Author Ted Bruning edited CAMRA’s national newspaper, What’s Brewing, for eight years and has written a host of beer and pub related books. To make him even better qualified for this task he lives just across our border in Gamlingay.

The book covers over one hundred pubs across the county, including forty in our Branch area. Each entry has a quality photo, a fulsome description and “At A Glance” box of key facts. Twenty of our twenty-seven 2009 Good Beer Guide entries are featured, the most surprising omission being The Castle, Castle Hill, Cambridge, which most of us would put in our Top Ten. Ted does acknowledge in his introduction that there will be pubs left out which deserve to be in and invites readers to submit suggestions for the next edition.

There’s something of a bias towards food-dominated establishments, perhaps understandable given the likely target audience of the book. You wouldn’t normally go to places like The Plough Shepreth, Bridge Waterbeach and Red Lion Grantchester unless you intended to eat (though all sell good-quality real ale). Ted also includes The Tickell Arms Whittlesford arguing that it qualifies as a pub because it has real ale and it lets dogs in! To me a pub must be somewhere you’re made welcome if you just want a drink and I cant imagine many locals pop in The Tickell for a quick jar.

Ted writes like a dream and his pub descriptions are a genuine pleasure to read. He’s also very strong on the history side and I learnt a lot about our local pubs thanks to Ted’s research. There are a few factual errors (e.g. it was the previous owners of The Golden Ball Boxworth who revamped it, not Charles Wells, and City of Cambridge haven’t brewed at their Chittering site for some time now) but it seems churlish to nit pick over what is truly an excellent guide.

The book is great value at £4.95 and can be found in many of the featured pubs as well as in local bookshops. Alternatively email sales@bestpubsin.com.