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 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, we look forward to hearing from you!

Dave Thornton