THE best pubs in Ashbourne are due to be singled out as part of an annual award scheme by the town’s beer experts.
The Ashbourne and District Sub-branch of the CAmpaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has announced a shortlist ahead of its selection of the area’s 2014 Pub of the Year presentation, which is due to take place early next year.
Branch members, who meet monthly to discuss ways to promote and support the pub trade and sales of quality beer in Ashbourne and its surrounding villages, have been visiting pubs in the branch’s catchment area - which has recently been extended.
From a system based on votes and reviews following a series of visits, the winner of the coveted ‘Pub of the Year’ certificate will be chosen and the top pub is due to be announced shortly after the branch’s next meeting on Tuesday, January 28.
Pubs picked out for this year’s shortlist include: The Black Cow in Dalbury Lees; The Black Horse in Hulland Ward; The Bowling Green in North Avenue; The Red Lion in Kniveton; The Shoulder of Mutton in Osmaston; The Smith’s Tavern in St John Street and The Sycamore in Parwich.
This year, for the first time, the sub-branch will also decide on a ‘most improved pub’ winner, based on observations during the last 12 months. The shortlist includes: The Ketch in Kniveton, The Okeover Arms in Mappleton and The Red Lion in Kniveton.
Sub branch chairman Mark Grist said: “Having instigated our first sub-branch Pub of the Year competition last year with quite a small group of around 30 pubs to choose from, we are very pleased to be able cast our net wider due to the recent changes in the boundaries that our area now covers.
“We now have a period in which our members will informally visit each pub on both lists and judge their experiences via our scoring cards.
“Although our main area of focus is, of course, on the quality of the beer, there are a number of other factors for us to consider, such as service and ambience, which then tot up to a final score.
“The results will then be collated at the end of January and we aim to announce our winners in the first week of February.
“Both category winners will receive a framed certificate and there is also a shield for the overall winner.
“We would like to wish all pubs shortlisted the very best of luck and we are confident we will enjoy the sampling of many fine ales over the judging period.”
To read more about the branch’s boundary changes see Mr Grist’s column on Page 10.