The Good Beer Guide

The spines of some editions of CAMRA's Good Beer Guide

Every year CAMRA publishes the Good Beer Guide, the completely independent guide to the pubs across the United Kingdom that serve the best real ale. Listings are based entirely on evaluations by CAMRA members. Alongside the pub section there is a comprehensive guide to every brewery in the UK along with tasting notes for their beers.

The pubs that go in are selected from scratch each year. Each local branch has a certain allocation of pubs they can include in the Guide, and is responsible for selecting those pubs. In the case of Cambridge & District branch, we have 26 spaces available. We select the pubs in two stages: compiling a shortlist, and then voting.

We shortlist any pubs that receive consistently good beer scores. We don’t currently get enough beer scores for that to be sufficient on its own, so each year we ask our local members to nominate the branch pubs that they think should be considered for inclusion. Pubs need mulitple nominations to be shortlisted for the final round of voting, and pubs within the city need more nominations than rural pubs. The nomination threshold is set to give a reasonable number of pubs to vote on. Nomination runs from soon after the publication of the current Guide in mid-September until the end of Cambridge Beer Festival Winter in mid-November.

Once the shortlist is complete we ask our members to mark the shortlisted pubs that they’ve visited in the last six months. Marking can be done online, in person at one of our monthly meetings or in person at an event shortly before the closing date. The closing date is shortly before our branch AGM in mid-February.

With marking complete it is normally the 26 eligible pubs with the highest average mark that go forward as our submission to the Guide. We ensure that at least 40% of our pubs come from outside the city, to make sure the guide is useful to all visitors to the area. So far this has always happened anyway with no need for adjustments.

To take part in the online nomination or marking, go to our Good Beer Guide system.