Online Craft Beer Free Shipping: Best Blonde and Pale Ale at the biggest discount

Online Craft Beer Free Shipping: Best Blonde and Pale Ale at the biggest discount

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Online Craft Beer Free Shipping: Shropshire is big player in the real ale stakes

The following year, the second edition came close to biting the dust too for rather different reasons – this time Hardman had unwittingly pitched his tent at the side of a railway line, and narrowly avoided being mown down by an express train!

If ever there seemed to be a publication which looked fated never to see the light of day, it is surely the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide.

“It’s a wonder it ever happened,” says Hardman. “There was a complete lack of knowledge about pubs serving real ale and Camra had no effective branch structure.”

But Hardman, who had founded Camra with a group of friends in 1971, used his journalistic nous to turn the alleged libel to his advantage. His comments about London brewing giant Watney were leaked to the Press, and the ensuing publicity ensured that when a toned-down version of the guide went on sale, it flew off the shelves.

Today, as the 40th edition of the beer drinker’s companion goes on sale, it’s an opportunity to raise a toast to the good county of Shropshire.

Because its reputation as one of the real ale capitals of Britain is well and truly cemented.

More than a dozen pubs or breweries across Shropshire and its Welsh borders have earned a place in the respected directory for the first time this year. Many more have retained their places in the 2013 guide, and earned glowing praise from the discerning judges – members of the Campaign For Real Ale.

In total, there are now more than 50 Shropshire pubs, along with 17 county micro breweries, on the 4,500-strong list, running across a monster 944 pages. It’s a far cry from the first Good Beer Guide, which was just 96 pages long.

While pub closures continue to be a problem, the quality and range of ales they are selling seems to be broadening by the week.

Newcomers to the Shropshire real ale trail this year include two Red Lions in north Shropshire – Cheswardine and Market Drayton – along with the New Inn at Baschurch, and The Anchor at Whitchurch.

At the opposite end of the county, newcomers from south Shropshire include The Queens in Ludlow, The Ragleth at Little Stretton, and The Bridges at Ratlinghope.

The new William Withering pub in Telford also makes the guide for the first time, along with Odfellows at Shifnal, while Mid Wales debutants include The Stag at Llanidloes, and Horse & Jockey in Knighton.

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