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It's a double first for Castle Rock Brewery and the staff at The Poppy and Pint, in Lady Bay, and Bingham's Horse and Plough as they are become their respective CAMRA branch's 2017 Pub of the Year.

For the Horse and Plough, the award was made by the Vale of Belvoir branch with Nottingham CAMRA city branch making the award to the Poppy and Pint with the commendation “a true example of a thriving community pub”,

In both cases, nominated pubs were judged on a number of criteria, which included beer quality, warmth of welcome and the general mix of clientele.

Dan Brown, manager, toasts the early doors’ bar staff duo Mike Purchase and Craig Nightingale

The Poppy and Pint has been operated by Castle Rock since 2011 with 12 hand pumps, two real ciders and homemade grub.  The Horse and Plough opened under Castle Rock’s banner in March 2015.

Speaking to the Nottingham Post, Nottingham CAMRA branch chairman Steve Westby said: “At a time when pubs continue to close at a frightening rate it’s pleasing that our volunteer panel of judges found that the quality of our remaining local pubs was, if anything, better than ever.

“The Poppy and Pint is to be commended, as it is a true example of a thriving community pub. James Halfpenny and his team do a splendid job in creating a successful, popular pub offering an outstanding range of quality beers in a friendly atmosphere,” he said.

James Halfpenny (far right) and some of the Poppy’s little flowers

The venue was also crowned the winner of the Nottingham CAMRA awards’ Best Urban/City pub category.

CAMRA’s Vale of Belvoir branch acknowledges The Horse and Plough’s dedication to real ale and its commitment to looking after its customers.

Manager Dan Brown says the award means everything to him, his colleagues and his regulars.  “We’ve been working for this for nearly two years, and all the efforts to increase choice, improve the bar layout, and bring all the staff up to highest standards of service, have paid off.

“Now all we have to do is maintain this to repay our patrons for their support,” he says.

Bridget Edwards for Vale of Belvoir CAMRA says: “The Horse and Plough in Bingham absolutely deserves to have been our Pub of the Year 2017.

“We’re extremely lucky in the Vale to have some excellent pubs and the Horse and Plough serves fantastic cask ales, both in choice and quality, and this is proven by the rate of beer turnover, astonishing for such a small pub,” says Bridget.