CAMRA names the best four clubs in the country
10 December 2018
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The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has named the best four clubs in the country as part of its Club of the Year 2019 competition, one of the most respected and well-known club awards in the UK.
Among the finalists are a former school, a large street-corner social, a building dating back to the 17th century, and a club that has been voted the local branch Club of the Year for 11 consecutive years.
The Appleton Thorn Village Hall near Warrington is a former school that has been transformed into a thriving village hall, with an ever-changing range of seven beers from regional and microbreweries. A previous national CAMRA Club of the Year winner, the club holds regular events including live music and a very popular annual beer festival.
The oldest surviving building in Bargoed is home to the Real Ale Farm. Offering a range of quality beer, which has been selected for flavour and interest, the club promotes local producers and brewers of real ale, cider and perry. The club also hosts numerous charity events as well as the occasional beer festival.
A popular and welcoming club, the Canine Club in Accrington is a large street-corner venue on a busy street. The central bar serves a comfortable lounge to the front and a traditional games room to the rear where snooker, pool and darts are played. The changing beer range usually includes a couple of east Lancashire brews and one from further afield.
Winner of the Surrey CAMRA Club of the Year award every year since 2008, the Egham United Services Cluboffers five ales on at all times, with three rotating guest ales including a dark, and a wide choice of ciders is available from the cellar. Their three annual beer festivals showcase an eclectic range of ales, mostly from the newest microbreweries around. Comfortably furnished with a sports TV and free wifi, the club hosts live music most Saturday evenings.
The CAMRA Club of the Year competition is run in conjunction with Club Mirror magazine, with the simple aim of finding the clubs with the greatest commitment to quality real ale. The winning club would offer a fantastic atmosphere, welcoming surroundings and most importantly, top quality real ale served in great condition. Clubs are nominated by CAMRA branches across the country and judged by a panel of CAMRA volunteers throughout the year.
Keith Spencer, Club of the Year Co-ordinator, said: "A club is the ultimate community asset; it is created by the community for the community it serves. This competition is a great way of recognising our clubs and raising awareness about the good work that they do."
Sean Ferris, Publisher and Managing Director of Club Mirror, said: "We know that clubs are a crucial feature of our communities - whether a sports, social, political or working men's club, each offers a space to socialise, meet new friends and relax.
"We're delighted to be involved with the CAMRA Club of the Year award, and will continue to campaign and protect clubs and the work that they do, as well as celebrating the best in the business."
The four finalists were presented with a commemorative plate at the Club Mirror Awards. They will now have to wait until spring 2019 to discover which will be named CAMRA's Club of the Year.
Notes to Editors
The finalists images are available here.
Information about the finalists
Egham United Services Club
111 Spring Rise, Egham TW20 9PE
A previous finalist in the Club of the Year competition, the club offers a changing range of guest ales and a wide choice of cider. Three beer festivals a year showcare an eclectic range of ales, mostly from the newest microbreweries around. Comfortably furnished with a sports TV and free Wi-Fi, the club hosts live music most Saturday evenings.
Chris Stringer, CAMRA Regional Director for Surrey and Sussex said: "I'm delighted that the Egham United Services Club has reached the finals of the prestigious Club of the Year competition. The club was formed in 1920 and has become nationally prominent amongst regular attenders for the three beer festivals it runs in the spring, summer and autumn every year.
"The club has a great focus on the community and good causes, and in the last 6 years over £15,000 has been raised for charities, with Hounds for Heroes being this year's beneficiary in the centenary of the ending of World War 1."
Real Ale Farm (RAFA)
Gilfach Fargoed, Fawr Farm, Cardiff Road, CF81 8NY
A CAMRA award-winning club that offers the best range and quality of beer for miles with up to four guest ales and two ciders or perries, selected for flavour and interest and sourced from breweries both near and far. The building pre-dates the industrial age and has a complex history. The club hosts numerous charity events as well as the occasional beer festival. The short walk from Gilfach Fargoed station presents a modest but energetic climb.
Visitors are welcome but must be signed in.
Appleton Thorn Village Hall
Stretton Road, Appleton Thorn, near Warrington, WA4 4RT
The bar serves a cosy lounge and a larger function room with a pool room. Stained glass fringes the lounge while the function room is adorned with period agricultural implements. Welcoming staff will give tasters of the seven regularly changing ales, together with ciders and perries. Sunday lunches are popular, as is the new gin bar.
Nick Bosley, CAMRA Regional Director for Merseyside and Cheshire said: "Very much at the heart of the community for the village, the hall hosts multiple community events such as pre-school, school of dance, mums and tots, guides, brownies and rainbows, yoga and even a rehearsal room for Vale Royal String Orchestra! For the rest of the time it offers seven ever-changing beers and a selection of ciders and perries and a popular beer festival at the end of October."
The Canine Club
45-47 Abbey St, Accrington BB5 1EN
A large street-corner social club on a busy street, the Canine Club is popular and welcoming to all. The central bar serves a comfortable lounge to the front and a traditional games room to the rear where snooker, pool and darts are played. The changing beer range usually includes a couple of east Lancashire brews and one from further afield.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is a not-for-profit consumer group with over 191,000 members that has been operating since 1971. Our vision is to have quality real ale and thriving pubs in every community.