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 charming village of Granborough, this 1600 coaching inn has been completely refurbished since it came under new ownership 2013.
Truly beautiful nestled in the historic surroundings of Nether Westcote the Feathered Nest has ale in its blood – its roots having grown from a Cotswold stone malthouse dating from around 1665.
You’ll discover this quaint little building nestled in the Vale of the White Horse near Lambourn of race-horse fame.
As pretty as a picture, this 16th-century, cottage-style pub, bedecked with flowers, lays nestled deep in the Chiltern Hills.
It’s a wonderful treat to find such a good, traditional country pub, where good beer takes centre stage. This is first and foremost a drinkers’ pub.
Nestled in the heart of the pretty village of Nettlebed, this delightful, red-brick coaching inn dates back to the 14th century.
The Ship Inn sits in a fabulous waterside position at the exact point where the Great Ouse and Little Ouse converge, offering striking panoramic views.
A true delight in the heart of the Meon Valley, well worth the detour to sample robust award-winning food, a homely atmosphere and a friendly welcome.
An enchanting grade II listed building dating back to the 16th century with a very distinctive eyebrow roof. Inside, it remains delightfully unspoilt retaining original features such as the inglenook...