The Bridge End Inn, Ruabon
As it releases the 46th edition of its Good Beer Guide, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has named its top 16 pubs in the country as part of its nationwide search for its national pub of the year.
The top 16 contenders include a diverse range of pubs from micropubs to street-corner locals and community-run pubs. Apart from serving beer, many on the list brew their own, host beer festivals, music and community events and boast fantastic interior design.
The finalists are: Nag’s Head, Reading; Chequers, Little Gransden; White Hart, Bargate; Little Green Dragon, Enfield; Flying Horse, Rochdale; Lanes, Dover; Cricketers Arms, St Helens; Golden Smog, Stockton-on-Tees; Volunteer Arms (Staggs), Musselburgh; Fleece Inn, Hillesley; Surrey Oaks, Newdigate; Bridge End Inn, Ruabon; Wonston Arms, Wonston; Fountain Inn, Leek; Little Bare, Morecambe; and George and Dragon, Hudswell.
Each of the pubs were judged against numerous other local branch winners and deemed to be the best in the region overall, with a perfect mix of the essential characteristics of a great pub: atmosphere, décor, welcome, service, value for money, customer mix, and, most importantly — quality real ale. They are selected by CAMRA volunteers.
The Fleece Inn, Hillesley
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 final announcement will take place in early 2019.
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 being featured in the Good Beer Guide. A great deal of time and effort goes into deciding which pub from each region should go forward into the next round.
“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, the Cricketers Arms in St Helens, 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.”