2017 Good Beer Guide: still indispensable

In Uncategorized on September 16, 2016 by kmflett

2017: Good Beer Guide: still indispensable


I have a perpetual subscription to CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide so my copy of the 2017 edition appeared well before the official launch date of 15th September.

The GBG has its critics. There are probably two main areas. Firstly that it underplays ‘craft’ beer and breweries. I agree. It is called the ‘good’ beer guide. Much of what is brewed in the ‘craft’ area is broadly speaking good beer. The debate about whether the key issue is how a beer tastes or how it is dispensed is part of CAMRA’s revitalisation debate. It remains a weakness of the Guide.

The second criticism is that the pubs that appear in many areas are simply those that CAMRA activists like but what they like is far from always what the progressive modern drinker wants.

The criticism has substance but doesn’t really stand up to examination. The GBG chooses pubs based not on some commercial criteria but on whether local drinkers, who know a thing or two, think the beer is up to it. It’s not ideal but what is?

On the plus side the GBG, edited by Roger Protz, is a massive achievement. There is nothing to match it in the beer world, and whether you agree with the pub selections and the commentary or not, they are the views of beer drinkers not commercially driven.

In the age of the interweb (there is a GBG App) is the GBG less relevant?  Frankly yes. In due course the hard copy edition may need to be replaced by a more extensive web and interactive presence.

For the time being though, infuriated by it or not, the GBG represents a democratic movement of people who care about beer and drinking and suggests places to drink and beers to drink on the basis of that.

In short, its unique.

17th September

My Fletter in The Guardian on the importance of the Good Beer Guide & some thoughts on it



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