Find out which pub is the best in East Anglia
The Bar Man, by Jeff Hoyle, Friday, September 6, 2019
The decision has been made and the best pub in East Anglia, according to CAMRA is the Red Lion at Preston, a small village near Hitchin.
It claims to be the first community-owned pub in the country having been bought from Whitbread over 35 years ago and it serves a fine selection of ales alongside pretty good food, so if you are travelling along the A1, it is well worth the short detour.
In truth, it wasn’t my choice of East Anglian champion, but the standard of the six county winners was very high.
The Red Lion now joins another 15 pubs from around the country in the quest to find the national winner.
However as one competition comes to an end, another is about to begin. Here in West Norfolk nominations are open for our Pub of the Year.
We are looking for somewhere that serves great beer or cider, where the service and welcome is exceptional, especially for new customers and a place that is at the heart of the community.
Our current champion is the Rose and Crown at Harpley and past winners include the Kings Arms at Shouldham, Larling Angel, West Acre Stag, Gayton Crown, The Dabbling Duck at Great Massingham, The Old White Bell at Southery and the Kings Head at Great Bircham.
We are also looking for nominations for the Cider Pub of the Year and the Club of the Year.
The last two categories have produced local winners that have gone on to become national champions, with the Railway Arms in Downham and the Ouse Amateur Sailing Club in Lynn and we would very much like to repeat that success.
So if you are a CAMRA Member, get your nominations in to me, and if you are not, why not consider joining?
As well as that nice warm fuzzy feeling you will get from supporting producers of great beer and cider, you will be playing your part in protecting pubs, an increasingly urgent mission.
Not far away in Thetford, the sudden demolition of the Ark hit the headlines, as it appears that planning permission had not been granted for any such act.
Hopefully this is an isolated incident, but much of my time is taken up with checking and following up planning issues that threaten our pubs.
More attractive are the enticing membership benefits.
You will receive free or reduced price entry to many beer festivals and discount on beer and cider in many pubs.
If you know of any pub that wishes to offer such a discount, contact me and I will endeavour to add it to the list in our ‘Norfolk Nips’ publication and organise a sticker for the pub in question.
The members voucher scheme has been extended and £30 per year of money off coupons is now offered to each member or pair of joint members.
These can be redeemed at Wetherspoons and also at an increasing number of other pub groups.
In addition we have taken advantage of the 10 per cent reduction on cottage hire available over the last few years and a couple of our members also received a reduction on a river cruise trip.
Admittedly, they were shipwrecked, but I don’t think that this happens every time.
You can also obtain copies of our flagship publication, the Good Beer Guide at a reduced cost, and with the 2020 edition about to hit the shelves, there is no better time to join us.