The Good Beer Guide celebrates its milestone 50th edition
CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide – the UK’s best-selling beer and pub guide – is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The Guide, which surveys 4,500 of the best pubs across the UK, is the definitive beer drinker’s guide to the very best pints in the most picturesque and friendly pubs. Compiled by thousands of independent volunteers, it helps identify significant trends and themes across the pub sector.
The 50th anniversary edition features a new cover design by Neil Gower, a foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales (22 August 2022) and an introduction to each region by Laura Hadland – award-winning author of 50 Years of CAMRA. It brings together pub and brewery information for the first time, making it easier than ever before to find your next local brew
The first edition in 1972 was just 96 pages in length and listed around 1,500 pubs with a brewery section covering just 105 brewing companies. Today, the Good Beer Guide features 1,864 breweries across the nation.
Just five pubs across the UK have made it into each edition of the Guide – known as the “famous five”. These pubs include the Star Tavern and the Buckingham Arms in London, the Roscoe Head in Liverpool, the Square & Compass in Dorset and the Queen’s Head in Newton, Cambridgeshire.
To be listed in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide is a fantastic achievement for a pub. The Guide is based entirely on personal recommendations made by local CAMRA members, which are rigorously reviewed by branches and editors.
Recommendations consider beer quality as well as the history and architecture of a pub and various aspects such as food, gardens, family and disabled facilities and special events. CAMRA does not take any fees for listings to ensure the guide remains independent and unbiased.
CAMRA’s National Chairman Nik Antona said: “It is a huge achievement that we’re able to celebrate 50 years of publishing the Good Beer Guide, and a real testament to the hard work and dedication of our volunteers, who undertake the assessments.
“What makes the Guide unique is that all the entries are compiled and vetted by a huge volunteer team based around the country. We work hard to ensure that all areas of the country are covered and, unlike some competitor titles, inclusion in this book is dependent on merit – not on payment.
“The last few years have been an incredibly difficult time for the industry, and we need more support than ever before to keep our nation’s pubs open and thriving. I’d encourage everyone to use this year’s Guide to visit the very best pubs across the UK and support them for generations to come.”
The Good Beer Guide, sponsored this year by Cask Marque, is set to be published on 27 October 2022. Paul Nunny, Director of Cask Marque said: “Cask Marque has sponsored the Good Beer Guide for a number of years, because it is important that we recognise great pubs with a CAMRA endorsement. 50 years of actively supporting our industry is a great achievement and coincides with Cask Marque championing beer quality for 25 years!”
To order, visit: https://shop1.camra.org.uk/product/the-good-beer-guide-2023/
Notes to editors
Famous 5 Pubs
Newton, Cambridgeshire, CB22 7PG
Change comes gradually to this village local, one of a handful of pubs to have appeared in every edition of this Guide. Beers from brewers other than Adnams are now available from the stillage directly behind the bar. Regular Sunday lunches, a monthly Saturday supper club and Wednesday night food vans have been added to the soup and sandwiches on offer. Otherwise, little has changed since 1974. In fact, a list of landlords displayed in the public bar has only 18 entries since 1729.
Square & Compass
Dorset, BH19 3LF
A real gem, this multi award-winning pub has been identified by CAMRA as having a nationally important historic pub interior. It has been in the same family since 1907 and has appeared in every edition of this Guide. Two rooms either side of a serving hatch convey an impression that little has changed over the years. Pasties are available. The sea-facing garden offers views across the Purbecks, and fossils are displayed in the adjacent museum. Beer and cider festivals are held in October and November.
6 Belgrave Mews West
Belgravia, London, SW1X 8HT
(020) 7235 3019
Down a mews, near embassies and rich in the history of the powerful and famous, this is rumoured to be where the Great Train Robbery was planned. A popular Fuller’s pub where local residents, businesspeople and embassy staff rub shoulders with casual visitors, it has featured in all 50 editions of this Guide. Beer from the wood may be served here on an occasional basis. There is an upstairs function room.
62 Petty France
Westminster, London, SW1H 9EU
(020) 7222 3386
Said to have once been a hat shop, the Bell opened here in the 1720s and was renamed the Black Horse in the 1740s. Rebuilt in 1898, renamed again in 1901 and substantially renovated in recent years, it has appeared in all 50 editions of this Guide and was a winner of a CAMRA Golden Award in 2021. A mix of modern and traditional seats and tables draws civil servants, visitors and the occasional MP. Open on Sundays from the end of March through summer.
24 Roscoe Street
Liverpool, Merseyside, L1 2SX
(0151) 709 4365
One of the ‘Famous Five’ pubs that have featured in every edition of the Guide. The freehold was sold to the current tenant in 2020, following a five-year campaign against the previous owners. This is a cosy four-roomed venue where conversation and the appreciation of real ale rule. Six handpumps serve beers from local and national breweries. Run by members of the same family for over 30 years, the name commemorates William Roscoe, a leading campaigner against the slave trade.