Published on October 2, 2018 | by Alastair Gilmour


Top pubs go for national title

The region’s Camra branches have been busy deciding which of our fine pubs will go head-to-head with others across the country to decide the consumer organisation’s national pub of the year.

Representing the North East is the Golden Smog, Stockton-on-Tees. The town’s first micropub is named after the environmental conditions that prevailed on Teesside at one time but have happily dissipated. Four real ales and two real ciders are served alongside an impressive range of Belgian beers, all in their correct glassware. Third-pint glasses and bespoke tasting tables are also available.

Cheers is cheering on the geographic north where, representing Yorkshire and Scotland are the George & Dragon at Hudswell, near Richmond, and the Volunteer Arms (Staggs) in Musselburgh (which also represents Northern Ireland for some unfathomable reason).

Camra named the George & Dragon – a homely, two-roomed village inn – its National Pub of the Year in 2016.  Rescued and refurbished in 2010 after a successful community buyout, it now features its own library, shop, allotments and other local facilities as well as great food and Yorkshire-brewed beers alongside a selection of nearly 90 whiskies. A large beer terrace at the rear offers stunning panoramic views over the Swale Valley.

The Volunteer Arms has been run by the same family since 1858. The traditional bar and snug feature timber flooring and panelling punctuated by mirrors from defunct local breweries. Ales tend to be hoppy and pale with often a darker one for choice, all changing regularly.

Congratulations – and do us northerners proud!

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Alastair Gilmour

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