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North Cotswold CAMRA Seasonal Pub Awards

North Cotswold Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale

 

            This branch started the Seasonal Pub awards in Winter 2016. This award is in addition to the annual pub of the year accolade. It is aimed at those pubs which are under new management, and have shown improvement of the beer range and quality or have raised the standards of their pub through new initiatives. The Quarterly award will be judged by the pubs officer and committee members on the recommendation of branch members. This page gives details of all the awards made so far, with the most recent at the top.

 

Autumn 2017 – The White Hart, Winchcombe

 

   North Cotswold Branch of CAMRA has awarded its Autumn Seasonal Pub of the Year to the White Hart Inn, Winchcombe. Pictured is the Pub manager Gareth Stone with the Certificate awarded by the Branch.

 

  Gareth who selects the beer and looks after the cellar explained that they had bought out the beer tie from Enterprise 18 months ago and since than he has aimed to have at least two local beers including a Goffs from Winchcombe itself and another Gloucestershire Beer. Otter has proved very popular and he also tries to get a variety of guest ales for small breweries. Sharps Atlantic or Coaster is the national offering giving a good balance at the bar.

 

  The Branch was also impressed with a recent beer festival the pub had run and its friendly unfussy atmosphere and service. It was also nice to see some real cider on offer behind the bar.

Gareth Stone at The White Hart Winchcombex .jpg

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Summer 2017 – The Seven Tuns, Chedworth

 

  The Severn Tuns in Chedworth was given the Summer 2017 Seasonal Pub Award. Landlady Liz Henty took on the pub two years ago after it had been shut for two years and was in a very sorry state. Having sold her business in France where she had been running restaurant’s for 25 years she was attracted to the Tuns as she had family living locally.

 

  It was a big task not helped with setbacks such as a fire destroying the kitchen last year. All is going well now and Liz wants the Seven Tuns to stay as a traditional Pub that does food.

           

  The Pub which has been at the centre of Chedworth since 1610 and was a Good Beer Guide premises before its recent decline. Now with an excellent selection on the bar with mainstays Hooky and Otter Amber complemented by TAP brewery Old Dairy Gold and Seven Tuns House Beer also from TAP. A regular guest beer is also featured form small breweries in the area.

 

  The Branch were particularly impressed by the knowledge and service provided by the staff who are form the local community so are interested in  making the pub a success.              

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Spring 2017 – The Coach & Horses, Longborough

 

  The Coach & Horses at Longborough was given the Spring 2017 Seasonal Pub Award. The village of Longborough is situated between Stow and Moreton. This Donnington Pub is run by Joe and Wendy McDonagh is at the heart of the village and they support many good causes locally. The branch was impressed by the continued high standard of the Donnington Ale and their commitment to the community.

 

  Joe and Wendy celebrate 25 years in the Pub trade this year having previously spent 10 years at the New Their connection with Donnington Brewery goes back further as they met at the Mount Inn at Stanton some 30 years ago Inn at Willersey, and before that at the Seagrave Arms at Weston Sub Edge.

 

  Their connection with Donnington Brewery goes back further as they met at the Mount Inn at Stanton some 30 years ago Joe recalls his early introduction to pubs as his father ran the White Lion in Winchcombe when he was a boy and how he would watch the usual weekend dust ups in the street outside at closing time!

 

  Their family are part of their team with Wendy and their daughter Anna ran the Coach initially in 2012 when they took the licence whilst Joe continued to run the New Inn before moving full time in 2015. Their son Luke can now be found in the Kitchen or behind the Bar serving its excellent pub food.           

Coach and Horses Award 1x.jpg

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Winter 2016/7 – Great Western Arms, Blockley

 

 The Great Western Arms at Blockley was awarded the North Cotswold CAMRA branch winter Pub of the Year. This Hook Norton Pub was taken over by Steve and Mandy Aubrey last march after it had gone through a period of chequered stewardship leaving it struggling to fulfil the potential it no doubt had.

 

  The couple had bought the Plough at Stretton on Fosse just over the border in Shakespeare country three years ago and had enhanced this great village pub and been recognised by the local CAMRA branch. So when they took on the Great Western last March the North Cotswold Branch were keen to support them in the hope they could turn the pub around.

 

  Over the past year we have not been disappointed as they have given the Great Western a breath of fresh air making it the friendly vibrant premises it now is. The Hook Norton beer range is on offer and in excellent condition.  This was a particular labour of love for Steve whose parents had run the pub when he was a teenager. This was some years ago, the exact amount Steve was coy about  he said but it was when old boys queued outside on Sunday Lunch times for the 2 hours opening and Scampi and Chips was seen as posh dining!

 

   Report and Photo by Martin Jones       

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Autumn 2016 – The Royal Oak, Andoversford

 

  The Royal Oak in Andoversford was nominated to receive the Autumn 2016 Seasonal Pub Award. The pub has stood on the Gloucester Road in the village since 1867. The pub was extended after the Second World War when the adjoining barn was converted to become an unusual and attractive galleried eating area. Unfortunately in the recent past the premises has had a chequered history as a succession of tenants of Enterprise Inns struggled to make a success of the pub. It was a concern when it was closed for a protracted period in 2015.

 

  Thankfully along came the Brown family who bought the premises from Enterprise Inns and set about refurbishing and revitalising the pub. It was a real love affair for new owners Roger and Debbie who spent their first romantic meal together at the pub some 36 years ago! They live above the premises now with their son and daughter.

 

  Having run various businesses over the years including Shops, Filling stations and Oil Distribution they are new to the trade but have the support of all the family. Their son Phillip is head chef having previously run a three rosette restaurant. Daughter Sammy and Phillips partner Devon are at front of house.

 

 

Royal Oak Roger and Debbie Brown

 Roger has worked hard with his beer selection over the past 12 months experimenting with local breweries alongside established brands. North Cotswold CAMRA branch have rewarded the pub for the huge effort and investment the Brown family have made in resurrecting this popular local and the improvement in beer quality this has brought. During a recent visit we met with locals at the bar who were over the moon that they had their pub open again and offering good beer, great food and the reassurance that it is run by people who are passionate about he premises.   

 

Pictured Roger and Debbie Brown receiving Autumn Pub of the Year award.                        

 

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Summer 2016 – The Bell Inn, Moreton

 

  The North Cotswold branch is pleased to award the Bell Inn on Moreton in Marsh high street as its summer season pub of the year. The Bell was in poor shape two years ago with the doors locked by Enterprise Inns and had an uncertain future. Along came John and Deborah Longbottom who took it on the lease and have turned the pub around.

 

  John had been in the leisure trade for 30 years cutting his teeth working in bars on Eastbourne and Blackpool Piers. “You learn quickly when the punters are 5 deep at the bar and queuing out the door and down the seafront” John recalls. With Deborah coming from an accounting background they had always wanted to run an Inn and spent a couple of years researching different areas of the country before they decided settle in the North Cotswolds.

 

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  It was then just waiting for the right place so when the Bell came up they visited and realised the potential straight away. “In fairness to enterprise they agreed to some refurbishment which we liked so we took the plunge” explains John “we received such a warm welcome from the local Moreton community we knew we had made the right move”. John wanted to ensure he got the balance of his beers right and in good condition. Working within the parameters that enterprise allows he has got national favourite Timothy Taylor which as a proud Yorkshireman was a must alongside local favourites from Prescott and Hook Norton. It took a while to get the balance right and he is always looking to improve his knowledge having done a cellar course with Hook Norton and recently a day on a course run by brewing legend Ed Theakston.

 

  John is keen to recognise his team at the pub who have learnt about the beer and offer customer’s tasters and advice before they choose a drink. This was recognised as a key by the branch in securing the award along with the evident support from the locals who are enjoying the live music nights and the fill the sunny courtyard and garden.                                     

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Spring 2016 – Inn at Fossebridge

 

  This second seasonal award, the Spring winner 2016, was presented to the Inn at Fossebridge which has been purchased by Dee Ludlow and her partner Geoff Collins in 2015 who have taken it to enhanced levels serving a wider range of great beer and fine food. Regular offerings from Wadworth are supplemented by three local brewers. Feedback from locals and evidence on visits by Branch members have shown that the welcome, atmosphere and much improved beer quality make them a worthy winner.

 

 Backgound

 

  The landmark Inn at Fossebridge has been sold for the £1.85 million freehold asking price to hospitality veteran Dee Ludlow. The elegant and highly successful business occupies a fabulous riverside location on the A429 Fosse Way between Cirencester and Bourton-on-the-Water in the heart of one of the UK’s most popular visitor destinations. New owners are hospitality sector veteran Dee Ludlow and her partner Geoff Collins.

 

  Dee began her career with the prestigious Metropole group in London, Brighton and Birmingham and was General Manager of The Chelsea Hotel in Knightsbridge, The Londonderry on Park Lane and The Cavendish, St James’ in Piccadilly before running Hintlesham Hall Hotel in Suffolk for ten years. Dee said of her first venture into the West Country: “We will be focusing on casual dining presenting a range of familiar dishes to the highest possible standards. “A new kitchen team has been brought in to ensure guests enjoy a genuinely memorable dining experience.” Dee went on: “We were able to take over the reins five weeks earlier than planned thanks to an informal agreement with the previous owner and this has enabled us to really hit the ground running.”

 

  Colliers International hotels director Peter Brunt, who sold the property, said: “The Inn at Fossebridge is well respected across the region as a profitable business and there is considerable scope for further development. If your tastes run to roaring fires, Cotswold stone and unique lakeside views the Inn at Fossebridge should be on your must-do list.” A finalist in the Taste of Gloucestershire Food & Farming Awards in the Best Pub Food category, the Inn has a proud history stretching back 300 years. Ideally situated on one of the main visitor routes through the Cotswolds, the inn is ideally situated to explore Cirencester, Burford and Stow-on-the-Wold – which are all within 12 miles. The inn is also within comfortable driving distance of London.

 

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  Winter 2015/6 - Bakers Arms, Broad Campden

 

  This first award was presented to the Bakers Arms at Broad Campden which has recently been taken over by Dave and Michelle Hirst who have taken it back to basics serving great beer and home cooked food. Staples on the bar are Wye Valley HPA, Stanway Bitter, Wickwar BOB and North Cotswold Windrush with a regular guest beer on the fifth pump. Feedback from locals and evidence on visits by Branch members have shown that the welcome, atmosphere and beer quality make them a worthy winner.

 

The photo shows the licensees Dave and Michelle holding the award certificate. Report by Martin Jones

 

 

Dave and Michelle Bakers Arms