As part of Community Pubs Month
Cambridge CAMRA held its first ever Awards Evening
on 23 April, recognising the achievements of local licensees in providing great service to
the area's pub goers. The venue was the University Social Club in Mill Lane, where beers
were on offer from five local breweries - Milton, Moonshine, Fellows, Lord Conrad's and
- The awards presented were:
- Branch Pub of the Year: The Devonshire Arms, Devonshire Road, Cambridge - written
off as "failing" by its previous owners, it has been a rip roaring success in the hands of
Milton Brewery and licensees Dom and Jo.
- Lifetime Achievement Award: David Short of the Queen's Head, Newton. David this
year celebrates fifty years at the pub. It is one of only seven in the country to have been in
every edition of the Good Beer Guide.
- Real Ale Champion: Mark Donachy of the Red Lion, Histon. Mark has been serving
great beer at his pub for 18 years and has also run many beer festival raising money for
- Community Pub of the Year: The Boot, Dullingham. Rob and Lesley have run the Boot
for the last couple of years and have kept it at the very heart of village life - there's always
something going on here. The pub nearly closed in 2000 but was rescued by a local
- Most Improved City Pub of the Year: The Hopbine, Fair Street, Cambridge. Sold into the
free trade last year by a pub company and another example of how an under-performing
pub can become a success in the right hands - in this case, Hayley and Steve, who also
run the Portland Arms.
They now offer a range of interesting real ales in a traditional pub setting.
- Most Improved Rural Pub: The Green Man, Grantchester. A fine old pub which had
been closed for over a year before being rescued by Josh Vargo who, along with
manager Shaun, has transformed it into a haven for both great real ale and excellent
- Cider/Perry Pub of the Year: The Cambridge Blue, Gwydir Street, Cambridge. The
Branch's 2011 Pub of the Year sells not just a fabulous range of real ales but plenty of
real cider and perry as well.
- Mild/Dark Ale Pub of the Year: The Live and Let Live, Mawson Road, Cambridge. Pubs
which regularly sell milds, stouts, porters and other ales from the "darkside" are sadly rare
in these parts but the Live can always be relied on for delicious examples from these
- LocAle Pub of the Year: The Maypole, Park Street, Cambridge. Since becoming a free
house in 2009, the Maypole has been a great supporter of beers brewed by the five small
breweries in and around Cambridge and you can always find examples of these beers
amongst the eight real ales on the bar.
Roger Protz, editor of CAMRA's Good Beer Guide
and renowned author of many books
on pubs and beer, did a brilliant job of presenting the awards and we're very grateful to
him for coming along. The consensus was that the evening had been a great success
and should become a fixture in our calendar.