As the 2009 Good Beer Guide has just been published, CAMRA branches will turn their attention to selecting the pubs to be included in the 2010 guide over the coming months.
Many will have used the National Beer Scoring Scheme to monitor their pubs throughout the year. This allows any CAMRA member to rate any pubs they visit and give a score 0 - 5 for beer quality. It is a simple system that takes a minute to complete and relies on as many responses as possible to make the data useful.
A month or so ago, someone asked me why a particular pub was not in the guide for 2009. The pub was not in London so I sent carrier pigeon to the frozen north to see if there was a sensible answer.
This is the response from the local branch :
Great pity with the pub was the variability in beer quality throughout 2007. It received nearly 300 tastings through the branch and NBSS of which there were some scores of 4, many 2's and a significant number of scores of 1 (across the board of local members and NBSS). Even geographically we couldn't say it was the best for beer in that village (coming well behind two others). With 19 pubs to allocate to the guide this pub came about 30th in tastings.
Pleasing to note however, are the tastings I have received seem to have improved in 2008 but then so have the other two plus another pub in the village is now receiving good scores as well so entry for GBG2010 should be interesting.
A most satisfactory response and one that demonstrates that the great benefit of NBSS is that it does give a flavour of a pub throughout the year. Of course there are negatives to any such system but branches are advised to use NBSS as a guide when making their selections.
That reminds me, I must get better at including my own pub visits.
Significantly my first score of 5 this year for a pint of Hop Back GFB in The Sultan in Wimbledon.