Real ale is brewed from traditional ingredients (malted barley, hops, water and yeast) and is also known as ‘cask-conditioned beer’ as it is left to develop and ferment in the cask, creating a natural product with nutritious properties. The Cask Marque is awarded to landlords who keep their real ale to a high standard — look for its logo displayed outside approved pubs.
In 1973 the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) was founded, which is committed to the preservation of this traditional beverage that has origins going back some 6,000 years, a far cry from the filtered and pasteurised modern keg bitter. Festivals dedicated to this revered drink are increasingly popular, with many inns hosting an annual ‘shindig’, showcasing real ales from around the country, alongside barbeques or hog roasts and often accompanied by music.
England can lay claim to several reputable independent microbreweries that organise tours of their premises, where you can see how the beer is made and also expect to partake of a few samples! On a visit to a Great Country Pub you may well come across such evocative names as Bishop’s Finger, Pressed Rat and Warthog, Old Thumper and Gardener’s Tipple, all produced at a different local brewery.
To sample some of the very best local brews first hand pay a visit to the White Hart at Newenden (Kent). Continually included in CAMRA's Good Beer Guide, which makes them one of the best of 4,500 pubs in Britain for real ale. While The Chequers in Goldhanger (Essex) always of six carefully selected real ales on tap.
Situated in the heart of the picturesque Chiltern Hills, this well-run village pub offers fresh, locally produced food that you really want to go out for, and an excellent range of drinks.
A Lewes gem that you won’t want to miss! Tucked away on the edge of town down by the boat dock overlooking the chalk cliffs, this is the perfect place to finish a hike, particularly as many trails...
This ivy-clad pub comes in the form of a listed Georgian coaching inn, with high ceilings and open fires, dating back to the 1830s.
Inside this authentic village tavern, situated in the heart of the Hampshire countryside, is everything you would associate with the word 'authentic.'
Claiming to be the only pub in the UK called The Polecat, this rather smart rural pub supporting a partial timber frame, dates back to the 1600s and is housed in an attractive former hunting lodge.
The Griffin is a proper local pub with a truly authentic feel that is matched by few other establishments. Family run with great passion, a devoted crowd flock to the well-stocked bar for real ales...
This unsung little gem of a pub, set in a delightful village in the heart of the Chilterns with a vineyard directly behind, brings back fond memories of what a real English country pub should be.
Standing right next door to an ancient Norman church, from the moment you approach The Chequers time stands still.
A dreamy Cotswold inn serving award-winning food, the Swan pins its colours to the mast of the flagpole stood outside its doors.