Real ale, pubs on the Internet
By Janet Eldred
If you have a computer and access to the Internet (also referred to as the
Net, the World Wide Web, and the Web), then there are plenty of opportunities to quench your
thirst for beer and pubs. Here are a few sites to get you started, as well as some general
information about what you should expect from the Web. (NB: If you don't have access to the Web,
see Helpful Hint 4 at the end of this article.)
Of course, you'll want to start with CAMRA's own site at (www.camra.org.uk). Here you'll find
news updates, the CAMRA catalogue, info on upcoming beer festivals and
other CAMRA branches, and an email address to send your own message to CAMRA HQ,
including letters to What's Brewing.
RealBeer.com at is a US site that uses lots of graphics and
can be painfully slow to load onto your screen. Once on, however, it has a wealth of
pathways you can follow. There is a "What's New" section with new links and features each month;
information about BEERWeeK, a weekly email beer news digest available by subscription; and
"virtual brew tours" of breweries in the US and Canada. For this last one, I entered the
ZIP code of my former home in Cambridge, MA (02142) and found several breweries listed, including
the Boston Beer Company, maker of Samuel Adams beers. Other options at this site are games,
authors, retail, and something called "Burp Me" I leave that to you to investigate!
At the other end of the spectrum is another US site that is strong on
(sophomoric) humor. "Beer" at (www.beer.com) posts stories, games, and photos from "readers" of the
site. It's not my pint of ale, but if you enjoy looking at photos of Great American Beer Guts,
then this is the place for you.
Two sites offer loads of reference information. The Beer Info Source at
(www.beerinfo.com) has a "Beer and Brewing Library", classified ads, and answers to FAQs
(Frequently Asked Questions). www.breworld.com bills itself as "Europe's
largest Internet site for the brewing industry". Here, among other things, you'll find a
comprehensive word search.
Finally, for those of you who like to make your own, the Home Brew Shop at
(www.the-home-brew-shop.co.uk) offers a wide range of products for craft
brewers and winemakers, all of which can be ordered via phone or post.
Definitely check out PubWorld at (www.pubworld.co.uk). This is a UK site
with few graphics, so response time is quick. My favorite part is the "virtual bar", where you
can send an "e-beer" to anyone who has an email address including yourself! Once sent (at no
charge), your friend gets a message with a code to pick up their e-beer at the website. When they
connect to the website, they can "drink" the beer! This site also offers a worldwide pub crawl,
with links to pubs, bars, hotels, and other beer sites around the globe.
A small but interesting site is (www.fishnet.net/~green_lion/). Green Lion
describes itself as "a small non-commercial group of enthusiasts interested in the history, name
derivations, and signs of the English Public House". The site includes a database of pubs
and a quiz of pub names in the UK.
There are Web sites for beer and pubs in many different countries. I
concentrated my search on the US and UK for obvious reasons (these are the countries I know!), but
you'll find sites in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, etc. (See PubWorld,
Helpful hints: (1) When connecting to a US site, it's best to connect
before 11:00 am, which is 6:00 am on the US east coast. After that, usage is heavy and everything
slows down. (2) Two basic search engines to help you discover your own favorite beer sites are
(www.yahoo.co.uk) and (www.yell.co.uk). Just type in the word "beer" or "pub" and see what
comes up. (3) Web sites come and go without warning. Don't be surprised if something
mentioned here disappears, or if info on the screen isn't current, or even if something new
and wonderful appears. In the latter case, let me know, too! (4) If you don't have access
to a computer and the Web, go to York Central Library. In the Lending Library on the ground floor
is a computer dedicated to the Internet, and you can book a FREE half-hour slot to do
your own exploring.
© Janet B. Eldred, 1997