Michel tells us the results of the regional competition.
CAMRA Wessex Region Pub & Club of the Year 2007 by Michel Hooper-Immins
The CAMRA Wessex Region Pub of the Year 2007 has been named as the Plough Inn at Little London, just north of Basingstoke, Hampshire. Nominated by CAMRA’s North Hampshire branch, the Plough Inn joins the CAMRA national Pub of the Year competition as one of the top 16 in the UK.
The judges, each of which visited each of the eight pubs nominated by CAMRA branches in the region, commented positively on two real ales being served direct from the cask, as well as two by handpumps. “A sympathetically restored cottage, with a secluded garden, may not be easy to find!”
One judge commented: “The Plough Inn at Little London is a pub of great character, obviously much loved by happily chattering locals, from the elderly to children. The furniture has a pleasing lack of uniformity- take away the electric light, you could be in any century.”
Another judge wrote: “What an absolute gem. Within minutes of entering this cool, lowceilinged hostelry and being served excellent beer from the top stillaged firkins, I was brought into the friendly chitchat of customers, including some village characters who complemented the landlord’s quiet but sociable demeanour with their louder more extrovert banter.”
The Plough Inn, Silchester Road, Little London, Basingstoke, Hampshire. RG26 5EP. [Good Beer Guide 2007 page 188]
Very close in second place, is the atmospheric Yarbridge Inn at Brading on the Isle of Wight. The judges commended the nine super real ales on offer, all from independent brewers, but especially the adjoining board listing the brewer, location, strength and price of each real ale, plus a short description of each. One judge commented: “An excellent beer line-up, I tried eight of the nine and all were in very good condition- particularly impressive given its rural location on an island.” Another judge was highly impressed by the railway theme, including the miniature railway around the pelmets!
Third is the thatched Victoria & Albert at Netherhampton, west of Salisbury in Wiltshire. One judge commented on three of the four real ales on handpump being relatively local- including the superb Pint Sized Mild. Another judge wrote: “A picture postcard pub, nothing pretentious, yet in a subtle way it exudes a sense of comfortable style and taste.”
The CAMRA Wessex Region Club of the Year has been named as the Colliton Club at Colliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset.
The judges commented on the superb range of six real ales served by handpumps [including three from Dorset & Hampshire] and particularly on the cheerful attitude of the staff. “Situated opposite County Hall and deservedly popular with council staff, the Colliton Club sports a relaxed atmosphere and is obviously a social centre for the county town,” commented one judge. “A magnet for real ale drinkers, the busy club is testament to the good condition in which their real ales are served.”
Mr. Neil Gatehouse [Steward,] The Colliton Club, Colliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset. DT1 1XJ.