When I read the latest 'Good Beer Guide' I managed to miss something fairly obvious. This year, for the first time in many, we are without The Sair at Linthwaite. The former CAMRA pub of the year has amazingly dropped out of the guide.
I am not privy to the local campaign committees thinking on this matter, but in my opinion, for what its worth, this is a poor decision. I have known previous years where the beer at the pub has not been up to scratch and other times when brewing has even been suspended in favour of bought in beer, but in the recent past the beer has been back to its usual standard, according to my sources, and the pub has not changed in any significant way. Maybe it has fallen behind some others in the area and the committee thought other pubs more worthy of inclusion, but it is a sad day when an iconic beer house, for that's what The Sair is, is dropped.
It is also worthy of note that the local committee have not chosen any clubs to represent the town or it's surrounding villages. I mentioned before that Marsh Liberal has been dropped, but the clubs at Armitage Bridge and Hall Bower, who may have been considered suitable replacements, are also not included. All three show a commitment to real ale and host successful beer festivals, so again I find the thinking a little strange. I know there are only so many spaces in the guide for the area, so sometimes pubs and clubs who we think justify inclusion get left out, but I feel the attitude of the clubs to real ale in these parts should at least gain some sort of recognition. Obviously not this year.