Surrey Hants Borders

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

National Beer Scoring Scheme

One of the branch goals for 2023/24 is to double the number of scores received via the National Beer Scoring System (NBSS) for pubs in the branch area. This article explains what the NBSS is and why it is important. It then goes on to explain how you can take part. Finally we announce a competition to reward one lucky beer scorer.

What Pub, Beer Scoring and the Good Beer Guide

A pint of Harveys

You are probably aware of the ‘Good Beer Guide’, CAMRA’s flagship publication which lists the best pubs in the UK. But what you may not know is how those pubs are selected to appear in the Guide. The answer is that it is largely via beer scores submitted by CAMRA members from all over the country. So, if you are a CAMRA member you can send in beer scores, if you’ve ever wondered why your favourite pub isn’t in the Guide, this may well be because you, and others, haven’t entered scores rating the quality of beer there. By beer scoring, you can contribute to the process of selection of pubs that go in the Good Beer Guide.

So how do I score the quality of the beer?

You don’t have to be an ‘expert’ to begin scoring your beer. However, it is not about your personal favourite beer receiving the highest scores! You may try a beer that isn’t to your normal taste but what you need to consider is the quality of that beer, how well the pub has kept it and served it and score it according to the general guide below. It is a simple 0 to 5 point system, with half points being used if your opinion of the beer falls between two categories.

  • 0. No cask ale available
  • 1. Poor. Beer is anything from barely drinkable to drinkable with considerable resentment.
  • 2. Average. Competently kept, drinkable pint but doesn’t inspire in any way, not worth moving to another pub but you drink the beer without really noticing.
  • 3. Good. Good beer in good form. You may cancel plans to move to the next pub. You want to stay for another pint and may seek out the beer again
  • 4. Very Good. Excellent beer in excellent condition. You stay put!
  • 5. Perfect. Probably the best you are ever likely to find. A seasoned drinker will award this score very rarely.

How do I submit my scores?

In order to submit your scores, you need to login to CAMRA’s online pub guide either on a computer or by smart phone. Here you will find a list of over 55,000 pubs from all over the UK. In order to start submitting scores via What Pub you need to:

  1. Login. To do this you need your membership number and your CAMRA password.
  2. You can then search for your pub by name. Be careful here as there are many pubs in the country which share the same name. My advice is to search by the pub name and the town or postcode. The What Pub smart phone web page also gives you the option to search for real ale pubs nearby, very useful if you are in an unfamiliar town or sitting in the pub you want to score.
  3. Once you have found your pub a ‘Submit Beer Scores’ box will appear on the righthand side of the screen (or on the tab bar underneath the pub photo if you are using a smart phone).
  4. Simply fill in the date and your score then as you begin typing the brewery name should automatically appear underneath where you are typing. You do not have to enter the name of the beer you are drinking but if you wish to do so once you have entered the brewery name you should be able to click on the arrow in the beer box and a dropdown list of that brewery’s beers should appear. In some cases, the beer you are drinking may be new or a one off by the brewery so may not appear on the list, if this is the case you can simply type in the beer name. Select the correct one click ‘submit score’ and your score will be entered into the database.

It is as simple as that. An added bonus is that it will keep a record of your scores so you can look back to see what beers you have had and how you rated them if you want.

Score your beers to win

In order to encourage more members to submit beer scores the Surrey/Hants Border branch are holding a competition. If you submit at least 25 scores spread across 10 or more pubs and clubs in the branch area between now and the end of 2023 you will be entered into a draw. The prize winner will be announced in time for the AGM in February 2024. You can find a list of all our pubs in the Pub Guide on this website. Alternatively check the "responsible branch" at the bottom of each WhatPub listing.

Useful resources

  • – Find your pub and submit your score (use the "Member Login" link in the header if you are not logged in).
  • View scores – View your scores and edit any you need to change.
  • If you want to note your scores for later entry in to WhatPub you might want to use our A6 beer scoring forms. They come as A4 sheets that can be cut into four, in two different formats. Single sided beer scoring forms have space for six beers and includes the meaning of each score at the bottom of the form. Double sided beer scoring forms have space for ten beers and includes the meaning of each score on the back.
  • NBSS at – More information on the NBSS including frequently asked questions.