Stroud CAMRA launched the 2024 Good Beer Guide on Sunday at the Lord John in Stroud, which is back in the guide for the first time in 18 years, writes Tim Mars.
CAMRA members turned out in force to celebrate the publication of the 51st edition of the UK’s best-selling beer and pub guide, and the Lord John’s achievement in once again being listed as one of the best real ale pubs in the area. Many Stroud CAMRA members were involved in visiting and shortlisting pubs for inclusion in the guide, so this was also a celebration of their efforts, culminating in the publication of the end result.
The 2024 guide has a striking cover using the distinctive imagery, font and typography of heavy-metal band Iron Maiden, whose lead singer, Bruce Dickinson, contributes a foreword. Bruce is an avid drinker of real ale, so much so that his collaboration with Robinsons Brewery has produced one of the most well-known beers in the UK, Robinsons Trooper.
The entry for the Lord John states: ‘Behind a handsome red brick and Cotswold-stone façade, Wetherspoon’s sympathetic conversion of the town’s former post office has produced an L-shaped bar with a south-facing walled courtyard. The pub is dominated by the large greenhouse-style glazed skylight which used to light the sorting office. The bar counter runs down the right-hand side with booths and individual high tables opposite. The rear has been designed to resemble an old-fashioned railway carriage, complete with overhead luggage racks and a curved, boarded ceiling.’
Stroud CAMRA chose these eight pubs to be included in the guide this year: Black Horse* (2011) Amberley; Crown Frampton Mansell; Woolpack* (2020) Slad Ale House Stroud; Crown & Sceptre Stroud; Lord John* (2006) Stroud; Prince Albert Stroud, and Stroud Brewery Thrupp.
*Asterisk indicates a pub back in the Guide with (in brackets) the date when it was last featured.
“The Lord John opened in July 1998 and I was there on the first day,” said Tim Mars, Stroud CAMRA’s Pubs Officer.
“It transformed the pub scene in Stroud, joining the Pelican (later renamed the Market Tavern), the Queen Vic and the Duke of York as standard-bearers for real ale in the town centre. Of those three, only the Queen Vic is still open.”
It soon earned a place in the Good Beer Guide and was featured in 2003, 2005 and 2006 before an 18-year hiatus until this year’s triumphant return.