The best pubs in the Vale of Belvoir have been revealed as the Geese and Fountain at Croxton Kerrial and the Horse and Plough at Bingham.
CAMRA’s Vale of Belvoir branch covers parts of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, leading them to award a winner for each county. It also declared the Geese and Fountain its overall winner.
Secretary Ed Taylor said the pubs are judged on the quality of their drinks, service, atmosphere and welcome, style and decor, funrnishings and cleanliness, community focus and atmosphere, alignment with CAMRA principles and overall impression.
He said: “Despite being open only a few years, the Geese and Fountain has become the epitome of a well-run cvillage pub and community hub. There is something for everyone, because its owners (Nick Holden and Kate Ahrens) are not afraid to try new ideas and stretch the possibilities of what they can do.”
Despite offering BandB rooms and a village library, the pub still feels traditional, with innovations to encourage people to keep coming back. The beer, ciders, wines, soft drinks and locally-sourced food was also praised. The pub also staged televised sports and regular music.
The Horse and Plough was praised for its ability “to thrive in a crowded marketplace” with a “fantastic array of beer, cider and perry.” It also staged meet the brewer events and tap takeovers to showcase different brewers alongside Castle Rock and other favourites. It also offered quality wines, soft drinks, food, occasional quizzes, live music and televised sport. Both offered warm welcomes.
Geese and Fountain landlord Nick Holden said: “We are thrilled to bits. We were top pub in leicestershire last year but to win overall is outstanding.”
Nick said the pub’s strength is its beer and he spends much time with breweries, including Grantham’s breweries.
He added: “It’s not just about beer but also an extensive wine list and soft drinks.”
Horse and Plough general manager Dan Brown called it a great achievement, adding the pub was very proud to be county winner two years running.
He said: “For the area, we have a unique offering – 10 real ales on hand pump, six craft ales on keg, which is something not often seen outside cities.”
Staff also get to know what regulars want:“Quite a few come in without ordering and they expect a beer to be given to them as they know what to expect. It’s a unique selling point.”