There are several things people associate with Camra: real ale, beer festivals and most notably, the Good Beer Guide. Now the great unwashed are mightily mystified as to the process by which pubs get to appear in the GBG. Take that most famous of pubs, the Marble Arch in Manchester. A boozer so well known that even Southern Jessies have heard of it. But just how does it make its way into the pages of the beer drinkers’ bible?
Well, earlier this week, in the name of investigative journalism and at no little risk to myself, I decided to find out. The location-a secret crypt deep beneath the streets of Salford. Gathered there within were the Camra Illuminati. Chaired by Beige Phil, it would be these select brethren that would decide the fate of the Marble Arch amongst others.
The meeting began with the pricking of fingers and the swearing of allegiance to the Camra omerta. Then Deathly Hallows performed the ritual sacrifice of a doeling. Ideally this should be a young virgin from the nearest settlement, but this being Salford, a goat would have to do.
Proceedings then began in earnest. Nominations were first read out and then Deathly Hallows went into a deep trance before practising a form of extispicy. There was a short interval during which Beige Phil kept everyone entertained with some Canaanite humour and then it was back to the serious matter at hand.
So there you have it. When you open the 2011 GBG at Manchester City Centre, you will know exactly how the pubs came to be there.
There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them.