The couple who run a Belper pub have made it a double after discerning real ale drinkers named their establishment as the area’s best for the second year in a row.
The White Hart, on Sandbed Lane in Bargate, has retained its title as the Amber Valley CAMRA Pub of the Year for 2018, after impressing judges with the consistency of its approach.
Landlords Sean Brentnall, 35, and Rebecca Shirley, 29, were thrilled to find out they had pulled off the feat.
Sean said: “I’m over the moon, we really weren’t expecting to win it again this year. It’s unusual for anyone to win twice in a row, so I’m chuffed to bits.
“We’ve not really chased it, or done anything different. Whatever we’re doing is just what people like.”
While CAMRA is principally an organisation dedicated to the promotion of good beer, the awards judges have a much wider range of criteria when it comes to assessing pubs.
Sean said: “They’re looking at the attitude and knowledge of the staff, how the beer is kept, the cleanliness, and the welcome that customers get.
“It’s important for staff to be friendly with customers. It’s all part of the job, not just pulling beer.”
He adedd: “There’s lots of little things that go into creating the right atmosphere, which then helps every other part of the business.
“That’s the way I was taught, and that’s the way I teach our staff.”
For all that, the beers are a point of pride too, and the judges clearly appreciated the White Hart’s selection.
Sean said: “We always have a couple of regular ales on from Hardy and Hanson, Oakham, and Fullers, but all our other taps change every two or three days.
“We like to introduce people to new beers, both from local breweries and others around the country. There’s some wonderful stuff out there, so people don’t have to stick with what they know.”
The couple took over the pub in 2015, and have looked to focus the business around simple pleasures.
Sean said: “We don’t want to expand into food, and we don’t have many big parties or live music, we just want a real ale pub.
“We are expanding our gin selection, and we’ll hold a beer festival in the summer. We’re definitely going to aim for the CAMRA hat-trick now.”
The Talbot in Ripley took second place this year, followed by the Old Oak in Horsley Woodhouse. For details, see ambervalleycamra.org.uk.