BREWERY OF THE YEAR 2018
In 2005, Paul Halsey and James Minkin established the Purity Brewing Company on a working farm in lovely Warwickshire countryside. As the name suggests, it was important to them that the brewing process was eco-friendly and energy-efficient. The spent grain goes to the farm cattle, yeast to the pigs, and their hops become fertiliser.
The latest heat and steam exchange technology reduces energy consumption and, every day, thousands of gallons of water run through a series of reed beds behind the farm to purify the brewing waste before it flows back into the River Avon.
As well as Purity Pure UBU (named after their old farm dog who was fondly known as Useless Bloody Urchin), their beers include Bunny Hop, Lawless Lager, Longhorn IPA, Mad Goose, Pure Gold and Saddle Black.
Their ales can be found within a 120-mile radius of the brewery and are delivered to more than 500 outlets. Brewery tours are held on Saturdays at 10.30am and 2pm and include a brewing history talk and a pint in the visitor centre. For their award-winning beers, Purity is our Brewery of the Year 2018.
BEER PUB OF THE YEAR 2018
Although all the pubs included here have a wonderful choice of quickly changing real ales, it’s hard to beat Colin Keatley’s collection of 32 well-kept beers, so the Fat Cat in Norwich is our Beer Pub of the Year 2018.
BEER PUB OF THE YEAR Runners-up 2018
The runners-up are spread all over the country and include (in county order):
OWN-BREW PUB OF THE YEAR 2018
A long-standing favourite with many, the Church Inn at Uppermill is our Own-Brew Pub of the Year 2018.
OWN-BREW PUB OF THE YEAR Runners-up 2018
You typically save yourself 51p a pint if you drink at one of these runners-up:
TOP TEN WINE PUBS 2018
Mr Groves reckons he could put 1,000 different wines up on the bar and will open any of them (with a value of up to £100) for just a glass – Woods in Dulverton is our Wine Pub of the Year 2018.
TOP TEN WINE PUBS Runners-up 2018
Many of the pubs in these pages have extremely interesting and thoughtfully chosen wine lists and more than 375 of them hold one of our Wine Awards. Our runners-up are:
TOP TEN WHISKY PUBS 2018
With over 400 whiskies, the friendly and cheerful Bon Accord in Glasgow is our Whisky Pub of the Year 2018.
TOP TEN WHISKY PUBS Runners-up 2018
Stocking quite extraordinary collections of malt whiskies, our runners-up are:
- Bhurtpore in Aston (Cheshire)
- Old Harkers Arms in Chester (Cheshire)
- Nobody Inn at Doddiscombsleigh (Devon)
- Acorn in Evershot (Dorset)
- Red Fox at Thornton Hough, Wirral (Lancashire)
- Black Jug in Horsham (Sussex)
- Pack Horse at Widdop (Yorkshire)
- Bow Bar in Edinburgh (Scotland)
- Sligachan Hotel on the Isle of Skye (Scotland)
PUB GROUP OF THE YEAR 2018
Individual Inns is run by Ewan Harries (a former director at Bass) and Martin Clarkson (who has been running pubs for some years) and consists of six pubs in Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire.
A beautiful location is a requisite for each pub, alongside individual décor, imaginative food using local produce, a thoughtful choice of drinks and comfortable bedrooms. It’s important too that the inns are very much part of the local community and host a wide range of events such as reading and creative writing groups, live music, quiz and games evenings, guided walks, drinks tastings and monthly cinema or dining nights.
They are particularly welcoming to walkers (with their dogs), families and cyclists – which is just as well since the countryside around each pub is stunning.
The pubs that make up Individual Inns are the Masons Arms at Cartmel Fell and Wheatsheaf at Brigsteer (Cumbria), Spread Eagle in Sawley (Lancashire) and Tempest Arms at Elslack, Wheatley Arms at Ilkley and Fountaine in Linton in Craven (all Yorkshire). Individual Inns is our Pub Group of the Year 2018.
TOP TEN UNSPOILT PUBS 2018
In the same family for 88 years and quite charming, the Harrow at Steep is Unspoilt Pub of the Year.
TOP TEN UNSPOILT PUBS Runners-up 2018
Genuinely unspoilt and unchanging pubs run by dedicated landlords and landladies can be found all over Britain and our runners-up are:
- White Lion in Barthomley (Cheshire)
- Old Poets Corner in Ashover (Derbyshire)
- Barley Mow at Kirk Ireton (Derbyshire)
- Digby Tap in Sherborne (Dorset)
- Square & Compasses at Worth Matravers (Dorset)
- Crown at Churchill (Somerset)
- Halfway House in Pitney (Somerset)
- White Horse near Petersfield (Hampshire)
- Birch Hall at Beck Hole (Yorkshire)
TOP TEN COUNTRY PUBS 2018
In a peaceful spot, well placed for walks and with enjoyable food and comfortable bedrooms, the Brace of Pheasants at Plush is Country Pub of the Year 2018.
TOP TEN COUNTRY PUBS Runners-up 2018
If you’re out walking or away for the weekend, then a country pub with a roaring log fire is just what you’re hoping to find. With this in mind our runners-up are:
- White Horse in Hedgerley (Buckinghamshire)
- Pheasant in Burwardsley (Cheshire)
- Rugglestone in Widecombe (Devon)
- Royal Oak in Fritham (Hampshire)
- Royal Oak in Ramsden (Oxfordshire)
- Hatchet at Lower Chute (Wiltshire)
- Malet Arms in Newton Tony (Wiltshire)
- Fleece in Bretforton (Worcestershire)
- Harp at Old Radnor (Wales)
TOP 10 TOWN PUBS 2018
A winner in the past, the Wykeham Arms in Winchester is an exceptional all-rounder and is our Town Pub of the Year 2018.
TOP 10 TOWN PUBS Runners-up 2018
As a stranger in a town or city, a well run pub with a genuine welcome leaves you feeling much less alone. Our runners-up are:
- Punter in Cambridge (Cambridgeshire)
- Bank House in King’s Lynn (Norfolk)
- Victoria in Durham (Northumbria)
- Kings Arms in Woodstock (Oxfordshire)
- Old Green Tree in Bath (Somerset)
- Eight Bells in Saffron Walden (Suffolk)
- Old Joint Stock in Birmingham (Warwickshire)
- Olde Mitre (London)
- Kays Bar in Edinburgh (Scotland)
TOP TEN INNS OF THE YEAR 2018
The lovely mid 13th-c abbot’s guest house the Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland, in the wilds of the North Pennine Moors, is our Inn of the Year 2018.
TOP TEN INNS OF THE YEAR Runners-up 2018
Nowadays, when so many people want a weekend or a few days away as a mini break, a pub with bedrooms is just the place to head for, with the bonus of a chatty bar in which to relax at the end of the day – in this edition, 293 pubs hold one of our Stay Awards. Our runners-up Inns are:
- Rock at Haytor Vale (Devon)
- Anchor at Chideock (Dorset)
- Kings Head in Bledington (Gloucestershire)
- Inn at Whitewell at Whitewell (Lancashire)
- Old Swan & Minster Mill in Minster Lovell (Oxfordshire)
- Luttrell Arms in Dunster (Somerset)
- Cat in West Hoathly (Sussex)
- Blue Lion at East Witton (Yorkshire)
- Red Lion in East Chisenbury (Wiltshire)
TOP TEN VALUE PUBS 2018
The charming Drake Manor in Buckland Monachorum with its friendly, long-serving landlady is our Value Pub of the Year 2018.
TOP TEN VALUE PUBS Runners-up 2018
Value Awards are given to pubs that have managed to keep at least some of their main course dishes at £11 or under – which is quite a struggle given the rising costs of raw materials. Our runners-up are:
- Yew Tree in Lower Wield (Hampshire)
- Red Lion in Preston (Hertfordshire)
- Church Inn at Uppermill (Lancashire)
- Dipton Mill Inn in Diptonmill (Northumbria)
- Olde Ship at Seahouses (Northumbria)
- Rose & Crown in Oxford (Oxfordshire)
- Old Castle in Bridgnorth (Shropshire)
- Blue Boar in Aldbourne (Wiltshire)
- Crown & Trumpet in Broadway (Worcestershire)
DINING PUB OF THE YEAR 2018
The standards here are as high as you can get and the food (using some home-grown produce) is inspired – the Stagg at Titley is our Dining Pub of the Year 2018.
DINING PUB OF THE YEAR Runners-up 2018
Dining pubs at the top of their game provide some exceptional food, cooked by first class chefs using carefully sourced local and seasonal produce. The runners-up are:
- Wellington Arms in Baughurst (Hampshire)
- Assheton Arms at Downham (Lancashire)
- Olive Branch at Clipsham (Leicestershire)
- Plough in Kingham (Oxfordshire)
- Horse Guards at Tillington (Sussex)
- Red Lion at East Chisenbury (Wiltshire)
- Shibden Mill in Halifax (Yorkshire)
- Burts Hotel in Melrose (Scotland)
- Griffin in Felinfach (Wales)
TOP TEN NEW PUBS 2018
The golden-stone Ebrington Arms in Ebrington with its own-brewed ales, imaginative food and lovely bedrooms is our New Pub of the Year 2018.
TOP TEN NEW PUBS Runners-up 2018
Every year we’re lucky enough to find new entries that range from little country taverns to smart dining pubs, and this year our runners-up are:
- Three Horseshoes in Madingley (Cambridgeshire)
- Nags Head at Haughton Moss (Cheshire)
- Swan in Southrop (Gloucestershire)
- Watership Down in Freefolk (Hampshire)
- Crown in Old Dalby (Leicestershire)
- Smiths in Bourne (Lincolnshire)
- Woodstock Arms in Woodstock (Oxfordshire)
- Drawing Board in Leamington Spa (Warwickshire)
- Timbrells Yard in Bradford-on-Avon (Wiltshire)
TOP TEN LICENSEES 2018
For the warmth of the welcome and for the excellent landlord-cooked food, Rob and Liz Allcock of the Long Arms in South Wraxhall are Licensees of the Year 2018.
TOP TEN LICENSEES Runners-up 2018
Some of the best pubs in the country owe their appeal almost entirely to the caring, hard-working and welcoming personality of their landlady or landlord. Outstanding among those are:
- Philip and Lauren Davison of the Fox in Peasemore (Berkshire)
- Alex Clarke who owns both the Black Bull in Balsham and the Red Lion in Hinxton (Cambridgeshire)
- Mary Short of the Barley Mow in Kirk Ireton (Derbyshire)
- Kathryn Horton of the Ostrich in Newland (Gloucestershire)
- Tim Gray of the Yew Tree in Lower Wield (Hampshire)
- Patrick Groves of Woods in Dulverton (Somerset)
- Gerry and Ann Price of The Inn West End, West End (Surrey)
- The Mainey family of the Crown in Roecliffe (Yorkshire)
- The Key family of the Nags Head in Usk (Wales)