What is Real Ale?
Like all beer, Real Ale is made from 4 basic ingredients: malted barley, hops, yeast and water. Unlike mass produced keg beer, which is subsequently filtered and pasteurised, and then artificially carbonated to make it fizzy, Real Ale remains a living product in the cask that goes to the pub. In this way, the amazing range of tastes that result from the various styles and sources of the ingredients can be appreciated to the full!
You can download CAMRA's Definition of Real Ale (Nov 2020) here.
CAMRA has redefined the styles to take account of the expanding range of ales that are available, from Mild to Porters/stouts, pale ale to IPA's & sours to fruit beers. You can download this by clicking Beer Styles for CBOB .
To find out more about Real Ale, please visit the National CAMRA Website for a full description (opens in a new window).
Where Real Ale is brewed
Real Ale is brewed by many large breweries, but additionally by an increasing number of small and micro breweries. This results in a vast range of interesting ales to choose from.
As a branch, Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead adopted the CAMRA LocAle initiative that promotes pubs stocking locally brewed real ale in 2010. The LocAle scheme was created in 2007 by CAMRA’s Nottingham branch, following the demise of local brewer Hardys and Hansons, to support the tradition of brewing in Nottinghamshire.
We decided that our criteria for a local brewery was within a 30-mile radius of Slough railway station, roughly the centre of our branch area and in 2010, we had 16 breweries.
In the intervening period breweries have mushroomed to the extent that when we did the annual update, for our website in March 2017, we had over 100. This is partly due to the massive increase in London breweries. In 2010 there were three, Fullers, Young’s and new kid on the block, Sambrook’s. Now there are over 100 in the Greater London area!
The whole point of the LocAle initiative was to support breweries in the branch area and to reduce beer miles. i.e. the miles that beer travels from brewery to pub. The 30-mile radius of Slough takes us to Stratford in East London and almost to Newbury in the west, which could hardly be called local. Therefore, we as a committee have agreed to further reduce the radius to 20 miles of Maidenhead station, where most of our members live. This currently gives us 27 LocAle breweries.
For a list of these LocAle breweries, please see our LocAle Breweries page.
You can find out more about LocAle on the National CAMRA LocAle page (opens in a new window).
Where to find Real Ale
Please see our Pubs page for various ways to find a good pub, selling good Real Ale.
As part of continued monitoring of beer quality, members are encouraged to report on the quality of beer. Please see our Beer Scoring page for more info.