definitive resource for keeping beer drinkers up to date when tracking down the perfect pint of real ale."

"One of the most under-publicised aspects of the Guide is that it is the result of constant pub surveying by CAMRA's dedicated members over the course of a year, so in many ways this 40th anniversary is testament to the tireless work of countless unpaid volunteers across the country who give up their time to champion great pubs, whether situated on a city centre high street, suburban street corner or in a small hamlet."

As part of the anniversary celebrations, the Good Beer Guide, the press release continues, "has heralded the few pubs which have made it into all of its 40 editions".

Dubbed by CAMRA 'the Magnificent Seven', these pubs are:

The Buckingham Arms, 62 Petty France, London SW1;

The New Inn, The Hill, Kilmington, Devon;

The Queen's Head, Newton, Cambridgeshire;

The Roscoe Head, 24 Roscoe Street, Liverpool;

The Square & Compass, Worth Matravers, Dorset;

The Star, Netherton, Northumberland; and

The Star Tavern, 6 Belgrave Mews West, London SW1.

"It's a remarkable achievement for the publicans of these pubs to have maintained an exemplary standard of beer over all these years," Protz states.

"The special thing about these seven pubs is that they vary so much in their location, size and heritage, showing how brilliantly diverse our pub industry remains, even through weathering the high profile storm of closures in recent years."

In addition to the Magnificent Seven, CAMRA has also now named its 16 Regional Pubs of the Year for 2012 as judged by its members "on all the criteria that make a great pub, including atmosphere, decor, customer service, value for money, clientele mix but most importantly the quality of the real ale and cider/perry".

These 16 regional winners, it continues, will now battle it out to be crowned National Pub of the Year, with the announcement made early next year.

Providing the world doesn't end on December 21 that is.

Either way, the winners are:

Central Southern: The Shoulder of Mutton, Wantage (38 Wallingford Street, Oxfordshire, OX12 8AX);

East Anglia: The Compasses, Littley Green (Essex, CM3 1BU);

East Midlands: The Just Beer Micropub, Newark (Swan & Salmon Yard, 32A Castlegate, Nottinghamshire, NG24 1BG);

Greater London: The Hope, Carshalton (48 West Street, SW London, SM5 2PR);

Greater Manchester: The Baum, Rochdale (33-37 Toad Lane, Greater Manchester, OL12 0NU);

Kent: The Conqueror Alehouse, Ramsgate (4C Grange Road, Kent, CT11 9LR);

Merseyside & Cheshire: The Lower Chequer, Sandbach (Crown Bank, Cheshire, CW11 1FW);

North East: The Ship Inn, High Hesleden (Durham, TS27 4QD);

Scotland & Northern Ireland: The Woolpack Inn, Tillicoultry (1 Glassford Square, Clackmannanshire, FK13 6AU);

South West: The Tom Cobley Tavern, Spreyton (Devon, EX17 5AL);

Surrey & Sussex: The Wilkes Head, Eastergate (Church Lane, West Sussex, PO20 3UT);

Wales: The Bridge End Inn, Ruabon (5 Bridge Street, Wrexham, LL14 6DA);

Wessex & Channel Isles: The Victoria & Albert, Netherhampton (Wiltshire, SP2 8PU);

West Midlands: The Weighbridge, Alvechurch (Scarfield Wharf, Scarfield Hill, Worcestershire, B48 7SQ);

West Pennines: The Bridge Bier Huis, Burnley (2 Bank Parade, Lancashire, BB11 1UH); and

Yorkshire: The Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield (62 Russell Street, South Yorkshire, S3 8RW).

The Good Beer Guide 2013 is available from "all good retailers" in the UK and from CAMRA's online shop, where it's priced £10 for members and £12.99 for non-members. Buy your copy now, dagnamit!

See also Coniston No.9 named best UK beer, posted 10/8/12.

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