CAMRA pub of the year finalists, clockwise from top left: Cricketers Arms, St Helens; Volunteer Arms (Staggs), Musselburgh; Wonston Arms, Wonston; and The Chequers, Little Gransden

 

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has named the four finalists in its pub of the year competition, with the winner due to be announced in February.

Among the finalists is the Volunteer Arms (Staggs) in Musselburgh, a traditional local decorated with wooden floors, wood panelling and mirrors from defunct local breweries. Run by the same family since 1858, it offers a regularly changing range of real ale.

Also in the running is the Chequers in Little Gransden, a village pub with wooden benches and a roaring fire, which has been run by the same family for more than 60 years. It is also the home of Son of Sid Brewery and the pub offers a selection of their beers.

Saved from closure and now run by a persevering community group, the Wonston Arms in Wonston has made it through to the final for the first time. A popular pub in the heart of the village, it serves four real ales from local breweries and is home to jazz sessions, quizzes and regular visits from food providers.

 

‘Excellent examples’

 

The fourth and final pub in the top four is the current CAMRA pub of the year, The Cricketers in St Helens. A friendly local community pub also saved from closure, it boasts 13 handpumps on the bar and offers brews from newer regional brewers and local microbreweries.

All of the pubs in the competition are selected by CAMRA volunteers and judged on their atmosphere, décor, welcome, service, value for money, customer mix and most importantly — quality of beer.

Competition co-ordinator, Andrea Briers, said: “Each of the finalists are different, with both town and village pubs represented, all of which are excellent examples of their style of pub. This stage of the competition is very tough and all four finalists should be proud of their achievement.”

Each of the four finalists will be presented with their super regional award at local events over the coming weeks.

 

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