Trio of ale houses compete to be nation’s top pub

Weavers Real Ale House

A trio of pubs in the West Midlands and North West have been named amongst a quartet of the best in the country by The Campaign for Real Ale.

Weavers Real Ale House in Kidderminster, joins Wigan Central in Wigan and the Cricketers in St Helens, Merseyside in CAMRA’s final four in its Pub of the Year 2017 competition.

The achievement of the Weavers Real Ale House is all the more remarkable as it occupies a single room. The micropub serves eight real ales and four ciders and perries on handpump and has six craft beers on tap.

Dean Cartwright, owner of the Weavers Real Ale House said: “We took over the running of the pub just two years ago and are over the moon to be in the final four. While we’ve slightly modernised it and extended the beer range, we’ve also retained the quirky ‘front-room’ feel to the pub.

“We have a small team of incredibly enthusiastic and friendly staff who love to talk about real ale in a welcoming and conversational atmosphere. It’s just amazing to be this far in the competition out of thousands of pubs across the country.”

Wigan Central (below) is a two-roomed pub with a railway-themed interior and a live screen displaying arrival and departure times from the two rail stations. The pub is owned by the Prospect Brewery and features a variety of real ales alongside continental bottled beers displayed in its ‘beer library’.

Patsy Slevin, co-owner of Prospect Brewery and Wigan Central said: “We are very humbled and frankly ecstatic to have been chosen for the top 16 pubs in the competition – never mind making it to the final four.

“Wigan Central only opened three years ago so to be this far along in the competition is beyond our wildest dreams.”

The Cricketers (below) has 13 handpumps on the bar and sources its beers from newer regional brewers and local microbreweries.

Owner Andy Evans said: “When we bought the pub over four years ago it was boarded up and hadn’t actually sold cask ale since the 1980s. Since taking it over we’ve done everything we can to make it a good community pub.

“We’ve also got some big plans for installing a microbrewery next year.”

Also in the running for the ultimate accolade is the Stanford Arms in Lowestoft. It is the second year in succession the traditional back-street pub has been named one of the finalists.

All of the pubs in the competition are selected by CAMRA volunteers and judged on their atmosphere, decor, welcome, service, value for money, customer mix and most importantly – quality of beer.

The winner of Pub of the Year title for 2017 will be announced in February.

National Pub of the Year co-ordinator Andrea Briers said: “All of these pubs should be very proud of themselves for reaching this stage in the competition. It is a huge honour to be considered one of the top four pubs across the country. While each of these pubs offers something unique to their visitors, they all share the foundation of what makes a great pub – a warm and welcoming atmosphere, excellent service and a fantastic range of beers.”

Wigan Central

The Cricketers in St Helens