CAMRA has named the top 16 pubs in the country, which will now compete to be named the National Pub of the Year.
It could be the current champion the George & Dragon in Hudswell, Yorkshire (pictured), or one of the other 15 which is in with a shout for the country’s top pub crown. Four of the 16 finalists are micropubs, reflecting a growing trend for real-ale focussed, small and sociable drinking venues which are popping up across the country.
The best of the best from each region include rural, village and city centre pubs. There are old pubs, big pubs, micropubs and community owned pubs. But, they all share – atmosphere, decor, welcome, service, value for money, customer mix – and most importantly, quality of beer.
National pub of the year co-ordinator Andrea Briers said: “It is a huge honour to be selected as one of the top 16 pubs in the country, as well as to be entered in the Good Beer Guide, so whatever happens next all the pubs should be very proud of themselves.
“The competition really gets difficult now, as these pubs will compete against one another to be named one of the top four in the country. Last year’s national winner enjoyed a huge boost in its popularity from visitors near and far, and all of the competing pubs will hope to secure national recognition from the competition.”
Each of the regional finalists will now compete in the next round of the competition, hoping to be named one of the four super-regional finalists – and stay in with a chance of becoming the overall winner.
The overall winner will be announced early next year.
Central Southern – Nag’s Head, Reading
With a wide range of real ales, ciders and perries, visitors can be sure to find something to their taste at the Nag’s Head. Its dedication to quality has made it a multiple winner of local CAMRA awards.
East Anglia – Stanford Arms, Lowestoft
This quality free house is a short walk from Lowestoft train and bus stations. Nicely refurbished, the open-plan, L-shaped bar has a large array of handpumps serving mainly local ales. It was finalist in 2016.
East Midlands – Just Beer, Newark
Micropub concentrating on cask ales, cider and perries. In February last year, the milestone of 3,000 different beers from 1,000 different breweries was reached. World and unusual UK ales are available from the well-stocked fridge.
Greater Manchester – Wigan Central, Wigan
Two-roomed pub with a railway-themed interior and a live screen displaying arrival and departure times from the two rail stations. The pub is owned by the nearby Prospect Brewery, but sources real ales from many breweries.
Kent – Flower Pot, Maidstone
Split-level street-corner free house, a must-visit when in Maidstone. The upper bar has nine handpumps, with the ales coming mainly from microbreweries. Up to four ciders and perries are served.
London – Hope, Carshalton
Traditional community-owned village free house. Seven handpumps dispense beers from the country’s best independent breweries, served in half, third, two-thirds and pint lined glasses. Frequent beer festivals are held.
Merseyside – Cheshire – Cricketers, St Helens
The Cricketers has established itself as an excellent community, cask ale pub, with 13 handpumps on the bar. Beers come from newer regional brewers and local microbreweries. There is also an excellent selection of real ciders.
North East – The Office, Morpeth
The Office is the brewery tap for Acton Ales. It is a micropub with no music or games machines. It features five handpulls, serving local beers and three real ciders served on gravity from the glass-fronted fridge opposite the bar.
Scotland & NI – Bridge inn, Peebles
Cheerful, welcoming, single-roomed town-centre local, also known as the Trust. The mosaic entrance floor shows it was once the Tweedside Inn. The bright, comfortable bar is decorated with jugs, bottles, memorabilia and photos of old Peebles.
South West – Salutation Inn, Ham
Multi award-winning rural free house. It offers up to seven real ales, nine real ciders and perries, and a bottled beer menu. The Tiley’s on-site microbrewery produces hop-forward pale ales and traditional bitters.
Surrey/Sussex – Anchored, Worthing
Look for the Anchor hanging outside Sussex’s first micropub. High wooden tables are arranged so customers face each other and conversation quickly flows. On offer are three ales, ciders, perry and wine, all from local producers.
Wales – Druid Inn, Goginan
A family-run, community pub celebrating its 43rd year in the Good Beer Guide. Two guest beers are available summer and weekends plus a range of bottled real ales and ciders.
Wessex – Wonston Arms, Wonston
In the heart of the village it is around a 15-minute walk from Sutton Scotney and the nearest bus stop. Four changing beers are served, often from local breweries including Bowmans, Flowerpots and Red Cat.
West Midlands – Weavers Real Ale House, Kidderminster
This micropub is deceptively spacious inside, with bench seating along the sides, plenty of tables and a conversational atmosphere. Light and airy, the walls display pictures of old Kidderminster and beer memorabilia
West Pennines – Drovers Rest, Monkhill
A traditional country pub close to the popular Hadrian’s Wall path with a strong community focus. The bar area is cosy and welcoming, with a roaring fire in winter. Some interesting historical State Management Scheme documents adorn the walls.
Yorkshire – George & Dragon, Hudswell
Rescued and refurbished in 2010 after a successful community buyout, it now features its own library, shop, allotments and other local facilities as well as great food and Yorkshire-brewed beers
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