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Thread: CAMRA's top 16 pubs

  1. #21
    Humble Wordsmith ETA's Avatar
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    Just the Guide Dog for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quinno View Post
    disagree - this list has been voted for by CAMRA members (including me ) so it has more validity than half a dozen hacks in Guardian's office coming up with a list on a dull Tuesday afternoon...and the pub of the year will emerge from it.
    While lists like these are a good way of targetting certain pubs for a visit, they should be taken with the same pinch of salt as GBG listings, which have two caveats as far as I'm concerned:

    First, each region has different standards, so the pubs are only being compared within a region. So while a pub may be the best in its own region, there may be pubs in another region which are "better" (whatever that means) but didn't make the cut because of quotas.

    Second, within an area the local CAMRA will inevitably have its own favourites and will either intentionally or accidentally exclude excellent beer pubs whilse includign others - we often see comments in reviews along the lines of "why is/isn't this pub in GBG?". I'm nto suggesting that CAMRA members are showign deliberate bias, but human nature (and often geographic convenience) does sometimes override complete objectivity.

    But I'll make it a mission to try the other 15 at some point anyway.

  2. #22
    Please give generously Quinno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ETA View Post
    While lists like these are a good way of targetting certain pubs for a visit, they should be taken with the same pinch of salt as GBG listings, which have two caveats as far as I'm concerned:

    First, each region has different standards, so the pubs are only being compared within a region. So while a pub may be the best in its own region, there may be pubs in another region which are "better" (whatever that means) but didn't make the cut because of quotas.

    Second, within an area the local CAMRA will inevitably have its own favourites and will either intentionally or accidentally exclude excellent beer pubs whilse includign others - we often see comments in reviews along the lines of "why is/isn't this pub in GBG?". I'm nto suggesting that CAMRA members are showign deliberate bias, but human nature (and often geographic convenience) does sometimes override complete objectivity.

    But I'll make it a mission to try the other 15 at some point anyway.
    Point 1 - yes, that's a fair point. It is done on a regional basis so to say that these are the best 16 pubs in the UK is a bit misleading

    Point 2 - well there are a number of factors. I dare say in some branches, what you say is accurate. It isn't in ours, we have a rather more scientific way of selecting our GBG allocations and thus the central southern entry to the last 16 (the Bell at Aldworth).

  3. #23
    Humble Wordsmith ETA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinno View Post
    It isn't in ours, we have a rather more scientific way of selecting our GBG allocations and thus the central southern entry to the last 16 (the Bell at Aldworth).
    The branch of which I am a member tries to do it democratically, with each branch member voting for up to a certain number of eligible pubs. "Eligible" means they meet certain criteria, but these can be flexible and are used as a guideline rather than an absolute barrier. What it means is that pubs from across our AOR get voted for but only the top 15 are put forward for GBG. This is where geography comes into effect - because the largest concentration of members lives in Salisbury, the only major town we cover, many people don't get to visit all the outlying villages as much as they do the city pubs. So votes are automatically weighted in favour of the city pubs however much we try to be fair about it. I am quite impressed with the Highlands Branch (whose problem in visiting outlying pubs is much worse than ours) they encourage visiting members to send in their own opinions of pubs in the area using a scoring approach and comments. This enables them (I assume) to consider these less visited pubs a bit more.

    In another area I often visit (which I won't name becasue it wouldn't be fair, and I might not know the full picture), I was a little surprised to find excellent beer in at least 3 pubs which were never visited by the local CAMRA, while other, more popular, pubs with worse beer did make the cut. One landlord (a member himself) told me it was very difficult to get the branch to move away from their comfort zone.

    Still, no organisation is perfect, and I do tend to use a variety of sources and methods (including blind luck) to decide where to drink. The lists are just another guideline to me, although I understand why a landlord competing for a share of a diminishing market would like to see his pub rated fairly alongside his colleagues and competitors.

  4. #24
    Please give generously Quinno's Avatar
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    Our branch uses a rather scientific scoring method and a spreadsheet with numerous calculations. Anyway, the upshot is that a pub needs 20 visits (at least) and get a beer score of 3+ 80% or more of the time to be eligible for GBG selection. I think this helps get a lot of our members 'out and about'.

    I'm charge of the spreadsheet, but I hasten to add that I am more transparent than German World Cup draw!

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    Since we have so many confessions of CAMRA work here can I point out this thread on promoting PuG on the off-chance that it strikes a chord with any of you.

  6. #26
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    I believe one CAMRA area makes a list of the pubs in their beer area from the stubbies sent in by their own members and those outside the area, then they do a full survey of the top ones over and above the number they need for the guide. They try to encourage members to visit outlying areas, or have a trip out to visit those pubs off the track to get a fair view of how they are doing.

    Selection for GBG made from these results.

    When I visit an area I use the CAMRA mag a lot to discover other pubs in the area to visit as well as GBG pubs.

  7. #27
    We're not really 'ere! trainman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ETA View Post
    many people don't get to visit all the outlying villages as much as they do the city pubs... so votes are automatically weighted in favour of the city pubs however much we try to be fair about it.
    Not a very progressive outlook - especially as CAMRA folk (I thought) ought to be seeking real ale beyond their regular watering holes.

    Quote Originally Posted by gillhalfpint View Post
    They try to encourage members to visit outlying areas, or have a trip out to visit those pubs off the track to get a fair view of how they are doing.
    Much more like it, and surely much more enjoyable?

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by trainman View Post
    Not a very progressive outlook - especially as CAMRA folk (I thought) ought to be seeking real ale beyond their regular watering holes.


    We do try, and minibus trips are laid on occasionally using branch funds. But clearly this can't happen too often. Th eother prolem is that public transport here is nto too good, and there are people who don't drive. Whatever we do, there will always be a bias.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by trainman View Post
    Not a very progressive outlook - especially as CAMRA folk (I thought) ought to be seeking real ale beyond their regular watering holes.



    Much more like it, and surely much more enjoyable?
    I forgot - i did the Flower Pot as well.

    I seek out country pubs - being honest, i will go into any pub - but i do my bit for the rural pub.

    Despite being humbuggy I still think these things, whilst fun, are pointless.

    I am a CAMRA member and i wouldn't trust CAMRA member's views on anything. They elect pubs to go in GBG because; they think it looks nice, it has always been in, it has 1003 handpulls (aka handpumps) so it must be good (Spoons?????), our CAMRA mates run it, it is good for a beer after watching the Villa......... ad nauseam.

    In short how can you vote for a region's best pub, if you have not been in all the others to compare. I could vote for Lichfield's, or certain other towns, as i have done them all - but not 1 pub for the midlands - most of those midlanders voting have never done but a smattering of the midlands.

    I await the next list and thread to go along with it.
    MILD:

  10. #30
    We're not really 'ere! trainman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soup Dragon View Post
    I forgot - i did the Flower Pot as well.
    Was it that one? Not the one at Cheriton?

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