Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Unfair distribution

Why do some areas have better pubs than others? I’m asking that question from a cask/craft beer point of view. You’d expect our large cities to have their fair share of top pubs and bars and indeed London, Manchester and Sheffield for instance never fail to please the beer enthusiast. But what about Birmingham? The second city doesn’t get many mentions from the blogerati and wouldn’t be high on many peoples’ lists for a weekend pub crawl.

The question came to me a week or so back while spending a pleasant afternoon deciding which top pubs not to visit if I wanted to get the last train home. I could make a case for well over a dozen pubs within easy walking distance and wouldn’t object to a pint in a dozen more. On Saturday I’m off to Huddersfield which has a number of the pubs that would make the shortlist for the top ten in the north of England.

The Lake District has many pubs offering good cask ale from local breweries which don’t make the Good Beer Guide because the quota for the area sets the bar so high.

Compare and contrast with Birkenhead here in Wirral. Two good pubs have emerged in the last year which brings the number of god pubs to ……..two. The last time I went to Barnsley was a bit of a beer desert unlike its Yorkshire neighbours mentioned above and despite two good breweries.

Any other locations that the real ale (never mind craft beer) revolution hasn’t reached?


  1. Always dangerous to generalise, but surely the prevalence of the "liberal middle classes" in a particular area has something to do with it.

  2. I'm sure your right. Things have changed since the '70s when the middle classes drank Whitbread Tankard from a handle glass while the working man drank cask beer.

  3. Liverpool is good, as Liverpool CAMRA keep on telling us, but if you go about a mile outside the city centre, there is a broad belt of the city with run-down pubs serving only smoothflow (often cheap, being close to the sell-by date), until you reach the better-off suburbs. For example, Norris Green and Croxteth where I used to work consist almost entirely of council houses and have no real ale pubs, unlike neighbouring West Derby with its expensive private houses and "city village" character .

  4. My home town of Sunderland was once truly dire, but every year now I hear good things. Sadly I haven't been back in a while to check.

    But it was a serious consideration when I came to living in Liverpool. Crosby/Waterloo getting the nod largely because of some decent pubs.