Category Archives: Presentations

POTY and POTS Presentations

Autumn Town & Country Pub of the Season 2016

T&C Pub of Season Sep16Monday 26th September was not the sort of evening to encourage one out – cold, rainy and definitely felt like Autumn. However a good few CAMRA members caught the No.10 bus to join me, local CAMRA members and customers at the Lord Collingwood for the celebration.

As a Marston’s tied house, the beer choice on offer was Ringwood Best Bitter & Boondoggle, Thwaites Wainwright, Marstons New World, Banks’ Sunbeam and house special Colly Wobbler (the Hobgoblin was off). Licensee Sarah Heaton kindly provided sandwiches and home-made chips  (by the fair hand of barmaid Karen) while  husband Andy, fresh home from his day job, lit the fire for us.

T&C Pub of Season Sep16It is customary to explain what CAMRA is about to the public during our speech, but when I looked around I couldn’t see any non-members! Little point in preaching to the converted so I passed on this, left some of our local recruitment leaflets and got on with the main event.

It is hard work running a pub anywhere and particularly in the villages and Pub of the Season awards were one way of giving rare recognition and encouragement to the people in the business.

T&C Pub of Season Sep16The Heatons were congratulated on their first successful year, despite challenges like needing to close the kitchen for major refurbishment and Sarah’s ongoing fo ot problem. They did their best to offer beer variety with Marstons specials and guest festival ales. Andy expressed their gratitude for CAMRA’s  attention and the certificate was quickly on display over the fireplace. Keep up the good work you guys.

Footnote: the pub is named after Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood (26 September 1748 – 7 March 1810), who was an admiral of the Royal Navy, nota

Interestingly, another of the local pubs is the Lord Nelson in Nether Poppleton. Both men are neighbours in death too, buried side by side in the crypt at St Paul’s Cathedral, London!

Pubs of the Season and Pub of the Year awards 2013

York CAMRA Pub of the Year for 2013 is Ferryboat Inn, Thorganby
York CAMRA Club of the Year for 2013 is Bishopthorpe Sports & Social Club, Bishopthorpe

More information on how we select the winners and the full archive of Pub of the Year is here

Pub of the Season awards for 2013:


Season Town Country
Winter Royal Oak, Goodramgate White Bear, Stillington
Autumn Snickleway, Goodramgate Greyhound, Saxton
Summer Old Ebor, Nunnery Lane Wombwell Arms, Wass
Spring The Habit, Goodramgate Fenton Flyer, Church Fenton

More information on how we select the winners and the full archive of winners is here

Winter 2013 Town Pub of the Season Presentation to Royal Oak, Goodramgate

Kevin presenting the award to Sarah

Kevin presenting the award to Sarah

We arrived en mass at the Royal Oak to a very welcome warming fireplace! The pub’s regulars were also there in numbers most probably waiting for Two Bob to arrive and start playing and wondering why we were there, the large board outside advertising ‘Winner of CAMRA Winter Pub of the Season’ was the clue.

The pub as always was very welcoming with a nice selection of beers: Hop Studio Porter, Treboom Tambourine Man, Brains Reverend James, Theakston’s Old Peculier, Theakston’s Best Bitter and Greene King Abbot Ale. After everyone getting their pints most having the two LocAle’s we moved into the larger back bar to perform the presentation.

Sarah the licensee accepted on behalf the pub as she said in her acceptance speech the whole team from cellar, bar and kitchen have all helped earn the award. Gareth, Mike, Richard, Sam and Karl (the cellar apprentice and husband) all deserve a mention for their hard work in the cellar and the very onerous task of liaising with local brewers and tasting their brews! The pub will continue with its policy of trying to always have one bitter and one stout, porter or mild from a LocAle brewery with some of the speciality brews been fitted in when available. Hop Studio, Salamander and Treboom beers are firm favourites with regulars and visitors alike. The policy of offering third of a pint tasting trays is enticing people to try beers that they perceive to be outside of their comfort zone. Most manage to find at least one style of beer to their taste. The bar staff are all quite willing to discuss the beers on the bar and offer tasters where required.

The staff are also keenly aware of the need to keep standards high with the quality of pubs in the city increasing year on year, the friendly competition along Goodramgate caters for all tastes and keeps all the bars on their toes!

The kitchen staff not to be left out on the night contributed two dishes a chicken curry and a beef stew as well as plates of sandwiches so our party and the locals were well fed. Many thanks to them as they worked past their normal finishing time to ensure their offerings were served piping hot.

Once again many thanks to the Royal Oak for making us welcome and look out for some interesting themed evenings to come throughout 2014. (KK)

Winter 2013 Country Pub of the Season Presentation to White Bear, Stillington

Chris presenting the award to Phil

Chris presenting the award to Phil

Pressure of numbers meant that a larger coach had to be put on for the trip to the White Bear, Stillington on 23rd January to present the Country Pub of the Season award for Winter 2013. With members also making their way independently we had in excess of thirty thirsty travellers, just as well the White Bear’s darts team had an away fixture that night!

With a good turn- out of pub locals too there was plenty of demand but this was met with the usual impressive supply, in this case: Sam Smiths Old Brewery Bitter, Leeds Pale, Ringwood Best, Rudgate Snow Wonder and Hop Studio Porter. The bar staff coped most ably and very soon most of us were on our second (or third) pint.

Chris made a brief speech in which he explained that since the White Bear’s award in Summer 2010 this second presentation was unique for country pubs in our branch area and that only one York city pub had achieved such a “double” in that timeframe. The second award was in recognition of Phil and Sue’s continuing work to provide variety and choice, particularly of Yorkshire beers, often from some of our smaller breweries.

Phil expressed his delight at the recognition and provided some interesting anecdotes comparing life in London and Yorkshire: Yorkshire won! Unfortunately Sue was upstairs convalescing, we hope she is back at her customary station behind the bar soon and that the cheer she got from the bar provided suitable motivation!

More beer was sampled and a generous buffet provided which never seemed to run out despite the large number of hungry customers: perhaps we should have brought more mouths to feed to this justifiably packed pub? (CT)

Autumn 2013 Country Pub of the Season Presentation to Greyhound, Saxton

Pat presenting the award to Steve

Pat presenting the award to Steve

The Autumn Country Pub Of the Season was the Greyhound at Saxton. On Thursday October 24th a full 16 seater bus left York at 7pm. I was excited, looking forward to visiting one of my favourite haunts and not having to drive. For some of our CAMRA members it was their first visit to the Greyhound. From Tadcaster, we approached through the darkness passed the famous Battle of Towton battleground and arrived in the tiny village of Saxton. Being easily missed, the bus driver drove right passed the pub, much to all our consternation as we were all ready for our pints! We were not disappointed once inside; the little pub was brimming with locals, two blazing coal fires adding to the warm atmosphere. Steve was ready for us and had three bar staff waiting to serve our queue that stood in the tiny bar and along the stone flagged corridor. Very soon everyone was served and busy exploring the knick knacks around the pub and looking for a seat.

The award was presented to Steve to say thank you for doing an excellent job at running this special pub. Steve has been landlord over two years and has put his life and soul into the job. He is a very dedicated and most accommodating manager who welcomes everyone. There are many local meetings, including Friends of the School, Cricket Club and Battle of Towton committee that enjoy the atmosphere which Steve provides in this well-run little pub. Being a Sam Smith’s pub, the only cask beer is Old Brewery Bitter, which is always on top form, and at the usual very reasonable price. I think Steve’s previous job as a drayman taught him something about how to keep beer.

The pork pie!

The pork pie!

Despite having no kitchen facilities there was a great buffet for all with a special giant pork pie with his name on it to commemorate the occasion. We all enjoyed the warmth and hospitability given by Steve and his lovely daughters, locals and friends who made the night memorable. (PB)

Autumn 2013 Town Pub of the Season Presentation to Snickleway, Goodramgate

Chris presenting the award to Graham and Linda

Chris presenting the award to Graham and Linda

A good selection of members assembled at the Snickleway Inn for the presentation of the Autumn Town Pub of the Season award. We were greeted by an inviting fire from the back bar which gave a truly autumnal feeling to proceedings. On the bar was the expected array of excellent ales: Roosters Yankee, Jennings Snecklifter, Rudgate Frightfully Pale, Theakston’s Infallible, Treboom Kettle Drum plus John Smith’s Cask.

Chris presented the award to Graham and Linda, thanking them for their impressive work over the last few years in keeping the Snickleway right up there as one of the city’s most pleasant pubs.

Graham returned the compliment and said that he was pleased to feature in the Good Beer Guide for 2014. We then got on with the serious business of trying the beers, now reinforced by Bradfield Farmers Blonde (a beer not a woman) and setting to on the generously provided chilli and curry which was just the thing for an autumn night. As I left the pub at the end of an excellent evening the autumn winds were blowing and there was even a hint of snow in the chill breeze: I can’t wait to see what the winter seasonal pubs have in store for us! (CT)

Summer 2013 Town Pub of the Season Presentation to Old Ebor, Nunnery Lane

Karl presenting the award to Paul, Sarah and Kieran

Karl presenting the award to Paul, Sarah and Kieran

It was a good turnout from locals and CAMRA members alike to celebrate Old Ebor’s success as our Town Summer Pub of the Season on Friday 19th July. During a rare appearance of real summer (hot and sunny for more than 2 hours), it was a perfect night to sink some of Paul Matson’s well-chosen ales at an event that also marked the start of his first beer festival.

His son Kieran and business partner Sarah Hill, still recuperating from her recent illness, joined him to receive the award from yours truly, the nominator at the Branch meeting.

In what had been a challenging first year in the pub business, the winning team has established a growing reputation among real ale and cider enthusiasts, a welcome addition to the other good real ale pubs in that part of the city centre. But the regular local customers, even if they preferred alternative drinks, are the lifeblood of pubs like Old Ebor and were thanked for their continuing support.

Receiving the framed certificate, Paul remarked that he was honoured to have been nominated and amazed to have won the award and thanked CAMRA members for their support.

An interesting choice of ten ales (including four from the Isle of Man) across diverse styles and three real ciders, selected by Sarah, were well sampled.

Beers on offer were: Bushy’s Oyster Stout, Ruby Mild and Castletown Bitter; Doghouse Citra Pale Ale (the Manx ones); Big River Ropewalk; Saltaire Blonde; Great Newsome Jem’s Stout; Robinsons Trooper; Theakstons Rivers Answer; John Smith’s Cask.

Ciders on offer throughout the festival were: were Sandford Orchards Shaky Bridge; Manx Cider Co, Johnny Jump; Orchards of Husthwaite, Galtres Blush; Mr. Whitehead’s, Novo Pyrus (perry) Rough Old Wife, Blushing Old Wife.

Thank you to Paul, Sarah and the staff at Old Ebor for a memorable night (I certainly remembered how much beer I had consumed the morning after!). (KS)

Summer 2013 Country Pub of the Season Presentation to Wombwell Arms, Wass

Ian (left) presenting Ian (right!) with the award

Ian (left) presenting Ian (right!) with the award

The sun was shining and the temperature was heading into the high 20s, so it was time for the Country Summer Pub of the Season award to the Wombwell Arms. Fourteen of us travelled by minibus from York through the glorious North Yorkshire countryside to Wass on the 6th July. Passing the impressive ruins of Byland Abbey our anticipation of a good thirst quenching pint was increasing. We were not to be disappointed as Ian Walker, the landlord, was waiting to greet us with a choice of real ales. Other CAMRA members who had made their own way to Wass also joined us. Ian had reduced his beer prices for the event and advertised it within the local community. There were two guest ales, Rudgate Yorvik Blonde and Wensleydale Poacher together with the regular Black Sheep Best Bitter. We sat outside and enjoyed the beer and sunshine before going inside to the Poachers bar where Ian and his staff had laid on an array of tasty canapés for us to sample.

After our lunch, Ian Alford, the sponsor, made the presentation to Ian, the landlord and congratulated him on the continuing success of the Wombell Arms and in particular his commitment to offering real ales from local breweries at the pub. Ian thanked CAMRA for the award and then entertained us with an account of how CAMRA had influenced his life, career in the brewing industry and finally his choice of beers in his own establishment. It was also a tale of the many changes in the British brewery industry over the last few decades.

His first involvement with the brewing industry was at the age of three when his father took him to the Scarsdale Brewery in Chesterfield where he worked. That brewery was taken over in 1959 by Whitbread and immediately closed. Latter, while at university Ian worked during the summers with Whitbread in Sheffield stacking crates, working in the office and cleaning cellar tanks. Some of the pub cellars had over 20 tanks and sold more Whitbread Trophy in a week than the Wombwell Arms’ beer sales in a year! In 1976, fed up with the fizzy beer at university he joined CAMRA and along with some friends got elected to the student bar committee, ended the Scottish and Newcastle arrangement and installed hand pumps. His copy of the 1976 Good Beer Guide (much thinner than the latest edition) was passed around as today’s CAMRA members searched for their favourite pubs. After graduating Ian got a job in product development with Watney Mann and Trueman at the Brick Lane London Brewery and in the post Red Barrel era was involved with new brands such as Watney’s Stag Bitter and Trumann’s Tap Bitter. In 1981 with the inducement of a company Ford Cortina he moved to sales eventually becoming General Sales Manager for new business and key accounts. Following takeovers and mergers he moved to the Courage Bristol Brewery which produced Directors, Courage Best and Courage Bitter Ale (3.2% for the local market). Thanks to the Bristol Brewery being a devolved business unit Ian was able to rename this latter beer as George’s Bitter, a traditional name. Along with an advertising campaign he increased sales fourfold and a long term decline in bitter sales was reversed. Following this success a 4.4% George’s Premium was launched for Christmas selling 987 out of the 1000 casks produced. Subsequently the brewery was closed and eventually Courage was taken over by Scottish and Newcastle and Ian became the West Country Regional Sales Director. Following a period of illness and a reorganisation where his job disappeared and Scottish and Newcastle itself were being acquired by Heineken, Ian decided to take early retirement and redundancy to fulfil his dream of running his own business.

Ian and his South African wife, Eunice, purchased the Wombwell Arms five years ago. Eunice is the head chef and brings a South African twist to their menu. Originally a micro brewery was planned. However, the need to refurbish the pub and in particular the kitchen, letting rooms and toilets has put the micro brewery on hold for the foreseeable future. A recession and poor weather has also not helped. Recently the Wombwell Arms has introduced a second guest beer alongside Black Sheep Best Bitter. The guest ales are always from local micro breweries and mostly in pins to maintain quality. Business now seems to be improving with last year’s turnover up by 7.5%. Perhaps the micro brewery may become a reality.

After a few more beers it was time to board the bus for the journey back to York. On the way back a call was made at Stillington for a beer break at the White Bear. This is a CAMRA favourite which offers a 10% discount to CAMRA members. The choice of beers on offer included Ilkley Black and Sam Smith’s Bitter. After an enjoyable pint or two we continued back to York after all having had a splendid day out. (IA)

Pub of the Year 2013 presentation to Ferryboat Inn, Thorganby

In June, it was time to present our prestigious Pub of the Year award to this year’s worthy winner, the Ferry Boat Inn at Thorganby. The pub won this award for the first time three years ago when it also went on to win the CAMRA Yorkshire Pub of the Year title, which was the first time our branch had produced a regional winner for some years. The Ferry Boat Inn is a genuine family-run free house, which has been run in the same vein, by the same family, for many years. The licensee, Olive Rogers, has had her name over the door since she was 21 and she is now in her eighties. Her daughter, Jackie, and son-in-law, Phil, run the pub nowadays and all three were over the moon to win the title for a second time.

Over the last dozen years or so, Phil’s interest in beer has seen the pub gradually increase its cask ale range from one to five, whilst never compromising on quality. By the time our bus arrived mid-afternoon, the pub and large garden were bustling with visitors to the beer festival that Phil and Jackie had organised, with help from Keith Simpson of Brown Cow Brewery, to mark the occasion. As well as the usual six hand pumps in the pub, the outbuildings just outside hosted a temporary bar with another fine selection of beers sourced by Keith from around the country, several of which were from Cumbria, and many of which I had never tasted before. Fantastic! There was even a marquee in the garden for the guest bands to perform in.
The weather was very kind, which meant that the presentation could take place outside where everyone was able to see and hear. It was the duty and pleasure of our Chairman, Matt Grant, to make the presentation. He began his speech by apologising to those present who had heard his speech on the same occasion three years ago because it was going to be very similar, as little, if anything, had changed at the pub, which in the case of the Ferry Boat Inn, is a very good thing! He then explained a bit about how the Pub of the Year is chosen by the membership from the 460 plus pubs in the York branch area.
Quality of beer/cider/perry is the most important criteria and this is weighted accordingly in the survey process. No one in the audience reported ever having a bad pint at the pub, so it seemed most people agreed with the membership on that point. It was also noted how Phil always tries to have a varied range of beer styles on the bar at any time, including a dark beer such as a dark mild, stout or porter, which has helped these once endangered beer styles begin to regain popularity.
The atmosphere/style/decor of the pub was described as being homely and cosy, especially with the roaring fire in winter, and in summer the pub has its amazing, large beer garden leading down to the River Derwent. Matt went on to describe how the pub is one of the most friendly and welcoming he has ever visited, which meant it did well in the service/welcome category too.
As regards sympathy with CAMRA aims, Matt noted that Phil and Jackie were both members, they always display CAMRA publicity materials and copies of this magazine, always serve full pints (a key CAMRA campaign) and have been members of our LocAle scheme since its launch.
The penultimate category is community focus and when Matt suggested that this pub appeared to be a hub of the community, a local user of pub shouted out that it was the hub of the community. The pub has a quiz night, dominoes team, music nights and several local clubs meet at the pub.
The final category is good value and whilst the pub has very reasonably priced products, this category means more than just cost. It refers to the overall value for money and experience that you feel you get from investing time and money to visit the pub.
To win the Pub of the Year title in an area with such a wonderful array of real ale pubs, a pub obviously needs to do well in all six categories, which the Ferry Boat Inn does indeed. Jackie, Phil and Olive accepted the certificate and trophy and then Jackie said a few words of thanks to the people who they feel have most helped them to build the pub up to its current high standard. These included several local breweries and, most importantly, their loyal customers who were once again there in abundance. I’ll drink to that! (MG)

Spring 2013 Town Pub of the Season Presentation to The Habit, Goodramgate

Kevin presenting the award to Simon

Kevin presenting the award to Simon

On a windy and rainy March night a group of us met at the Habit to present Simon and his staff with the Spring Town Pub of the Season.

This little bar in Goodramgate provides a little oasis serving two cask ales, one always a LocAle. On presentation night Treboom Baron Saturday was the beer of choice and in fine fettle it was too.

Simon and his staff have worked very hard over the last few years to build a free trade business in a listed building. Listening to customers, one hand pump was installed and slowly people got to know about it leading to a second hand pump as demand grew. Simon’s plan for this year is to install a third hand pump, a tight squeeze but as Simon says a challenge!
Real cider is now also a regular feature with Moonshine being the most popular though others do make the occasional appearance.

This is a venue that has quietly worked its way into a regular port of call for me and goes to show that it is still possible for a determined owner to succeed. With regular music nights a roof terrace and showcase for budding local artists it has found its niche, a quirky one but life would be so dull without such places. (KK)