Tributes to Mike Aaron, editor of Warwickshire’s first real ale guide, who would scrutinise a bar with ‘laser accuracy’

Real ale drinkers have remembered the work of a Leamington man who helped keep cask ale alive in the 1970s and 80s.

Mike Aaron was the editor of the Mid Warwickshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) first countywide real beer guide, which was published in October 1975.

He died at Warwick Hospital on Monday March 7 aged 82 having caught pneumonia after a routine knee operation.

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It took Mr Aaron and about 30 other CAMRA member 14 months to produce the guide.

They supped as they went, reporting that real beer - beer which goes through a further fermentation process in the pub’s cellar and is served using methods which do not interfere with this process - could be bought at 350 Warwickshire pubs.

Mo Burd (nee Jackson), who provided artwork for the guide, said: “Mike had a standard procedure - marching into a new pub, he would stand and scrutinise the bar with laser accuracy.

“If there were any hand pumps the verdict would be ‘ah, real ale’, with a beaming grin. Otherwise he would have a scowl and raised moustache and say out loud ‘It looks like fizz Mo’.”

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Mr Aaron was born in Erdington, Birmingham, in 1928 and moved to Portland Place in Leamington in 1971.

He was involved in running boys’ football team Milverton United in the 1970s.

A keen chess player, Mr Aaron captained the Home Guard team and through his friendship with former British captain David Anderton he organised several competition matches against international players.

His active involvement with CAMRA ended in the 1980s when he moved abroad first to Porto Santo and later to France.

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Returning to Leamington in 2006, Mr Aaron and his wife Daphne lived in Binswood Avenue.

Along with his wife he also leaves his daughter Ann and son Steve.

Mrs Burd said: “Mike and Daphne sent us a Christmas card last year and Mike had written, almost with a hint of presentiment, ‘there is some good beer now, with microbreweries spring up all over the place. What a good job we did in CAMRA’.”

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