Cross Keys unlocks door to top beer guide

Top Pub: Landlord of The Cross Keys public house, John Lomas, celebrates their CAMRA award for Pub of the Year.
Top Pub: Landlord of The Cross Keys public house, John Lomas, celebrates their CAMRA award for Pub of the Year.

A PUB in Belper is celebrating a unique achievement — for it is the only pub in the town to make it into the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra’s) Good Beer Guide 2012.

The Cross Keys, on Market Place, beat off the opposition to be selected for the prestigious pub guide by the Amber Valley branch of Camra.

NBENBE110923g1, Beer festival at the Holly bush Inn, Makeney. George Merritt, Charlie Newport and landlord Andy Caulton.

NBENBE110923g1, Beer festival at the Holly bush Inn, Makeney. George Merritt, Charlie Newport and landlord Andy Caulton.

The branch can only pick ten pubs from the Amber Valley area to go in the guide.

Alison Cox, social secretary for Amber Valley Camra, said there are about 150 pubs in its catchment area.

She said: “It is a fantastic achievement.”

John Lomas, landlord of the Cross Keys, was delighted. He said: “It is marvellous! Especially being the only one from Belper to get in there.

“I would like to thank all the customers, members of Rural Real Ale Drinkers (RuRAD), and the Good Beer Guide.”

The pub was last in the guide in 2010, but missed out last year.

John, who runs the pub with his partner Anita Booth, said: “It was my personal aim to get back in to it.”

Alison added: “We have an allocation for our area, so for the Cross Keys to make it past the opposition is quite an achievement.

“Real ale is one of the few growth industries. It’s great to see so many good pubs.”

Jon Howard, of Camra said: “Each Camra branch judges the quality of real ale served at the bar.

“We believe that with good real ale, the rest of the pub will follow suit. The Cross Keys has that.”

Other pubs, on the fringes of Belper, got into the guide.

They are the Pattenmakers Arms, Crown Street, Duffield, the Old Oak Inn, Main Street, Horsley Woodhouse, the Dead Poets Inn, Chapel Street, Holbrook, the Hunters Arms, Church Street, Kilburn, the Bell and Harp, Alfreton Road, Little Eaton, the Bell, Main Road, Smalley, and the Holly Bush, Holly Bush Lane, Makeney.

Meanwhile, the Holly Bush has been proving its place in the guide is no fluke.

The pub held a beer festival last weekend - which also doubled up as a farewell for landlord Andy Caulton, who is leaving after 11 years.

Speaking about the festival, which featured 27 beers, Andy said: “It was fantastic. We had all sold out by the last day on Sunday!”

Andy’s last day at the pub is on Monday, October 3.

He said: “I have had 11 brilliant years and I will be sad to go. Everyone keeps saying it’s the end of an era.

“I would like to thank all my customers over the years. I really appreciate all the support I have had. I have had some really good and loyal customers.”