Good Beer Guide Survey

Good Beer Guide online survey

There is an online survey about the future of the Good Beer guide. Please complete this survey as the feedback will have an influence on the future direction and content of the Good Beer Guide. Click on the link:

As we now have the newest edition of the ‘Good Beer Guide’, you may wonder how those pubs are selected to appear in the Guide. The answer is that it is largely via beer scores submitted by CAMRA members from all over the country.

These scores are part of the National Beer Scoring System (NBSS). Any CAMRA member can send in beer scores, so to give your favourite pub a chance of being in the Guide, make sure you regularly rate the quality of beer as described below.

NBSS Scores play a major factor in determining which pubs we short-list for the following year’s GBG. However we do set a threshold of at least 20 scores over a 12 month period for NBSS scores to be considered in the process. The following pubs need one or a few more scores before the end of the year to reach that threshold. It is important to remember you should score the beers truthfully as you find them. If for example, you only score beers that are 4 or higher your scores may be excluded.

It would be a great help to the branch if you as members find yourself in one of these pubs that you use What Pub to record NBSS scores for any cask beer you drink.

Abel Heywood; Bulls Head, Circus Tavern; Rain Bar; Seven Bro7hers Beerhouse; Seven Stars; Soup Kitchen; Unicorn; and Waldorf.

Although you don’t have to be an ‘expert’ to begin scoring your beer, it is not about your personal favourite beer receiving the highest scores, but about being discerning. The main consideration is the quality of that beer, how well the pub has kept 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.

Sir Ralph Abercromby Saved

The Sir Ralph is saved from Neville’s Bulldozers

The historic pub has been spared demolition in Neville’s redesigned plans for the St Michael’s development.

The news comes a few months after Gary Neville asked to put the plans on hold due to ‘public outcry’ and admitting that the original plans were flawed.  The latest proposals will keep the Sir Ralph, which dates back to the time of the Peterloo massacre, as well as the historic facade of the Bootle St. Police station.

You can read the full article on the Manchester Evening News website: greater-manchester-news/sir-ralph-abercromby-pub-saved-13316813


Manchester Stakes its Claim as Cask Capital of Britain

June 23, 2017 – Manchester has emerged as the cask beer capital of Britain, following a major new study into the beer sold in the city’s pubs and bars.

The Manchester Beer Audit 2017 found 411 different cask ales on sale in venues throughout the Manchester City Council area, beating nearest rival Sheffield, which boasted 385 beers in its last survey, as well as Nottingham (334), York (281), Norwich (254), Derby (213), and Leeds (211).

The survey also confirmed that Manchester is leading other cities in kegged “craft” beers too, with 234 different beers on sale throughout the city, an increase in variety that has been sparked by the recent boom in craft brewing.

More than 80 independent breweries now operate across Greater Manchester and these breweries account for 38 per cent of all cask beers on sale and 36 per cent of craft keg beers.

“The figures confirm what Mancunians already know – this is one of the best beer cities in Britain and possibly the best place in the world to enjoy great cask beer,” said Connor Murphy, organiser of Manchester Beer Week.

“Manchester has a healthy respect for cask and not only is there a huge variety available but the quality of cask ale in this city is hard to beat. The growth of craft keg beer is also heartening and raises hope that our independent brewing scene can continue to thrive and grow.

“But venues could still do more to support the independent Mancunian brewing scene.  Although variety remains important and it is great to try beers from across the world, the fact that less than 40 per cent of all available cask and craft keg beers are from Greater Manchester shows there is still room for improvement.”

The Manchester Beer Audit 2017 was organised by the Greater Manchester Branches of CAMRA (The Campaign For Real Ale) in association with Manchester Beer Week and saw 311 pubs and bars surveyed by more than 100 volunteers on one day in May.

It found 824 handpumps and 1,957 keg fonts on bars across the city, with 72 per cent of all pubs and bars selling cask ale.

Guinness is the most common beer in the city, appearing in 50 per cent of all venues, while Sharp’s Doom Bar and Joseph Holt Bitter are the most common cask beers, found in 31 and 29 venues respectively.

However, Robinsons is the most prominent cask brewery, featuring in 36 venues, while Manchester’s own Shindigger topped the craft keg charts, featuring on the bar in 23 venues.

CAMRA’s manifesto for the 2017 General Election


On the 8 June, the UK will go to the polls for the General Election. We need your help to ensure Candidates in Manchester know how important beer and pubs are to you as a potential voter.

CAMRA is asking General Election Candidates to pledge their support for Britain’s pub goers and beer drinkers by committing to do the following if elected:

1. Beer – Celebrate and promote Britain’s 1,540 breweries

2. Pubs – Support action to help pubs thrive

3. Consumers – Represent the interests of pub goers, beer, cider and perry drinkers

You can read CAMRA’s full manifesto here

By working together in 2015, we persuaded 1,160 Candidates to pledge support for beer and pubs. As a result of this, we had 211 MPs who had promised to speak up in Parliament on our behalf.

We need to make sure that beer and pubs stay at the top of the political agenda in the next five years. Please ask your local candidates to pledge for pubs by visiting


Assets of Community Value (ACV)

The Sir Ralph Abercromby

Manchester city council have decided that they will not accept the Sir Ralph Abercromby as an Asset of Community Value.  However, the developers of Jacksons Row have decided to withdraw their planning application.

It is unlikely that this planning application has been completely withdrawn and we expect them to come back with a reviewed application in the future.

Other Potential ACV

Representatives from the branch have held meetings with Manchester City council to discuss a list of pubs that we feel are in areas of possible development.

The council leaders have seen the list and have not, as yet, raised any objections. There was some surprise that other pubs, such as the Peveril of the Peak and Briton’s protection (and others), were not on the list for consideration as ACV.

However, we believe that as these are listed pubs, their protection is almost guaranteed.  Additionally, the recent passage of the Neighbourhood Planning bill (which should gain Royal Assent prior to the House dissolving), gives pubs more protection from redevelopment.

ACV ‘Block Booking’

Manchester City Council have conifirmed that there are no legal issues for CAMRA to submit a “block booking” of ACV.  This would save the time of both the council and CAMRA.  The pubs being considered in this bulk submission are:

  • Angel, 6 Angel Street
  • Band on the Wall, 25 Swan Street
  • Bar Fringe, 8 Swan Street
  • Burton Arms, 31 Swan Street
  • The City, 133 Oldham Street
  • The Font, 7-9 new Wakefield Street
  • Grand Central, 80 Oxford Street
  • Jolly Angler, 47 Ducie Street
  • Joshua Brooks, 106 Princess Street
  • Old Nags Head, 19 Jacksons Row
  • Seven Oaks, 5 Nicholas Street
  • Smithfield Market Tavern, 37 Swan Street
  • Thirsty Scholar, 50 new Wakefield Street
  • Unicorn, 26 Church Street
  • Wheatsheaf, 34 Oak Street


Manchester Beer Audit 2017

Saturday 20th May is the day to cement Manchester’s place as the premier city of the UK beer scene

The Manchester Beer Audit will set out to record every draught beer (cask and keg) on sale in the pubs of and bars of the City of Manchester on Saturday 20th May.

Visit the webpage at to see what we have planned and also how you can be involved in this event.


Save the Sir Ralph Abercromby update – Gary Neville puts development plans on hold…

Breaking News:

Gary Neville has asked Manchester City council to hold off from making any decision on the St Michael’s development as a result of “numerous complaints”, particularly those made by Historic England and campaign groups.

It’s not yet clear what this means for the future of the Sir Ralph Abercromby or what Neville means by “making final changes to the development plans”, but the branch will be campaigning to save the pub from Neville’s bulldozers at every turn.

You can read the Article, courtesy of the Manchester Evening News here: St Michael’s development on hold



What Pub, Beer Scoring and the Good Beer Guide

What Pub, Beer Scoring and the Good Beer Guide

Written by Sonia James-Henry;  Liverpool CAMRA

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 largely 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 process of selection 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.

  1. No cask ale available
  2. Poor. Beer is anything from barely drinkable to drinkable with considerable resentment.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. Very Good.  Excellent beer in excellent condition. You stay put!
  6. 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 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 WhatPub you need to:-

  1. Login. To do this you need your membership number and your CAMRA password.
  2. You can then search for your pub by name. My advice is to search by the pub name and the town.  The What Pub 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 where you are typing.  You do not have to enter the name of the beer you’re are drinking but if you wish to do so once you have entered the brewery name you should be able to 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 by the Brewery so may not appear on the list, if this is the case you can simply type in the beer name. Select the correct one 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 if you want.

Happy Beer Scoring!whatpubbutton

Sir Ralph Abercromby & St Michaels Development

The St. Michael’s Partnership – the team behind the transformational development proposed in the heart of Manchester – is providing the public with a further chance to view the plans next week ahead of the submission of the planning application.

Next week’s final consultation event is being held at Central Library. Members of the public are welcome to attend the event in order to view the plans, discuss the proposals with key members of the project team and provide their feedback.

Venue: Central Library, St Peter’s Square, Manchester

Date and Time: Wednesday 19 October, open from 11:30am to 7pm

More information about the plans can be seen at Anyone who wishes to provide their feedback on the plans can email or call a dedicated Freephone information line on 0800 032 5725.

Save Ralph – Summary So Far

Campaigns don’t happen, or work overnight. It takes weeks, months and sometimes years to succeed or indeed fail. To help keep everyone up-to-date, however, here’s what’s happened so far with the campaign to save the Sir Ralph Abercromby on Bootle Street, Manchester

Sir Ralph Abercromby


Manchester City Council (MCC) considered a report concerning an emerging Strategic Regeneration Framework for Jackson’s Row, including the Sir Ralph Abercromby pub. This set out some background (including the land pooling arrangements between the Council, developers and land owners), and some objectives and principles.

It also included a statement that the Framework…

“does not determine the future of the existing buildings on the site, including the Sir Ralph Abercromby Public House. Any decision on these buildings will be made in the light of a full assessment of the approach adopted by a future development proposal, in the context of the relevant planning policies and Historic England guidance.”


MCC considered and approved the Jackson’s Row Strategic Development Framework. The document by then was showing a garden square public open space covering the area currently occupied by the pub.

MCC had received 5 comments on the original document, one from the tenant of the Sir Ralph, expressing concern over the possible loss of the pub, emphasizing its importance to the area and asking for it to be incorporated into the pub.

Another comment was made by Historic England stating that it did not think the Framework sufficiently assessed the individual significance of existing buildings or their contribution to the conservation area [Peter St and Deansgate], and that it provided only limited reference to the heritage appraisal. It felt that the document did not sufficiently set out the significance of the place, or provide a full understanding of the significance and character of the site and its context.

In response to these comments MCC stated that they did recognize the importance of food and drink outlets and that the developer is making arrangements to meet with the tenant of the Sir Ralph to discuss the scheme proposals as they are progressed.

In relation to HE’s comments, MCC felt it had taken the heritage appraisal into account and that the SRF makes clear the contribution of the value of the existing buildings in terms of their contribution to the character and appearance of the conservation area will be carefully considered as part of emerging development options.

The decision notice published on this report states that further dialogue with business owner and Heritage England would continue as the redevelopment became more detailed.


MCC acknowledged receipt of a request by T&H CAMRA to nominate the Sir Ralph as an Asset of Community Value. Legally, the Council needed to determine this within 8 weeks, ie by 11th February 2016.


The Central Manchester Branch held its inaugural meeting taking over the administration of the pubs within the new boundaries. This included the Sir Ralph Abercromby. It was agreed between the 2 Branches that it would be best leaving the situation as was with MCC to save any confusion that this may cause with Council Officers.


MCC determined the ACV nomination and stated that the legal test in Section 88(1) of the Localism Act 2011 was not satisfied and the Sir Ralph pub is not land of community value. The key reasons given were that:

  1. The building is due for demolition under a development scheme and therefore it is not realistic to think that its current use can continue: and
  2. The building is subject to a binding contract for sale, which would be an exempt disposal under the Localism Act 2011.

When the decision was announced the Chair of the Central Manchester Branch (Graham Donning) sought advice from CAMRA head quarters as to what was the best approach for the future and also sought a meeting with the 3 Ward Councilors Peel, Knowles & Davies. Advice from CAMRA HQ was that there was currently no right of appeal against the decision made by MCC and that seeking a judicial review whilst possible was very expensive. Further advice was that we should consider submitting a new Nomination for an ACV for the Sir Ralph.


A petition was launched by John O’Donnell (T&H Chair). This now (17/04/16) has over 2,500 signatures including one from Jonathan Schofield, a well know Historian and local blogger who commented:

“Landmarks that go to the heart of what makes this city should be preserved. Especially landmarks that are useful and add variety to the life of the city. The Abercromby is more though than that. It is a rare remaining Georgian building, along with the Friends Meeting House, in the area. More importantly, again with the Friends Meeting House, it is the last witness of the Peterloo Massacre. This was an epoch changing event in 1819 and a vital stepping stone to full British democracy. To demolish it would be short-sighted and morally wrong. It would be embarrassing for a city as ambitious as Manchester.”
Jonathan Schofield, Stretford, United Kingdom


The meeting with the 3 Ward Cllrs was held on the 17th March with Mike Chistodoulou (Landlord of the SRA) present along with Graham Donning and Tim Field. Cllr Peel could not attend due to other meetings but sent a message of support. The Cllrs were surprised that MCC had rejected the ACV ion the basis that the SRA was die for demolition as they had not been consulted as Ward Cllrs nor seen any proposals for planning permission for demolition. They were going to ask the MCC Solicitor for background information and why this decision was made. They also suggested that then publicity campaign was the best way forward and they would try and seek a meeting between all interested parties and the developers to discuss possible alternatives to the demolition of the SRA.

After the meeting Graham Donning made contact with various reporters submitting documents to them to support the case for saving the pub.


As nothing had been heard from local Cllrs and on the advice from CAMRA HQ Central Manchester CAMRA submitted a fresh ACV application. The advice was to use the following wording in the pre-amble to the nomination:
In nominating the Sir Ralph Abercromby public house as an Asset of Community Value, we are of course well aware of the Council’s decision dated 3 February 2016 not to accept our previous nomination of this building. However, we are not convinced that the reasons given for declining to register the land as being of community value were reasonable or justifiable. We would therefore hope and expect that this further nomination will be considered in the light of the following comments.

The decision notice states that it is not realistic to think that there can continue to be non-ancillary use of the pub because it is in an area earmarked for regeneration under the Jackson’s Row Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF). However, our understanding of SRFs is that they are used to establish a vision, core priorities and key objectives within which regeneration effort in an area can respond strategically. They do not in themselves grant planning permission so any development of the pub site would still require such permission. In other words, it would be premature to conclude that permission to redevelop the pub site would be forthcoming and that up and until any such decision is made a nomination to register the property as an ACV is entirely legitimate.

The decision notice also mentioned that Enterprise Inns had entered into a contract for sale of the pub. Our understanding is that this sale has not been concluded. So, if any sale does occur then any ACV would apply to them, not Enterprise. We accept, of course, that the new owners are not likely to put the property up for sale in the near future (though that is by no means impossible) but ACV status would mean that the planning restrictions imposed by recent legislation would apply to the pub. This would, for instance, mean that demolition of the pub could not take place without planning permission first being obtained. ACV status would also be a material consideration for planning purposes.

This was initially rejected by the MCC Solicitor on the basis that the pub had been sold but we had not provided information as to whom. MCC were advised that it was they who had stated, in the reasons for rejection of the original ACV, the pub had been sold and sent copies of the Land Registry search that showed Enterprise had entered into an ‘Agreement for sale’ dated 25 August 2015 had been made between Enterprise Inns PLC and Jacksons Row Developments Limited.


On the 13th April MCC accepted the Nomination and stated it would be decided on by 6th June 2016. Additionally Central Manchester received contact from the Manchester Evening News, BBC North West and Granada TV. The reason for this sudden interest was that reporters believed that the submission of a planning application for demolition of the SRA was imminent. An article appeared online on the evening of the 13th and in the paper on 14th April.

The Chair of Central Manchester Branch was interviewed on Friday 16th April and it is hoped may appear on Granada Report’s evening broadcast on TV on Monday 18th April. BBC North West have also expressed interest in an interview but no contact has been made.