CAMRA names National Pub of the Year

By Oli Gross contact

- Last updated on GMT

CAMRA names National Pub of the Year

Related tags: Beer, Public house

The Sandford Park Alehouse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, has been named as the Campaign for Real Ale’s National Pub of the Year.

Freeholder Grant Cook opened the pub three years ago in a Grade II-listed building on the site of a former nightclub.

The Sandford Park Alehouse champions being owned and managed by beer lovers and serving “good beer, every time, no compromise”.

The pub has 10 real ale handpumps and one dedicated to real cider.

He said: “At every stage of the competition, we’ve been delighted to get to the next round and are thrilled to emerge from the last four on top.

“Winning the South West round seemed like the biggest achievement because there were so many pubs that we were up against.”

The pub won local and regional stages of the competition before being named as overall winner ahead of finalists the Drovers Rest in Carlisle; Kelham Island Tavern in Sheffield; and the Yard of Ale, a micropub in Broadstairs, Kent.

CAMRA's Pub of the Year organiser Paul Ainsworth said: "The Sandford Park impressed the judges on every level, but especially the quality and choice of its real ales, where the scores were among the highest ever recorded in the contest.

“Judges also appreciated the stylish modern decor, the knowledgeable, welcoming staff and the lively atmosphere. One judge commented, ‘I might consider moving to Cheltenham’. 

“Given the all-round excellence of the other three finalists, a win this year is a great achievement."

CAMRA’s judges commented on the Sandford Park Alehouse:

  • “I cannot ever recall beer quality at this level in a pub offering this number of beers. There was a very positive welcome from staff who are clearly engaged in a venture with a positive and enthusiastic interaction from the outset. On a Sunday afternoon a wide range of customers were enjoying the pub. Perhaps the age range tended towards the under 50s, given the beer cafe style, but other customers of my age were very evident, and I certainly felt very comfortable, so this pub clearly has a broad appeal...A fantastic pub and one I fully intend to visit as often as possible. If it was not utterly unrealistic, I might consider moving to Cheltenham.”
  • “The quality and choice of the real ales was absolutely outstanding. Smart and stylish, this is very much a pub for the 21st century whilst still espousing the best traditional values.”
  • “All beers tasted were of the highest quality i.e. properly conditioned.”
  • “Service and welcome were very friendly and the pub is kept wonderfully clean.”
  • “Great choice of beers. Worthy finalist!”

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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