POTY and COTY Nominations Deadline Extended

If you’re a CAMRA Durham member and haven’t yet nominated any pubs for Pub of the Year, Club of the Year or Cider Pub of the Year, you now have extra time to do so – the nominations deadline has been extended to January 26th.

To take part, please email your nominations to the Secretary. You can nominate up to two pubs, up to two clubs and up to two cider pubs.

Have You Voted For CBOB Yet?

It’s that time of year again – CAMRA members have until the end of this year to nominate their favourite beers for next year’s Champion Beer of Britain and Champion Winter Beer of Britain contests.

To cast your vote, go to www.cbobvoting.org.uk and log in using your CAMRA login details. You can then select up to five beers for each category using the lists provided. There are eleven categories, and you can vote in as many or as few as you wish.

Members without internet access can still vote by passing their preferences on to a member of the branch committee – if you know a member who would like to do this, please let them know.

Why not have a look at WhatPub?

At the end of September CAMRA launched WhatPub, its own online guide to the pubs of the UK, to the general public. It contains information of in excess of 35,000 pubs which serve real ale in the UK, which it believes represents about 96% of the total.

You can access WhatPub by visiting whatpub.com from any device and if you use it from a smartphone you will find that the layout has been optimised to display well from that device. This is useful if you are visiting an area and you would like to know where you might get a decent pint. Not only can you search by keying in location or name, there is also an option to search for ‘pubs near me’ if you have switched on location services on your phone.

As it is CAMRA’s product the availability of real ale is an important feature but it also records other details you might want e.g. opening hours, whether the pub serves food, if you can take the dog or the kids and so on.

Now of course any guide is only as good as the accuracy of the data it holds and pubs change all the time. The data is gathered and updated by volunteers from CAMRA branches around the country – in Durham a small band under the direction of our Pubs Officer have been collecting and updating data on our pubs in readiness for the launch. We have identified and entered records for approaching 200 real ale outlets in the area but it’s a continuing process and we know it’s not complete. Our area is quite large and help is always appreciated – that is where you come in!

Within Whatpub there is a facility to provide updated information on pubs to the local branch, so if you are out and about and you notice information in Whatpub is missing or not quite right on any pub please let CAMRA know. If you are not a CAMRA member then there is facility within the pub details to send an email; if you are a member then a more detailed form on the information is made available if you log on with your membership number and password. If a pub is completely missing (even those that do not sell real ale), send the details from another local entry. The information you provide won’t be immediately updated in Whatpub but the local branch will receive it and be able to confirm and modify the pub information accordingly.

If you are a CAMRA member there is also a facility for rating the quality of the beer you have sampled using the simple National Beer Scoring System. That information will not be publicly displayed but you will be able to see your own records and the local branch will be able to access their own pub data which will be invaluable when appraising outlets for not only selling real ale but keeping it well also.

Get on to whatpub.com, we look forward to hearing from you!

Dave Thornton

Branch Officers Visit GBG Pubs

A fantastic summer of sunshine was finally broken with a wet and windy Friday in early September. A great day then to get out and about visiting pubs that have been put in the 2014 Good Beer Guide and hand them their letter of notification and marketing material. Putting on their raincoats and hats, together with shorts and flip-flops, were John Collinson (Durham Branch Secretary) and Julian Allison (Durham Pubs Officer).

First stop was the Company Row in Consett, which is in the GBG for the first time. This Wetherspoon pub is a beacon of real ale in a town where many pubs avoid it. We met the manager Liam Burgess who was thrilled to be included in the guide.

Whilst in Consett we dropped in to the Grey Horse who are accustomed to receiving their annual notification for the GBG. We couldn’t resist the temptation to nip round the back of the pub, to inspect the latest brew from Consett Ale Works. We were in luck, as the brew was just finishing its boil, but couldn’t guess the hops from their appearance and smell.

Next we were off to the Stables Bar & Restaurant in Beamish, where the bar was closed so we dropped the GBG welcome pack into the Stables Brewery next door. Just as well, as we were treated to a first edition of the new bottle conditioned real ale (Silver Buckles, IPA, 4.8%) for us to try later and email our thoughts (the beer was excellent).

Next, off to the Five Quarter in Peterlee, to meet the manager of this Wetherspoon pub, Shaun Nichols. He was keen to discuss his wide selection of real ales, which he chose to suit the local market rather than the big name brands. After a burger and pint, we were off again in the driving rain.

Lastly, on to the Castle Eden Inn, Castle Eden, to meet the manager Brian Rostron, who was excited about his inclusion in the GBG for the first time. The Inn is a great country pub with a good selection of real ale and food. After a half of Caledonian Deuchars IPA and Timothy Taylors Landlord, both in great condition, we headed home to dry out. The wind and rain didn’t let off all day but didn’t dampen our spirits. A great day out and many happy and well deserved GBG entries.

Julian Allison

Good Beer Guide 2014 Available for Pre-Order

Good Beer Guide 2014It’s that time of year again! The latest edition of CAMRA’s pub guide is now available for pre-order. The guide features over 4500 of the best real ale pubs around the country, and is officially released on September 12th. Each entry is written and reviewed by CAMRA volunteers. The Guide also contains listings for over 1000 real ale breweries.

The guide can be ordered from the CAMRA website at a cost of £12.99 for non-members and just £10 for members (plus P&P). The Guide’s official regional launch will take place on September 12th in the Elm Tree, Durham.