You’re in a pub and see a free magazine about beer — do you pick it up or leave well alone? Depends on the cover I suppose and then the paper quality and then whether you follow CAMRA (for let’s face it most free mags, apart from the parish ones, will be CAMRA newsletters), so it’s not the most simple of choices. I only ask because I’ve contributed to one that has been launched in the north-east under the guidance of the multi award-winning beerwriter Alastair Gilmour. It’s called North East Cheers and features articles and news about pubs and beers in its home area (I’ve written a piece in praise of dogs in pubs). As someone who used to edit a CAMRA newsletter a few years ago I think it’s great for free magazines to be available in the pub, something to browse through as you suckle on your pint. Obviously, it helps that you have something readable, not something full of ads (obviously they are essential) and also if the licensee and his customers manage to keep the magazines in order — there’s nothing worse than a stack of mags and newsletters spread about on a table or a place on the bar, hardly an incentive to pick one up. So if you’re out and about in the north-east (a pint at the Cumberland in Bykers Bank or an ale at the Barrasford Arms) have a look for Cheers, I think it represents a step-up for free beer magazines.