Bill Lacey rounds up the autumn news for beer lovers. Your dedicated space for new releases, events, and all things new on the beer and ale scene.
CAMRA'S Good Beer Guide 2024 Launch
The latest edition of the famous CAMRA Good Beer Guide is out NOW. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), founded in 1971 by four beer-loving friends, is one of the most successful consumer organisations in Europe and campaigns to secure the future of real ale, cider and perry. It also promotes and protects pubs, clubs and breweries. The Good Beer Guide, now in its 51st edition, is the Bible of beer and pubs.
There are other guides out there, but what makes the GBG unique is that its recommendations are made independently by its army of volunteers. CAMRA has over 150,000 members across 200 branches. 4,500 of the country’s best pubs are listed, with a focus primarily on real ale, but also containing key information on food, pub gardens, accommodation and family facilities, and transport links.
Never walk into a bad pub again. Wherever you are – the GBG recognises the best of the country’s pubs everywhere (one of the finalists in its Pub of the Year Award 2024 for example is The Trafalgar Hotel in the Isle of Man). A must-have for any beer-lover whenever you travel across the country.
The GBG is out now and available to buy from CAMRA’s website: https://camra.org.uk/
The CAMRA National Pub of the Year will be announced in January 2024.
The Hand in Hand's Great Beer Festival
It's beer festival time in South London.
The Great Beer Festival runs 14th-18th November. It's an opportunity to sample a variety of beers, with a focus on up-and-coming brews, alongside classics from Harvey’s and Otter, as well as in-house Young’s ales.
The event will also include daily brewers’ talks and special rotating seasonal dishes with a focus on British pub classics.
There’s also live music entertainment from 6pm, including piano covers, the local Wimbledon choir and a performance from the Greensleeves Morris Men.
The Hand in Hand is a superb Young’s pub on Wimbledon Common, bringing the feel of a country pub to the city. Top tip: you won’t find a better-kept cask ale anywhere else.
No ticket needed - it’s free to enter. More details are available at: https://www.thehandinhandwimbledon.co.uk/whats-on
Old Peculier launches new India Pale Ale
Theakston’s Old Peculier is a classic, a rich dark beer that's been enjoyed by ale lovers for generations. Its name harks back to the town of Masham in North Yorkshire, home of the family-run old brewery, and its medieval status as a “Court of the Peculier”.
Theakston’s recently launched it first ever bottled Peculier IPA, paying homage to the famous name. A novel move, a break from tradition, but the new beer respects the old styles too – this is an IPA brewed in nineteenth century style, which first gave the style its name: a hoppy beer brewed to last the journey from the UK to India, which improved as it aged across the voyage.
Simon Theakston, joint managing director of T&R Theakston, said: “As a brewery with almost 200 years' experience, we have never rested on our laurels and felt like now was the time to create a brand new bottled IPA."
At 5.1% ABV, it is brewed using British malted barley and three new world, English grown hops, Harlequin, Jester and Olicana delivering zesty and fruity IPA with the full-bodied malty notes that Old Peculier is known for.
For more information or to purchase directly from the brewery’s website, visit: https://www.theakstons.co.uk
Shop Local at Co-op
In a similar vein to low or no-alcohol beers, low-calorie beer, once thought of as a side product, something to cater for the boring person in the group, is now a burgeoning market. It's slowly catching up with the market share in countries like Australia and the US.
And it’s not just because people are waking up to its health benefits – many of these products are premium, quality beers. So it’s not a surprise that supermarkets are catching on: local, a pale ale with 35% fewer calories, has now launched in 200 Co-Op stores across the country. Their Light and Cloudy Pale (RRP £2.00 a can) is described as offering a “delightfully crisp and refreshing first sip, complimented with a subtle sweetness”.
Local was chosen from over 600 applicants to be one of six suppliers to hit Co-op shelves this month through its accelerated support scheme, The Apiary, and also looks set to hit UK pubs soon.
Louis Collin, co-founder of Local, said: “It’s been an incredible journey to get to where we are – we’re super excited about the future and grabbing a slice of the £21bn UK market.”