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Good Beer Guide 2006 Paperback – 10 Sep 2005
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This year's edition is much improved with two colours on the guide pages making it easier to read. The coloured maps are good as well giving everything a cleaner look.
The fantastic section that lists all Britain's breweries is so helpful. Quite often I find I can visit a local brewery as well as a few pubs in an area. Well worth looking to find out.
I think what really makes this book for me is that I know that the pubs have been selected by the local drinkers - not the editor. It always worries me when you see a guidebook to hundreds of pubs or hotels or B&Bs and only one person decided which to include - how on earth can one person visit all those places in a reasonable timescale to make the book valid?
If you only buy one guide to pubs this year make sure it's this one!
What makes this book so much better than the usual guide books is that it is the recommendations of local Real Ale drinkers not a journalist or guidebook author. Each pub has been visited by readers who drink the beer rather than by a researcher just doing their job.
Buy the book, visit the pubs, support Real Ale!!
What can I say? It's great/fab/useful/unbiassed/independent...
If you like real ale and you don't buy a copy of this book every year you are either going to miss out on a fantastic pub you don't know about or you're going to trek miles to visit a pub that's closed or been refurbished as a "family-friendly bar and eaterie". Pubs do change that quickly and that's why you have to admire an organisation that manages to use its membership to resurvey the entire country and publish a guide every year.
Add to that attention to detail the talents of renown author/writer Roger Protz as editor and these books continue to shine above the rest.
Buy a copy now, you won't be disappointed.
Celebrating its thirtieth edition, the Good Beer Guide remains the ultimate reference work for those who are interested in that difficult combination - good beer and a good pub. This is not a run of the mill pub guide with the usual emphasis on inglenooks, beams and extensive food menus. True the reader will find plenty of classic country inns with horse brasses and fireplaces, but also many excellent urban hostelries ranging from basic back street locals to sophisticated brew pubs and specialist ale houses.
The common factor uniting this disparate and eclectic collection is beer. Good Beer Guide listed pubs all serve cask conditioned beer ('Real Ale'), with the choice ranging from a couple of ales to well into double figures. Consistently excellent beer quality is the overriding qualification for entry rather than the building, landlord or services offered, after all there is little point in sitting in a pretty pub with a choice of a dozen ales which are all stale and flat. That said those that receive the accolade of an entry tend to be vibrant and interesting places. In some conversation rules, others host live music, some champion traditional games, others quizzes or beer festivals.
The well organised listings are divided alphabetically into counties, whilst larger cities are divided again into manageable areas. Each features a useful map indicating the location of both pubs and breweries. An extensive and thorough brewery section details every independent brewery in the UK, giving details of their beer range and comprehensive tasting notes. An index for both places and beers makes locating information simple and practical. Most entries receive a full listing giving information about the type of pub, beers stocked, opening times, facilities, meals, proximity to rail services and accommodation where applicable. Some 'Inn Brief' entries have shorter pen portraits. Watch out for these as they are often located on a different page to other entries for the same town and are easy to miss (the only real gripe with this book). The guide's introductory section carries a number of interesting articles from top beer writers, including Roger Protz (editor), Jeff Evans and Michael Jackson (no, the one with the beard, not the one who dangles babies out of windows!).
A great strength of the guide is its reliability as all the recommeded pubs are visited regularly throughout the year. Volunteers from the Campaign for Real Ale (which has about 65000 members) undertake the work, making this a truly independent and authoritative publication. About a third of entries change every year, so don't be tempted to try to get by with last year's copy. An indispensable purchase.