On Monday 23 April, the Cambridge & District Branch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, will present nine local licensees with awards to recognise their great service to the area's pub-goers.
Publicans, brewers, CAMRA members, Councillors and other guests will gather at the University Social Club, Mill Lane, Cambridge for the Branch's first Pub Awards Evening. Branch Pubs Officer Paul Ainsworth said “Although times are tough at the moment for the licensed trade, many of our pubs are providing their customers with brilliant real ale and other drinks in a welcoming atmosphere. We want to acknowledge the particular achievements of some of them and show our appreciation for the splendid job they're doing”.
The awards to be presented are:
- Branch Pub of the Year:
- The Devonshire Arms, Devonshire Road, Cambridge – written off as “failing” by its previous owners, it has been a rip roaring success in the hands of the local Milton Brewery and licensees Dom and Jo.
- Lifetime Achievement Award:
- David Short of the Queen's Head, Newton. David this year celebrates fifty years at the pub. It is one of only seven in the country to have been in every edition of the Good Beer Guide.
- Real Ale Champion:
- Mark Donachy of the Red Lion, Histon. Mark has been serving great beer at his pub for 18 years and has also run many beer festival raising money for charity.
- Community Pub of the Year:
- The Boot, Dullingham. Rob and Lesley have run the Boot for the last couple of years and have kept it at the very heart of village life – there's always something going on here. The pub nearly closed in 2000 but was rescued by a local couple.
- Most Improved City Pub of the Year:
- The Hopbine, Fair Street, Cambridge. Sold into the free trade last year by a pub company and another example of how an under-performing pub can become a success in the right hands – in this case, Hayley and Steve, who also run the Portland Arms. They now offer a range of interesting real ales in a traditional pub setting.
- Most Improved Rural Pub:
- The Green Man, Grantchester. A fine old pub which had been closed for over a year before being rescued by Josh Vargo who, along with manager Shaun, has transformed it into a haven for both great real ale and excellent food.
- Cider/Perry Pub of the Year:
- The Cambridge Blue, Gwydir Street, Cambridge. The Branch's 2011 Pub of the Year sells not just a fabulous range of real ales but plenty of real cider and perry as well.
- Mild/Dark Ale Pub of the Year:
- The Live and Let Live, Mawson Road, Cambridge. Pubs which regularly sell milds, stouts, porters and other ales from the “darkside” are sadly rare in these parts but the Live can always be relied on for delicious examples from these traditional styles.
Presenting the awards will be Roger Protz, editor of CAMRA's
Good Beer Guide
and renowned author of many books on pubs and beer.