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View Full Version : CAMRA pub of the year



NickDavies
17-02-2010, 11:27
http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=a315563

Kelham Island again!

RogerB
17-02-2010, 11:35
It's good, but not THAT good.

Bucking Fastard
17-02-2010, 11:39
Fantastic achievement,am planning my first trip to Sheffield in June and will also be popping into the Fat Cat closeby:nishelypished:

oldboots
17-02-2010, 13:42
Fantastic achievement,am planning my first trip to Sheffield in June and will also be popping into the Fat Cat closeby:nishelypished:

Hold that thought, I shall be dragging myself through the Valley of Beer next friday, the KIT is on the list but there will be others you might be interested in.

Bucking Fastard
17-02-2010, 13:52
Hold that thought, I shall be dragging myself through the Valley of Beer next friday, the KIT is on the list but there will be others you might be interested in.

Will keep an eye on the pub reviews after your session.There will be a few of us on a boat in June and we will only have one evening in Sheffield.Very torn between doing a pub crawl or just hitting two quality establishments and going through some of their range.Any advice gratefully received plus names of decent curry houses in the vicinity that dont mind southeners slurring their speech.

HTM69
17-02-2010, 14:22
Is their 'pub of the year' selected from the regional winners?

oldboots
17-02-2010, 14:39
Yes, the sixteen regional winners http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=307819

are whittled down to four http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=310793

then the winner and runners up decided http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=a315563

Oggwyn Trench
17-02-2010, 15:01
The local CAMRA branch round here has some strange ideas on what constitutes a good real ale pub

Manky Badger
18-02-2010, 08:08
The local CAMRA branch round here has some strange ideas on what constitutes a good real ale pub

I left CAMRA because of the way they vote for pubs of the year.
Last year there was a quote that the pub of the year was chosen from pubs selected by 4000 CAMRA members, but the membership is over twenty times that amount. Why didn't the whole membership get a vote?
Whilst not all branches are the same, I was in CAMRA for ten years, and was never once asked my opinion for POTY - the only contact I ever had with the local branch was a newsletter I might find in an obscure pub some miles away telling the world what pubs the committee had already decided on.

oldboots
18-02-2010, 08:23
I think CAMRA is like many organisations, you can be an active member and have a say in what happens or you can just pay the subs and read the paper. There are moves to have a more open process rather than just having decisions made by the 'commitee' or those who attend the national conference or branch meetings, presumably through a postal system. The National Beer Scoring System (NBSS) is an attempt to make the GBG selection process more open for members who don't go to the selection meetings and that's about 95% of members. As I say just like anything else it's the active members who make the rules and take the decisions and that applies to political parties, golf clubs, trades unions etc,etc etc.

Manky Badger
18-02-2010, 08:55
I think CAMRA is like many organisations, you can be an active member and have a say in what happens or you can just pay the subs and read the paper.

I agree - within reason.
However if a branch is to be organising stuff like POTY selections, quiz nights, whatever, then they need to communicate with the membership. My point is that in ten years of membership I never knew about POTY selections until after they'd happened.

And an obscure advert somewhere in the bowels of "What's Brewing" isn't really advertising what's going on. Surely the branches have access to member's addresses, etc? My branch had that, because once a year they would advertise the festival they were running. They never advertised any meetings, just the festival.
Inactive members aren't encouraged when they see what they feel is a closed shop.

I know from my experience with other societies that a year's schedule is usually organised in advance. How much effort would a mailshot entail? Especially if it's done electronically?

RogerB
18-02-2010, 09:27
Last September one of my local CAMRA groups (Bexley) almost folded as they didn't have enough "officials" to run the group. They managed to cover the appropriate posts at the last minute and lived to fight another day but I only found all this out by looking at their web site whilst looking for other information. I subsequently contacted them as a means of introducing myself with a view to attending their next meeting to see what goes on and maybe getting more involved. They never responded and as I didn't want to turn up "cold" I never went. If any of them were particularly on the ball they would be perusing web sites such as PG or BITE and identifying potential active members and maybe dropping them a message outlining their local activities and inviting them to meetings. I get the impression that some CAMRA groups are a bit insular and don't want to expand beyond their safe circle of colleagues. Whilst the area covered by Bexley isn't exactly heaving with great pubs, the fact that they have voted the same pub (the Robin Hood & Little John, Bexleyheath) as PotY for the last 10 years suggests that their presence isn't having much of an effect on the other local pubs to create any competition.

oldboots
18-02-2010, 09:28
...And an obscure advert somewhere in the bowels of "What's Brewing" isn't really advertising what's going on. Surely the branches have access to member's addresses, etc? My branch had that, because once a year they would advertise the festival they were running. They never advertised any meetings, just the festival.


You're largely preaching to the choir but there are some practical difficulties. Making the Branch meetings section of What's Brewing more prominent would take up editorial space and could run to a lots of pages... however since they started to concentrate on the BEER mag' the quality WB has gone down in my opinion. The branches must have all the local members addresses because I've received the odd letter from my local branch advertising meetings.


Inactive members aren't encouraged when they see what they feel is a closed shop.

If they're inactive where do they see this? CAMRA gets quite a lot of bad press, some deserved, some not, but I know what you mean there are cliques within most organisations and it bugged me when I was a active member


... How much effort would a mailshot entail? Especially if it's done electronically?

CAMRA has 100,000 members, one mail shot sent second class post that's 100,000 X 30p = 30,000, if you assume the materials, printing, folding, stuffing into envelopes etc is FOC. What's Brewing is probably the more cost effective if imperfect method.

Electronically would be better (cheaper) but you need everyone's email address and someone needs to put that list into electronic form then you'd need to keep it updated and still contact those without email etc. That's not to say it wouldn't work or shouldn't be done it's just not as simple as it first looks. There is a CAMRA members forum on the website but it's a bit dire and not widely used, I know Eddie posts there but I don't think anyone else from PuG does.

Eddie86
18-02-2010, 10:43
It is a bit of a basic forum, and not widely advertised.

All it needs is a database of email addresses, which you have to fill in when you register/renew with CAMRA. Details are then sent to your local branch, who then send you a bog standard welcome email, outlining regular meetings etc.

If they stopped worrying about the tie and cracked on with their mission statement we might get somewhere...

Conrad
18-02-2010, 12:06
Just to reply in general to the last 3 posts.

I'm not sure if it is what you were saying Roger, but just in case - If we found any user joining our forum and sending unsolicited PMs then unless they could explain themselves pretty sharpish we would be looking to do our best to make sure they don't visit the site again. No problem with them promoting themselves on the forum and trying to solicit interest, it would after all be on topic, but sending PMs like that is tantamount to spam.

That being said I would love to work closer with CAMRA, as far as I can tell they are very regionalised and it can be really hit and miss what sort of support you can get on the web. We are trying to list all festivals and pubs, and we give our members a lot of scope to affect those listings, it would be fantastic if some (or all!) of the regional CAMRA branches used our site as a free means to promote their various interests. At the most basic level I hope allowing edmon to edit his festival listings is a first step in that direction. It is on our "to do" list to start contacting the CAMRA web sites that we are tracking and try and kick some ideas around, sadly we have way more things to do than time. But if anyone reading this has influence and likes what I am saying do just contact me.

As to CAMRA itself I'm with Ed, they desperately need a mission statement, I have no idea why they are going after the tie. Beyond that I completely agree with the OFT, whilst I don't like the tie, I don't think it is harming competition, it just isn't producing the kind of pubs I want to visit. I did briefly use the CAMRA forums, and was surprised to just now see they are no longer public. It was only to have a slight debate with a member on there who was insisting that CAMRA were the only ones who could provide a site with an impartial list of pubs, and site like ours would always be less complete than CAMRA. Which I'm sure you will guess I disagreed with. He didn't seem to accept that CAMRA are biased in their choice of pubs, personally I think the name is a hint, it is about Real Ale, so why should CAMRA be incentivised to take an interest in non Real Ale pubs.

RogerB
18-02-2010, 14:29
I'm not sure if it is what you were saying Roger, but just in case - If we found any user joining our forum and sending unsolicited PMs then unless they could explain themselves pretty sharpish we would be looking to do our best to make sure they don't visit the site again. No problem with them promoting themselves on the forum and trying to solicit interest, it would after all be on topic, but sending PMs like that is tantamount to spam.


Fair comment and with hindsight probably not the best idea but the point I was trying to make (badly) is that there must be a dozen ways of raising the profile of the local CAMRA group than just putting in a small print notice in a specialised publication and then hoping the hordes will come rampaging to the next meeting. I do think local CAMRA groups could (with the appropriate permissions of course) use relevant web sites, local papers / publications outside the usual CAMRA stuff or even local pubs to attract people to publicise their activities and get more people to become involved and have a say. It can't take too much to leave say a few leaflets on a bar inviting people to pop along to a meeting or put something in the local newspaper that will reach people beyond the CAMRA safety zone. The fact our local branch nearly went out of existence would suggest there aren't many local active members and it would be interesting to see just how many people actually voted for our PotY? Personally I think the pub concerned has been disappointing in my last 2 or 3 visits and it wouldn't necessarily have got my vote had I been asked.

HTM69
18-02-2010, 14:39
it wouldn't necessarily have got my vote had I been asked.


I'm struggling to think of any truly exceptional pubs in the 'Bexley' area, to be honest. There was bugger all in Welling - I'm presuming Bexley would cover that area? I.E., it's situated within the London Borough Of Bexley - and Bexleyheath and Bexley are not exactly brimming with choice. I know only a handful of pubs in Sidcup and there isn't a lot going on there, either.

What about the Dartford branch? Did they have a 'winner'? Or are they covered by Bexley as well?

Conrad
18-02-2010, 14:51
Agree with you completely Roger, and would love for CAMRA to take advantage of our site, I think it is a natural fit with both of us hopefully getting promotion out of it.

RogerB
18-02-2010, 15:06
I'm struggling to think of any truly exceptional pubs in the 'Bexley' area, to be honest. There was bugger all in Welling - I'm presuming Bexley would cover that area? I.E., it's situated within the London Borough Of Bexley - and Bexleyheath and Bexley are not exactly brimming with choice. I know only a handful of pubs in Sidcup and there isn't a lot going on there, either.

What about the Dartford branch? Did they have a 'winner'? Or are they covered by Bexley as well?
Dartford is covered by Gravesend and Darent Valley. They don't have a website so I know less of their activities than Bexley's.

Bexley covers Abbey wood, Albany Park, Belvedere, Bexley, Bexleyheath, Blackfen, Blendon, Bridgen, Crayford, Erith, Falcon Wood, Footscray, Northcray, Northumberland Heath, Sidcup, Slade Green and Welling. Not a hotbed of good pubs but a few that could challange the RH&LJ with a bit of encouragement. The Rose in Bexleyheath is worth keeping an eye on - was quite impressed the other night when I went in - 5 ales including 3 guests. For choice there are 4 'Spoons covered in the area although I think the Furze Wren which probably has the best selection of the 4 always serve them too cold. The Crayford Arms is also a much improved pub. I just think to keep awarding PotY to the same pub all the time makes things become a bit stale. It would certainly wake them up a bit if it were awarded elsewhere as they have become very complacent in my book.

PaulOfHorsham
18-02-2010, 19:56
Dartford is covered by Gravesend and Darent Valley. They don't have a website so I know less of their activities than Bexley's.

In the Darent Valley, you will find The Bull (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/15817/) (at Horton Kirby, to be precise) - approx 25 minutes walk from Farningham Road station. And that's a pub which I would recommend to absolutely anybody!

If the Bull doesn't make to the finals of next years PotY, my opinion of CAMRA will be somewhat diminished, I have to say.

rpadam
18-02-2010, 20:09
In the Darent Valley, you will find The Bull (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/15817/) (at Horton Kirby, to be precise) - approx 25 minutes walk from Farningham Road station. And that's a pub which I would recommend to absolutely anybody!
Quite so!

RogerB
18-02-2010, 20:17
If the Bull doesn't make to the finals of next years PotY, my opinion of CAMRA will be somewhat diminished, I have to say.

I should have realised it won the local CAMRA PotY 2009 - I was there the night they were celebrating the award! D'oh. Strangely enough I used the pub more regularly 20 years ago when we used to play them at darts. It was a bog standard pub then. Now it is worthy of special praise and I rarely manage to get there.

runningdog
18-02-2010, 21:41
or even local pubs to attract people to publicise their activities and get more people to become involved and have a say.

I was a member of CAMRA years ago, but my involvement came to nought, I'm not much of a joiner and even less of a joiner-in, my fault, not CAMRA's. Nowadays, I'm afraid, it smacks too much of a 'one issue' lobbyist movement to attract me back.
That said, I usually, apart from this forum and the MA, only come across it via monthly newsletters left in pubs and they often give me a fresh slant on pubs and beer in my area. In that respect some local branches are doing exactly as you suggest, Mr B.
While I do not support the political aims of organisations such as CAMRA, I understand the frustration that motivates them, and recognise the effort that CAMRA has put into forwarding what I have to accept is a hobby.
Mrs 'rd' calls it an obsession, now and then she gets quite rude about it.
After that little lot I feel it's time to lift a Sneck.:drinkup::drinkup:

Quinno
19-02-2010, 19:31
It's good, but not THAT good.

It is. Oh it so is...