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Cheers! 12 West Berkshire pubs named in Good Beer Guide



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Campaign for Real Ale raises a glass to pubs across the district

WEST Berkshire’s pubs haven’t had much to smile about this year – but 12 of them were celebrating last week after being named in the Campaign for Real Ale’s 2021 Good Beer Guide.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit pubs hard and they will have to close for another month from last Thursday when England went into a second national lockdown.

However, some were given a rare bit of good news as they were recognised in the guide – the Campaign for Real Ale’s premier publication, featuring the very best pubs in which to find a great pint across the UK.

Five Newbury pubs – the Cow and Cask micropub, King Charles Tavern, Catherine Wheel, The Hatchet Inn and the Lock Stock & Barrel – are all represented.

For the Cow & Cask, which has 674 different ales, it was the fifth time it has been named in the guide.

The Hatchet Inn, meanwhile, has featured in the guide in six out of the last seven years.

Elsewhere, The Bell at Aldworth, which was recently named as Britain’s best pub by CAMRA, also secured its place.

The chairman of CAMRA’s West Berkshire branch, Andy Pinkard, dropped by last week to present landlord Hugh Macaulay with the latest edition of the guide.

Mr Pinkard said: “You can’t get in unless you sell good beer.

“The Bell does it year after year.

“Whatever Hugh does, he’s got the magic.”

There were also celebrations at the Old Boot in Stanford Dingley as it featured for the first time following an uncertain couple of years.

In a statement, the pub said: “We are thrilled to be included in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.

“We have worked hard to bring The Old Boot back to a thriving community pub and are grateful for the acknowledgement.”

There were also smiles at The Rowbarge in Woolhampton as the team added to its list of awards.

New manager Gary Davis said he was “really proud and honoured” to get an entry into the Good Beer Guide 2021.

There were celebrations in Hungerford, with both the Hungerford Club and John O’Gaunt pub being named in the guide.

The owner of the latter, Mark Genders, said he was “delighted” to receive the news.

The Great Shefford, in Great Shefford, also features in the guide.

Landlord Joshua Khan, said: “I’m so thrilled. Getting your pub into the Good Beer Guide is like winning the World Cup for me.

“You can’t buy or influence entry into it, it has to be earned.”

Elsewhere, West Berkshire Brewery Taproom, based in Yattendon, was also named in the guide.

Mr Pinkard said: “The pubs within West Berkshire listed in the guide have demonstrated that they offer real ale in tip-top condition throughout the year as judged by members of CAMRA.

“Serving quality real ale requires attention to detail that typically pervades all other aspects of the pub, something that we have all become sensitive to in recent times.”

CAMRA members visit the pubs and score the beer on quality and the condition it is kept in.

The scores form a long list from which the pubs are revisited and evaluated.

Despite being hampered by lockdowns and ongoing restrictions, thousands of independent volunteers worked together to compile this year’s entries.

Copies of the Good Beer Guide 2021, priced at £15.99, are now available from the CAMRA online shop at https://shop1.camra.org.uk/product/the-good-beer-guide-2021 or from the CAMRA app.



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