Shropshire pubs named among the best in the country
Drinkers in our region have known it for years, but today Shropshire pubs were officially declared among the best in the country.
The Campaign for Real Ale released its list of top 200 pubs in the country, with some our region's favourite watering holes included on the list.
It means bragging rights for landlords and locals and also the benefit of extra visitors who may be attracted to the pubs because of the honour.
The Red Lion is among those celebrating, having scooped this year's title for Rural Pub of the Year for Telford and East Shropshire.
The pub in Cheswardine, near Market Drayton, is owned by Jon and Sheila Morris and creates all its own ales.
Mr Morris said: "We are really pleased to be voted this and I know people will be really pleased to see we have won this award.
"It is really good. What makes us unique is that we brew our own beer and we are in a small village.
"We are a very traditional pub – we don't have a jukebox, we don't have a television and we don't serve food.
"We are totally about the beer, we are a very traditional pub."
Bryn Pass, Market Drayton branch organiser said: "The award is presented annually after members who visit the pubs throughout the county and then adjudicate on the pubs and ales.
"This pub is quite unique in the area as the Lions Tail brewery is at the back of the pub and brews a number of its own ales not available in any other pub."
The Prince of Wales in Shrewsbury was declared the best local pub in Shrewsbury and West Shropshire.
The pub is well known for being a "hidden gem" in the town and hosts two popular beer festivals each year.
It is no newcomer to the CAMRA awards, but after finding out it had made the top list this year, landlady Victoria Price took to Facebook to thank locals.
She said: "We're very exited with the news. It was a cracking team effort all round so massive thanks to everyone for all loyal support and friendship.
"We couldn't do it without you all."
And in the south of the county, The Black Boy in Bridgnorth was named East Shropshire pub of the year for its quality real ales, its value for money, the atmosphere, interior decoration, customer service and the general welcoming nature of the venue.
Owner Stephen Illedge said he was thrilled with the award and said there was no secret to owning such a successful pub.
He said: "This is the first time that a pub in Bridgnorth has won the award for many years.
"We sell a variety of ales from national to good local breweries as we love to support local producers from Shropshire, Herefordshire and the Black Country.
"It is no big secret or mystery around keeping good beer, just three key things.
"Everything must be clean from your cellar floor, your pipes, through to your glasses.
"You must give your ale time to condition in your cellar and settle nicely.
"You also have to throw the ale out if you can't sell it, because if you don't it goes off. and you serve a bad pint."
Tom Stainer, of CAMRA, said the awards were part of April Community Pubs Month.
He said: "It is about highlighting the important role pubs play in community life and no pubs are better examples of fantastic locals than these two hundred CAMRA branch winners.
"Each one of them has been judged the best in their respective area and are well worth seeking out for any would-be ale lovers."
He added: "Pubs play an essential role in our communities and are clearly very highly valued, but despite this are still being lost at an alarming rate across the UK.
"The best way people can protect their local's future is by getting down there and supporting it – which is why throughout April CAMRA will be calling on people to visit their local pub and support an important British industry."
CAMRA volunteers across the UK judge the pubs in their area to find their Branch's Pub of the Year - looking at decor, value for money, customer service, and of course, the quality of their real ale.
The local branch winners then go forward to battle it out in the regional heats in their quest to become National Pub of the Year which will be announced early next year.
To find out more about the campaign visit www.communitypubscampaign.org.uk
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