Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The National Beer Scoring Scheme

For quite a few years now, members of West Kent CAMRA have been submitting beer scores for pubs they visit onto the Campaign’s National Beer Scoring Scheme (NBSS for short). The scheme ranks the quality of a particular beer in a pub on a scale from 0 -5, where 0 signifies No Real Ale and 5 denotes a Perfect pint. (see below for more details).. 

What do the scores mean?

0        No cask ale available.
1        Poor
Beer that 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.
5        Perfect
Probably the best you are ever likely to find. A seasoned drinker will award this score very rarely. 

Branch members can access the system and see which pubs are persistently clocking up high scores and which rank lower down the order. Of course the reason pubs may be ranked lower could be that they’re not visited so often, due perhaps to location or, simply because they’re just not as popular with the membership as others.

The scheme is especially useful to branches when it comes to selecting entries for the Good Beer Guide, so why have I, up until now that is, had nothing to do with it? You could say it’s because I’m a miserable old bugger, but anyone who knows me, (apart from my wife!), will say this isn’t true. Is it because I eschew modern technology? Again not true, as I am fully computer literate, (I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I wasn’t). Or, is it because I just can't be arsed?

The answer to that last question was yes, but very recently I have had a “Road to Damascus-like” conversion, and it’s all down to CAMRA’s new “WhatPub” database, probably the first national pub database of its kind. In the early days of the NBSS members had to submit their scores on cards, either to their branch pub-coordinator, or by posting them off to CAMRA Head Office, who would then notify the relevant branch accordingly. This was the main reason I ignored the scheme, as I had far better things to do with my time than fill in scraps of paper!

Eventually the campaign did move to an electronic system, but it was still a pain in the backside so far as I was concerned, having to sit in front of a computer screen, inputting data. Then last year (2012), I finally moved into the 21st Century and treated myself to a Smartphone, (Android type, as I don’t like Apple). Now I can access “WhatPub” whilst I am actually in the pub (assuming there’s a Wi-Fi connection), and input my scores whilst the information is still fresh in my mind, and what’s more the system is easy to use.

I know there have been a number of teething problems along the way and that it was not possible to transfer data across from the old system to the new. This did cause quite a few problems for branches during the transition phase, but that all seems to be sorted now. I also know that many branch pub-coordinators have spent a lot of time ensuring the basic pub information on “WhatPub” is as up to date as possible. Our own branch chairman, Iain spent many hours sorting out software which enabled the comprehensive information on our own branch pub database to be seamlessly transferred over to “WhatPub”, but the job’s been done now and we’ve got a very good system and one which actually works. So next time any one sees me in the pub, tapping away on my phone, then I’m not playing games, or updating Facebook, but rather submitting data onto the national NBSS.


Anonymous said...

Rating a pub on a score of 1-5seems a bit behind the times, especially now, when all the cool kids are busy logging beers and their locations onto the excellent UNTAPPD app. Afterall, it's all about the beer.

Cooking Lager said...

What be the score for "dirt cheap and gets you nicely pissed real quick" ?

Paul Bailey said...

Have downloaded UNTAPPD Matt, will have a play with it later.

Cookie, I didn't think Special Brew was all that cheap these days!

Barm said...

Matt's snarky point is somewhat undermined by the fact that Untappd also allows you to rate each beer on a scale of 1-5. It would actually make an excellent front end to NBSS.