Craft Cans

Good Beer Guide 2015

Print
Edited by Roger Protz

If you want an indication of the health of the cask beer market, look no further than the latest edition of the Good Beer Guide. You don't even need to read the book: just count the pages.

Good Beer Guide 2015The fact that Britain's number one beer and pub guide is now almost a thousand pages thick is testimony to the incredible buzz there is about beer in the UK (and in the wider world).

True, a lot of the noise about 'craft beer' comes from keg-orientated businesses with a rebellious attitude, but cask ale is growing strongly year on year so the more modest breweries that specialise in cask are clearly doing their bit in a less ostentatious way.

I've heard talk and seen tweets about cask beer becoming 'increasingly irrelevant' and heard its chief proponent CAMRA stupidly vilified by people who are, to give them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps too young to know better. A bit of respect, I think, is in order, particularly for CAMRA's flagship publication.

Now in its forty-second edition, the Good Beer Guide remains a vital tool for anyone with an interest in British beer. If you've picked up the book before, you'll know the format.

Pubs are listed, county by county, with a brief description and symbols to indicate facilities. The cask beers on sale are highlighted and can be cross-referenced, using the index at the back of the book, with the listing of British breweries that includes tasting notes.

Utmost Clarity

Some 4,500 pubs are featured and nearly 1,300 breweries, 170 of which have opened in the last year – hence the increased size of the book – but every last important detail has been crammed in with the utmost clarity, thanks to a tried-and-tested page design.

From my time as editor of the book in the 1990s, I know that around a third of the pubs change from edition to edition, so you can't rely on an old copy to lead you to a decent pint. But that's not the only reason to buy the book.

With its editorial summary of the beer market (yes, including a recognition of new keg beers), its easy-to-follow explanations of the brewing process and beer styles, and its introduction to beer appreciation, the Guide makes for a good, educational read, too.

It was the Good Beer Guide that made me want to be a beer writer. It was the publication that turned me on to cask beer and great pubs. It taught me the basics and inspired me to want to learn more.

With so many people just embarking on their own personal beer journeys, its usefulness – no matter what some people might say – remains undiminished.

42nd edition

976-page paperback (CAMRA Books)

£15.99

Available now from CAMRA or amazon.co.uk

Bookmark and Share