Roger Protz claims, not entirely convincingly, that he does not actually spend a great deal of time drinking beer in pubs. Notwithstanding, he knows a great deal about both (he is currently editor of the Campaign for Real Ale's Good Beer Guide
) and puts it to very good use in Britain's Best 500 Pubs
, which is a model of what pub guides ought to be. This is a personal collection of favourites, mostly old or at least old-fashioned, almost all serving cask-conditioned real ale. Each receives a spirited appreciation, with special attention going to the food. Most of the chosen pubs serve food, some of it very good indeed. Protz has had the bright idea of grouping his pubs not by location, as most such guides do; rather he gathers establishments all over the country into 50-odd categories, some fairly obvious, others idiosyncratic in the extreme. All make sense, though. Great coaching inns, top country pubs, genuine Irish pubs, pubs near London markets contrast with pubs in unusual buildings, pubs for bird watchers, Inspector Morse
's favourite pubs and pubs with unusual names. There are also the highest pubs in Britain, haunted pubs and pubs with pets. Ten pub walks, long and short, in different parts of the country are a particularly useful addition; and as a special bonus Roger Protz lists bars he has particularly enjoyed in Lille, Prague and Brussels. A geographical index by count allows stay-at-homes to cheat. --Robin Davidson
About the Author
Roger Protz is Britain's leading writer on beer, pubs and brewing history. He has twice won the British Guild of Beer Writers' prestigious Gold Tankard for his work. A former editor of the Good Beer Guide and now editor of CAMRA's national newspaper What's Brewing, he also writes for The Guardian, The Observer and the Daily Star. His many books include The Great British Beer Book and the best-selling Real Ale Drinker's Almanac, now in its third edition. He is a regular contributor to Radio 4's Food Programme and has appeared on television in such programmes as Food and Drink and The Food Programme. He lives in St Albans, Hertfordshire.
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