Christine Cryne is the Director of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) and also an ale and beer fountain of knowledge. We caught up with her at the Ealing Beer Festival to talk black beer, English pubs and why beer festivals are suitable for even the fussiest of drinkers.
Christine’s top five pubs to order a proper English pint at:
There are so many to choose from but the one that springs to mind is The Bounty on the River Thames. The large outdoor seating area is a wonderful place to look over the river, teeming with boats and funny-looking birds such as cormorants and grebes. It stocks local beers from Rebellion who brew at nearby Marlow Bottom. Popular with dog walkers and families alike, the fact that you can only get there on foot or by boat adds to its secluded rural charm.
Food lovers should pop into The Guinea in Mayfair. Records have it that there has been a pub here since 1400s. The pub got its name in the 1600s to commemorate the introduction of a new unit of currency, ‘the Guinea’. It’s got a tiny front bar stocking beers from Young’s and the restaurant specialises in tasty British grub, with everything from oysters and salmon to steak and kidney pie and lamb chops on the menu. And if you can fit in dessert, the fruit crumbles, hearty steamed puddings and cheeses are all great too. It’s easy to get hungry just thinking about it!
Check out The Palatine in Morecambe, a modernised Edwardian pub that still has that warm cosy feel to it. It stocks beers from the local Lancaster brewery but it’s the views that make this pub so special. The Palatine overlooks Morecombe Bay and sees some blissful sunsets. There is nowhere better for a sundown pint!
There are hoards of city pubs that cover so much history so this is a really hard one to pick, but I’m going for a city that in my opinion is underrated, and that’s Liverpool. This maritime city has some excellent museums and quite a few listed pubs and one of my favourites is the Roscoe Head, run by same family for the past 30 years. It has four tiny rooms and snugs, the decor is straight out of the 1930′s and it is a brilliant example of a welcoming English pub.
I lived in Bedfordshire for a number of years and this one is a real gem and a look into the past. The Cock at Broom is a village pub and unusual in that it has no bar counter – they get the beer from the cellar. It’s one of only 11 remaining examples left in the country. The pub was converted from a group of 19th-century cottages and it still has a number of small rooms, each of which has its own character. There is even a games room with a Northamptonshire skittles table, which is very noisy but great fun.