I'd just like to take the opportunity to thank the following for their assistance,
advice and company in pubs that has allowed me to compile this guide.
Firstly I'd like to thank Ian Bird and Paul Auckland for their enthusiasm
for drinking good quality beer in the early days of this guide and seeking great pubs however far off
the beaten track and for encouraging me to start this guide! I'd also
like to thank many of the other members of the University of Birmingham
particularly Julian Raison, Giles Keen, Philip Whiteman and Mark Butler,
with whom I've spent many a great evening in some of the country's best
pubs from Glencoe in Scotland to Princetown in Devon. Several members
are pictured in the photo to the left taken at Wolverhampton station after
a lively beer festival!
Thanks also go to Colin Johnson and Jim Robinson, photographed with Birdy
for their enthusiasm in searching out the best pubs and pints within,
also to Annabelle Clarke, a great believer of drinking fine beer and eating
delicious food in quality pubs. With Jim in particular, we've had some amazing adventures around the country to far off places to seek quality ale in fine pubs from Cornwall up to the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Thanks also to Chappers and Bradders and Jon Weller, with whom many a fine ale house was reached by bicycle!
In recent years I must also thank Gareth Old, Tony Pie, Hywel, Horse, Bozzer and all the Wallyworld crew along with AJ who really has had to put up with more than her fair share! Thanks also to the members of the University
of East Anglia's Yare Valley Morris dancing club with whom I visited lots
of great pubs even before I started drinking real beer and really knew
what exactly a great pub is. A big thank you must go out to Simon Wilson
who is the one to blame for suggesting that I'd be better off drinking
real ale than dodgy 'layger' or fizzy cider. All it took was a pint of
Greene King IPA thrust into my hand in the Golden Star pub in Norwich
in June 1992 and I've had no problems in deciding what sort of liquid
product to go for in a pub since.
Oh yes, and I must thank the friendly staff at the Shrewsbury Beer Festival
in September 1995 who persuaded five of us students to join CAMRA! The photo on the right was taken just before we joined and around the time when the idea for this guide was first considered! Since then we've persuaded over 20 people to join CAMRA and indeed I'm now an active member down in Devon and currently find myself running the South Devon CAMRA website which won the award for the mose Improved CAMRA Branch Website in 2006!
One final remark.... This guide can only exist while there are still great pubs out there. Pubs are still closing at an alarming rate even with organisations such as CAMRA to promote their existence. Even this youthful guide has suffered losses due to closure by big brewers, lack of support from the local community or simply because of huge increases in the government's business rates. Do support your local pub, for pubs are a very important part of our heritage in Britain. I've met hundreds of folk in friendly back-street, big city, quiet country and remote pubs across the country, and many particularly in rural areas, are still the centre of the local community.