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16-09-2010, 22:30
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The 2011 Good Beer Guide (http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=gbg) was released today. It’s the 38th edition and this one chronicles 4,500 pubs around Britain. Inside it covers the nation in terms of pubs, breweries and beers. Each pub has a few words about it, the address, opening hours and a useful key detailing some extra information in picture form. Its annual release brings a whirl of PR, but is it still the resource it used to be?

The book is a hefty wad of paper, far from pocket- sized, which likely requires a bag, should you wish to carry it around with you. The RRP is £15.99 but you can get it on Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1852492724/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1BP3V7GQX8CMTN6Q2ZPK&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=467128533&pf_rd_i=468294) for £10.39 or £10 for CAMRA members on their website. That’s not much to spend for inside knowledge on decent places to drink and you’ll probably waste that much on bad beer in crap pubs over a year, so it’s a worthwhile investment. You can also buy a version for certain mobile phones (http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=283782) and SatNavs (http://www.camra.org.uk/page.aspx?o=poi) and these are only £5 each. On this you can search for pubs in multiple ways, one way is via GPRS, presumably pushing a button and getting a list of the nearest GBG pubs back, which is pretty cool.

I like the GBG but I don't think I’ll buy myself a copy this year. I haven’t had the last two and I haven’t missed them. I use the internet to look for places to go, whether it’s reading blogs, Beer in the Evening (http://www.beerintheevening.com/) or asking twitter. But... I do like to have it there as the book which promises places worth drinking in (in most cases anyway, we know there’s the odd dud and that some close over the year, but it’s 4,500 pubs put together by CAMRA members and you can’t get them all right) and the first copy I see in the shops will undoubtedly be flicked through to see what local pubs are in it and if some of my favourites are there. Actually, you know what, I might have convinced myself that I do want it after all...

Is the Good Beer Guide still good? Do you buy them each year? Will you buy it this year? If so, will you buy the book or the mobile version? Is it your beer bible or do you look for guidance elsewhere? Is it a definitive guide to beer and pubs in Britain? Is there something better or could there be something better? What do you think...

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