Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Beer Guide Whinge

I have said a fair amount about the Good Beer Guide in the last few days, concentrating on local issues. I will have a whinge about it in general too though. Something which occurred to me when I realised I had overlooked The Sair's exclusion.

It is certainly a useful tool for carrying about and finding pubs in unfamiliar areas, I am not denying that, but my complaint is the arbitrary way that these areas are split up. For example it shows Huddersfield, and then separate entries for surrounding villages like Meltham, Marsden and Slaithwaite whilst leaving Bradley lumped in with the town centre pubs. This could be fairly confusing to a visitor hoping to get The White Cross in on a walking tour of the town's finest.

Take Leeds. The City centre is covered, but there is an entry for Holbeck as well. How many passing through Leeds know that the Holbeck pubs listed are as close, if not closer, to the railway station than those listed for the city? And who really knows where Holbeck is? I certainly don't if I use the guide's criteria. Sheffield suffers a similar fate, with a strange split between Sheffield Centre and Sheffield North.

In contrast, Manchester City centre is listed without any splits. Liverpool likewise, although it does show different areas outside the centre. Maybe this method should be adopted throughout, using the postcode as a starting point and anything under that postcode listed as a sub-district of the nearest large town/city e.g. Huddersfield:Meltham.

I realise I am being a little pedantic and I know there is a map to help, but this is not necessarily on the page that you need when searching for those unfamiliar pubs, and the small scale means it is of little use, especially in West Yorkshire where there are so many entries seemingly on top of one another. I just want it to be as easy to use as possible when I'm out and about, and think that with a little more thought there would be less likelyhood of some decent pubs being overlooked by the touring drinker.


HardKnott Dave said...

I often use the Good Beer Guide to find a good pub when in unfamiliar parts. I agree it can be confusing to know exactly which town or village to look under.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion you are correct Tim in what you say the layout is somewhat confusing, often it is an idea to call in at a pub and either ask the locals or take a look at their local real ale magazine. Surely it would make sense for CAMRA to ask local branches to set out the pages just as they ask them to write the pub entries afterall they know they area and the pubs. I would also like to express my suprise that although we have some fabulous Clubs who incidently win numerous CAMRA awards in Huddersfield but they do not seem to be included in the guide this year.

Tyson said...

This is more tricky than it appears. I agree with you on principle and the example of Leeds is a good one. However, the problem can often be the landlord. They have the final say. Sometimes they will prefer to be classed in a specific area. So the pub in Holbeck may have chosen to be listed in Holbeck, possibly to stand out.

Also it has to be said that Manchester City is far from straight forward. Although listed as one entry, it has three branches input into it which can lead to problems of its own.