Cambridge CAMRA Pub of the Year Awards 2013

We were invited along to the Cambridge and District CAMRA Pub of the Year Awards which took place last night at the Hopbine. As well as the award for pub of the year there were 10 other awards going, including community pub of the year, locale pub, and most improved pub.


By 8pm the Hopbine was heaving with familiar faces including Jethro and Terri from the Cambridge Blue, Jess and Steve from the Elm Tree, and Lawrence from the Champion of the Thames (and now the Clarendon as well). There were also several local brewers present such as Joe from BlackBar, Mark from Moonshine, Jon from Lord Conrads, and Richard from Milton.

I drank Moonshine’s Cambridge Pale Ale pretty much most of the evening, a lovely easy drinking bitter with caramel and floral hop flavours. We were asked to take a seat in the back room of the pub where there was a large award display board for the event – a nice backdrop for the winners photos.

The compere made light hearted jokes as he read out pub descriptions before each award was presented, to try to make us guess which pub he was describing (he quite liked the word ‘breweriana’, which came up a couple of times in the descriptions. Guess which pubs he was referring to..!)

Will SmithWill Smith from CAMRA presented the awards and posed for official photos with the winners and their framed certificates; he even received the occasional kiss.

The winner of Pub of the Year went to the Flying Pig. You know, that wonderful pub that’s under threat of being demolished (which I wrote about in a previous post). Congratulations Justine and Matt. Hopefully this award will open people’s eyes as to how valuable a lovely pub like this is to the community.

The Flying Pig

Here’s a list of all the winners – well done everyone, especially to some of my local favourite pubs, you know who you are 😉

Pub of the year 2013:  The Flying Pig

Locale Pub of the year(Rural) 2013:  The Crown Inn, Linton

Locale pub of the year 2013 (city):  The Cambridge Blue

Community Pub of the year  2013 (Rural):  The Plough and Fleece Horningsea

Community Pub of the Year 2013 (City):  The Elm Tree

Dark Ale/ Mild Pub of the Year 2013:  The Maypole

Most improved pub of the year 2013( City):  The Mill

Most improved pub of the year 2013( Rural):  The Chestnut Tree, West Wratting

Cider pub of the year:  The St Radegund

Real Ale Champion 2013:  Richard Naisby, Milton Brewery

CAMRA Lifetime Achievement award:  Lawrence Dixon, of The Champion of the Thames and Clarendon Arms.

Lawrence Plough and Fleece Jethro and Terri, Cambridge Blue Jess and Steve, Elm Tree

There’s one rural pub on the list that I haven’t made it out to yet, so I will make sure I rectify that as soon as possible. And if you haven’t visited these pubs in a while, make sure you do – they all need our support!

Snowy Sunday afternoon

It snowed pretty heavily overnight, which meant our travel plans were well and truly scuppered. Luckily, we live in a great area full of lovely pubs within walking distance, so what better way t0 spend the day than going on a snowy walk and taking in a few of the local boozers.

I recently wrote an article for the local CAMRA magzine, ALE, about a pub crawl around the Kite area in Cambridge which is full of fantastic, tucked-away little pubs. Here are a few pictures and words about some of them:

The Elm Tree

The Elm Tree is a lovely little pub on the corner of Eden Street,  Melbourne Place, Orchard Street – it has many addresses. All you need to know is that it serves around 10 regularly changing real ales from the likes of Banks and Taylor, Dark Star and Youngs, lots of specialist Belgian beers, and hosts live music every week. A cool pub. Oh, and no sport is shown here so you can have a quiet drink and chat.

The Free Press

The Free Press

The Free Press is just round the corner, and is a cute, quiet Greene King pub with a cosy little snug and two open fires to keep you toasty warm on these cold days.

The food and service are great, and the beer, served in oversized glasses, is the best quality beer served in Cambridge, in my humble opinion. They are one of very few pubs serving the GK XX Mild. Interesting guest ales are served on draft, plus an unusual bottled beer weekly.

The First and Last

The First and Last

The First and Last was once called the  Cricketers until very recently. It is an airy, bright pub which serves large Sunday roasts and shows live sport on large screens. It’s another GK pub, but has regularly changing guests on draft.

The Clarendon Arms

The Clarendon Arms

The Clarendon Arms has been taken over since I wrote my ALE article, so the lovely pub dog (Casper) is no longer there. But the team from the Green Man in Grantchester have taken over (literally a few weeks ago upon writing this) and aim to turn this into a thriving boozer.

It’s a GK pub, but there is a fridge stocked with unusual bottled beers including American ales, as well as real ales on draft plus a new menu, including great chunky chips (and when I say chunky, I mean CHUNKY!) Beer and chips go so well together.


The Hopbine

The Hopbine

The Hopbine reopened in August 2011 under new management (the team from the Portland Arms). It has held a couple of beer festivals since reopening, and there are usually interesting ales from local breweries available at this free house plus good food served all day.

The Cambridge Blue

The Cambridge Blue

We had a wander out of the Kite to the Cambridge Blue, just off Mill Rd, and drank some Rogue Brutal IPA, a great beer from a fantastic brewery in Oregon. Another great pub that serves an ever-changing range of real ales from the likes of Nethergate, Cottage Brewery and Prospect, plus lots of bottled European and world beers. And good food.

While I’m at it, here are some more snowy pics of Cambridge to finish off with, and here is a link to @pintsandpubs blog post with some more lovely snowy Cambridge pub pics. Now I’m going to curl up with a nice cup of tea.

Snow BuddhaOrchard Street

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