Yes, it's out! The 2022 CAMRA Good Beer Guide, the 49th edition of the real ale drinker's guide to the best beers and pubs was released on November 12th, leading to a flurry of excitement amongst the real ale community. And the first brand new pub featured in the guide I visited was in a location that I had not expected to be visiting when I woke up that morning....
For me, keeping quiet this year was particularly hard. One of the pubs where I work the odd shift behind the bar, The Meandering Bear in Halifax, had been included, and two places that are run by friends, Kobenhaven, also in Halifax, and The Crafty Fox, in Brighouse, were also in for the first time but I couldn't say anything before the 12th. But the early arrival does give you an opportunity to earmark future visits to a disparate selection of places. For the completist pub tickers who are aiming to visit every pub in the guide, there is the onerous task of cross-ticking, highlighting those pubs already visited that have been retained in the new Guide, adding back in ones visited in years gone by that have returned, and from that calculating how many need to be done this year to complete the whole guide, a feat that has only been achieved once, by a certain Mr Mackay from Paisley....
|New into the 2022 Good Beer Guide: Meandering Bear, Halifax|
And so, where did I visit my first new pub of the 2022 Guide? Well, after a great evening in Leeds I had stayed over in the city and over breakfast, I was flicking through twitter as I sat in a cafe beside Leeds Bridge, and came across the latest piece by my good friend in blogging, Simon Everitt aka BRAPA or the British Real Ale Pub Adventure. Simon is one of the completist pub tickers I referred to above, and in his blog he referred to his Top 10 pubs that hadn't been in the Good Beer Guide last year but that he had been in on a pre-emptive basis following some local information, or simply based on chance eg. waiting for a train, etc, which have now made it into the book. Two of them were Meandering Bear and Kobenhaven, but going down the list of 10 places he enthused about a micro pub in Hexham in Northumberland that he had called in on his travels. I read on, munching my sausage sandwich in amongst sips of tea.
|Platform Bar, Hexham|
|Hexham: sympathetic houses in autumn colours|
|Hexham Abbey and market square|
|The Heart of Northumberland....|