Prompted by several “conversations with the Southworths” (Netflix, Thrs 4am) I’ve decided to give you my 10 favourite UK counties.

Of course, they’re not real counties, ancient or post ’74.

They’re the counties in the Good Beer Guide, all seventy three of them.

So you get anomalies like “Loch Lomond and Stirling” as well as the fictional island of Sodor Wight.

At least, unlike that bloke on CAMRA Discourse, I know that Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 isn’t a Region. It’s five chapters.

My selection is based on my usual criteria, which means there’s marginally more to life than Bass mirrors, arguments over crisps and NBSS 4 Doom Bar.

But before I start, you get to guess. Usual rules, usual prize.

Get all 10 and win a bottle of CAMRA Silver Selection Bass from 1998.

Yes, one of the counties has an “M” in it.


  1. Here is my guess at your top ten: Tyne, greater Manchester, Kent, South Yorkshire, Isle of Man, Essex, West Midlands, Durham, NW Wales, and Staffordshire.


      1. I tried to come up with some other industrial wastelands where Doom Bar is present. I will be curious if any of your choices are up near Liverpool.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hard to say because you don’t write much about some of the more familiar counties as there are only a handful of new dodgy micros to tick each year.

    I would guess they include Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Staffordshire. But not Cheshire.


    1. What would you consider the more familiar counties? I am curious. I read so much RM, LAF and Brapa that I think of Walsall and Wolverhampton as two of the great English cities while Tyne has to be the county people want to move to.


      1. Yes, what are these “familiar” counties?

        The ones where you get called “mate” rather than “Sir”.🤔

        “The retiredmartin guide to familiar counties” sounds a great book.


      2. Dave,
        Walsall unbelievably is NOT a city. Yet.
        The selection process for cities is even more devious than for the Good Beer Guide.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Dave,
        Wolverhampton was only granted city status twenty years ago, and that was rumoured to be in celebration of the Great Western’s first dozen years as a Holdens pub.
        Preston has only been a city since 2002, and that’s 900 years after Coventry.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. What I mean is those that Martin is reliably able to complete every year, especially those within reach of a day trip, such as Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire etc. So we get relatively few posts from them, and those are not necessarily representative of the county as a whole.

        I know he’s not a huge fan of Lincolnshire!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I knew what you meant !

        As an example, the new entries in Norfolk seem to be centred on the county town and you rarely get new entries in the lesser towns (and they are lesser). Suffolk gets very few new entries each year, to. Though I suspect once I complete the site map I might be surprised how many places I have been to in my own patch.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Martin,
        I once heard that the Great Western uses up to three pigs a day so it should total about 10,000,000 pork baps by now.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. T’other Mudgie,
        Wales managed to get rid of Monmouthshire with the Laws in Wales Act of 1535 but the Local Government Act of 1972 made them take it back from April 1974.
        Neither Wales nor England has managed to get Monmouthshire set up as an independent country.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this is a trick and they are all islands:
    Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Isle of Axholme, Isle of Dogs, Lundy, Holy Island, Hayling Island, Barry Island, Stephen Ireland, Kelham Island

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “I know that Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 isn’t a Region. It’s five chapters.”

    I see six on the map.

    “But before I start, you get to guess. ”

    Guess is indeed the correct word.

    Um, all of those that serve a ‘proper’ Bass? 🙂



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