You are probably aware of the ‘Good Beer Guide’, National CAMRA’s flagship publication which lists the best pubs in the UK. But what you may not know is how those pubs are selected to appear in the Guide. The answer is that it is partly via beer scores submitted by CAMRA members from all over the country. So if you are a CAMRA member you can send in beer scores, If you’ve ever wondered why your favourite pub isn’t in the Guide, this may well be because you, and others, haven’t entered scores rating the quality of beer there. By beer scoring, you can contribute to the selection process of pubs that go in the Good Beer Guide.
So how do I score the quality of the beer?
You don’t have to be an ‘expert’ to begin scoring your beer. However, it is not about your personal favourite beer receiving the highest scores! You may try a beer that isn’t to your normal taste but what you need to consider is the quality of that beer, how well the pub has kept it and served it, and score it according to the general guide below. It is a simple system of a ten point range from 0 to 5, with half points being used if your opinion of the beer falls between two categories.
0. No cask ale available
1. Poor. Beer is anything from barely drinkable to drinkable with considerable resentment.
2. Average. Competently kept, drinkable pint but doesn’t inspire in any way, not worth moving to another pub but you drink the beer without really noticing.
3. Good. Good beer in good form. You may cancel plans to move to the next pub. You want to stay for another pint and may seek out the beer again
4. Very Good. Excellent beer in excellent condition. You stay put!
5. Perfect. Probably the best you are ever likely to find. A seasoned drinker will award this score very rarely.
How do I submit my scores?
In order to submit your scores you need to login to CAMRA’s online pub guide www.whatpub.com either on a computer or by smart phone. Here you will find a list of over 35,800 real ale pubs from all over the UK; these are not all Good Beer Guide pubs, merely pubs that serve real ale. In order to start submitting scores via What Pub you need to:-
1. Login. You only require your membership number and your CAMRA password which will be your post code unless you have joint membership when it may be your surname.
2. You can then search for your pub by name. Be careful here as many pubs in the country share the same name. My advice is to search by the pub name and the town. The WhatPub smart phone web page also gives you the option to search for real ale pubs nearby, very useful if you are in an unfamiliar town.
3. Once you have found your pub a ‘Submit Beer Scores’ box will appear on the left hand side of the screen (or on the tab bar underneath the pub photo if you are using a smart phone).
4. Simply fill in the date and your score then as you begin typing the brewery name should automatically appear underneath were you are typing. Then click on the arrow in the Beer box and a drop down list of that brewery’s beers should appear. In some cases the beer you are drinking may be new or a one off seasonal by the Brewery so may not appear on the list, if this is the case you can simply type in the beer name otherwise select the correct one. In the Additional Options please add the price of your pint, and you can also add any comments you feel appropriate, especially if no real ale was available. Click ‘submit score’ and your score will be entered into the database.
It is as simple as that. An added bonus is that it will keep a record of your scores so you can look back to see what beers you have had and how you rated them by using the view scores. You can also check and provide feedback to the branch on the facilities and beers at the pub by using the submit changes icon at the top of the WhatPub page .
This article by Sonia James-Henry originally appeared in Mersey Ale. Thanks to Sonia and magazine editor John Armstrong for giving permission for it to be .