Saturday, 2 July 2011

Real Ale Capital of the UK

CAMRA Derby branch logo
CAMRA Liverpool Branch is fond of calling Liverpool the real ale pubs capital of Britain.  As I have written before, there are a lot of great pubs in Liverpool and as I was born in Tuebrook, which isn't far from the city centre, I've been quite happy to repeat the claim myself.  However, the latest issue of What's Brewing, CAMRA's national newspaper, reports that another city has thrown down a challenge, or at least a cat among the pigeons. 

Under a headline "City is UK's Beer Capital", Derby CAMRA has staked its claim to be real ale capital of Britain per population head, based on its annual census, which took place in February and involved 8 different pub crawls around the city.  A record number of real ales were available on any one given night.  270 were counted (up 21 on last year) with 161 different ones available (up 2 on last year) and these came from just 60 pubs averaging 4.5 real ales per pub.  In total 68 pubs were visited, 2 were shut and 6 had no real ale. 

I have to say it does sound impressive, but how will my home city respond to this usurpation of the crown it has claimed for a number of years?  At a guess, not lying down; if I hear anything, I'll let you know.

As an aside, I've occasionally wondered whether Southport, where I now live, should claim the title of seaside real ale capital of the UK?  I have visited many seaside towns, both for union conferences and for leisure, and in my experience there would be some justification in the claim.  However, I'm not sure that the local CAMRA branch would be willing to adopt a title that the Liverpool branch might interpret as a challenge, or a send-up.


  1. Isn't there a risk of this turning into "never mind the quality, feel the width"? You can easily sell 270 different beers, but with most of them in poor condition.

  2. True, but I hope that's not the case here.

  3. I live on Merseyside but both Huddersfield and Sheffield are way ahead of Liverpool.

  4. Derby has long branded itself "real ale" capital of Britain. I remember in the 90s they were locked in an argument with Manchester's N/4 over the number of beers per square yard. Or was it metres?

    Whilst Derby has been good in the past and liverpool is excellent, Huddersfield is better. And I think the general consenus is that the "Valley of beers", Sheffield is the best in the UK in terms of beer range.

  5. So Sheffield is recommended for boozing? I might see what cheap train fares I can get. An ex of mine lives near there. I could drag her out for a drink ~ I'm sure her husband won't mind.

  6. Well, that's between you and her. And her husband...But I'm always up for a Sheffield drink should you get blown out.


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